THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
NELLIS AFB, NEVADA
March 17, 2014
Airman Dan Hladr waddled down the hallway of this modern and clean US government facility. Waddling because he’s 360lb of greasy fat built from a lifetime of gaming and in his US Air Force uniform …just didn’t fit in it. In fact a US Air Force Captain; average height but thick with muscle stomps by trying so hard not to rip the obese Airman just for sharing his air. Airman Hladr salutes as he was taught and it takes everything the Captain has in discipline to snap off a salute back and just. Get. Out. Of. There.
Unfortunately for Airman Dan Hladr he’s self-aware enough to know open disgust when he sees it.
Fortunately for his psyche, and his heart, his destination lay just ahead.
Airman Hladr enters a Drone Command Room; it looks like a good size video arcade but equipped with the same video game. The obese Airman waddles over to a desk with a Watch Commander, a Sargeant, awaits. Airman Hladr presents his ID badge in silence, and the Sargeant scans it in silence-no they’re not friends and will never ever be friends. The Airman salutes and the Sargeant salutes back and gets back to his duties. And so does the Airman.
Airman Hladr waddles over to his assigned console-number 10 currently manned by another overweight geek turned freshly minted Airman, Airman Kelly Goode. He is at the throttle and stick of a US Air Force Drone of course, flying southbound over the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, just south of Lake Pymatunig at about 10,000ft, at about 200mph. The status window on the bird, a Raptor, indicates about 60 percent fuel remaining and fully loaded.
“Hey Kelly, sup.”
“How’s it going Dan?”
“It goes, y’know. How’s hunting?”
“Man, what hunting? I couldn’t find anything all day, not even some Yoder chicks hanging laundry.”
“Sucks fucking balls is what that bullshit does. How the fuck do I get any points if nobody does nothing?”
“Well, that’s what the Air Force hired us for.”
“Maybe we… well, y’know-overhunted this area?”
“Dude, we had some EPIC fucking battles back in the day!”
“Muthafuck yeah we did!”
Dan and Kelly laugh. Actually, on the screen there’s a window displaying Airman Kelly Goode’s portrait, ID, and a score: 9,334. Kelly sets the drone on AUTOPILOT, works the keyboard with a deft hand belying his otherwise nerdish exterior, logs out, then slowly, shakily creaks out.
“Oh man I’m hungry Bro.”
“I just ate. At Sonic. Good shit too”
“Fuck you, Dan.”
The stench from the seat where Kelly sat hits Dan. He ignores it-God knows he’s stank that very chair up worse. Dan plops down, logs in with the same deftness over the keyboard and his ID, profile, and score pop up… 17,253.
“I ain’t ever gonna catch up to you.”
“Never say never. Never, ever, say never. See anything around the lake?”
“Naw. Like I said, NOTHING’S going on down there. No unauthorized road traffic, no boating, certainly no flying, not even an assist call today. We done and hunted all those gunloving motherfuckers to extinction I think.”
“Could be.” Could be: Dan and Kelly wistfully look at the screen with the Reaper Drone flying southbound toward Youngstown, with Dan taking the drone off autopilot and gently swinging the multi-million dollar remote controlled aircraft back around to the north…
“Man those were the days-take off and land at least ten times a day to rearm, refuel, get back to blasting hillbillies and hoodrats, and those fucking raw milk drinking Amish motherfuckers.”
Dan laughs, guides the drone along the west coastline of Lake Pymantunig, aiming his ball turrent cameras down to carefully go over the coastline. Dan, like Kelly, is obsessive compulsive; playing a game incessantly until he absolutely mastered it. For them, being in the United Air Force, under NORTHCOM-this was a game as well. A game that pays sweet for their highly specialized skill sets.
“Well, there has to be some pig fucker down there still cradling his SKS somewhere” Dan hoped out loud.
“IF they’re still out there, and IF they’re still like, smuggling-using that reservoir(Lake Pymatuning really is a reservoir that became a local tourist attraction… until recently)-then, how-“
“Submarine. That’s how I’d do it. Short distance, it’s literally under the patrol boats, and this puddle’s nothing to police compared to Lake Erie. Also makes a nice choke point.”
“Dude, they’ve been looking for such since the war began.”
“Yeah; they found them on Lake Erie, for sure, from the Mohawks and the freighters-until we shut that shit down. Fuck dude you know how many lathes, how many 3d printers there are out there? All you need is the raw materials, the blueprints, and power and you can churn out weapons all day long. And I ain’t even going into what we lost during those first days, I bet a lot of that’s still out there.”
“Get stocked up, get ready for some Tet Offensive type action.” Kelly nodded, going along with Dan’s literal armchair strategizing. Fatigue and his considerable appetite however get the better of him.
“Awright dawg I’m out. Later.” Such a wigger.
“Peace.” Both of them.
The two nerds turned drone pilots look at each other in irony, and have one last laugh. Kelly waddles off and Airman Dan Hladr’s world shrinks to his console and the Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle assigned to him.
And the part of the world before him, that is his responsibility.
LAKE PYMATUNIG, OHIO-PENNSYLVANIA BORDER
In a hide built inside a collapsed boat shed Brian Miller looked up in the sky with the tripod mounted Russian Zeiss glassed binoculars he bought 20 years ago when Warsaw Pact surplus flooded the gun shows that were now a thing of the past. His belt, holding his baggy pants with fresh notch holes spoke in mute testimony of the one time abundance of food that too was a thing of the past. Brian eyed and could just make out the heavily armed Reaper UAV making a fresh pass along Lake Pymatunig….
