Copyright© 2020 by Ernest Bywater
Against all Enemies
Con’s Communications is one of the stores that evacuates to stay at the restaurant. The store is owned and run by a medically beached USMC corporal, Conrad Eagle, his sister, and her husband with them all living above the shop. When everyone else evacuates Conrad stays in the shop with many of the shop front samples on display, while his sister’s family and all of the rest of their stock and personal possessions are removed.
While stacking the last of the stock in the basement Mitch asks, “Jill, why is Con staying in the shop?”
She looks over at Mitch with a sad expression as she says, “He has a bad cancer and isn’t expected to last out the year. So he sees it as no big loss to stay in the shop. However, he said it was something to do with his oath when he joined the Marines, a bit about defending the country against all enemies, foreign or domestic. He also said he has a surprise for the rioting thugs, but I don’t know what it could be.”
Mitch slowly shakes his head while he thinks on the reply, then he says, “I think I know what he has planned, and they won’t like it.” Jill gives Mitch a hard look, so he adds, “Con was an explosives expert in the Marines. I’d guess he’s now busy setting booby traps in the shop.”
Two days later the Free State rioters are busy expanding their zone of control by moving into surrounding streets and threatening the people running the shops and living in the residences in the new areas.
Roberto is sitting at his computer working when he gets an email. He opens the message to find it’s from Con and it includes a link to a cloud storage account with a log on ID and password. He wonders about it while he goes to the account and logs in. On examining the files he sees there are two files that are only minutes old; one is saving a video file and the other is a video stream, so he clicks on the live stream. He sees Con’s shop with him sitting on his stool in the corner and the shop is full of people in Antifa t-shirts with a lot more visible in the street outside.
Con looks over the crowd stuffed into his shop and shouts, “If you aren’t buying, then leave the store.” The only response is for more of the Antifa thugs to force their way in. Con thinks, Well, with this crowd they don’t have the room to swing their baseball bats about.
One of the men at the front of the crowd swaggers over to where Con is on his stool behind the small counter in the shop’s corner and says, “We need a lot more phones and two-way radios, so we’re taking all of your stock.”
A smiling Con replies, “I’ll happily sell you all of my stock and at a discounted price, too.”
The man smugly says, “You didn’t listen. We aren’t paying. We’re taking it all as we now own everything in this area.”
Con leans forward in a way that his elbows rest heavily on two pads on the counter, and his weight depresses the recently installed switch plates under the pads. The switches activate a number of circuits in the shop and send a signal to many devices in the shop. He says, “You’ll find it’s often better to pay the asking price for something than to steal it, as I’m not going to let you rob me.”
The man brings up his right hand with a gun at the same time as he says, “Grab everything off of the shelves, then we’ll get the stock out the back.” The people behind him quickly smash the glass display cases and grab the display stocks out of the cases. Many of them pass some of the items to people behind them, and some go out into the street.
About a minute after the cases are broken some of the items reach people about fifteen feet from the shop. When they get far enough from the shop for the signal from the low powered Bluetooth transmitter at Con’s counter to not reach the item the detonator within the devices sets off the small explosive charge hidden in it. The charges are too small to do much damage, but they are big enough to destroy the hand holding the device while spraying a lot of plastic and electronic shrapnel a few feet from the center of the explosion. When the first two devices go off one person losses a hand while another is killed by the shrapnel from the small explosions right in front of their eyes, and many others are hurt by the flying shrapnel. Naturally, all of those hurt start screaming.
The explosions and screams outside cause everyone in the shop to turn and look out at the street. Not knowing what the cause is worries the thieves, but it doesn’t stop them from continuing to pass the stolen goods around. This results in a few more of the small explosions and more screams as they pass the transmission zone limits.
When the man in front of Con turns his head Con leans slightly to his left as his left hand moves to the handgun he has hidden under the papers on the counter. He lifts the gun and shoots the man, then leans to his right to be behind the clear shield in front of the cash register.
The gunshot has everyone turning to look at Con. He smiles at them as he lifts his left arm. When his arm lifts off of the pad the switch under it finishes activating and it turns off the Bluetooth transmitter. Thus, all of the other display stock items explode at once. Thus causes many of the thieves in the shop harm. A few with the items near their faces die as shrapnel hits vulnerable areas and enter their brains, while the rest yell and shout in pain and anger. Some of the unharmed thieves lift up arms with guns in their hands, so Con moves his left hand until the red dot of the laser sight on his gun is on the head of a gunman, then he fires. The bullets pass through the brains of the thieves to kill them, then continue on their way through the heads of a few more thieves and rioters behind them. A few of the thieves managed to shoot Con, but they only hit his ballistic vest. Con fires twelve of the fifteen rounds in his gun before one of the other thieves manages to kill Con by hitting him in the head.
