Originally appears on The Tactical Hermit. -NCS
 
This is a work of Fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in this short story are entirely fictional and are of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or organizations or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
 
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
 
(U.S. Military Oath of Enlistment)
 
Day 1 – Thursday
 
The four wheel drive pickup left the asphalt of Interstate ninety in the wee hours and turned off on an unmarked dirt road that snaked its way through the south Texas chaparral and dry arroyos, eventually dead-ending three hundred yards from the Rio Grande river. As the two men inside the pickup quietly downloaded their weapons and gear from the back, a waning crescent moon glimmered small splinters of white light across the river as flocks of pintail and muscovy ducks roosted in a stand of cottonwoods on the far bank. For this operation each man was outfitted in minimalist fashion for speed and concealment with a standard loadout of ammo, water and meds. In addition they also carried an iPhone with night vision capability.
 
Dawn was approximately three hours away as they hit their objective eight clicks southeast; an elevated plateau with plenty of good cover and excellent visibility of the river below. After checking the GPS one of the men scanned below with his night vision monocular. In a small draw some two hundred yards from the river was a large square piece of IFF marking tape tied to a mesquite tree, visible only with night vision. The intel had been solid. This was the RV. Now all they had to do was wait.
 
The night was quiet and cool with the sounds of the river being interrupted only by the croak of bull frogs or the occasional shriek of an owl hunting along the river bank. As the wee hours churned into early morning, a mist fell over the river like a soft blanket and the dewpoint and temperature dropped by five degrees. The four rhib boats appeared out of the mist with no nav lights and their outboard muffled engines barely audible.
 
The two men on the plateau above began recording with their phones as each boat maneuvered close to the bank. The lead boat had four armed men with rifles and around half a dozen extra large black Pelican cases on board. The other three boats had between six to seven men each. Once all the boats had landed, one of the armed men produced a cell phone and made a text. A few minutes passed and several ATV and truck engines could be heard approaching from up the draw. They came in blacked out with the drivers using night vision goggles to navigate.
This was it, showtime.
 
The unloading of the cases was done quickly with the ATV’s making one trip each to get them up to the waiting van’s. When that was done twenty men disembarked and made their way up the river bank. In a span of three minutes everything and everybody was loaded and gone. It was eerily efficient, like they had done this dozens of times before.
 
The two documentarians arrived back at the truck just as a lavender and pink dawn was beginning to break in the eastern Texas sky.
 
“My God what did we just witness Kyle?”
 
“Treason. High fucking treason is what we just witnessed.” Kyle replied, shaking his head in disbelief with his heart thumping like a jackrabbit.
 
Day 2 – Friday
 
Charlie “Buzz” Warden, Commander of the Texas Brigade Militia was an imposing figure of a man. At six foot four and two hundred and fifty pounds he resembled a cross between a ninth century Viking and a redneck shade tree mechanic. His tan and leathery bald head was typically always covered with a mossy oak camouflage cap and although his full spartan goatee had more gray in it than brown, Buzz was a warrior, cut from the sacred cloth of the old breed and schooled by the deadliest men the American military had ever produced. Whenever you saw Buzz you could always count on him having two things:  His red plastic spit cup and a Glock 19 RMR with an extended mag in an Appendix rig.
 
When Buzz entered the room it got quiet.
 
“Alright Gentlemen it’s time to go to work so stop the grab assin’ and bullshit and listen up. What you are about to see is considered For Your Eyes Only and does not leave this room. You were selected to view it because of your command positions within the unit, so don’t be a cheese dick and go run your mouth to your wife or girlfriend. Some background before you watch it: Paul and Kyle were contacted by a fellow patriot who wishes to remain anonymous. He proceeded to give them information on a scheduled meet on the border between members of The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and unknown members of the U.S. Government. That is all the information we were given but as you will see, the video speaks for itself. Play it when you are ready Paul.”
 
As Buzz took a seat, so did the rest of the men in the room. Paul signaled for the lights to be turned out and then clicked the play button on the laptop. The video began playing on a sixty inch flat screen mounted on the wall. After Kyle’s splicing of all the footage, the total run time for the video was just under seven minutes. After it had finished playing there was complete silence in the room.
 
“Play it again from the start.” Buzz commanded.
 
As soon as the ATV’s began making their way down to the boats Buzz held up his hand for Kyle to pause the video. Buzz got up from his chair and walked up to the screen and stared for a long minute, his massive frame blocking out the T.V. like a Texas live oak.
 
“OK, play it from there.” Buzz commanded, still standing.
 
The video played another couple of minutes until the men from the boats began loading up in the vans.
 
“Pause it there!” Buzz commanded, again closely inspecting the image for a long minute.
 
After getting a fresh dip and spitting into his cup Buzz turned around to speak to Kyle.
 
“They were careful with the vehicles. I don’t see any kind of unique markings.”
 
“Maybe they were stolen?” One of the men in the back proffered.
 
“If we were talking about one ATV or one van that might hold water but when there are half a dozen ATV’s and three vans? No, that is pure complicity all the way.” Kyle replied.
 
