It had long been established that the overtakers were nothing more than a hodgepodge of homeless, derelicts, and petty criminals used by various government officials to do the dirty work of forced evictions of those the government deemed needed to go for one reason or another. They would truck in the overtakers from the city, let them do their business, then later confiscate the property for unpaid taxes, or code violation, or any number of other made up infractions. The replacement police took the opportunity to loot the homes as payment for security services rendered since they felt that their employers never paid them enough. It was fine with them, and the overtakers seemed happy enough. If overtakers died or disappeared during an “eviction,” it wouldn’t matter since no one would miss them anyway.
When the call from the Numrey Ranch had been received, Kolin and his quick reaction team were loaded and ready to go in just 2 minutes. As pre-arranged, they had mounted their 4-wheel ATVs, avoiding the roads, and arrived at their rally point 400 yards to the east of David’s home on the back side of a hill in another 4 minutes. He and his team had quickly dismounted and moved up the hill, fanning out in a well rehearsed and silent movement towards their initial over watch and possible ambush positions just 200 meters from what they expected to be their objective. Just 50 meters from their expected positions, they all dropped to a low crawl and moved the final distance with stealth, so as not to be detected.
Kolin’s 8-man team was a man short. David Numrey was not only the 9th man on the team, but also the team’s leader. David had been designated as the leader because he had the most military and combat experience, having served in an unnamed special group that went around the world solving problems, including what David referred to as “some seriously dirty work“ in the Balkans. But since his home was now about to be under siege by the overtakers, as second in command of the team, Kolin became the team’s leader by default. Being short one man was not going to be a big deal since their sniper team, call sign “Jumbo,” could operate as a two man team with the spotter also providing security if needed. “Jumbo 31,” the sniper team’s normal security man simply moved over to Kolin’s “Box Cutter” fire team to replace the missing man.
Crawling the last 10 meters, Kolin checked his ICOM M88 marine VHF radio to be certain it had been switched to channel 69 and depressed the transmit key,
“Garden Hose, Garden Hose; Box Cutter. Over.”
Garden Hose was the call sign for the second fire team that should be arriving from the south in support of the mission to take out the overtakers and their overseers. They came in from the south to take advantage of the sun being at their backs, yet in the eyes of the overtakers. Garden Hose had acknowledged the call for a “pot luck lunch” on channel 72 only seconds after Kolin had done so, and Kolin was now following procedure and establishing contact on the lower powered channel 69 to be sure everyone was going to be in position.
Kolin quickly heard, “Box Cutter, Garden Hose. 60. 100. Over.” Acknowledging that the South team had arrived, were 60 seconds from being in position, and were a complete team.
Kolin responded within one second, “Garden Hose, Box Cutter. Roger. 10 minus 1. Out.” Indicating that they were 10 seconds from being in position and were short one man.
As he continued to crawl up the hill, Kolin quickly went through a mental check list of what the two teams were carrying for this operation: Jumbo Actual, the sniper of team, was armed with his personal AICS Remington 700 .338 Lapua Magnum Sniper Rifle, 65 rounds of ammunition, his Sig P220 side arm, maybe a spare magazine, and two homemade 20 second smoke grenades. Jumbo 21, the spotter of the team, was carrying his LWRC REPR .308, seven 20-round magazines, a Sig P220 and 3 spare magazines, and two home made smoke grenades. Jumbo 31 carried the exact same equipment as 21. The rest of Kolin’s Box Cutter team were all similarly equipped with commercial variations of the M4/AR-15 rifles with individual preferences for optics, 210 up to 360 rounds of ammunition loaded in magazines each, various 9mm, .40 or .45 caliber side arms and spare magazines each, and one homemade smoke grenade each. Every man also had on some form of ballistic protection.
Thinking of the equipment of the Garden Hose team, brought a tight-lipped smile to Kolin’s face. What they lacked in logistic compatibility, they easily made up for in fire superiority. Many of the weapons they carried had been procured through winning action field pickups, or through outright theft before leaving their government posts. That is how the Garden Hose team’s sniper, and team leader, Jacob had come to possess the Barrett M107A1, its BORS and Nightforce scope, 20 spare magazines, thousands of rounds of .50 BMG match ammunition, of which nearly 2000 rounds were the MK211 multipurpose Raufoss (armor-piercing, explosive, incendiary ) ammunition. He had “liberated” it from the military armory he worked in along with several other custom built sniper rifles, accessories and ammunition just before he walked off the base, never to return. His civilian counterpart at the armory had made the suggestion just before leaving himself with a trunk full of equipment, leaving out of an unmanned side gate on the base. It was said that Jacob had washed out of the Army’s sniper school twice from an inability to master the stalking portion of the course. He had been given a second chance after nearly acing all of the shooting portions of the course, both times. His spotter possessed one of the other fine sniper weapons Jacob procured from the Army.