“Oh. Your shift now is it?” By Brian is a Army surplus field telephone with wire leading… well, wherever; he cranks it up a few seconds, picks up the receiver: “hold!”
Setting the receiver back down on the cradle Brian observed the barely visible US Air Force drone high up, untouchable as its horrifically efficient pilot was across the country and in the middle of an Air Force base literally in the middle of the desert-unapproachable save for perhaps a division of heavy armor with air support.
“Never say never.”
Kayla, his daughter, gingerly enters the collapsed boat shed. She sheds a camouflaged space blanket with branches taped to the outside. Dressed in whatever practical clothing could be had, she could be described as pretty, even borderline beautiful, but beauty was nothing she cared for. Not for a couple years. Like father, Kaila’s eyes and demeanor spoke of a single-minded mission. Also spoke of having hunger as a constant companion, starvation a spectre that her 90lb 5’7” frame has to struggle to find nourishment.
“Never say never what, Dad?”
“Those Goddamned drones.”
“Need an air force for that, an’ that got shot down. Or kill the dorks driving em’. Good luck crossing the Nevada desert. Or getting into Las Vegas. Old debate there, Pop.” Kayla just perceptibly, trembled with rage. “We gonna eat today?”
“Not while that bastard’s in the air going over us like the IRS. Well, this particular debate just needed a fresh approach… I just told em’ to get er’ ready to launch.” Brian had just made up his mind to change the debate.
Kayla gasps, frozen.
“Today’s the last day I’m allowing drones in MY sky!”
Kayla bounds over, hugs and kisses her Father and then runs out as fast as she can clear the rubbish and the fallen boards. Brian settles back to the tripod mounted high powered binoculars to continue observing the Reaper buzz by-it was getting closer.
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, DRONE COMMAND ROOM
Airman Dan Hladr looked down upon Lake Pymatunig like a god would his kingdom. In fact, in his Area of Operations roughly along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border he IS GOD. And ‘god’ right now had before him a lens glare and two just visible IR signatures emanating from a collapsed boat shed by the west shore of Lake Pymatunig.
“I think you might be what I’m looking for.”
Airman Hladr marks that shed as a navigation point; he’d be back in a bit to check up on it. Check up on it after combing both sides of the reservoir before checking out the farms along the border-interstate transport of ANYTHING was forbidden without explicit clearance due to the national emergency caused by those gun loving assholes and welfare recipients. Which Dan was thankful for because their half-assed revolution made his government desperate enough to find pilots for all the drones they built to make up for all the defections and desertions by the US military… of which even he and Kelly Goode were quite careful not to SAY ALOUD LEST THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN SOME DETENTION FACILITY….
Yep. War was a boon to both him, his friends and the defense contractors. I mean, what the FUCK were those flannel wearing fucknuts thinking bumping up against the government?! Their guns armed those fucking spics running dope up from shithole Mehico, the homies were shooting cops right and left… well, Dan never really paid attention to the news save for when he saw something kewl like fighters, tanks, drones, robots, grenade launchers, guns.
If those fuckholes screaming about some old parchment wanted to shoot assault weapons and blow shit up they should’ve just enlisted and gone over to the sandbox, save say a hundred thousand PATRIOTS and maybe even an entire US fleet from being destroyed. No-they had to start shit up stateside and tear the fucking nation apart.
Those were some desperate days. Oh yes; power was out, you could catch a bullet from a gangbanger or a cop or some hick in Realtree. Later, even whole military units joined in blowing their own country up-the fucking marines joined in. What the fuck.
Dan sees a IR signature bolt out from the collapsed boat shed. He switches over to optical and tracks Kayla Miller, zooming in, in, seeing she was pretty, almost beautiful; but way too plain. Thin too but so is everyone who isn’t working for the government in some way. Too little to eat would never be one of Dan’s problems.
Captain Ashley Barnes, USAF struts over to see Dan Hladr’s latest prey and no, she’d never be confused with pretty.
“What do we got Airman?”
“Ma’am, got suspicious activity in that collapsed boat shed: light reflection off perhaps observation binoculars, and the IR signature is just barely detectable, like there’s mylar in there. Also, this girl (Kayla)suddenly ran out of there. It’s an observation post.”
“Blow it. Make it a nice show. Remind those Amish who’s in charge.”
“On it.” Dan steers the Reaper drone about in a wide arc-this particular UAV is a great improvement over the first generation Predator drones that flew over Iraq, Afghanistan, and in pacified urban areas but it wasn’t some fighter jet you could pull snap rolls on. More than one ex-fighter jock tried that… not a good thing to be responsible for the loss of Uncle Sam’s toys because you were too dang rough.
Dan had a patient touch.
Dan maneuvered the Reaper around, line up in an attack run.
“Not the same anymore Ma’am.”
“Yeah. But let’s kick this anthill over, see how many ants scurry out.” Dan selects from the weapons aboard the Reaper the 76mm laser guided free flight aerial rocket pods. Cheapest ordnance was always expended first, and with things the way they were domestically-hell worldwide-shooting off a big ticket item like a Hellfire missile…. Better have a damn good reason to as replacements weren’t coming as they should.
Or so Dan heard, not that he’d ask why. Not a good ideal to ask why these days. Dan’s not stupid that way.
Dan lines up the simple crosshair on the collapsed boat shed.
