Friday, April 20, 2018

Installment 3.5

Night of Fire, continued


At midnight, somewhere north of Kettleman City on Highway 5 a Cali Bureau of Investigation trooper approached a utility truck parked well off the freeway.  The boom on the truck was augering an 8” hole deep into the ground.

The trooper asked, “What is going on?”

The “foreman”, thinking quickly, said “We had reports of a natural gas leak.  As you know, natural gas is fifty times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.  Our boss sent us out here to find the leak and fix it.”

The officer nodded sagely and asked if they needed any traffic control.

The “foreman” looked up and down the deserted stretch of freeway and said, “Nope, I think we have this handled.  We are quite a way off the pavement and the traffic is pretty light.  I think we are good to go.”

The CBI trooper continued on his way.

The truck continued boring for another twenty minutes before it reached the specified depth.  Two hundred pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil explosive were packed into the bottom of the hole and the next six feet of hole were packed with soil.  The “foreman” set the redundant triggering devices to detonate in two hours.  One explosion was going to deprive Northern California of 90% of its natural gas, thus making it impossible for emergency generators to kick on.

***

Heavily laden trucks entered several petroleum storage depots in the Bay area.   Tanks had already been assessed remotely.  Infrared cameras were used to determine the liquid level in each tank.

Teams broke up and set explosives low on the sides of the tanks facing inward and set them high on the outward sides.  It takes a long time for a tank to drain, even if you blow a 30” hole in the side of the tank.  The goal was to overwhelm the Cali emergency response plans.

Completely outside of the Cartel war council’s plans, Longshoremen and Mechanics gained entry to various warehouses and depots across the northern part of the state.  They had gotten wind of part of the plan and were determined to strike back.
The warehouses and depots contained millions, nay, tens of millions of new tires. 

The Longshoremen’s and Mechanic’s efforts at sabotage were clownishly ineffective and would have been quickly squashed except for the fact that enormous fires were breaking out on the other side of town.  The diesel oil pouring out of the 30” holes had ignited and hundreds of acres of property were burning.  It takes a long time for ten gallons of gas to set fire to a million tires, but nobody had time to attend to the alarms that were going off.

Another distraction for the first responders were the mortar rounds that dropped into the transformer yards in the Bay area.  The transformers were armored against ground tremors but were not armored against high-explosive bursts 8’ above ground.  Fragile electronic parts burst and millions of volts arced.  Oil spilled and ignited.

By morning, the smoke plumes could be seen from seventy miles away.

Next Installment

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