Thursday, August 8, 2013

8 - A tiskit, a taskat . . . E’s going home in a basket . . . .


Some thoughts: I’m sure some of you are trying to figure out why the story, why the additional posts on prepping . . . . what the hell does that have to do with firearms training.  Well, they have nothing . . . and everything to do with it.  Personal defense is much broader than just figuring out how to press a trigger, or how to draw effectively, or learning the foundations of firearms and basic prepping.  There is a context to it – an environment to it.  The additional section on Basic Prepping and the story are both trying to expand the context.

Many folks that are thinking about becoming defensive shooters, or are new shooters – are like frogs about to be cooked in a pot of water.  The water is beginning to warm – yet they aren’t yet concerned.  I believe we all need to be concerned.  Attacks by “wildlings” in places from schools busses to convenience stores to the “Miracle Mile” in downtown Chicago seem to consume more and more space in print and time on the air.  Promises made by cities and states while being held hostage of unions that consider themselves overly important are about to be broken.  Habits of state support for food and housing are teetering on the edge.  When you have well over 100 million of your citizens depending on the largess of 25% of the population that are actually the true wage earners, you are at risk as a nation.  When that 25% no longer can support those fully dependent on them for food and housing . . . things will not end well.

That, in part, is part of the reason for the story – to lend the context of a possible story.  “Gramps” will set the table more fully a couple chapters down the road.  Regardless – this particular tale seems to be demanding to be written – I am merely following behind the characters and writing down what I am seeing and hearing.  Being an engineer for the past 38 years I confess the process doesn’t make sense to that side of my brain – but I’m just not fighting it.  Hopefully there is some entertainment value in this clan of folks and their life experiences and time period.  Past that . . . we can not continue, as a country, to do business the way we are doing it.  Yet, that truly appears to be the choice of our elected officials . . . . it will not end well.

You, as a defensive shooter, have time to learn and grow your skillset to protect yourself, your family and your friends.  You have time – today – to prepare for a day, a week, a month – or more of a large system failure of our nation.

The purpose of this blog is to offer my thoughts on the basics.  The purpose of the story is to increase the urgency just a bit.

I hope you are enjoying the tale – your thoughts and comments are always welcome – both on the blog posts and the tale that seems to be coming out of my fingers.

Thanks for stopping by.




Horn of Africa, June 2049 . . . .

God E hated Africa. What a shit storm. Things had really gone off the rails in a big way in April of ’25. Al Qaeda (yes – THAT Al Qaeda) established their beloved “Caliphate of the Prophet”. It included the northern half of Africa, the entire traditional Middle East with the exception of Israel, they added Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Sothern Islands of the Philippines. During the next four years they had consolidated their power, ruthlessly purged any opposition and were “feeling their oats” as gramps would say. Their leadership decided that Allah had richly blessed their efforts to date and it was decided that it was time to remind the world who the one true God was and that he demanded nothing less than the West’s full and total submission. Plans were made and a date was set . . . 9/11/29.

At precisely 8:45AM EDT in New York – the “Continent” felt their wrath. In London, a rented barge filled with an ammonia-nitrate bomb with an estimated yield of 24kT exploded as it slowly cruised past the House of Commons. Given that it was early midafternoon it was declared a “miracle” that only 4,325 people were killed in the blast and its aftermath.

Destruction also came to the Eiffel Tower of Paris via yet another barge, again loaded with an ammonia-nitrate bomb, this time with a yield slightly lower, estimated 15kT – yet it leveled the tower and the surrounding area taking another 3,285 lives.

The Reichstag of Berlin also lay close to a waterway used to seeing barge traffic on a daily basis. The exact same contents were assembled to create a bomb measuring over 18kT. It accomplished what the allied bombing of the WWII had failed to do – the complete destruction of the Reichstag along with the deaths of 2,752 German citizens.

Yet another barge was slowly cruising past the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. The unique feature of this location is that it allowed the directed charge assembled aboard the floating bomb to travel at a supersonic speed down the Via della Conciliazione. The only thing blocking its path – the Basilica di San Pietro. After nearly two millennia it was reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble, 7,356 pilgrims, visitors and vendors simply going about their day joined the Church’s Communion of Saints.