LAKE PYMATUNIG, COLLAPSED BOAT SHED
Brian Miller didn’t need the binoculars to see the Reaper drone do its lazy circle about. Brian eyes the ex-Army field phone by him, momentarily.
Brian picks up the receiver… then hangs up; it didn’t matter. He couldn’t run far enough, fast enough to escape the likely death from the likely attack-a salvo of the new laser guided 76mm FFAR that’s being launched right now, right in front of him.
“Father in Heaven, take me home and watch over my childr-“
Ten 76mm free flight aerial rockets explode on the collapsed boat shed, around the trees and weeds about.
Kayla Miller spins about, falls on her butt, watching in horror as the United States Air Force takes yet another person out of this world. Her dad. She watches as just visible the Reaper drone fires more rockets into several nearby homes.
Just to make sure.
Just because the undoubtedly morbidly obese virginal zit-faced nerd could blow her Dad and her neighbors to she hoped, heaven.
Kayla couldn’t grieve. Not now. She had to get the hell out of there, and fast!
Dan Hladr watched through the Reaper’s electronic eyes at the young woman looking back at the collection of homes and boat sheds he just blew up. He regarded her… she wasn’t a MAM-military aged male, and, she wasn’t armed. Others would be armed and those he’d be hunting for now that on his tactical display of the vicinity symbols designating lower cruising, slower, lower-tech drones were being launched or dispatched to where he engaged, hopefully, some domestic terrorists. He’d worry about the point count later; his priority now is to provide overhead coverage, just in case this does turn into a battle.
Kayla moved fast.
Going into the brush she grabs a long backpack, camouflaged poncho and ducks into the brush. She heads toward her home, now on fire, to disappear in the smoke and thermal flare. Hoping her precaution’s enough she unzips the backpack pulls out something short and wrapped in cloth and unwraps it…
It’s a Mosin-Nagant carbine, disassembled into two sections; a cut down stock with magazine and the barreled receiver with bent bolt and Burris Fulfield rifle scope.
Possession of this sniper rifle is a death sentence-if she was very lucky that death sentence would be executed where she was found. The way she looked, that likely wasn’t going to happen… it didn’t the first time.
Kayla worked fast she was going to need her rifle really fast. Her hands grab a screwdriver and she does the screw holding the magazine to the stock and the other magazine screw in the tang in the receiver.
“Don’t shake, don’t sweat” she tells herself-unscrewing, she hurriedly fits the barreled receiver to the stock, then screws the rifle into unity and pulls back the long bent bolt back. Grabbing five 7.62x54 rimmed cartridges loads the magazine slowly, surely… as this battle allowed. Slamming the bolt home and loading a cartridge Kayla now pulls out a long cylinder. Yes she should’ve put the suppressor on before she loaded up. A fitting at the muzzle of the barrel accepts the suppressor and she attaches.
Kayla Miller looked around. She was in concealment, but this wasn’t cover. Worse, she risked being pinned against the reservoir and yes she could swim-but not with her rifle. She wasn’t strong enough anymore.
And yeah about that she thought bitterly: that shipment they were expecting, that her now late father had telephoned to “hold” they needed that food! Kayla and her group hadn’t had a full meal in nearly two weeks. They’d run out of even the emergency rations two days ago and Kayla had been forced back to her bitterly acquired habit of searching under every rock and log for grubs, earthworms and such.
She had the energy to shoot. She had the energy to get out of that immediate area. What she wasn’t sure of was did she have enough gas left to get out of the battle zone?
If the Pymatunig Militia didn’t rise to the occasion, if they chose to hold fire, hide and hope this attack just blows over, she’d be found. She’d be found and her way or their way she would be dead.
She’d already done the rape. That sure as hell wasn’t happening again.
Kayla moved past the brush, across the street to a stand of trees in a sprint. When she reached her new position, she collapses, and tries to gather her strength for what’s next. She really had to think about what she’d do next but that was about impossible when your mind’s about food all the time.
Airman Dan Hladr guided his Reaper UAV around, looking for the fight.
“Master Chief, this is OHP; establishing perimeter, over?”
“Master Chief here, over.” Being the top shot among the drone jockeys at Nellis had given Dan the nickname Master Chief, in honor of the Halo game character. Dan watched his tactical display as the lower, slower drones closed in. State Police and County Sheriff units had stopped at roadside intersections in a 1000 yard perimeter to cordon off the area. Dan zoomed out on his tactical display; an Army Combat Brigade out of Warren were already dispatching Blackhawk helicopters loaded with troops.
“Master Chief, this is 3rd Artillery Company, transferring FAO to you over?”
“Roger that, I give you something to shoot at, over.” And it’s so good to work with people you can work with. Combat had a brutish way of sorting things out and teamwork was the essential ingredient to combating a wily, desperate, and at times surprising enemy.
They could fight-he HOPED they’d fight. He could blast them himself with onboard ordnance and/or direct 155mm gunfire from the Army Combat Brigade artillery in Warren. That was always fun to watch them blow shit up, but he preferred to get the credit himself. He earned more points.
What worried him was if it really was just a observer with a field glass. Times are tough, even for the government.
Nearby homes filled with hungry, desperate, scared people just like Kayla who’ve had their backs against the wall. Innocent-even innocent of helping the resistance! Kayla didn’t need any more motivation to wage war against the government-but those fuckers were more than happy to keep giving them to her.