Many of the other members of the Garden Hose team had assorted weapons of the former (and still) Communist countries, most of which they “found” lying next to suddenly dead bodies. However, there were two members of that team that had what Kolin considered “specialty” weapons. One of the two women on the team carried a modified KRISS. It started out as a civilian version - semi-automatic .45 ACP with a 16” barrel, but had since been modified to fire full auto and the barrel had been shortened to a mere 9” with the end threaded to accept a suppressor, which Carla carried on her battle belt in a pouch until needed. Carla was an ex-police officer from a nearby town (one that had left voluntarily after the state began putting undue and unconstitutional demands upon the police forces) and acted as the security element for the sniper team. She was known to take no mercy on the “replacement” police who, in her eyes, were subverting the country and more importantly, the Constitution. Everyone liked her, especially because she was a great shot and ruthless on top of it.
Darius was the other member of the Garden Hose team that had a specialty weapon. He carried a modified RPK that had a custom free-floating extended forearm and articulating bi-pod attached to it, instead of the bi-pod being on the end of the barrel as originally designed, which adversely affected accuracy. This variation of the AK-47 came standard with a heavy 22” long barrel that allowed more sustained accurate fire. The rifle had also been modified back to its original design to fire full auto when necessary.
Darius himself was a very large, yet gentle looking man at 6’7” and 340lbs. Appearing to only be in his early to mid 20’s, he could have easily been a defensive lineman for a professional football team (and maybe he had been), but it was obvious he had a military background of some sort. No one knew for sure since he barely spoke after his wife and two small children had been killed by fire bombs laid into a neighboring house by overtakers that his family was visiting at the time. This was one of the very first takeovers to occur during the early days of the war with rogue government agencies, and Darius was away at work at the time. He was never able to forgive what happened to his family.
As part of the Garden Hose quick reaction team, Darius carried ten 75 round Chinese drum magazines on his substantial body in a special vest carrier, built by one of the wives of the community. These magazines were loaded with Chinese surplus 7.62x39 ammunition, which came with brass cases and a steel core bullet, which had been considered “armor piercing” and banned for import many years before. With the bulky drum magazines stored in large pouches all over his body, he looked formidable in size. The drums stored on his back would be accessed by other team members if he ever needed them. He also carried a Glock 21 and 10 spare magazines.
The most ominous weapon though was the 13” specially made Bowie knife he carried in a custom drop leg leather sheath. After every action, he would sling his RPK and remove the knife from the sheath and carefully walk through the carnage looking for victims. You could easily see that he never took the time to clean the knife of blood after use. The grooves of the antler handles, the entirety of the blade, and the leather sheath were well stained with the blood of its victims. The only part of the knife that was devoid of blood was the very thin, oft sharpened cutting edge that glistened against the background of the orange stained blade. Others paid dearly for the death of his family by the tip of his knife, while Darius wore an expressionless face and dealt death with a soft and diminutive touch for such a large man. Someone once commented that Darius appeared to be gently killing his prey with soft (yet very deep) slashes of a neck, or a slow push of the blade into the chest cavity, as though he were intentionally trying not to frighten his victims while he was finishing them off.
Kolin also knew that David was well armed and well equipped inside his home. The 2-story 7500 square foot ranch house was made with insulated concrete forms (ICF) and 6” of reinforced concrete for all of the exterior walls. Almost the entire lower level of the home was set back into the hillside, with the exception of the front wall, half of which was also sheltered by earth. This made the entire bottom floor virtually bullet proof, and the entire house was fireproof as the roof was also ICF and metal.
Besides David, his very capable wife of 25 years was at his side, along with his 3 sons and their wives, and his 2 daughters, all of which were crack shots and had been tactically trained over the last 6 months. Also at the house would be David’s younger brother by 2-years, Dan who served as the ranch foreman, his wife, and their two children, all who trained with David’s family. They would each be wielding M4/AR-15 variants and AR-10 variants. If it came to shooting, he knew they would be shooting from well back inside the house to conceal their positions.