“So you are saying the Government agency tasked with protecting the U.S. Border is actually working to weaken and dismantle it? How do we not know this is just some rogue group of corrupt officers who have been bribed or blackmailed by the cartel? I mean that’s not that fantastic or uncommon of a scenario.”  The same man replied.
 
“Until we get more information, right now any theory is plausible.” Kyle replied.
 
Buzz let out a laugh from the front of the room that made the room hush.
 
“I think you boys are not seeing the forest for the trees here.”
 
“What do you mean?” One of the men asked.
 
“Play it through to where the vans are being loaded up with those men.” Buzz asked Paul, motioning with his big butcher hands.
 
Kyle fast forwarded to the six minute mark and paused it.
 
Buzz stood staring for a minute at the screen and then turned around slowly to face the room.
 
“Yeah it’s obvious the Government, or at least a group of people within the Government, are actively trying to undermine and subvert the security of this nation by partnering with the cartels in what appears to be most certainly arms and/or drug trafficking.”
 
Buzz let his words hang in the air for a long minute as he looked around, meeting the gaze of each man with his pale blue eyes.
“But the bigger question that remains is just who the hell are these twenty military age WHITE males that the U.S. Government is going to all this trouble to smuggle INTO the U.S.?  I can tell you right now they sure as hell ain’t here to pick strawberries!”
 
A low, excited murmur went through the room.
 
An hour later after everybody had left Buzz, Kyle and Paul remained in the “War Room” sharing Cohiba cigars and a bottle of Glennfiddich single malt to decompress. As Kyle sat on the sofa squinting through the smoke, he admired the collection of pictures, flags and military decorations on the wall. Buzz had been a ground pounder in the Marines and had served with distinction in Iraq. Most notably in the Battle of Ramadi in 2006 with the Second Battalion Fourth Marine Division (2/4) aka “The Magnificent Bastards.”
 
Unlike almost everybody in the militia, Kyle did not have military experience. During his sophomore year in college he was snatched up by a NSA contract agency and spent the next five years finding terrorists in cyberspace all over the globe. He quit at the tender age of twenty-seven and began his own cyber-security consulting firm in Dallas. It wasn’t until he ran into Paul, an old friend from high school who had just returned from two tours in Iraq with the Army Rangers that he was invited to lend his skill-set to the Texas Brigade.
 
“I want you guys to reach out to everybody you can to try and ID those twenty men. Kyle, you might want to reach out to your source and see if he can come up with any other information. Time is of the essence here.” Buzz exhaled the cigar smoke into the room like a dragon.
 
Paul and Kyle nodded approvingly.
 
Buzz closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He looked tired and worried.
 
“You OK Buzz?” Paul asked concerned.
 
Buzz let out a long breath and opened his eyes. He didn’t answer but just stared at a far point on the wall in deep concentration.
 
Day 3 – Saturday
 
Logan Riggs was getting tired of living in his van and pissing in gatorade bottles, but such was the life of a private investigator. He had been doing surveillance for three days and nights now on the wife of one Thomas J. Lazlo III, a dyed in the wool one percenter asshole who had made his fortune in textiles. Lazlo believed his wife, Patricia, age fifty-three, was cheating on him with her yoga instructor, a man half her age, and he needed proof to nullify her substantial alimony in the upcoming divorce. Logan laughed reading the financials. It was all bottom line dollars and cents with these assholes. The Good Mr. Lazlo was paying Logan a paltry sum of five thousand dollars plus expenses to get photographic or video evidence of “extra-marital affairs” with the pony-tailed Yoga guru so Mr. Lazlo could save himself from having to pay over fifteen thousand a month in alimony after their divorce!
 
“Jesus, I need to raise my prices! These people are getting a damn bargain!” Logan said to himself, feeling like an idiot since there was nobody else in the vehicle but him.
 
Unbeknownst to Mr. Lazlo, Logan had dozens of ‘compromising’ photos of him and his twenty-two year old nympho mistress together at a downtown eatery and at a local hotel pool. Hypocrisy was second nature to these people, so Logan always made sure to hedge his bets and play every angle. Who knows what Mrs. Lazlo would pay for such information? Fifty K, or three months alimony sounds about right to Logan. Suddenly, his burner cell rang. He recognized the caller ID of “Ellis Roofing” with a New Orleans area code. These guys were wizards when it came to counter-surveillance. He put it on speaker.
 
“I did not think I would be hearing from you again so soon.” Logan said staring through a Canon high power camera lens pointed at the bedroom window of the yoga teacher.
 
“We need one more favor from you Mr. Riggs if possible.” Kyle was using a voice modulator for added security.
“Your voice changer is creeping me the hell out, so make it fast.” Logan quickly zoomed out with the camera when he thought he saw a bedroom curtain move. Fucking cat.
 
“We’d like to ask your source a question about the twenty men being loaded up in those vans. Does he know who they are?”
 
Logan pulled away from the camera lens with a confused look. Twenty men in vans? What the hell was this guy talking about? He thought that this was just another crooked Border Patrol cop facilitating a load of dope for the cartel.
Logan played it off smooth, no reason to let on to these guys he was in the dark about his own source.
 