Kayla knew how to give back. And, she could. She improvises a field position through the brush, resting her suppressed, scoped Mosin-Nagant rifle through the brush, the muzzle just inside, makes damn sure the buttplate is firmly on what’s left of the meat of her shoulder. Kayla inhales, deep, lets half out and pauses her breath-no she wasn’t going to make a loop in the sling she needed to be as mobile as possible.
Kayla finds a State Trooper in his duty uniform, holding a scoped M-4 type carbine, and settles the Fulfield II reticle crosshairs on him.
FFBAP! No not the shhhh the movies lied to everyone about, but with the brush and the noise distracting the enemy… hopefully that’s enough.
Kayla keeps her eyes open, follows through perfectly on the trigger-and her effort’s rewarded with the puff of blood coming from the 7.62x54 steel core round blowing through the oath traitor.
Sniper doctrine called for Kayla to immediately move to a second shooting position. Kayla however wasn’t going to expose herself to automatic gunfire in the open with a bolt action rifle. She cycles the bolt, ejects the empty cartridge, chambers a second round as fast as she can and settles down on the rifle, looks through the scope, looks for a second motherfucker to blast…
…Motherfuckers took cover!
Well, she was told when she started fighting back this shit would happen; take incoming or someone just gets popped and yes you will be ducking for cover and whatnot. It’s to be expected and in the past would’ve afforded her the opportunity to dash for that second shooting position and have some more fun.
Kayla looks up from her scope, sees one of those unit portable jumped up model airplanes. Shit!
Kayla thought back; by the time the shooting back had started, the us government (never again getting the respect of capitalization) had fitted gunshot detectors on every last low and mid level drone it could. Now the tactic that had initially been worked out was to quickly overwhelm the operators controlling them with as many weapons shooting at the people those drones were supposed to support as possible.
The tactic works IF you have enough people pulling triggers to overwhelm the OPFOR, and defeat them quickly enough so that fire supremacy could be established. Then it was supposed to be a matter of engaging the drone operator and you get a new drone in inventory…
…Doesn’t work with supporting Predator or those fucking Reapers. The Predators were bad enough; fly up to 10,000 feet hit your position with a thermobaric version of the Hellfire… no you’re not going to engage with Pappy’s goose gun. Yet when they had air assets to take on the Predators they became easy meat buzzing about but those fucking Reapers-DAMN, SNAP OUT OF IT!
Kayla looked around.
Nobody else was shooting back at these motherfuckers.
That drone was circling about and she got a look through her rifle scope-aw hell no it was armed with a fucking grenade launcher?!
Well this has turned into a ripe shit sandwich.
Airman “Master Chief” Hladr was getting audio and video feeds from the locals on scene at the battle area, along with one low level armed drone-that will be useful, he thought.
His commander stands behind him, just close enough to see him at work, but not too close due to the ripe seat he was occupying. Brian was in for it…
Dan worked the feeds, the Reaper drone, the overall situation like a maestro. A maestro looking for targets to engage.
“Ma’am I don’t think they’re wanting to fight today.”
“A state trooper’s down.”
“A lone sniper? We’ll flush em’ out.” Snipers were bad news on the ground, Dan knew that much and those Ohio cops had a reputation for never taking anyone caught with a scoped rifle intact.
Dan checked out the feed from the State Highway Patrol drone; it had gunshot detection, night vision-no IR that was too expensive and increasingly unavailable. Did have the 25mm grenade launcher with the programmable fused rounds. Kewl.
Dan let the State Trooper drone look around, hoping to see any kind of movement. His own sensor suite being much more capable Dan zoomed in with thermals, but those house and brush fires he so enthusiastically lit with his first attack were going to make that not work.
“You put too much on that attack Airman-now our tango’s got cover for her IR signature.”
“If only these rebels would make a stand up fight-“
“If only but you guys chased them under the proverbial rock.”
“Ain’t my fault they got the shit end of the paradigm shift in warfare Ma’am.”
Airman Hladr watched his displays; whoever shot that Statie was alone and quickly surrounded.
“This one’s experienced Airman. Note how he’s not making for a second shooting position? She’s fought under drones before.”
“He doesn’t move his position’s going to be compromised real fast. Looks like that Trooper knows what he’s doing with his drone.”
“You think he’ll get the points Airman?”
“You’re kidding right?!”
Kayla Miller watched the low level drone come up on her position: if she fired now, hit, and swatted that fucking little drone out of the sky she might get away-but that Reaper drone… she was certain it was a Reaper… would bag her; if she moved, she would certainly be spotted and have a missile lobbed at her; if she stayed in place and waited things out her position was certain to be found.
Kayla was also certain her fighting group had turned punk on her and was laying low thinking the same thing she was.
She wasn’t getting out of this. Not now.
Motherfuckers! Can’t fight, can’t even fucking run-all because nobody else would step up and fucking engage these fuckers…
…There was that Reaper flying out of reach a calm voice told her. And, it told her, you know why:
December 16, 2013
“Warren Base” was a set of caves dug out from a sewer line in Downtown Warren-nothing to comment about there. Kayla Miller made her way down the sewers to the camouflaged entrance, made entry….
The base itself was something else; the entrance was a dogleg with the long portion at an angle, with a armored fighting position at the end equipped with a .30 Browning and an array of microwave magnetrons hooked up to a bank of batteries.
Kayla walked forward-she was in full civilian winter garb, her rifle and field gear in a duffel bag. She approaches the fighting position and a Guard is there.
“September” Kayla replied. “I’m going for the challenge coin now.”
