From the Author
The people I've met there aredelightful. The area is certainly worththe time to visit or even spend an entire vacation. Just check the weather forecast to avoid anyof the big blows that hit the coast in the summer.
While this book is completely a work of fiction, many of theplaces found in this book, such as the Intercoastal waterway or things, likethe river lock system, really exist. If youenjoy fishing, canoe or kayaking, the area in and around Mobile Bay is hard tobeat.
From the Inside Flap
"Got me. Let's walk up to the start of the causeway. I suspect that'll be our best bet for stopping those yahoos." As they approached the bridge, they found four soldiers wearing an odd mix of camouflage and several others that had to be locals. They were arguing. AJ touched Mike's arm and shook his head. They listened for a few minutes before one of the men arguing noticed the two standing there. "Who are you?"
"We just got dropped off. The pilot was a bit thin on the plan...?"
"No sweat. We'll drop the first section of this bridge and we've done. They'll have no choice but to turnaround." He shrugged, "Piece of cake."
One of the locals shouted, "Bullshit. You knock this bridge down; we won't be able to get to work over to the plant."
Before the fellow could launch into another tirade, AJ held up his hand. "No." He looked back and forth, "To the both of you. You drop this section here," he pointed, "and those bastards will lay waste to the town. Then they'll go find another and do the same. So, no." Then he turned to the civilian, "If the armor that is coming this way gets across the bridge, they will fire up everything in that industrial complex. Forget your jobs, those plants will be offline for years, no matter what. But if that plastics plant gets wasted, you can forget fishing in the bay here for your lifetime. If ever."
"Then what are we going to do?"
AJ scratched his head for a minute. "First, how long will it take you to rig your package to drop the section?"
"Not all that long, we rig a few cutting charges,then...Bam! All gone."
"Okay, what would it take to drop only one side?"
"Half of what it would take..."
"Okay. Bad question. How long to set your charges and drop one side of a section?"
The Engineers looked at each other, than back to AJ. "Maybe twenty to thirty minutes. Why?"
"You have enough cutting charges to drop two sections?"
"Plenty. We brought enough to drop the entire end of the transit bridge...."
"Good. Now,you..." He pointed the man who was arguing the loudest. "Any vehicles left in town? Say, a truck?"
"Yeah. A few of us stayed behind...you know. What's this all about?"
"I think we can build us a mighty nice rat trap, if you'll give us a hand..."
The armor column nosed into town, slowly, as of unsure of what to expect. The lead vehicle held a turret, the cannon was pointed low. It was followed by a long line of APCs, bringing up the rear was another turreted vehicle. This one had the cannon facing to the rear, again, pointed low.
AJ let the last vehicle pass before he pulled the trigger. The Winchester bucked against his shoulder, the massive half inch bullet slammed into the rear tire, tearing a chunk out of the rotating mass. He worked the loading lever and sent another of the Barnes-X solid slugs into the front tire on the same side. He cycled the action again; hoping someone inside would be stupid enough to open a hatch to take a look.
Seconds after the second shot, a hailstorm of rifle shots hit the column. As they had hoped, the vehicles sped up, hitting the causeway at speed. As soon as the last vehicle gained the causeway, the shooting stopped. AJ stood, putting the rifle over his shoulder, using the now warm barrel to hold the weapon. Walking out into the road,he watched as the last vehicle in line started to slow as more and more of the tires flew off the rims. The tires may have been run-flat, but they weren't run-missing... The rear lights flashed as the armored vehicle flipped on its side...
AJ smiled before saying, "Okay, Jimmy.Your turn."
At this shout, a pickup truck backed out into the roadway, facing away from the bridge. In the bed of the truck, a man lay prone, a scoped rifle propped up on a small pile of sandbags.
AJ leaned against the truck, "Think you can hit 'em from here?"
"Maybe not, but I sure as hell can make 'em shit themselves. Anyone puts his head out to mess with that last rig is gonna get a haircut."
"More than good enough.You see that cannon move at all, you haul ass. We can pick up the Engineers anytime."
"Ain't gotta worry about me, Partner. The engine's running and Bubba... He's more than ready to roll."
With nothing left to do but wait, AJ walked over to the store in front of him and walked inside. When he found a reclining chair he liked, he pulled off his boots, sat the rifle across his lap and leaned back. As he closed his eyes, a pair of muted 'whumps' rattled the window. He fell asleep with a smile on his face. While enjoying his nap, he missed all the fun that came after...
Once on the causeway, the lead vehicle put on speed and the commander's hatch opened. Now out where he could really see, and be safe because the town was behind them, the column C ommander could now worry about where they would find fuel.On the far side of this bridge was an industrial complex. Their sources on the inside had told him that it had a large fuel storage area, more than enough to handle the entire column.
The breeze in his face felt wonderful after being shut up under the armor for so long. The flash-bang from under the road in front of him didn't register for a couple of seconds.
As he screamed, "Alto...ALTO!!" to his driver, the road fell away, sending his vehicle into a half-somersault. The turret hit the now sagging road section before sliding down into the water,leaving a bloody streak to mark the end of the fool leading the parade. The first APC followed it into the water below before that driver could see anything was wrong. The next vehicle in line skidded, as the driver locked up the brakes.
The State of Texas Department of Transportation had engineered the side barriers of the roadway to be able to withstand the impact of a loaded truck. Since the armored vehicle weighed so much more, it shattered the side wall as it skidded into the cement. Hanging with half its wheels in space, the men inside barely got out before it flipped over and fell into the water below with a muted splash.
The rest of the column did much better, with only a few slamming into the vehicle in front as everyone locked up their brakes. The Panhard at the rear wound up on its side, sliding along until it stopped by crashing into the rear of the last APC. As the APCs emptied out, the soldiers were serenaded by the sound of an explosion, followed by more falling concrete. The screams of the men echoed as they realized they were now stranded on a bridge...sitting ducks for any kind of airborne platform.
Before the sun set, one of the brighter sparks tried pushing a spare tire over the side to act as a float so they could use the tire to get to shore. That might have worked, had the tire floated, rather than sink without a bubble. The next morning, several more lowered tow cables that were tied together. All had empty canteens in their equipment harnesses to provide flotation. The tide carried them away, never to be seen again. Each time the remaining men tried walking back toward town, they were met with small arms fire.
Two days after their water was gone, one of the senior men stripped down to his shorts and carrying a white t-shirt on a radio aerial,was able to walk all the way to the downed section of roadway next to town, there to negotiate their surrender.
Mike and AJ by that time were long gone, having first extracted a promise from the remaining townspeople that they would accept the soldier's surrender. It took Mike an entire afternoon to get the idea across that an utterly defeated man sent back home, alive and naked , to spread the word, would be a better deterrent against future problems than a stack of dead bodies.