“No can do. The guy’s gone off-grid, I could not find him if I wanted to.”
Logan cracked a smile. That was a flat out lie.
 
“Mr. Riggs, please. It’s very, very important. How about a thousand dollars for your trouble?” Kyle replied.
 
Logan licked his lips and zoomed out with the camera to check the other windows. Nothing. Bupkis. Zero movement in the house tonight.
 
“I’ll see what I can do. No promises.”
 
Logan hung up the phone and tossed it on the seat next to him.
 
After one more pass on the entire house he called it a night. Looks like Mr. pony tail and Mrs. L were not playing show and tell this evening. As Logan put the camera back in it’s case he stared at the burner phone laying in the seat. Something about this thing did not sit right with him.
 
Logan leaned his head back on the headrest and took a deep breath. Things were moving too fast and getting a tad stressful. He reached in the middle console looking for a xanax. After pushing aside his Glock he found a bottle. After washing a few down with a Corona tall boy a thought ran through his head. The longer he lived on this earth the more he realized that success or bad luck in life was all about timing, nothing more.
If he had chosen not to sit on that shitty little Mexican bodega a week ago Thursday with audio and video surveillance to try and catch a store employee faking a workman’s comp injury he would have never caught the conversation between “Sanchez” the corrupt CBP officer and the CJNG cartel middleman who went by the name “Sombras.”
 
I mean what else could he have done with that information? He had to play the angle that was dropped in his lap right? Blackmailing that cop was going to pay a lot more than this cheap ass insurance company or Mr. and Mrs. Lazlo, that was for certain! I mean if this cop was in cahoots with CJNG, there was no telling how much he could get, right? Yeah he did mull over turning the information over to the cops anonymously, but I mean hello, he was blackmailing a corrupt Federal agent! No, at least he did the right thing and gave up the information (free of charge mind you) to one of the largest militias in the country, The Texas Brigade who were serious about keeping America’s Southern borders safe. That had eased his conscience some as he laid out his lucrative blackmail ultimatum to Sanchez.
 
Logan thought about the entire thing for another couple of minutes and then opened up the back of the burner phone and removed the sim card, broke it in half and then dropped everything in a large Burger King cup of flat Dr. Pepper in the middle console cup holder. Better safe than sorry.
 
⭐️
 
A quarter mile away a white work van with a red placard reading ‘Citywide Internet Solutions’  was parked in a dead-end cul de sac. Inside two men in their early thirties who did not get enough sun and exercise sat listening intently with headphones. Otto, the lead hacker, was typing on a laptop attempting to trace while Victor was making entries in a log book.
 
“Whoever that caller was, they knew their shit. The call’s duration was too short for an origin trace plus the signal was bounced around the friggin universe twice.” Otto remarked, shaking his head in admiration.
 
“OK, looks like he  just killed his burner.” Otto added.
“The voice changer was a nice touch though. Cylons, Battlestar Galactica?” Victor asked, smiling.
 
Otto laughed. “You nailed it. It’s the throwback mod though, from the original series with Lorne Green, 1978.”
 
“You think this P.I. knows where this agent is?” Victor asked.
 
“I sure as hell hope so, because nobody else does.” Otto replied.
 
“The boss is getting impatient.” Victor added.
 
“He’s impatient? I am so ready for this assignment to be over. Living in a fucking van loses it’s charm after the first twenty-four hours.” Otto replied with a smirk.
 
Day 4 – Sunday
 
When the morning sun feels like hot lava burning through your eyes and into your brain, you know it’s gonna be a rough day. Logan had passed out in his van two hours after the xanax. Drinking two Corona tall boys and drunk dialing his ex most likely had not helped the situation, but hey, he was stressed. This fucking Sanchez thing had his mind racing. Logan knew in his bones something was off about the whole scam and after the weird phone call yesterday he had decided to make the two hour drive to New Mexico to track down Sanchez and clear this up.
 
As Logan gassed up the van he considered the possibility he was over reacting with this whole thing. I mean honestly, could this just be his conscience fucking with him? The fact of the matter is Logan had come to terms with who he was a long time ago; his ex had famously told him the day she left him that he made being ‘morally ambiguous’ actually look normal. He wasn’t so sure that was intended as a compliment, but either way it verified something Logan knew about himself. He had a criminal’s mind for survival, but he wasn’t a sociopath.
He still cared if innocent people got hurt from his scams, and that is why he was driving two hours out into the middle of nowhere at six in the damn morning on a Sunday!
 
As Logan took the exit off Interstate ten to connect with a state road running south-west toward the border, a black Chevy Tahoe exited with him a quarter of a mile back. Unbeknownst to Logan, last night after he went unconscious Otto requested a snoopy team to place a GPS beacon under the van. Unbeknownst to Otto and Victor, the two man snoopy team following Logan in the Tahoe were not standard issue F.B.I., but a group of cleaning contractors hired out special, off-book.
 