“Nothing sudden.” Kayla slowly eased into a coat pocket, pulls out a sheared off Challenge Coin-a token. The Guard goes into a small jewelry cabinet with an alphanumeric code, looks up a code, pulls out a second challenge coin-also sheared.
They slowly approach; the Guard at an angle to provide a clear field of fire for the Browning. Overkill, but these days…
They mate the sheared challenge coins up-they match.
“Sho thang.” Kayla Miller walked past the position, made a right and now she was in the base proper. Kayla passes offshoot rooms with Uniformed Militia Troops bunking, a Mess Hall with more Uniformed and Civilian garbed Militia and Resistance Fighters eating-which Kayla really wanted to go in and help herself so bad but duty calls. That duty compelling Kayla to go all the way to the end of the main hall, passing machine shops, production lines churning out bombs, ammunition, chemicals of this and that.
Soundproofing; old drink holders, foam mattresses and such helped dampen the noise. God knew where they got the power from but having this base under a city was a slick, risky move. Seems to be working so far though.
Kayla reaches the end; another Guard and Kayla produces from another pocket another sheared challenge coin, another challenge, another correct reply, another sheared challenge coin reunited and Kayla was granted entry into the Command Center of the Northeast Ohio/Western Pennsylvania Resistance.
A uniformed Militia Commander is there to greet Kayla personally.
“Yeah, not by my choice there Sir.” To Kayla the Commander had earned the Sir as he, his unit, and others like them and him had bailed her and her fighters, and a lot of others like her when the shooting started.
Oh, for sure she repaid the favor back, had long proven her worth as a fighter and a squad leader. Had a lot of fun giving the enemy payback for everything they did to her, everything they took from her.
“War goes like that, Kayla. Come on in the conference room-we got a plate waiting for you in the mess.“
Fuck yeah there was food for her! If there was a constant to Kayla’s nightmare existence it was hunger. Fatigue can be slept off, fear passes, rage came and went with combat and whatever atrocities she bumped into. Hunger-that was a regrettable constant. One of the enemy’s most effective weapons, and God damn them for it.
Kayla and the Commander enter the Conference Room; it was about half full of representatives of all kinds of Resistance cells and units. Everyone from rebelling US military units to Militia, to bands of everyone from street gangs to Occupy Protestors who put down the placard and picked up the rifle to neighborhoods that had quickly evolved into militia to Libertarian from compounds who found they had simply isolated themselves and made themselves an easy target-and got out just in time.
A lot of people didn’t.
A lot of those people weren’t here.
“We’ll begin now” the Commander started, striding to where he can address everyone; by a map of the United States that had a vastly different complexion than it is now. Simply put, a lot of hinterland was plain, most delineated mines, roads, railways and the military bases and cities were under the red of the enemy. Friendles were shades and unless they were in the country they had areas of operation, not territory under their control.
Kayla remembered an earlier map that had a lot more area under their control-in fact they WERE expanding rapidly but…
The Commander addressed his audience; to a man and woman were hardened, angry people. “We’re being paralyzed by all the drones the enemy’s been producing-you all saw the effects of that first hand trying to get here today... Operationally we can’t do anything until the drone situation is addressed. That is our one priority and that’s why we’re being pushed back, carved up, and being defeated in detail. All of you know that part.
“What you don’t know is that until the situation with the horde of drones the enemy is operating can be addressed, our unit size operations are coming to a standstill until we can come up with better counters.”
An old Militia Commander rises; “What about interdicting FEMA? They’re still sweeping up all the homeless and welfare cases.”
Nothing we can do. It would be of benefit to increase your efforts to track down whoever is involved with production, transport, and use of drones and take them out. That’s priority one. The only priority; we can’t do anything else until that’s handled!”
“You think we got enough bullets left for all the pasty nerds left in this country flying them muthafuckas?” A Pittsburgh gangbanger spoke up and half his face was badly scarred. He was definitely in constant pain Kayla thought.
“You saw the production lines down the hall right? You’ll all be taking out of here what you can-we got one more op out of this base…. We built this base right under downtown Warren about 20 years ago after Waco, hoping that the enemy wouldn’t be too crazy as to bomb their own facilities to get at us. Well, we just got intel that they’re putting a headquarters above us and an firebase nearby. We’re going to strip this base down to the last useful bolt, turn it into a gigantic fuel-air bomb and blow them to hell.”
“Damn you got another base?” Kayla had to ask.
“We’ll tell you when we can.” The Commander usually liked to play things close to the vest. It was irritating; Kayla like everyone wanted to know just how the war was going. After all she was fighting it on the front lines(so to speak)but she also cherished the need to keep your mouth shut. And make those who wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
An aging Hippy turned guerilla rises: “So what exactly is moving in there?”
“C3, interrogation facilities, new fusion center-that sort of thing; too much heat upstairs for us to stay. We’re going to make it too hot for them too.” A chuckle waved through the audience. Yes everyone in the room and in the base can appreciate a good fire.
A little later, Kayla was in the Mess Hall chowing down on instant mashed potatoes, the last of a field kitchen ration that wasn’t big enough for her. The Commander approaches.
“Mind if I join you Kayla?”
“Sure.” Kayla kept eating but she wasn’t being disrespectful, she was very hungry.
“How’s your Dad doing?” There was a wistfulness in his eyes, regret. A lot of that.