In Kolin’s mind, this gave them a 3 front advantage. With the overtakers focusing on the house, they would not suspect two other flanking and ambush elements ready to launch an attack at their weakest moment. This is how they had done it several times in the past at other homes under siege, and had overwhelmingly prevailed each time. Kolin’s team would be tasked with taking out the overtakers, while Jacobs’s team would take out the replacement officers and disable the vehicles. David and family would clean up anyone who got too close to the house and any stragglers. Nothing needed to be discussed, they already knew what to do.
As Kolin crested the hill, reaching his over watch position, the thin smile immediately dropped from his face. Even though the high placement of David’s home gave an 8 mile warning of vehicles coming up the long dirt driveway of his families 75,000 acre ranch, the overtakers had already arrived and were disembarking the vans. But this was the least of Kolin’s worries. Instead of the normal 3-5 vans full of people, there were at least a dozen, and they all looked to be at full capacity. Worse still was the fact that instead of commandeered police cruisers occupied by inept and incompetent replacement police, there were three armored vehicles, each with a turret mounted weapon system of some type. Kolin was an ex-Air Force MP 15 years past, so did not recognize the vehicles.
Kolin’s mind was racing. He knew that their past mistakes would come back to haunt them, and today was the day payback was being rendered. Kolin had argued at length with David and The Council on the ill conceived idea of allowing overtakers and replacements to flee the battle ground or surrender in past engagements. He had argued that leaving living witnesses would provide their enemies valuable intelligence on how to counter what they were doing in the future. It had been a policy of The Council, and thereby the community, to “allow” any overtakers or replacements to flee the area once confronted by the quick reaction teams. Kolin had vehemently argued to The Council that they should bring in a blocking force to prevent the escape of anyone, and that all be eliminated since they were the aggressors against the community’s Natural Born Rights. In Kolin’s mind, when the overtakers decided to take property by force, and in some cases killing the property owners, all while the replacement police stood by and allowed it to happen, he felt they were more than justified in eliminating everyone who participated in such attempts. Kolin had been overruled on every point, and was also reprimanded.
Kolin knew that the loss of the Numrey Ranch would devastate the community since David’s cattle and crops provided nearly 75% of all the food, and 100% of the reserve water supply. He knew it would do no good now to tell The Council and David, “I told you so!” No, now he needed to save his team leader and family, as well as the Numrey Ranch. But how?
“Garden Hose Actual, Box Cutter Actual! What are we looking at?” Kolin called directly to Jacob over the VHF channel 69 in an almost frantic voice.
He knew that Jacob would by now be looking through the Nightforce scope on his Barrett sniper rifle, identifying the targets as well as ranging them at the same time.
“Box Cutter, Garden Hose Actual! That’s heavy armor with 20 or 30 mm guns! No Go! Salt Shaker! Out!” Jacob replied in a calm and quick, staccato voice.
Kolin knew then and there that Jacob’s specialty Raufoss ammo could not penetrate the armor or at least not have enough desired effect to keep them from training their large guns on the house or their teams. He also knew that he could not, or at least should not make any more transmissions. “Salt Shaker” meant that it was suspected that their communications were at least being monitored, and at worst they were being DF’d (triangulated by direction finding (DF) electronics on their transmissions).
Kolin surmised that by using marine VHF radios in the middle of the country, away from any significant water sources (the local lake 13 miles away not withstanding), that there may be a chance, however small, that whomever was in those armored vehicles may not be monitoring the marine frequencies. He knew that the more common FRS, GMRS, CB, and HAM frequencies would be the more likely monitored channels.
Kolin gave the “retreat” hand signal to his team, and they began to back down the back side of the hill. He switched his radio to channel 9 (this was done because all Marine VHF radios are set to scan channel 9 and 16 by default, and in some cases one other channel of your choice, so 9 was chosen as the “all stations” emergency channel), keyed the transmit button, and began using personal call signs to relay his urgent message, remembering the wise words of Robert Heinlein (“If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire his courage but not his judgment”) as he spoke:
“Check-Check. Lampshade, this is Candyman; Pot luck lunch is a no go; Too many insects at the park today; pack up; don’t forget the bug spray. Over!”
“Roger. Out,” was the terse and simple reply from David.
With that, a message was relayed to all involved - Both teams were to immediately exit the area and meet at a pre-designated rally point to cover the retreat of the Numrey family from the Ranch. It also notified the “mortar” team to prepare and launch their special counter measure. It was just by chance that one member of the community, Mr. Chunky as he liked to be called, was a past Punkin’ Chuckin’ champion in the torsion division. His device, which at the time was capable of hurling a pumpkin over 1100 yards, was modified and pressed into service as a mortar device.