Con’s body slumps backwards into the corner behind him before it slides off of the stool. When his body leaves the stool a switch in the stool opens, and a circuit closes; this was started by Con’s right elbow on the second switch plate in the counter. The makeshift antipersonnel mines Con placed in the overhead cupboards along the back of the shop go off to spray small bits of metal across the shop and the area in front of it. The shrapnel kills everyone still standing upright in the shop and in the area directly in front of the shop. Some of the rioters far enough away to be out of the kill zone are still close enough to see the carnage, so they all scream with shock and horror.
The live stream continues to show the events in the shop as more of the riot leaders reach the shop and start the clean up.
Roberto stops watching a minute after the final set of explosions in the shop. He makes a copy of the other video file, checks it’s the same as the live feed, and trims the video to be from when it starts to when new people enter the shop after the antipersonnel mines go off. Then he goes to tell Jill about what happened.
Jill slowly nods at his short description of what happened then she says, “Please send the video to as many media outlets as you can, and let’s see what they do with it.” Roberto leaves her to grieve about her brother, and he does as requested by sending the video to media outlets around the world.
That night all of the people at Fortress Sanchez watch the many news services to see how they handle Con’s death. Many of the US major media outlets speak of the callous shopkeeper who killed over thirty of the peaceful protesters and injured dozens of other protesters with only the final video scenes, while one of the local media services and some of the foreign services spoke of the violent thieves and thugs killed and hurt by a shopkeeper defending his own property. None of the watchers are surprised about the difference in the way the media outlets report the event, but they are happy at the high body count Con caused.
One of the oddities of the events at Con’s shop is the live video feed is still broadcasting. Roberto also does some exploring of the cloud storage, and he soon finds there are numerous cameras providing a live feed whenever the controlling software detects motion within the view of the camera. So Roberto sets aside a time to review what the cameras have collected in the shop, the residence, the backyard, or the back room. Over the following two days a number of leaders of Antifa / BLM are in the shop to examine the wreckage and the solid wall between the shop and the back room. This allows Roberto to get video of some of the leaders and to also listen in on some of what they saw as the cameras have microphones as well. While he can’t hear everything they say, anything they say in a normal voice near the cameras at the front and back of the shop are audible.
Inspired on by what he sees in the video feeds Roberto buys several small cheap drones which he sets up with long life batteries, puts small solar panels on the top of them, then flies them to key points within the BLM Zone controlled by the thugs. He’s careful to park the drones in places where they can safely sit in the sun much of the day while having a good view of the area. This helps in tracking the movements of the people within the BLM Zone. The solar panels and long life batteries allow the drones to continuously send back video to the monitoring software Roberto is using.
Another video security upgrade Roberto makes is to set a number of extra video cameras on the roof to show what is happening in the streets around their building. This supplements the existing security cameras that watch the sides of the buildings and the entrances.
Much useful information is collected from the various camera feeds, especially those from within the BLM controlled zone.
A week after Con’s death Roberto and Mitch are talking about taking the fight to the anarchists within the BLM Zone. After some discussion while looking at the collected video information they selected a couple of the senior organizers to target if they can find them. They also agree to take out some of their armed perimeter guards and to steal their guns to start reducing the weapons the rioters have.
Once they agree to start the action that night Mitch takes Roberto down into the basement and into a corner where he has some hidden boxes. When Mitch opens the boxes he shows Roberto they each have quality body armor in very dark gray for their night work. These kits have the usual ballistic vests as well as extra strap-on panels for the lower arms, upper arms, lower legs, thighs, groin skirts, boots, gloves, helmets, and neck / shoulder skirts. While it will take them a long time to dress it does give them a lot of protection to their full body with the lightest armor being the clear shields of their helmets. He also has two special rifles for them to use.
Mitch says, “Roberto, these rifles are special made for us. Based on the M 1 Carbine these rifles fire twenty-two caliber sub-sonic rounds. The collapsible butt extends for normal usage, but collapses for easier carrying while climbing. The barrel contains built-in sound and flash suppressors to make it hard to hear or spot them when used. The funny bag on the side is to catch the expended cases when you fire. The one hundred round magazines gives you plenty of ammo.”
While handling and examining what looks like a weird pistol with a long barrel Roberto thinks, Where in the hell did Mitch get these guns. It’s obvious they’re designed for silent assassination work. He clearly knows how to handle guns as well. They both go through the butt extension and closing process as well as the rifles’ other functions without firing them.
Mitch continues, “These don’t have the usual sights, but they do have built-in ‘available light’ enhancing scopes. Unlike normal scopes, you do not have to have a perfect view in the scope. If you can see a target in the cross-hairs you’ll hit it, as long as it’s within one hundred and twenty yards. Outside of that range the round will drop and hit low. If you’re too far out of the scope’s view area you won’t see a thing in the scope, so move your head until you see a target. The bullets are sub-sonic, but they will kill any target you hit, as long as the target doesn’t have on any armor of any sort. So it’s best to aim for skin to be sure there’s no armor in the way. The bullets are a hard plastic designed to flatten on impact to do more internal damage. This means if you miss the target it won’t go through anything thicker than a single layer of drywall. This has the added advantage of leaving no ballistics marks to work with. Due to using plastic bullets the barrels are an alloy to reduce the weight more.” He picks up a handful of webbing as he says, “The web vests go over the armor and we store the extra magazines in the pouches. Make sure to put the empty magazines into the pouches so we can reload them later.”
