Beyond Man and Machines, Chapter 6.
Beyond Man and Machines, Chapter 6.
Kansas City, 0800hrs, 26th December 2011
It is the morning after the night before. Col. Peterson, the Army commander in charge of operations, looks over the map of Kansas City on his portable console. The digital map shows roads into the area have been sealed off with military check points. Peterson changes the view to include the recon drones patrolling the area. Another click and the live images are streamed from the drones on to the console. The various live visual feeds show residents moving around the city like ants, setting up road blocks of their own and working on objects at ground level, out of view of the drones.
On the live feed from Drone One, a woman can be seen running down the high street. The colonel has seen what will happen next many times during the previous night, and wants to look away. He watches with trepidation and helplessness as he knows what will happen next. Right on cue, a group of people emerge from one of the buildings and run towards her. She tries to run away but is intercepted by two more people, she looks terrified and frantically tries to struggle. Although there is no sound on the feed, Peterson still hears her screams in his head. She is taken struggling by five people into a near by building, Peterson looks away, he knows she will never be seen again....
Peterson bangs on the desk, his coffee spills slightly over some paperwork with the Whitehouse symbol on it. 'what are they doing in the Whitehouse, twiddling their thumbs? These are the people we are meant to be protecting! We need to move in God dammit! We need live fire!' Orders from the White House were simple. Stop any persons getting in or out and not to use live rounds unless the barricades are threatened. Recon units that went in to search for survivors and to get a better idea of what was happening on the ground, were beaten back as they were ordered not to open fire. Helicopter units were fired apon wherever they tried to land. All recon units were ordered back just under an hour from leaving base.
After the initial handfuls of people that reached the barricades were processed, no more had managed to get to the barricades. The barricades were not threatened in any way. It was a case of babysitting the city, waiting for an order from the White House to take it back.
At Twelve Oclock, the order came through to retake the city. Live rounds were sanctioned but troops were told to act with great caution for civilian life. Peterson had mixed feelings whether any civilians were left. The ones he had seen on the drone cameras seemed to be well organised, digging in, preparing for a long siege.
It was decided that the military would initially approach from one side of the city to test the waters. They had a lot ground to cover and the residence had been busy over night.
Armoured cars and APCs, escort the troops to the first resident's makeshift barricade. Once the area is reported secure, four engineers jump out and approached the barricade. The barricade is made out of a fuel tanker tipped over on its side and other cars rammed into it. It seems well planned considering the chaos of the previous night. As the engineers walk back to the armoured cars. One feels his foot snag on something. He looks down to see a burst of fire rapidly approaching his face. He turns away but the fireball consumes him as well as the engineers next to him. Five point one milliseconds later the tanker explodes sending a wave of fire over the soldiers and armoured vehicles. The shock wave pushes the vehicles over on their sides. The lieutenant in charge of the squad looks in shock as half his squad are wiped out in one go. After a short hestiation he shouts for the rest of the squad to move back. As he turns a sniper round passes through his upper cheek, quickly proceeded by small arms fire that pepper the area with bullets. He falls to the ground. Those in cover scramble into the vehicles. Two privates quickly grab the lieutenant and drag him into the APC. The vehicles reverse quickly back to the safety of the army's barricade. Half the squad is dead and a quarter wounded or dying... Peterson pulls his hands down his face. Taking back the city was going to a lot harder than they thought...