Mr. Chunky had recently modified his device to hurl a 20lb homemade Molotov cocktail nearly 800 yards. While the teams were crawling up the side of their respective hills, Mr. Chunky and his team had been moving “Chunk Master IV” the 4 miles from his home shop to a position 700 yards away behind a small hill, and spent a few minutes aiming it based on previously established targeting data for the area and past “experience.” They had several pre-made glass balls that had a rubber bladder filled with the gasoline-laundry detergent mixture fit inside. They had done extensive testing to determine what would work and not break during the massive acceleration of launch. They finally found that by installing a heavy rubber bladder inside the thick glass ball and then pouring the mixture into the bladder, that it would survive launch, along with a deeply padded launch cup; then the heavy glass would break on impact, rupturing the rubber bladder and igniting the mixture which would spread in a 50 yard diameter from the impact site.
Mr. Chunky and his assistant Chunky Jr. loaded the first round on the pre-charged and reinforced torsion arm. Jr. lit the fuse and both ran back to the end of the extended release line.
“3, 2, 1!”
With a loud “TWANG” and a following “Woosh,” the round was sent flying. Without words, Another 2-man team was quickly preparing another round, while Mr. Chunky and Jr. were engaging the electric winch and firing cable to send another round to the target. Jr. hopped in the truck and nudged the device by a tiny amount to send the second round slightly more north of the first round, hopefully to impact the vehicles sitting in the driveway. Within two minutes, they were set to launch. They could now hear gunfire from the vicinity of the ranch.
“3, 2, 1!”
The second round was sent flying. The six-man mortar team detached “Chunk Master IV” from the truck, piled in and left the area, returning to the community and the meeting place of The Council. As they drove the 4 1/2 miles back to town, Mr. Chunky couldn't help admiring how smoothly his mortar team had operated. From the time they heard the first call on channel 72, until this very moment, not a single word had been uttered amongst the team members
Just as they arrived, they saw a fleet of ATVs coming down the street towards them. Chunky Jr. could easily make out Darius from 2-blocks away, as he made the 700cc ATV appear as child’s toy under his massive body, with drum pouches hanging off his body in all directions. The man was simply hard to miss. But Darius was not who he was looking for. He could make out Mr. and Mrs. Numrey on their Polaris side-by-side Ranger RZR, so that was a good sign, even though they looked very unhappy, and he could see the two quick reaction teams on more than a dozen ATVs merging together from two separate streets onto the main street. That’s when he saw her.
Chunky Jr. was so excited he exited the truck before it came to a complete stop in front of The Council building. Though she was riding on the back of an ATV piloted by one of the quick reaction team members who’s name he didn’t know, and almost 100 yards away, she felt closer to him than that and he started running down the street. He could see Allison Numrey pounding her fists on the back of her chauffer, urging him to go faster. She jumped off the back of the ATV and they met in an embrace and long kiss in the middle of the street filled with zooming ATVs.
Jr. had his hands wrapped around her upper body under her arms and around her slung AR-15, as well as her armor plate carrier and magazines and pouches. The various hard points digging into his skin and muscles didn’t bother him in the least.
“You made it!” Chucky Jr. exclaimed.
“Barely! I will never leave you again!” Allison started crying, burying her face in his chest.
At 17-years old, Allison was the youngest Numrey. She was only at the ranch that day to retrieve some of her personal belongings after getting married to Chunky Jr. the previous day. At the time Chunky Jr. was moving their furniture and belongings into their new home. Allison was on her way out of her old front door saying her good bys on the front porch when her father noticed the dust cloud caused by the cars on the dirt driveway several miles in the distance, at which point he called the family back in the house and made the ominous call over the VHF.
“I think we lost the Ranch,” Allison continued to cry, mostly from the release of stress.
“Don’t worry Allison, we’ll get it back. We’ll definitely get it back,” Jr. assured her.
“Damn right we’ll get it back,” Kolin flatly stated as he passed by the two of them on his way into The Council meeting, writing in a small notebook as he walked.
His voice getting quieter as the distance between Kolin and the couple increased, they could hear him ask one of the townsmen over the hum of a few still idling ATVs, “Hey Jimbo! Tell me about those anti-armor things you said you know how to build…”