Monday, February 3, 2020

Invested (fiction)

Quinn Spackle’s apathy evaporated as he listened to the reports of attacks on Howell and Livingston County.

Not only did Quinn not feel any loyalty toward Livingston County, he had a active hatred toward them. It was a Livingston County bullet that had shattered his left ankle.

But the reality of the situation was that Livingston County was the lifeboat he was currently sailing in. His animus toward Livingston County would not deflect an attacker’s bullet when his warehouse was raided.

A competent defense of the warehouse would greatly improve the odds of his surviving the attack and increase the odds of his new unit, The-Aisle-of-Misfit-Toys, surviving. Quinn could not afford the luxury of allowing his personal feelings to pollute his professionalism. At least, not yet.

Other units dubbed the Warehouse unit the SLL unit, the Sick, Lame and Lazy. Quinn had enough confidence in his leadership ability to believe that he could “Motivate” the Lazy. Quinn knew from experience that even the sick and the lame can aim a rifle and pull a trigger.

After pulling his head out of his backside, Quinn reviewed the tactical situation and found it lacking.

Very lacking.

The scope of the mission was defined in GPS coordinates. The coordinates were square-to-grid and ended in the middle of parking lots and roads and grassy fields. They did not comprehend elevation, buildings or vegetation. In other words, the basic premise of the orders doomed them to failure.

Even if the unit fell back to the warehouse-proper, the mission was only marginally viable.

Quinn knew enough about the bureaucratic mind to not consult with “upper”. He just did it.

The only option was to expand the perimeter until it included defensible features. By the time Quinn completed his multi-night surveys, he had mentally increased the area of the footprint to more than ten times what the paperwork specified.

Lucky for Quinn, the suburban landscapers east of the warehouse had been in love with berms. There were several berms that were within 300 yards of the warehouse. Because of the high price of property, the berms were tall and narrow.

Other approaches were less favorable for defense. South of the warehouse, along I-96, for instance, he had to push salients almost 500 yards east and west to put fighters on the outside of curves where they could look up-and-down straight-aways. Invaders from the east and west would be presented enfilade. Infiltrators from the south would be presented defilade.

Once Quinn had a solid plan, he took Urdey Richardson and Timmy Scappazo for a walk-through of what he intended to do. Urdey (short for Richard) and Timmy were the squad’s opinion-leaders.

Quinn kept them after their normal shift so he could show them his thinking in the light of day. They were not pleased.

Quinn walked them out to one of the buildings south of the warehouse. The building was about one-hundred fifty yards from the loading dock.

“What are we doing out here?” Urdey asked. “This is outside our swim lane.”

“How would you defend the warehouse if this building was taken over by hostiles?” Quinn asked.

“Don’t matter” Urdey said. “Not in our swim lane.”

“It will matter when they are shooting at you. It will matter they are shooting at your buddies or at me” Quinn said.

Timmy decided to play along. “We would pick up our guns and shoot the hell out of them.”

Quinn said. “Not if you are in the hooch jacking-off.”

“Well, then the fighters in the warehouse would kick their ass” Timmy said.

“So how is that going to happen? Is everybody in the warehouse going to come out the man-door in single fire. Then they are dead bang-bang-bang”  Quinn said.

“No, we would raise one of the overhead door.” Timmy objected. He didn't like that Quinn was obviously one step ahead of him.

“OK, I will give you that. How long does it take for the overhead to lift up four feet?” Quinn asked

The choice of "four feet" was a cheap shot. Timmy was 4'-7" tall in his shoes. He had been a ferocious divorce attorney and found that he had no friends when it counted. Being so short, it was only natural that he ended up in the aisle-of-misfit-toys.

“I dunno” Timmy said irritably. He was tired and didn’t see where this was going. “Maybe a coupla seconds.”

“Actually, it goes up one foot a second, so it takes four seconds before the first fighters responding from the warehouse can start shooting at hostiles in this building” Quinn said.

“Do you suppose the hostiles will be gentlemen and wait before shooting or do you suppose they will be shooting you in the knees, legs and belly while you are waiting for the door to get up? Hell, the door is thin sheet metal. They can shoot through it once they know where you are.”

Quinn pushed the point relentlessly. He had a clear vision of what could happen. He had seen first-hand. He had seen it happen in real-time. He also had a plan, a plan that was crystal-clear.

“Well, boss, what would you have us do?” Urdey asked, pragmatically.

“Screw the lines on the paper. We patrol a perimeter that gives us at the maximum advantage” Quinn said.

Then Quinn walked them through the other changes that had to be made.

The other troops were a harder nut to crack. They saw no reason to stop smoking weed and leave the warm “hooch”. Quinn threw them a bone.

Since the primary reason for expanding to include those buildings was to deny them to hostiles, Quinn made a concession. One-in-five fighters patrolling could be on stand-by at any time and they could be in the buildings. No booze. No weed. No hookers. No bright lights.

That is about when Quinn’s dog found him.

Being an NCO, none of his men commented when Quinn started showing up with a Doberman-cross at his side. Speaking privately, the men were glad they “Dobie” was on their side. Dobie’s mottled, dark gray coat made him impossible to see at night and few things are feared more viscerally than an invisible dog that is large enough to rip out your throat.


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