There was a small victory, even if accomplished by something as simple as a faulty crimp on a timer’s connection to an array of blasting caps. The area surrounding the government offices at Delegación del Gobierno En Andalucía in Seville, and the 4,562 people in the building and its surroundings were spared as a result. The barge continued to glide by, coming to rest in a holding area 6 kilometers away. Sadly, 56 officers and military EDO specialists died when a mercury switch closed as they were attempting to remove the primary detonating charge. That said, they save the 4,562 people that were now well beyond the blast radius of the bomb.

The Parliament of Sweden rests on the Southwestern tip of a small island in the center of Stockholm. The 28kT blast of the barge shattered the chambers that contained over 80% of that country’s elected members of Parliament. The topic of the day – growing concerns about the increased violence and unrest of the Muslim immigrant population. 3,921 people were, from that day forward, left out of the discussion that would rage for the next decade.

At 8:40 AM EDT New York time, a rented truck – the only exception to the waterborne EU attacks – turned east on Luxenburgstraat. At exactly 8:45 EDT the cab of the truck plunged into the Information Office of the European Parliament. The explosive power of the bomb contained in the 7m long trailer was finally estimated at just under 30kT. The destruction of the European Parliament Mall and it’s surrounding mall area added 7,689 more bodies to the count for the C.O.P. attack on the west.

At precisely 8:45 AM, EDT, New York time, on September 11, 2029 – 29,384 lives ended. The world tottered on the very brink of a genocidal war – West against Muslim.

The reality of the time though was that both the United States and the EU were essentially impotent. Decades of reckless spending on one social program after another, endless “stimulus programs” and company/city/state bailouts had severely affected funding for the maintenance of a military of any substance. Raw manpower was at an all-time low – both in the EU and the US. As for equipment – the EU was, for all intents and purposes, without a single functional military unit. The US was in little better shape with only two remaining Carrier Battle Groups providing some semblance of security in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. And they were being pushed aside by a resurgent Russia and an expanding China.

So, while there was much gnashing of teeth and speeches filled with outrage and empty threats, the US and the EU had truly become the “weak horse”. The C.O.P. took note. This was the opportunity they had been looking for. Their attack multiplied their stature in the Muslim world. Their power and strength multiplied. The resources of the region added to their coffers. Coffer’s whose focus was what had been a centuries old goal – the total annihilation of the Zionist state of Israel. After 9/11/29 they realized that goal was fully within their grasp.

It would take another dozen plus years and billions upon billions of petrol dollars. Still, at 2:45 AM of March 9, 2042 their perceived destiny arrived. Twelve nuclear tipped “Fist of Allah” missiles, each with an estimated yield of 3 mT were launched from Iran, Syria and Egypt. And the region’s fate was sealed. Before the first warhead detonated in Israeli airspace – four nuclear capable subs of the Israeli navy opened their missile tubes and launched their entire inventory – a total of 48 nuclear tipped “Hammers of David” missiles. MAD – Mutual Assured Destruction witnessed its first real test. The more moderate and hopeful politicians had forgotten one essential element of a MAD policy . . . it simply will not work of one side doesn’t give a shit if their country is turned into molten radioactive glass. Millions died – both in the blast zones that saw virtually every major city of the Mideast turned to radioactive waste and in countries downwind – the radioactive fallout destroying crops, killing livestock and human alike.

And again – both the EU and the US offered only humanitarian aid. Honestly, there was little else they could do – their military capability exchanged for free food, free healthcare and the security of a cradle to grave government security blanket.

It was a poor exchange.

Nearly seven years had passed since the world’s first and only- at least to date - MAD “test” exchange. No one went to the Mideast. Oh, there were people living there . . . living extremely short, and many times, extremely painful lives. The oil fields and the ability to extract and ship that particular regional resource were simply non-existent. For the US, there was little effect – they had long since transitioned to their own stores of natural gas and oil. Europe – well, their life truly sucked. New fields in the North Sea and off the coast of North East Africa were coming on line, but it would be another decade or so before the supply would be reliable.

In fact, it was that very reason E, on December 1st, 2049 was in North Africa – to help secure newly discovered oil fields for the EU. Why the fuck SHE was there and not some EU dick was beyond her. Deke had been hard to work through. She’d been reliving that mission frequently – and from chatting with some of the “old heads”, she suspected she would for quite some time to come. Still, no one had held a gun to her head forcing her to become a United States Marine. She had simply wanted more adventure then was available with her parents and gramps on their Midwestern farm. She wanted an “out”. “Well fuck me!” she thought – riding shotgun in an ancient, refurbished MRAP, I guess I got to travel the world after all!