“Still at it, and he’ll keep at it til’ he can’t. That’s what he had to say, and that was it. You going to have anything for those drones? Cuz’ if you don’t I don’t think this war’s going to go much longer. Just my opinion of course.”
The Commander gathered himself. “Maybe. Tell your Dad this: for what it’s worth he’s right, we should’ve started fighting five years ago. Give him my regards.”
Now, March 17, 2014
Kayla Miller could just imagine her situation through the constant hunger…
She was under cover, the house and brush fires made the immediate area too foggy for thermal and with her space blanket turned ghillie poncho she was for the moment invisible.
She had fired however and nobody on either side was a rookie anymore. They had a general ideal which direction she was. They had two drones-one low flying and close in and the other buzzing about way up that had murdered her father. And she was certain, she was going to be surrounded-but retreat, even movement, was out of the question because one drone or the other would pick her up and pick her out.
Her unit was supposed to be around. Her unit was supposed to have engaged the State Troopers and given the drones too many targets to engage as they chewed up the ground units. That was doctrine but that doctrine hadn’t worked of late. Half her command of ex-OWS protesters, street hoodlums, veterans, hunters, Amish(?!) had perished as the about all seeing, all hearing hordes of drones buzzed and made guerilla warfare as they had practiced it so briefly impossible.
She can’t be mad at them. They were doing exactly what she was doing, making the same calculations, and coming to the same bad math.
She would fight. It would be her last one. There was nothing else to be done about it. And, she hoped, that would allow the rest of her unit to retreat and fight another day.
And lose. No they weren’t going to win the war now.
Kayla mounted her rifle to shoulder, looked through her rifle scope; the State Ticket Salesmen had a semi rig pull up, stop; three ground drones, each on four off road wheels and mounting a belt fed machine gun and grenade launcher happily wheel out the back. Icing on the cake.
Kayla had no rifle grenades nor the means to mount them on her Mosin-Nagant and certainly no homebuilt panzerfaust. Sprinkles.
Well, she had her rifle and she had ammunition; Kayla Miller would show those motherfuckers just who had given them all nightmares this past summer! Good times. She aimed at the nearest one of those ground drones; she knew the model, it had a particular spot that was a one-shot kill, and…
FFBAP! The suppressed Mosin sent another steel core round right at the robot, right where its design fuck up was at and the machine sparked and smoked and malfed and went inoperable.
Kayla cycled the bolt back, quickly stuffs two rounds she grabs off her stock into the magazine, slams the bolt home…
…as the other two drones charge forward, State and County Sheriffs in tactical and duty uniforms following with M-4 type carbines. About 20 and damn did Kayla wish yet again for a M-14 she could’ve laid them out. Her last one got wrecked by a too close call with a drone, ironically.
Too much confidence, boys… she quickly lined up the crosshairs on the second machine-yes they’ll have a fix on her position for sure-and fires, FFBAP-and gets another spectacular show of drone death but no time to appreciate! She cycles the bolt, aims… and they take cover again. Chumps.
That last ground drone gets behind a house as well, damnit. Kayla searches the brush, the houses with her rifle scope looking for stupid.
Stupid turns out to be her: that low flying drone is overhead and circles about!
Damn got caught up with the ground assault and got picked out by the low flyier. A couple of goose guns-12 gauge shotguns with 30 inch full choked barrels could’ve taken that out but her unit, her crew, her friends were not here this time.
The low flying drone turns about, lining up a shot with the onboard 25mm grenade launcher…
Airman Dan Hladr watches off the drone feed the drone lining up a shot on a clump of vegetation, with just the barest hint of a suppressor tipped rifle. Dan had looked carefully, tweaked the sensor feed off his own Reaper drone and there was just enough of a heat signature off that, you just knew it was a rifle.
“You’re going to leave the kill to the State Police?” His commander more stated than asked. Dan was no fool about that-now Brian on the other hand would’ve automatically pickled a Hellfire on that position and got the points but Dan knew one of their own had died.
“You don’t have to ask that with me.” Dan was ready however if there was a fuckup.
Kayla Miller raises her rifle up, aims at the incoming drone, disregarding camouflage, her position. She aims through the rifle scope-trying to remember up angle and range and the size of her target and calculating for the holdover…
Across the way the State Troopers, County Sheriffs finally see Kayla and as one cut loose with roughly aimed fire from their M-4s.
Kayla ducks but not in time-she’s hit in the shoulder by a 5.56mm round!
“Fuck not again!” She sure as hell hoped it was outside the 75 yard hyperlethality range and was just a .22 ice pick, which was bad enough. Just bad luck and too far for their short barrel carbines to really be effective outside a vital shot.
The ground drone rumbles out from behind the house it was taking cover and aims its heavy armament… Kayla’s big mouth at getting shot locks her position in as it too has gunshot detectors.
Kayla looks, sees the low flying State Police drone, sees it fire its 25mm grenades at her.
Then an explosion, heard from a short distance-wow what had gone up?!
A grenade explodes behind her-fucked up on the range but that way off explosion keeps going… wait, not an explosion… a rocket!
All the enemy as one look to see it climb as well.
Airman Dan Hladr watches the massive heat plume and trajectory of some kind of rocket:
“Launch warning, launch warning, I repeat launch warning!”
This got his Commander’s attention: “What is it?”
“Don’t know. Not a SAM it has two-no three heat plumes. Currently eastbound.”
