Bert fired the flare at the parking lot from the roof of the Hall-of-Justice. The flare fell short. He loaded the next one in. He had been given a total of five.
Pointing the pistol with significantly more upward tilt to the barrel, the second flare was caught by the wind and carried well inside the area wet with diesel.
The diesel immediately caught fire and the fire started to spread.
Bert had no need for the other three, but loaded and fired them into the other regions of the wetted area.
Even the dimmest of "guards" could see what was happening and there was a mad dash toward the vehicles in a belated attempt to move them out of the path of the flames.
From Bert's vantage point, they didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting many of the vehicles out of harm's way. In fact, it looked like many of the drivers were about to be engulfed in the flames as they attempted to maneuver their cars in the chaotic parking lot.
After watching the trailer explode and the fire-ball start to lift into a fiery mushroom cloud, Bjorn scuttled to the south. He crossed Ottawa and then hooked around the house on the southeast corner of Ottawa and Lahoma.
Brad and Johnny followed close behind.
Bjorn went down on one knee when he decided he was the optimum distance from the van. The heat from the fireball was still hot on their right cheeks.
Johnny went behind Bjorn and continued past him. Brad hooked toward the street and covered the “back door”. Brad and Johnny were Bjorn’s eyes, ears and guns while he was focused on taking out the van.
Bjorn had been reloading the tube as he jogged downrange. He had carefully indexed the round so it went trigger-side down. Just before shouldering and aiming, Bjorn gave the round a tug to ensure it was firmly seated in position. One of the few ways to screw up the launch was to not have the round fully seated and to get a light primer-strike.
The side door of the van was just beginning to slide open as the RPG, high-explosive round penetrated the back of the van.
The explosion extruded Schroom's corpulent body through the narrow gap and hurled it into the trunk of a shade tree on the other side of the street.
A tiny shard of shrapnel, flight curving like a boomerang's penetrated the sidewall of the van’s front tire. The lips of the cut produced a shrill, quavering shriek as the air escaped.
Brad saw Johnny making the Sign of the Cross. Brad knew that Folgio was a devout Catholic but it seem strange.
You can kick a hornet’s nest once and not get stung. You might even be able to kick it twice but you sure need to be getting out of Dodge if you don't want to get tagged by stingers.
Johnny dropped one of the guards in black who seemed to recovering. Brad tapped two more.
Bjorn pitched the launcher onto a porch where it would not be found until morning. No point in making it easy for the bad-guys to find. Bjorn double-checked the safety of his own weapon.
Johnny said “Follow me!” and then the team rapidly moved south past the exploded van and disoriented and bleeding guards and away from the burning trailer.
Ethan, Schroom's point-man on the ground, for all of his character defects, was an exceptionally capable commander in the field.
Unable to get a response from Schroom, he transmitted anyway. Sometimes the one end cannot transmit but can receive. “We are getting the shit kicked out of us by the water-cannons. Tell Colton to take out the water cannons. Repeat, direct Colton to take out the water cannons.”
Ethan considered Scroom a “total spaz” and control-freak. Scroom had insisted that all communication funnel through her so no detail of the battle would escape her. As a person who believed that controlling the message was more important than optimum results, she intended to use the time and information to spin the story to her maximum advantage.
Unable to get feedback from Scroom, Ethan focused on controlling those events and resources that were under his control.
He directed his rock-chuckers to focus on the cannons. They could not see exactly where the cannons were due to the blinding lights, but they could make educated guesses based on the jets of water.
Looking around and not seeing any rioters throwing Molotov Cocktails, he started grabbing the porters pulling the wagons and directed them to move toward the barrier and start pitching the incendiary devices rather than returning for more.
The men operating the water cannons immediately noticed the increased number of incoming chunks of concrete. One was beaned and rendered totally in-op. Another was hit in the knee.
A third was grazed by a chunk of concrete and said “Fuck this!” and stopped washing the rioters off the fence and tangle-foot. Sighting an orange ball-chucker sending missiles flying from deep in the crowd, the operator used his water cannon to drill through the the people standing between him and the concrete chucker.
After he blasted his way through the intervening crowd, the operator was not content to simply knock the chucker down. He battered and washed him a good fifty feet down the road.
Then he started looking for more chuckers.
Alex saw what the operator was doing. Going over to the other, 100% effective water cannon, Alex directed him to do the same.
Then Alex found the back-up operator for the water-cannon whose operator was knocked out and put him into action.
Two water-cannons were peeling demonstrators off the fence and tangle-foot. Two were reaching out and knocking the snot out of the concrete chuckers.
It occurred to the men using the water cannon to strip the bodies off the fence and tangle-foot that it was exactly like using a pressure washer to clean the scum off a wooden deck before seal-coating it.
New barbed-wire is incredibly sharp. The points are long and the edges are scalpel-sharp.
The people who had been unable to lift themselves off the tangle-foot because they were stuck on the barbs were forcibly lifted and ripped off by the jet of water from the cannon.
The barbs ripped the full, frontal length of the demonstrators as they were hurled backwards.
With a combined flow-rate of two-thousand gallons a minute, it was not going to take long to drench the riotors. The concentrated soap in the fertilizer injectors lent meaning to Lather, Rinse, Repeat.