As Logan turned off the state road and crossed a cattle guard he rolled to a stop and double checked the GPS. There were no signs or mailboxes with an address. God he hoped he wasn’t lost. Who the hell would voluntarily want to live in the middle of a desert? He knew he was only around sixty miles from the Mexican border, which was the only reason he could come up with. After driving for ten minutes on a dirt road that snaked its way deep into the Chihuahuan desert he finally came to an old ranch style adobe house with some out buildings and a huge windmill that looked like they had been there since the days of Pancho Villa.
 
Before stepping out of the van Logan reached into the middle console, brass checked his Glock and clipped it into his front waistband. He then took a long pull from the fifth of Jamesons he always kept stashed in there. Opening his door he scanned the area and called out for any dogs. Twenty-five stitches in his right ass cheek and a rabies shot last year while on a divorce snoop was a painful reminder to be better safe than sorry when it came to dogs. Seeing and hearing the all quiet Logan stepped to the front door of the house and knocked. A latino woman in her late fifties answered the door with two small chihuahuas at her feet barking. Her face was leathery and cracked from working in the sun but her dark eyes were soft and gentle.
 
“Buenos dias senorita, my name is Logan Riggs, I’m a Private Investigator and I am looking for Sanchez, I am an amigo of his.” Logan said, smiling flashing his I.D.
The woman hushed the dogs and then stared at Logan like he was an annoying insect.
 
“I don’t know any Sanchez Mr. You got the wrong place.” the woman replied in perfect English.
 
As she started to close the door Logan put his hand up.
 
“Ma’am, please, can you look at this picture? Sanchez is the only name I know him by and it’s really important I talk to him.”
 
Logan produced a small tablet and showed her a picture he had snapped from the meeting.
 
“Aunt Marta, it’s OK, I know him. Thanks.” a man said standing behind her. It was Sanchez.
 
Sanchez walked outside and closed the door behind him.
 
He was a thirty something short and stocky latino with short black hair and rugged good looks. Logan noticed he had his duty issue Glock tucked in the small of his back.
 
He motioned for Logan to follow him out to one of the out buildings beside the house. Once out of earshot of the house, he spun around to face Logan, his eyes glaring like a wet hornet.
 
“Are you fucking crazy coming here! I told you once things cooled down I would get you your damn money! Did you make sure you were not followed? You’re not too fuckin’ bright are you?” Sanchez looked up the road, shading the sun with his hand.
 
“Yes I was careful. I’m a Private Investigator, remember?”
 
Sanchez laughed. “You’re a fuckin’ lush is what you are!”
 
Logan adjusted his sunglasses and ignored the insult. He could feel sweat beginning to bead on the back of his neck.
 
“That may be true but look, I’m not here about the money, I’m here to find out just what the hell you got yourself into. I thought it was about you helping the cartel smuggle drugs or guns but then I find out about twenty white guys? What the hell is going on?”
 
Sanchez cut his eyes up at Logan.
 
“How the fuck do you know about that? We didn’t discuss any details at the meet.”
 
Sanchez stood there mulling over the events of the past few days. Suddenly, a light bulb went off.
 
“No, no, no no! Tell me you didn’t give up the meet site! Please God! Tell me you didn’t do that!”
 
Logan stood there motionless, sweat beginning to drip from his forehead and roll down and pool in the small of his back.
 
“You think we could go inside and get a drink or something man? It’s hot as hell out here…”
 
In a flash Sanchez pulled out the Glock and placed it under Logan’s chin.
 
“Tell me what you did, you drunk bastard or I am gonna blow what is left of your brain’s out the top of your head.” Sanchez’s hands were rock steady and his eyes were as cold, dark and hollow as two pieces of coal.
 
“I gave it all up to the Texas Brigade. They got the whole thing on video!” Logan choked out the words in a hoarse whisper, his eyes wide and bloodshot.
 
Sanchez froze with his eyes wide. Slowly he removed the gun from under Logan’s chin and backed up.
“You did what? You gave it all over to who? The Texas Brigade? Those border guard militia nuts! Why?” Sanchez stood there with the gun by his side, looking lost and confused as a child.
 
“Seemed the right thing to do under the circumstances.” Logan replied, coughing up phlegm and then mopping the sweat from his brow with his forearm like he had just ran a sprint.
 
All the blood drained from Sanchez’ face as he stood there stunned.
 
“What was it all about Sanchez? Tell me. I mean I thought you were just another crooked border patrol cop working with the cartels to bring in dope but then I find out about all this other shit. What the hell is going on?”
 
Sanchez stood there shaking his head in disbelief, thinking about what to say.
 
“OK look two weeks before all this happened I was approached by some guy claiming to be internal affairs from D.C. He told me they had been watching me for some time and they knew I was working with the cartel. He showed me all kinds of video and audio surveillance from last year. He wasn’t lying. They had me dead to rights. But then he said if I was willing to cooperate with them and coordinate a job with the cartel they would wipe my slate clean.”
 
“What kind of job?” Logan asked, mopping his brow.
 
A look of despair came across his face.
 
“They wanted the cartel to help smuggle in twenty contractors from a camp down in South America somewhere.”
 