Dan and the Commander look at the visual as the Reaper’s optics tear away from Kayla Miller and towards this new threat. The computer made a generated image of the Rebel… fighter- “Those are rocket boosters: I’d bet it’s some kind of garage built jet and they launched it from a trailer or launch rail. It’s not anything we had in the inventory Ma’am.”
“I’m calling Wright Patterson, have them scramble.”
“I’d tell those Blackhawks out of Warren to back off until we can handle this.”
“Can you engage?”
“I can but that thing’s going to break the sound barrier any second now-my drone’s not built for a dogfight though.”
“Do it to em Hladr.”
“Roger that, going in with Hellfires.” Dan’s Reaper had no air to air missiles as the nascent Rebel Air Force had been driven to ground by North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighters of all kinds-overwhelmed by numbers and tech as too many of the practically invincible F-22s had been retained.
Kayla watched as a miracle took place before her eyes; as one both the remnant ground drone, the aerial drone and the entire assault team turned 180, headed toward the source of that rocket blasting off. Kayla looks at the head of the rocket trail… it splits in two like a fork in the road.
10,000 feet above Pymatunig Lake the Rebel rocket boosted fighter’s boosters separate and go their separate ways-as a Hellfire SLAMS into the right booster and EXPLODES IT just barely clear of the fighter…
The fighter itself is a homebuilt copy of a stealth drone but in a more streamlined delta shape that emphasized air combat.
It doesn’t have a pilot.
A dome turrent near the nose automatically swiveled, tracked the Hellfire missile streak back to the Reaper drone gently buzzing a few miles away.
Dan watched as the Rebel drone-yes it’s a drone as it performs a 12g snap roll and heads straight for his drone at near supersonic speed.
“Commander, that’s a drone! I got a visual, but I don’t have a radar lock nor do I have enough of a heat signal-that thing’s got stealth!”
Can you jam or override the signal?”
There is no signal! You better get those jets here fast!”
“In bound in less than a minute.”
“Giving it everything I fucking got!”
Dan mashes on his triggers…
Dan Hladr’s Reaper Drone ripple fires every last Hellfire laser guided missile, every laser guided 76mm guided rocket at the incoming Rebel drone. They ride the beam locked… “locked” on by Dan as he’s relying on a visual-yes the military has a lot of kewl shit and being able to track by image was one of them.
The Rebel Drone waits until the last possible second then snap dives downward at a rate impossible for human control, and Dan’s desperate ripple-fired barrage of repurposed air to ground missiles misses. Neither type of laser guided ordnance is geared toward aerial combat and they fly off wherever.
This new drone on the other hand does a wide loop upward. Its next target is the Reaper drone.
Kayla Miller still in her hide digs out a blowout kit and applies it to her shot left shoulder. She watches as the enemy advances toward the launch site. She was also certain that every last pig in Ohio and PA were going to be vectored in and around them. Which is why she hurries with her blow out kit.
Overhead, two F22 Lightning fighters charge in at supersonic speed, their sonic booms deafening!
Dan Hladr got comm. Feeds off the F22 Raptors as they entered the battle:
“Razor two do you have lock?”
“Negative-not enough radar return nor heat signature.”
“Well that’s damn interesting. We’ll go in with cannons-hope that thing don’t have AIMs itself. Charge!”
Dan watched as the F22s closed in on the rebel drone…. Closing in on his drone.
Kayla patches herself up with the blowout kit. She gathers her wits and her strength…
Looks like the State Troopers launched another of their drones-one of those trashcans with helicopter blades with a slung under machine gun turrent. Fine she’s dealt with those before.
Amazing what one can do when you too have air support… Kayla looks skyward over Pymatunig Lake…
Overhead the mega-million dollar F22 Raptors close in on the Rebel drone-it too heads directly for the stealth fighters and FIRES-it has a automatic cannon of some kind and it fires a short burst-the first Raptor takes small 50BMG Raufoss rounds in the wings, tail and left engine-it smokes!
Airman Dan Hladr is desperately trying to pilot his 400mph Reaper drone out of the battle zone, he’s clearly outclassed. Nervously he and his Commander listen in on the air battle:
“I’M HIT! I’M HIT!”
“GET OUTTA HERE, I’LL HANDLE THIS-JUST LAND THAT BIRD ALRIGHT?”
“ROGER THAT! GOOD LUCK!”
They watch as the hit Raptor turns, tries to flee on one bad engine and quite a bit of damage.
“That enemy drone has a heavy machine gun-if it had had a 20mm cannon it would have bagged him.”
They watch as the crippled Raptor tries to flee and the remaining F22 attempts to get behind the Rebel drone-which pursues the crippled jet.
“He’s got to bail out-it’s coming for him.”
“Airman you remember just how expensive those birds are?! He’d be lucky if his career’s over!”
“IT’S COMING FOR YOU!”
“ENGAGE IT ALREADY!”
“I CAN’T LOCK ON! I CAN’T LOCK ON! GOING TO GUNS!”
The Rebel drone closes on the cripple F22-explosions can be heard over the intercom.
The crippled F22 comes apart in midair. Because Dan’s trying to get the Reaper out of there he can’t see what happens himself but the transponder for the first F22 is gone.
The Rebel Drone FIRES its lone 50BMG heavy machine gun, the Raufoss rounds it fires are an exquisite blend of armor piercing tungsten, high explosive and incendiary compounds that impact on the smoking, crippled F22 and EXPLODE IT!
