Beyond Man and Machines, Chapter 8.
Col. Peterson looks tired and weary from a night spent trying to rescue his men from Kansas City. All through the night he heard the cries for help and the static of empty check point radios.
Peterson sent in a squad of his best, the 52nd Rangers division. He watched their movements from cameras mounted on the APCs and the squad's helmets. The squad was responsible for much of the ground taken that day and had been stationed with Peterson at central HQ.
The squad leave the HQ and head into the city. The only check point left is set up by a monument on the intersection between 21st and 22nd street. Peterson watches from the cameras mounted on the AH-64 Apache gunship which converges on the squads position, hovering over the area. The squad that are holding the checkpoint stand by a mounted 50cal machine gun that fires into the edges of the flood lit area. Dark figures move around the outskirts, as if taunting them.
The Apache look for targets with the thermographic mounted camera, but is unable to pick up any hostiles. They switch to light amplified cameras but still are unable to get a fix on the figures firing on the checkpoint, the hostiles seem to fire then disappear. They decide to bombard the area with rocket fire. the 50cal stops firing. The hostiles seem to have been taken out or dispersed. Peterson orders the Apache to escort the the rangers to the check points position.
The rangers move quickly through the streets, without incident. They use night vision equipment and the experience of many special ops night missions to move quickly and stealthily through the streets without the aid of headlights. Peterson monitors their progress. Finally they reach the position, escorted by the Apache. The men at the check point abandon their positions and run for the APCs, the Apache monitoring the area. Once everyone is in, the APCs make a U-turn and start the journey back to HQ. Whether they were going to get out as easily as they got in plays on the minds of rescue crew, as they realise getting in was too easy...
Up ahead, the scouting Apache spots a
road block, there is no way past it. Peterson orders the Apache to
clear the blockade, watching the progress on his monitor. He looks
back at the rescue convoy to see struggling inside the APCs between the rescue the party and the squad that just boarded. 'shit!
Apache one niner return to convey!' The Apache can not hear over the
noise of the rockets being fired. Peterson looks back. There is gun
fire, shouts and screams coming from inside the APCs, then silence.
Moments later, a squad member that Peterson recognises as belonging to the squad that was rescued, is seen smashing the cameras with a rifle butt. 'sorry colonel, repeat last message, over'
came the pilots voice from the Apache. 'get back to the convey its
under attack!' shouted Peterson into the radio, still confused about what he had just seen.
The Apache heads back finding the convey, silent and unmoving. Heat signatures can not be confirmed because of the heat of the engines. 'we will need to get closer to confirm any survivors, colonel, over' came the pilots voice over the radio. Peterson wanted to make sure there was none of his squad alive before admitting to himself that all his men were gone. 'OK, take a closer look but be careful' fretted Peterson. The Apache moved in, getting a better angle on the convoy. There was something moving under the vehicle. 'get in closer' Peterson asked, moving closer to the screen. Khakis legs kick from out beneath the APC, as if the owner was having a fit. Getting in closer the Apache could make something out over the top part of the body, under the APC.
Concentrating on the contorting body, the Apache crew or Peterson, do not see the 30cal on the APC turn round to point at the front screen of the Apache. A short controlled burst from the 30cal ripped through the Apaches windscreen, passing through the chest of the pilot, killing him instantly. passing through the cab, destroying the engine. The co pilot hits the eject button and is fired out of the Apache vertically, the parachute deploying after safely clearing the Apache which spins and then jerks, crashing down onto the street below in a firey pile of debris that lights the street. The co pilot floats down to the ground in his parachute. As he scrambles out of his seat and harness, he hears the echoes of many feet running through the streets towards him from all directions...
With the images and struggles of the previous night still in Petersons mind, all thoughts of taking back the city and rescueing the civillians were long gone. the city and all its inhabitants were gone. Peterson thought over the options. nucleur strike, bombers, gas... But how could he ever give such an order? Petersons thoughts were rescued from all the dead end possibilties, with from a call from the whitehouse. The same thing that was happening here was happening all across America. The impossible situation just got worse. It was a pandemic. Any thought of controlling this situation was over...