“Contractors? I don’t understand what you mean.” Logan replied, his face red and overheated.
 
“Private Military Contractors, Guns for hire, Mercenaries”
 
“Wait, you lost me man. Why would the government…”
“They were gonna kill my entire family if I didn’t do it man! Don’t you understand! They had me by the balls!” Sanchez yelled out with tears in his eyes, the despair in his voice reaching a crescendo.
 
While Logan searched his addled, alcoholic brain for some kind of response, suddenly the top half of Sanchez’ head exploded in front of him, showering him in a bright red spray of blood and skull fragments. Jumping back in shock Logan caught a glimmer in the distance and saw a man on one knee over two-hundred yards away with a suppressed scoped rifle pointed in his direction.
 
Logan darted to his right behind the shed for cover. Pulling the Glock from his waistband he hugged the wall of the building and waited. Sweat mixed with Sanchez’ blood and gore dripped down in his eyes, stinging and blinding him as he quickly tried to clear it away with the tail-end of his shirt the best he could.
 
A commotion behind the house. The back screen door flew open and aunt Marta and her two dogs came busting out, cursing in Spanish all the way. She had not made it ten yards when a man Logan had not seen yet calmy stepped out of the house with a suppressed sub-machine gun and with one long burst killed Marta in cold blood.
 
“Hey asshole!” Logan yelled.
 
The shooter quickly turned to address Logan but before he could bring his weapon to bear Logan shot him clean three times.
 
The man crumpled to the ground dead and Logan moved quietly over to the back of the house and took a knee, sticking the Glock back in his waistband, he reached down and picked up the small submachine gun, and an extra mag sticking out of the dead man’s vest pocket. A quick rummage through his other pockets yielded no I.D. but an iPhone with fingerprint security. Logan reached over and grabbed the dead guy’s hand, placing his finger on the sensor and unlocking the phone. He then scrolled to the settings and turned that security feature off. A quick scroll through the phone yielded some interesting things he would look at later. He then snapped a photo of dead asshole number one for posterity.
Logan’s head was pounding like a bastard as he quietly opened the screen door and stepped into a large utility room where he quickly ducked down and stayed under the sight line of the windows. Moving into the kitchen Logan crawled over to the pantry and did a quick search, after going through some drawers and a few shelves he finally found what he was looking for. Alcohol, in the form of a bottle of dark rum. He took two long pulls and almost immediately the sweating, headache and nausea subsided.
 
As he lay there on the kitchen floor catching his breath, a shadow of a man with a rifle moving across the kitchen window. Bingo. He rolled that direction, took a breath and in one motion stood up and emptied the gun’s magazine through the window. The sound of the breaking glass was louder than the report of the gun and the shooter was caught totally unaware as two dozen .45ACP flying ashtray hollow-points stitched him from groin to neck. Walking around to the broken window Logan studied the man with the scoped rifle. Same get-up as the other asshole. No I.D. but a locked iPhone, which he took and snapped a picture of dead asshole number two.
 
Logan then quietly cleared the house and waited for twenty minutes, listening. There was nothing left alive on this farm but him, the two dogs and the goats. He found that depressing as hell but shook it out of his mind as the low drone of a T.V. in the front living room caught his attention. Walking back to the pantry and grabbing the bottle of rum, he then walked down the hall and took a seat on the sofa, found the remote and turned the volume up. The excitement and fear in the female reporter’s voice was palpable. For some reason Logan noticed the time in the upper right hand corner of the screen. It was six minutes past nine in the morning on a Sunday.
 
“Folks, we are getting reports that there have been three, I say again, three active mass shootings in three different locations around the country! It appears they all took place around the same time. The first happened in Chinatown, San Francisco, where it has been reported six shooters with rifles engaged hapless crowds of shoppers and early reports coming back list the number of people killed at over two hundred with an unknown amount wounded.
 
The second shooting was at the oldest jewish synagogue in the nation, Shearith Israel in Manhattan, New York where it has been reported six shooters with rifles wantonly attacked an outside worship service and killed over three hundred people and wounded an undetermined number. And finally, at the largest Black Church in the United States, Greater Saint Stephen Full Gospel Church in New Orleans, eight shooters killed over three hundred people. At this time it is being reported all shooters have been killed by Police and SWAT teams. This is a fluid situation folks but judging from eye-witness accounts that all the shooters were white males and their choice of targets, there is no doubt this was a well organized racially motivated act of domestic terrorism.”
 
Logan stared at the T.V. dumbfounded. Six shooters in Chinatown plus six in Manhattan plus eight in New Orleans? That all added up to twenty white male shooters.
 
Somewhere in the deep, lonely places that Logan rarely went in his mind, Sanchez yelled out of the dark abyss:
 
“They were going to kill my entire family if I didn’t do it man!”
 
Logan felt the warm, thick spray of blood cover his face again and he shot up off the sofa clawing at his head like some deranged junkie. Looking around the room, he realized the score and then walked outside and vomited.
 