The two men spend a few more minutes examining the gear and making sure it all fits and is ready for them to use. Then they lock it up in the trunk it was stored in prior to going upstairs to be comfortable while Mitch teaches Roberto some of the combat hand signs Mitch was taught by his father many years ago.
Just after dusk Roberto and Mitch are quietly leaving the backyard by the west gate which is open just enough to let them out. Once they’re on the street the gate is shut by one of the men recruited to keep a watch for their return. The two dark figures quickly move down the street to the corner and around it. The street lights here work well and there’s really no place for them to hide, so they just stride down the street as if they don’t have a care in the world. However, the scene three blocks ahead is very different due to the BLM people having broken the street lights, so further down the street is in darkness.
On entering the dark area without street lighting a block from where the BLM road block is the two men stop to bring their rifles around from their backs and ready them for action. They also check the .40 caliber pistols in their shoulder holsters are ready for action. The last thing before moving on is for each man to hop twice check for loose gear sounds and then confirm their weapons are ready.
While the street lights are out there is some light in the street from the people still living in their residences due to having no where to go. The window lights throw odd shadows across the street which makes it hard for people to see clearly down the block. Thus it’s easy for Roberto and Mitch to move through the shadows unseen until they’re thirty feet from the BLM roadblock between the buildings of the next block.
Two black-clad men are sitting on chairs behind a rough roadblock of damaged cars and furniture are talking while looking down the other three streets of the intersection. Each of them has an AK-47 rifle in their hands in a way that shows they’ve watched too many films and not had any proper training on how to carry weapons in a way to be ready to use them. Mitch smiles as he signals for Roberto to watch the area while Mitch leans on the wall beside him as he brings his rifle to his shoulder. Mitch watches the two men for an opportunity to deal with them. The fact they have guns and are ready to use them makes them enemy soldiers. Both men turn to look down the cross street, so Mitch acts. He aims at the closer one, sights on his temple, and fires. He doesn’t wait for confirmation as he switches to the second man, aims, and fires. The second man is on his way to the ground before the first hits the ground.
Roberto and Mitch race across the road while checking the side street before they take turns climbing over the barricade. Mitch checks the men are dead, then he takes their rifles and extra magazines. Both men are quick to realize they should’ve brought something to carry the captured guns. Roberto smiles when he spots a large shoulder bag with some beer and food in it. He quickly dumps out the food and beer then holds it out for Mitch to put the spare magazines into. A moment later the two rifles and the bag are slung across Roberto’s back so Mitch is free to deal with anyone they encounter.
Like dark ghosts the two men move down the streets of the BLM Zone to reach the roadblocks from behind as they clear out the guards on the other five intersections making up the southern corner of the BLM Zone. This is to widen the area of concern about where the penetration came from. On having collected the rifles and magazines from the six roadblocks on this corner they head deeper into the zone to see if they can deal with a few of the senior leaders of the rioters.
Roberto and Mitch are very careful as they move about in the BLM Zone, because once they get a couple of blocks inside the BLM Zone there are people camped out and some are moving about between the camps and the buildings. About ninety minutes into their mission they spot one of the people who were leading the march on the day Sophia was murdered, so they follow him. This man is one of the local public faces of BLM and is a prime target for them.
When they spotted the target he was talking to a small group under a portable lamp set up to light up part of a vacant block being used as a camp ground for the rioters. They wait and watch. After several minutes the target answers his phone, then he walks off to the north with another person. Mitch and Roberto follow them while waiting for a better spot to take them out. Two blocks later the men walk into a lane and then into the lit up backyard of one of the shops. Mitch and Roberto follow.
On reaching the gateway into the yard with the target they both stop on seeing seven men around a black box truck with it’s doors open. Roberto thinks, We’ll have to wait until they finish here to get him. What the hell? as Mitch opens fire on the men in the yard.
On his first scan of the well lit yard Mitch is thinking, Damn, more waiting and following. Then he notes what’s in the box truck. Without any further thought Mitch brings his rifle up and takes aim at the guard at the back door of the building, aims, and fires. He’s then very fast as he moves target to aim and fire at each of the men in the yard. His first targets are the men who are by themselves away from the truck. The door guard, a man beside the driver’s door, the man latching the truck door to the side of the truck, then he switches to the four men at the rear of the truck. He skips over the two men he followed to target one of the men from the truck while his friend speaks with the man Mitch followed here. Next is the other stranger, then the bodyguard with the target as he starts to react to seeing the first of the four at the back of the truck fall, and last is the target as he spins around while drawing a handgun from his belt. Seven shots in single shot rapid fire, and all are on target.