|Image from NBC
The mob was lobbing chunks of concrete at the defenders from beyond fifty yards.
Alex picked up a chunk that had bounced off the front of the house behind him and spun to a stop in front of him.
Hefting the chunk he was impressed by the uniformity. It wasn’t a random chunk of broken cement. Somebody had gotten in the business of manufacturing purpose-specific missiles from concrete.
Based on the distance and the high, arcing trajectory, Alex guessed they were using ball-chuckers to lob them in.
Alex worked his way around the defenders, settling their nerves. He reminded a few of the defenders to put on their hard-hats. Getting hit with a chunk of concrete would still ring-their-bell but it would save them from some messy lacerations.
The plan was to open up the can of kick-ass after the rioters threw the first volley of Molotov Cocktails.
The rioters could preempt that plan if they inflicted too much damage with the concrete or if they rushed Spencer Avenue too soon.
Alex had two nightmares. One was the rioters breaching the defenses. The other was that his forces would be goaded into the use of deadly-force before there was indisputable, video evidence that the rioters had initiated the escalation.
Alex had his best defender, Bob Wire, tasked with preventing the first nightmare. The defenders had erected an eight strand, six-foot tall fence of high-tensile barbed-wire (Bob Wire) anchored by shade-trees. And installations of tangle-foot in front of and behind the eight-strand fence.
The barriers were laid out in a shallow “W” with the ends lag-bolted to buildings and the bottoms funneling to the centers of Ottawa and Forbes streets.
Alex opted for the shallow “W” because it offered the best combination of firing opportunities for the defenders while minimizing blue-on-blue risks.
Alex countermeasured the second nightmare with soft-skills. He projected leadership.
He never ceased moving among the defenders. Circulating smoothly from one defender to the next, pausing for just a second or two with each one. “Do you need anything?” A quick look at each fighter’s space to ensure no trip-hazards had materialized. A reminder to let any Molotov Coctails to burn out should any land nearby.
Alex projected the calm of a football coach who had won a dozen titles. His men and women might be playing their first game but Alex walked the ground like he had been to the "big stadium" a hundred times.
He was very glad nobody could see how the waiting had knotted up his guts.
God bless military training. They taught “Leadership”.
Another volley of missiles came in.
Alex heard breaking glass but there were no flames.
Then Alex smelled gasoline. Shit...the attackers were going to soak them with gas before sending the first ones that were lit…
Brad heard arguing over by the trailer that was unloading munitions.
Brad tipped his head up enough so he could peak through his eyebrows to see what was going down.
People are recognizable because of their silhouettes and because of their faces...primarily their eyes.
Change your silhouette by kneeling and hide your face and you stop looking like a human.
One of the men unloading the trailer was arguing with a man dressed in dark. The unloader was bitching that none of the men in black were helping.
Brad could not hear what the man-in-black said in response, but Brad started to pick out several more men in black clustered around the van that was parked ahead of the trailer.
Brad could not see the antennas. They were too small and the night was too dark. But he could still see six people dedicated to guarding the van...not the munitions trailer.
Brad nudged Bjorn who was the farthest from the targets. “I have a new primary target for you.” in a very, very low voice
Bjorn looked sideways, over at Brad.
“Dark van parked ahead of the trailer” Brad said.
Bjorn gave a barely perceptible nod. Then all three men went back to being shrubbery.
Inside the van, Michelle Schroom was having a melt down.
Ironically, most micro-managers vastly overestimate their ability to multi-task and to manage multiple details.
Schroom was a classic case. She was unaware of her shortcomings, partially because her firm had a team to managing controlling the carnage she left in her wake.
Schroom was “brittle”. She dealt with frustrations by turning off the sources she found most annoying. That is why her phone was turned off. That is why she was unaware that her plans had blown up.
She hurled the handheld radio across the inside of the van.
“Well, fuck him.”
Schroom was furious with Colton and his superiority complex.
“Well, fuck him. I never needed him anyway.” Schroom said to nobody in particular.
Schroom called her field-man embedded with the rioters. “Light them up”