Knowing his van was burnt, Logan first made sure he could find the keys to the Toyota tercel in the garage and that it was running. After that he popped the van’s vin plate from the dash and removed the license plates. After moving it well away from the house he found a gas can from the shed and doused the van inside and out. When he set it on fire he had the distinct, uncomfortable feeling that he was burning his own house down. In a half drunken state he began mumbling the words to the old Talking Heads song “Burning down the House.”
 
“Thanks for always being there for me” Logan muttered as he turned away from the flames a part of him wondered if he was slowly losing his mind?
 
Backing up out of the garage he stopped for a minute and looked at the house. It was quiet except for the T.V. blaring inside and the fire crackling outside. He felt a sense of sadness about leaving Sanchez and Marta there even though he did not know them, but before his conscience could jab him any further he hammered the gas and headed east back to El Paso.
 
⭐️
 
Buzz was on his third cup of coffee in his office when he heard the special report on the TV News channel he kept on 24/7 at low volume in the war room.
Hearing the report, his head began to spin and his stomach got nauseous. He had been expecting something like this, something big, something terrible. But never in a million years did he think it was going to be this bad. His phone buzzed. It was Kyle.
 
“My God Buzz! Did you see the news! You were right! I can’t fuckin…” Buzz cut him off mid-sentence.
 
“Call every member on your Duty Sheet Now! It’s time to go to work!”
 
Buzz hung up and walked calmly to his office and got online to the Emergency Forum they had set up on a foreign server a couple years ago. He pulled out his phone and retrieved the multiple passwords to log on. In a span of a couple of minutes every member would receive a text and email notifying them of the situation. This combined with their Duty Call Sheet plan ensured everybody in the unit was notified to report.
 
Buzz then calmly walked to the armory and suited up, strapping on his IBA, he grabbed his AR from the rack, brass checked it and then double checked all eight mags in his chest rig. He then walked to the security room and rebooted all the outside cameras and did a quick scan of the perimeter. All clear except incoming member vehicles at the front gate. By the time he had made it back to his office three of his six company commanders had shown up, outfitted and ready to fight. The look on their faces was pure adrenaline mixed with fear.
“You each know what to do. Work your Duty Call Sheet and get your companies assembled and outfitted. Focus on Base Security lockdown procedures first and foremost. This is what we have trained for Gentleman. Make it happen.”
 
Buzz calmly walked in his office and shut the door behind him. He sat his rifle down on the desk and opened his laptop to streaming news. The body count was growing at each location. Every news outlet was already running with the government approved narrative bullshit. Three dollar buzz words like “white supremacist”, “white hate” and “white nationalist” had been thoroughly implanted in the national consciousness over the past couple of years so the story was sheeple friendly and easy to swallow.
 
“Organized team of white supremacist attack oldest jewish synagogue in the country!”
 
“Group of white supremacist terrorist attack largest black church in America!”
 
“Far-Right white nationalist militia members attack asian community in San Francisco!”
 
And there it was.
 
Not ten minutes had passed since the first news report and the marxist in D.C. were already going after the big bad militias! Lumping all of them together as “white supermacist” made it so much easier. Buzz laughed to himself because for the first time in a long time he had undeniable proof these gutless, motherless pigs were behind this massacre. Time to show the TRUE American people just what a bunch of corrupt, deceitful bastards their Government really was.
 
Buzz calmed himself and took some deep, cleansing breaths.
 
Change was in the air. But not before a fight.
 
Of that he could be certain.
 
Day 5 – Monday
 
Logan didn’t go home when he got into town. Instead he went to a truck stop and bought another burner phone and enough supplies for an extended stay and then rented a room with cash at a motel north of town with a disguise and a fake I.D. Stocking the mini-fridge with beer, he called his friend Louis Green who sometimes did contract house creeps for him. Louis had done time for Burglary and Grand Theft Auto but was overall a really nice guy. Logan told Louis to take an uber and run by his house and see if it was being watched and then told him to go by the company storage unit and retrieve a black samsonite suitcase with a padlock on it. Turning on the news, Logan was sickened to hear the body count totals. Over two-dozen people who had been seriously wounded had died. It seemed every major news channel had some kind of ‘Domestic Terrorist Expert” talking about how “militant white supremacist” had been pegged as one of the most dangerous groups by the F.B.I. for several years now and this attack proved those reports to be true.
 
“Horseshit!” Logan yelled at the top of his lungs cracking a beer open at three minutes past nine in the morning.
 
A knock on the door sent Logan scurrying to the peephole with Glock in hand.
 
“It’s Louis” a voice called from the other side of the door.
 
Logan quickly unlocked the deadbolt and chain and hurried him inside.
 
Louis lifted the suitcase up on the bed and then sat down next to it.
 
Louis was in his late thirties but had kept in shape. He had a compact stocky boxers frame with dark curly black hair and a ruddy, hard complexion. Logan always thought he resembled a muscular Jon Bernthal but Louis called bullshit even though he liked The Punisher.
 
“So, is anybody watching the house?” Logan asked, handing Louis a beer.
 