The lone remaining F22 closes in but as soon as the explosion happens that drone executes a snap turn at an impossible rate-impossible for a human to execute. It comes back on the Raptor and FIRES-as the pilot executes a loop; one round impacts the right rudder and disables it.
The Pilot does an Immelman but as he does the drone turns and intercepts as he inverted! It FIRES another short burst impacting the cockpit!
Dan and the commander can only look on helpless as the second F22 is taken out. It moves to take out the Reaper.
“Permission to self destruct my bird Commander-“
Airman Dan Hladr punches in his code, flips open a cover and hits the red button.
His signal and displays go blue.
Overhead Kayla watches the hated Reaper drone explode overhead-she laughs and claps, her pain, fatigue and hunger gone.
Perfectly distracted, that machine gun armed hover drone closes in on Kayla and is about to fire when 50BMG Raufoss rounds explode on it and the ground around it, exploding it! The whole thing catches Kayla by surprise!
She watches the Rebel drone swoop overhead-it looks like a small stealth fighter, kind of. Nimble critter she thinks as it circles the battlefield; although there are plenty of ground targets it doesn’t engage.
“Well, fuck-they got some more work to do on it.” And with that Kayla rises, her Mosin-Nagant rifle in hand and runs toward the enemy closing in on her group, the fighting intense.
They still had problems; if they can’t hit that one ground drone’s sweet spot it’ll give them all kinds of problems. And as all of them deal with that problem, the State Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies will give them a few other problems. Fucking drones-oh and there’s that one other low flying drone…
…Which her drone (yes Kayla thinks of it as her drone now) FIRES at-and stops, missing. Adjusting in the blink of an eye “her” drone decides to act like a oversize air-to-air missile and HIT the cheapo low flying drone taking it and crashing into the woods!
“Oh you fucking asshole! NO!” Oh well, she heads to the first shooting position she can get to shoot those motherfuckers in the back….
Two Air Force Security Guards accompany two plain grey suited Government Agents as they enter the control room.
“Commander, Airman; we need you to accompany us for a debrief.”
The Commander and Airman Dan “Master Chief” Hladr look at each other with dread….
Kayla watches as her group overwhelm the last of the on scene State Troopers and they crumple; she’s been patiently stalking one of the bad guys with pretentions of being a sniper-and FFBAP! Her suppressed Mosin-Nagant rifle connects yet again, hitting him right in the neck! His Observer just starts running…. Kayla cycles one last round, aims and connects, sends the fucker down.
Kayla goes over to the Sniper-and he’s got a M-14 with a scope and suppressor!
“Holy fuck, Christmas came today, yo!”
Kayla slings her rifle, takes his rifle as he’ll never need it again. She strips his gear, his Ghillie suit, his uniform, boots, pistol belt-nice Sig. She slumps down by a tree, enjoying the moment.
A young Amish man in camouflage bearing a FAL rifle runs to her.
“You alright Kayla?”
“I’m good. Got hit by a .223 but I’ll make it.”
“See you got yourself a M14 again.”
“Yep. Got some of my taxes back.”
They laugh. “How we set?”
“We’ll be burying some people-four I think.”
“We got us a couple prisoners though.”
The two of them smile. God help those poor bastards.
“Yeah-good thing that drone was launched; that would’ve been the end of us!”
“Think we tipped them off though.”
“Yeah. But it couldn’t have been helped I think-imagine if you hadn’t launched it and those fuckers had captured it. Speaking of-“
“We made sure nothing electronic remains.”
“Leave the rest of it.”
“I want them to know enough to make them afraid of us again.”
“Ah. Good point.”
“There’s another one over there Michael, can you strip him for me?”
“I got it. Need any help?”
“I got myself. Hurry up we gotta get out of here before they start dropping rounds down on us.”
As she finishes a BUZZ can be heard-overhead she was certain a Predator drone had been dispatched and just as certain artillery out of Warren would be dropping down on them.
Too bad that base underneath Downtown Warren got raided before it could have been blown. That would’ve been fucking awesome to watch—seeing those government buildings all blown up, all those bureaucrats and agents ripped apart, burnt, screaming in agony.
Just a taste of what they done to the country.
NELLIS AFB, INTERVIEW ROOM
March 18, 2014
Airman Dan Hladr sits before those two grey suited G-men and the two Airmen. He was exhausted, having been interviewed literally ever since the battle. They have before him a report.
“Crash confirms your hunch, Airman-homebuilt drone. It had its armament and whatever it used for a guidance system stripped out of it.”
“What-how’d they come up with the jet engine to fly that thing?” Dan’s curiosity overcame him even though these bastards had put him through the proverbial ringer.
“It’s a ramjet.”
“What? Oh-that explains the rocket boosters.”
“Yeah. And since there were no control signals of any kind that means it was completely internally guided. Damn, they leapfrogged ahead of us-how did they do that?!”
Dan shook his head. Maybe NOW this would be over and he could get some rest, he’d certainly earned it. Even if he took the hit for having to blow up his own drone he wasn’t sorry-better his own hand than give the Rebels another notch. The Battle of Pymatunig Lake was a bad enough defeat as is.
The other G-Man spoke up. “Well, Airman, you did your best under the circumstances but someone has to take the fall.”
“Wait! What?! You mean-you can’t!”
“Take the Airman into custody Gentlemen.”
Dan Hladr screamed and the Air Force Guards jump on his corpulent ass and start to beat the crap out of him… eventually to secure him but thugs are thugs. The Government Agents watch as the fat drone jockey gets the beginning of his punishment for failing his government.