By Michael Morgan
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
This is the continuing story of Emma Pitts after the end of Three Righteous Souls, now available in the Amazon Kindle Store.
— 4 —
LULU troops, if they could be called troops were massing in the warehouse down the street. Rousing speeches, a machete, and a shot of tequila to fan the flames of righteous indignation against the gringo capitalist bastardos that had been looting their countries, and leaving them the scraps for generations. Poor people pushing north in waves to take back their rightful homeland from the Yankee invaders. Find them! Kill them! Reclaim what rightfully belongs to the people!
Emma watched through the junky pair of folding opera glasses picked up in some forgotten house liberated somewhere between yesterday and a hundred years ago when she got off that bus in a dark field. It was impossible to count the number of LULUs down there, so she settled for counting the number of people passing through the door each minute.
Tango Nine-Oh was scattered about on the top floor of a twelve-story high-rise in downtown Houston, Texas. Their official mission was to scout for LULU activity and call in airstrikes, but the airstrikes never materialized. ‘Too many civilians in the way.’ ‘No available aircraft.’ The excuses rolled on and on. What never seemed to end was the number of Militia lives The Powers were willing to sacrifice in brutal urban combat.
“Roger that,” Silas closed the flip phone and stuffed it into his pocket. He raised an extended finger in the air and made a circular gesture while calling out, “Huddle!” The troopers close enough to hear, stayed at their positions while the other scattered about the office cube farm hurried closer.
Once everyone was settled, Silas spoke, “Air…”
“Strikes are unavailable,” came from someone unknown.
Silas glared around the group, and finally continued, “We have new orders. The warehouse next to the one the wogs are occupying was owned by a pool supply company. We’re going to infiltrate and burn it.”
“How did this become a priority?” Murphy asked.
Mulvaney looked at Murphy, and shook his head, but Silas seemed to be in an indulgent mood, “Pool shock is concentrated chlorine. Burning it releases that chlorine as well as several other noxious chemicals.”
“We’re going to gas them,” Emma heard her own words and still refused to believe them.
Silas smiled, “Give the smart lady a prize! HQ is afraid LULU will find the warehouse and use the chemicals against us.”
“Does anyone remember the phrase WMD?” Mulvaney looked around the group. “As I recall there are some stiff legal penalties for that kind of thing.”
“I have been assured we are on solid legal ground because we are not intentionally exposing LULU to the chemicals. We are destroying strategic stockpiles of US property to prevent its eminent capture by the enemy. If LULU happens to be in the area,” Silas paused for dramatic effect, “It sucks to be them.”
Mulvaney looked disgusted, “You’re willing to risk a Hague trail over this?”
Silas’ smile turned ugly as he stared Mulvaney in the eye, “I’m willing to draft your wife if I hear anymore resistance from anyone.”
Emma knew Mulvaney’s wife was still nursing their youngest, and it was Silas’ favorite threat to draft someone closest to whomever was questioning him. You can only get shot for mutiny once, but the pain dished out to loved ones could go on forever. Suicide was no answer because the person you were trying to protect would be drafted to replace you, so you took it, and kept going trying to stay alive because as long as you were alive, your people ‘back home’ in the refugee camps would stay alive.
Murphy reached into his pocket and unfolded a map. Spreading it on a nearby desk, he turned on a shielded flashlight, “So how do we do this? There must be a thousand wogs in that barn.”
Heave, two steps, down. Heave, two steps, down. Each time the hundred-pound bucket of pool shock hit the ground the hollow thunk echoed down the sewer tunnel. Four hundred feet was the estimated distance between the door of the pool supply warehouse, and the occupied warehouse across the street. Four hundred feet beneath a parking lot, a four lane divided road, and another parking lot. Heave, two steps, down. Heave, two steps, down.
Ten troopers carried sloshing buckets of gasoline mixed with diesel fuel. The odor making the air in the tunnel feel even closer as Emma stacked her bucket next to the open fuel bucket and stepped back to look up at the faint glow from the iron grate far above. Suddenly, liquid came cascading through the grate scattering into fine rain on its way down. The odor left no doubt of its character.
“Everybody out except Murphy,” ordered Mulvaney as he passed along the line gathering each group in turn. As soon as they were past the final stack of buckets, they started jogging. By the time they arrived at the ladder to the Pool Supply it was a frantic rush to get up the ladder.