“Oh yeah. At least two cars, one down the street and one a street covering the back. Looks like feds to me. Government plates and those rear antennas are not hard to miss. Just what in the hell have you got yourself into now?” Louis asked, smiling, cracking open the beer and taking a long drink.
 
“It’s better if you don’t know the details right now.” Logan replied, taking out his wallet and handing Louis three one hundred dollar bills and a set of keys.
 
“I am gonna need you to get rid of that silver tercel I drove in. It’s parked over here on the left side of the building. Take it to your old car boosting buddy and get it crushed. I also need you to find out a piece of information for me. Tomorrow, go to a store and buy a prepaid phone and call me with the info, after that, trash the sim card and the phone, got it? Do not use the phone again, OK? It’s very important.”
 
Louis nodded. “I got it boss, trash the phone, no problem.”
 
After Logan explained in exact detail what he needed, Louis left and Logan unlocked the suitcase and began taking inventory of his “Oh shit bug out bag” he had packed a couple years ago.
 
Inside were two fake drivers licenses, his U.S. passport, a fake New Zealand and Greek passport, twenty-five thousand dollars in cash, a Sig p229 9mm with four mags and five hundred rounds of hollow point, a Yugo AK-47 Underfolder with six mags and six hundred rounds of FMJ. Medical supplies, quickclot bandages, survival gear, disguise supplies (hair dye, fake mustache, eyeglasses, etc.) a fifth of Jack Daniels, A fifth of Crown Royal, a fifth of Absolut vodka, a bottle of Bushmills single malt irish whiskey, a bottle of 100 Amoxicillin antibiotics, a bottle of 80mg Oxy’s plus adderall, percocets and xanax. A key to a 2018 Chevy Truck with a clean title parked at the El Paso Airport long term parking (which he pocketed) a safe deposit key which opened a box at a bank in Dallas, Texas with more cash and finally a little black book with the names and numbers of people across the country and in Europe who could get him anything and send or hide him anywhere for a price. Logan added the sub-machine gun and the two phones he took off the shooters at the goat farm to the suitcase, locked it and got another beer.
 
⭐️
 
The F.B.I. helicopter circled over the goat farm while a tactical team with dogs and ATV’s searched on the ground. Special Agent Colton Reynolds arrived on scene after taking a jet from Dallas. He was met and briefed by Sheriff Pete Teague whose deputies first responded for a welfare check when a relative could not reach Marta on the phone.
 
“So the total body count as it stands is one male and one female hispanic and two white males. We got ID’s on everybody including Agent Antonio Gilberto, Customs and Border Protection and his Aunt, Marta Gilberto. We are having some trouble finding anything on the two white males in the system. Too early to tell but field ballistics are looking like one of the white males killed Agent Gilberto with a rifle, the hispanic female was killed with what appears to be some type of pistol caliber automatic weapon, possibly a sub-machine gun we have not recovered yet.” Sheriff Teague took a long drink from a water bottle as Special Agent Reynolds surveyed the scene from behind his Ray-Ban’s.
 
“So who killed the two white males, do we know?” Reynolds asked, walking over to the side of the house where a forensics team had begun work on the body.
 
“Well, that’s where it gets a tad confusing. One of them was killed with a nine millimeter, the same caliber as Agent Gilberto’s sidearm we recovered by his body and one of them was killed with the same caliber of weapon as the hispanic female, forty-five ACP.” Sheriff Teague replied, adjusting his Stetson cowboy hat on his head.
 
“We got some decent footprints of a size ten and a half shoe from behind the shed over there and here behind the house that don’t match with any of our vics. We also lifted a bunch of prints off the door and inside the house that we have sent to your lab in Dallas. If you want my theory, I think one man with two weapons killed both of them.” Teague spoke with the confidence of a seasoned cop.
 
“What about vehicles?” Reynolds asked finally.
“We got the torched van out front with the vin and license plate removed. Early indications from forensics is that it is toasty and they won’t be able to pull anything. The 2016 silver Toyota Tercel belonging to the hispanic female is missing. We’ve issued an APB on it, and the black suburban we found parked a quarter mile from here is one big mystery. Vehicle itself was clean. Registration and Insurance were listed to some holding company in Aruba. We forwarded everything to your people in Dallas.
 
“Did you recover cell phones from any of the bodies? Reynolds asked, attempting to make his query as general as possible so as not to arouse suspicion.
 
“Nope, no cell phones.” Teague replied.
 
Reynolds surveyed the scene one last time, nodding approvingly and then turned around, smiled and extended his hand.
 
“Thank you Sheriff, you have done a great job here securing the scene for us, but we’ll take it from here. You don’t know how much we appreciate your professionalism in finding our missing Federal agent!”
 
A broad smile spread across the Sheriff’s face.
 
“Just wish we could have found him alive for you.” After Teague shook Reynolds hand he then pulled him in close and whispered:
 
“Say I know this is all Federal hush-hush but do you think all this is connected to them white supremacist killings? I heard some of my deputies talking.”
 
Reynolds glanced up at the helicopter circling above. He needed to choose his words very carefully with this cowboy.
 
“It’s way too early to start speculating Sheriff, but you have my word I will keep you in the loop.” Reynolds gave his best politician smile and then walked off to make a phone call.
 