Looking back she determined she had never heard the explosion. She remembered a brilliant flash, a bright ball of orange flame, her chest being crushed and the sound of her legs snapping. The sense of flying through the air in a twenty ton vehicle filled her with wonder. And then . . . . nothing . . .nothing at all.

“E??, E?? Kiddo, can you hear me?? You’re ok, you’re ok. I’m right here. You’re safe now.” The deep, resonant voice sounded familiar. Gramps?? What the hell was gramps doing in Africa??

She tried to speak, to climb out of the clouds and mist that filled her brain. When she went to work her mouth, tongue, lips, throat – she couldn’t. Something was blocking everything. Honestly, she was too tired anyway. “Piss on it, no way in hell he’s here. I must be dreaming. I’ll figure it out later.” She thought – as the nurse adjusted her IV drip, sending her back into the induced coma they were keeping her in while they repaired and mended what they could.

The doctor came in and looked at the tense faces on the family. “She’s past her crisis point. She’ll live. I think – think mind you – she’ll recover mentally. The swelling is down. The surgeons on the carrier did an amazing job managing it early on – I honestly do not think there is any brain damage. Physically, her body sustained a quite a bit of damage. Her plates protected her chest, lungs and heart. Her uniform reduced what could have been some very severe burns. That said, both legs are broken in multiple places, she has six broken ribs, three compressed disks, both collar bones are broken, her left arm has a spiral fracture and her right has a couple of clean breaks. She is bruised internally but, nothing ruptured. I know she looks rough, but your young woman came through amazingly well. She was the only survivor in the cab. Probably best you not share that with her when she wakes up.” The doc folded his chart with its reports, images and notes.

“She is in for a long haul. We’ll keep her in her coma for another week or two. There’s a chance – just a chance – that we’ll be able to wake her a couple days before Christmas. We’ll do our best. Regardless, it would be a good day to count your blessings.” Closing his binder he bid them a good evening and left them to their thoughts.

December 19th, 2049

“Pretty scrawny tree there Richard! Where the heck did you find it??” Catherine had a cross between a smile and a smirk pasted across her face, shaking her head softly in wonder at her husband’s efforts.

“I’m lucky to have found a tree at all, had to drive half was across town to find this one – and the weather is really turning crappy out there.” Richard had just finished dragging the tree for E’s room from the parking garage and up two separate elevators to E’s new room in the extended care wing of the U of I hospital. Located about sixty miles south of their property, it was the closest their daughter had been to them in two years.

“How the hell did you even get the hospital to let you bring that ratty old thing up here anyway.” Cathy was still finding humor in the grunts, groans and struggle Richard had getting it through the door to E’s room.

“I simply told them there was no way in hell my daughter was going to wake from her sleep and not see a tree at Christmas time! I guess they understood that I was serious.” More grunts and groans were expelled as Richard placed the tree in its stand and struggled to get it straight.

“It’s not straight ya know . . . .” a bit of a snort and giggle escaped Cathy’s lips.

“Richard dear – why don’t you just lay it on its side – it’d be so much easier!” Richard’s mom followed her suggestion with a rolling giggle that had virtually everyone in the room laughing!

“Son – don’t be concerned with these women folk – the tree is perfect! Perfectly bent, perfectly crooked, perfectly twisted – Perfect!” Richard shook his head as his dad simply couldn’t speak anymore – his rich baritone laugh consuming him.

“Damn it people – enough!” Even a bit of a smirk was beginning to show on his face as well. “My little girl is going to have a Christmas Tree in her room when she wakes up! And that’s final!!” A full smile finally showing as he completed his adjustments – satisfied that the tree was finally “straight”.

“I think it’s fine Daddy . . . .” a weak voice said from the bed.

Suddenly the room was completely silent – all eyes looking at the bandaged, wrapped and cast young woman lying in the room’s only bed – with her eyes half open – taking them all in.

Catherine and Richard were instantly at their daughter’s side, Gram and Gramps taking up station at the foot.

“Hey sweetie – welcome back . . . You’re home now, at the U of I. You’ve been pretty banged up but the doctor assured us that, with a bit of time and healing – you’ll be just fine.” Catherine put everything is one small nutshell – there would be plenty of time for details.

“What day is it, how long have I been out?” E was still struggling with the remaining effects of drug cocktail that had been used to keep her in a mild coma while her body healed.

