Kidnapped Nation - Chap. 1
MedAir Series #6
Available in paperback and eBook
The moonless but starry night provided perfect cover as the dark SUV pulled up to the single metal bar that served as a gate to the facility. Streetlights were non-existent in this “neck of the woods.” Only the straying light from a passing vehicle’s headlamps had a chance of revealing the two men who emerged from the late model Ford Expedition, whose driver had used night vision goggles for the last mile.
“Got it,” said the younger of the two as he snapped the padlock with a pair of bolt cutters.
Together they swung open the gate. Then the older used his cell phone to broadcast a message to the group waiting for his word. He waved the driver through the gate and met him by the driver’s window.
“Go on up to the main building. You know what to look for, right?”
“Yessir. We’ll get ‘er done.”
“Good. Check it out and then start setting up.”
The SUV, lights still extinguished, crept along the narrow, paved road and disappeared around a bend, hidden by tall pines. The man returned to a spot near the entrance where he could see the road as it stretched out both north and south. He turned to the younger.
“Go ahead and close the gate. Stay close by. We need to move folks in as quickly as they get here. We have three hours before dawn.”
Over the next two hours a ragtag caravan, of sorts, arrived at staggered times. Each arrival was noted by a preset signal with the headlights. Only two cars passed by that did not belong.
The assortment of pickup trucks, SUVs, and older sedans would not have appeared out of place for this remote location. Even the generator in the bed of one pickup and the small fuel tanker were typical for the traffic expected along that rural highway. What would seem strange to the locals was the wide collection of states represented by the license plates on those vehicles. Besides the locals from Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were well represented, too. Even one vehicle from each of the Dakotas arrived.
The western states were under siege. These people, men and women, intended to get word of that siege out to the rest of the country . . . before it was too late.
As each vehicle moved into the area around the main building, a team of men removed those license plates. Only the plates of the Expedition and a Chevy Tahoe were left in place.
“Got ’em all?” asked the older man, as the last of the vehicles lost its obvious means of identifying the owner. “We expect they’ll be using drones to watch us within two days. Don’t want to make it easy for them to ID any of us.”
“We have them, except for yours and Adam’s.”
Their leader nodded. “That works. They’ll know who I am soon enough.”
They would indeed. The Feds who would soon descend upon this place already knew the name Simon Slattery. They didn’t yet know he’d left his ranch in Nevada to lead this protest over land seizures by the federal government, and to support two local ranchers whom the Bureau of Land Management had targeted and were now in jail on what Slattery saw as the latest in trumped up charges against private landowners.
He walked over to a small group of men talking around the camp lantern one of them had set on his lowered tailgate. He glanced from face to face and saw serious commitment. But then, he knew that about each of them. They’d already driven hundreds of miles to participate in what Slattery hoped would remain a peaceful protest. Should the Feds turn it otherwise, he also knew each man was willing to become a martyr for the cause.
Yet, he knew that saying you’d die for the cause was easy to say and not so easy to accept if you felt the burn of lead in your chest. He prayed that none of them would take on that level of engagement.
“Hanson, no rush, but take Brandy and secure the southern access road. Use that beat up Fairlane we nearly had to tow here to block the road and then take up a suitable observation location. You’ll have company sometime tomorrow I’m sure. The Feds will make sure they have eyes on that road.”
He turned to two of the others. “Buddy, you guys take that hay trailer and block the main road in. We need something we can move in and out of position easily, and that should work. And find two people to man the fire tower. Make sure they have binoculars. They need to be in place by the time the sun rises.” He paused and looked around. The lone security light over the main building illuminated the area well. Most of the people who had joined him that night took advantage of it to perform their initial tasks.
“Any of you guys see the electrician from Montana? Forget his name.”
“Helped him position the generator near the meter box. I think he joined Comer and Thompson. Looking for an active alarm system before someone accesses the building.”
Slattery nodded. He loved that these guys knew the plan and took the initiative. They made it that much easier for him.
“Good. We should be ready come morning.” He smiled. “BLM staff is in for one hell of a surprise.”
To most western landowners, their biggest enemy wasn’t some foreign-born terrorist allowed into the country by the politically-correct crowd in Washington. Their enemy had become Washington itself. Ranches that had been in their families for generations had become targets for the government, which used the Bureau of Land Management to push those families off their land under the guise of protecting the environment. The real goal wasn’t hard to see. The government elites wanted full control of the resources under those lands to pass on to their cronies in Big Business. The Edmond Ranch was the latest target . . . after the U.S. Geological Survey discovered oil, natural gas, and uranium in the valley.