“Yeah it’s bad but not terrible. Gilberto aka “Sanchez” is off the board. As far as the two dead cleaners we can lump them in with the other twenty, no problem. In fact it will help strengthen our “Massive White Supremacist Criminal Conspiracy” narrative and allow DOJ to use RICO to prosecute these militias. The only wild card is their damn phones are missing and we have to assume Riggs has them. Even though those phones are encrypted, Riggs may have tech contacts in the militia that can unlock them. Combine this with what Gilberto could have told Riggs about the operation and we got ourselves a serious fucking libaility in Logan Riggs.”
 
There was a long pause on the other end of the line.
 
“I don’t like loose ends, Reynolds. I don’t have to tell you that I am getting an enormous amount of pressure from the top about this. They want to roll into phase two soon, so clean this shit up NOW or I’ll find somebody who can. You got forty-eight hours.”
 
The line went dead and as Reynolds placed his phone back in his jacket pocket he thought about how he would kill himself if he could not find Logan Riggs soon.
 
Day 6 – Tuesday
 
Buzz Warden woke before sun up for his morning run around the perimeter. The last two days had been hectic but he had stayed focused and was proud of everybody for the way they had performed. He had eased lock down restrictions for married men but still kept a twelve on twelve off watch rotation with a minimum twenty-five man reaction force on standby.
 
As he made his second lap around the compound he reflected on the last forty-eight hour blur of events. Thanks to some inside men in key places Buzz was able to get the real scoop on what was happening without the media spin.
 
The total body count to date had reached horrific proportions: Eight hundred and twenty three innocent people murdered with another one hundred and fifteen still in critical condition but clinging to life. The crooks in D.C. had wasted no time rolling out their narrative: This was a racially motivated domestic terror attack spawned by white nationalist/supremacist militias and crazies across the country. And although there was no solid proof of this other than all twenty shooters being white, the conspiracy train had begun rolling full blast when the Government announced that the bodies of all twenty shooters had been cremated immediately due to concerns they were all contaminated with the delta variant of COVID.
 
“Biological warfare can take many forms, and after Sunday’s massacre, we cannot take any more chances.” a spokesman for the White House was quoted as saying.
 
It was laughable. This government allowed hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated illegals to cross the border daily without batting an eye but suddenly the bodies of the twenty men who had just committed the worst mass murder in American history were a COVID threat? Another convenient sidestep of justice made possible by one of the biggest lies and cover-up’s in human history: COVID.
 
Things were getting crazy and Buzz had to stay focused. The main issue now was the video. When Buzz finished his run he grabbed a shower and some breakfast and then called a meeting with Kyle. Before he could do that however, one of his men called him into the war room for a news report on the T.V.
 
“Check this out skipper, now that they got rid of the evidence, they can reveal their real agenda.”
 
Buzz turned up the volume on the T.V.
 
“This just in from the White House: The President has just announced three Executive orders to be signed today in lieu of the domestic terrorist massacres Sunday. First will be an all encompassing Assault Weapons Ban to go into effect immediately. Second will be a Federal mandate to abolish all State or private militias and Third will be a Racial Hate Crime Mandate making any type of Racial Hate Crime a First Degree Felony in every state.
The President went on to say that he has strong bi-partisan support in this matter being it applies to the National Security of the Country due to Domestic Racial Terrorism.”
 
“That bastard thinks he can just cancel the Second Amendment wholesale?” one of the men asked, watching from the back astonished.
 
“He doesn’t think he can, he KNOWS he can because he has helped manufacture the so called ‘Domestic Terror’ Crisis to make it happen.” Buzz replied, spitting in his cup. As he walked back into his office he found Kyle sitting in front of his desk.
 
“I guess you heard the latest?” Buzz asked, sitting his rifle down on the desk and taking a seat.
 
“Yeah, I cannot say I am surprised. They are moving awfully fast with this. What do you want to bet Marital law is next? It’s the only way they can consolidate their power and eliminate resistance quickly.” Kyle replied, his face calm and collected despite the excitement in the air.
 
“They’re coming for us with both barrels now Buzz.” Kyle said in a solemn tone.
 
“Yeah but before the bastards do that let’s drop a huge turd in the punch bowl, shall we? Run me through the logistics of getting this video online.” Buzz asked, smiling like the cat that ate the canary.
 
Kyle pulled out a tablet to reference his notes.
 
“Our best option to get it out there fast, secure and anonymously is Wiki-Leaks, no doubt. After that it will take on a life of its own on social media as you know. I can then contact a few people in the Patriot community that have good social media presence along with websites, blogs, YouTube channels, etc. to feed the ‘narrative fire’ so to speak.”
 
“How long until they can track the vid back to us?” Buzz asked, shifting in his chair.
 
“Historically that depends on the source. If the source is smart and stays quiet it can take years but that has rarely been the case in past incidents.”
 
“Speaking of which, what is the status of your source?” Buzz asked.
 
“I haven’t been able to reach him since Saturday. I only had one cell for him and it’s b