“Almost three weeks kiddo” said Richard. “You’ve been at the U of I since the seventh. It’s good to have you home . . .”

“So weird, so weird . . . . I must be dreaming. I’m just so tired . . . .” E just couldn’t keep her eyes open. She was sure a few more hours sleep would straighten the whole world out. . . . . .

“Damn, I’ll be glad to get home!” E thought, laying in that odd place between full sleep and its dreams and the beginnings of consciousness. “I’m so tired of sleeping in a frickin’ hole or the ass end of a MRAP. I can’t wait until all the kinks and cramps are gone!” As she woke she stretched, the floor of her twenty ton ride was hard on a person’s body! Her stretch became a slow motion fight with casts, IVs, straps meant to protect her wounded body. The struggle forced her body’s consciousness closer and closer to the surface until she was fully awake.

She realized she was in a hospital bed. “Not good”, she thought. “Not fricking good at all!!” There was a colored glow from the corner of her room. As her eyes focused more, she realized it was a fully decorated Christmas tree. “Just where the fuck am I???” Her confusion driving her mind to knit things together even more. A glance around the room showed it was night – probably the middle of the night given how quite it was. Out the window she could see a parking lot down below – snow apparent with more coming down as she watched. Taking a quick inventory, everything seemed to be in a cast or heavily bandaged. IVs hung next to her bed feeding into a port on her right arm. A monitor system was slowly displaying graphs while a single red lamp slowly blinked in its upper right corner.

A young nurse in blue scrubs walked in, a gentle smile on her face. “I’m Ann, I’m your nurse for tonight. You’re awake! That’s very good to see!”

“Where the hell am I?” E asked, just a bit of frustration colored her voice.

“You’re in the extended care wing of the U of I hospital in Iowa. I understand you live just north of here about an hour? Glad they could get you so close to home.” Ann was busy checking over equipment, the IVs and bandaged areas while she spoke.

“How long have I been here” E’s mind was quickly coming out of the fog she had been kept in for the past 18 days.

“Well, it’s just past midnight on December 21th. You arrived late in the day on the 7th. We’ve kept you sedated to let your brain swelling go down and to let your body do some preliminary mending. It’s easier for a patient if they’re just allowed to rest. We removed the meds that kept you sedated yesterday morning so your timing is just about right for waking up. You should be clear headed by morning.” Ann’s inspection and charting complete, she look E fully in the eyes. “Anything I can get you?”

“I could use a cold drink, my mouth tastes like crap!”

Ann reached for a glass with a straw and held it for E. “Pretty typical, those meds affect more than making you just sleep – they mess with your taste something fierce. They’ll be out of your system by morning.”

“Where is everyone?” E could see little past the foot of her bed and outside of the cone of light thrown by the Christmas tree.

“They’re bedded down out in the lounge – everyone except your grandfather. He settled into the chair the other side of the door behind me.” Ann moved to her left and nodded towards the older man quietly sitting in the chair – relief flooding his face as he took in his granddaughter.

“Hey gramps . . . looks like I’m pretty well fucked up!” E was watching her grandfather’s face closely – looking for hints as to just how bad the damage was.

“Language child, language. Your mother would have a cow hearing words like that come out of your mouth!!” A full smile appeared and E relaxed. Gramps would never smile like that if she was in real trouble. Relief flooded her body and mind.

“You could be better child, you could be better. But the doc assured us time will heal you, no permanent injuries. You’re just going hurt for a bit.” He rose and came to her side as Ann left with assurances she would be back in an hour. “You gave us all a bit of a scare there kiddo.” His had brushed the hair from her face and held her forehead gently.

“So where the hell did they put everyone else?? When can I see them???” Though she was happy to know she was still in one piece – more or less, she really wanted to see the rest of her squad.

She saw the flicker, the touch of sadness that came – and went just as quickly as she watched gramp’s face. “Where are they?” she asked again, a bit more stiffly.

“I’m sorry child, I’m so sorry . . .”

The tears began easily; the sobs were acutely painful and as gramps did his best to hold and comfort her, she understood . . . .

. . . . Africa had demanded yet another sacrifice. Damnit! First Deke . . . now this . . . . she wondered if she would be strong enough to suck it up one more time . . . .


  1. Another good one, and you're getting us hooked!!!

  2. Great chapter, I'll wait right here for the next one!