They had been waiting inside the barn for all the occupants to exit the vehicles to become easy targets. When the SUVs started backing away they opened fire, filling the occupants and the engines with rounds. The engines died and the men inside were dying.
“FIREBIRD1 WE ARE TAKING HEAVY FIRE FROM THE BARN! EMPTY THE TUBES AND EMPTY THE RACKS INTO THE BARN,” I yelled into the aviation radio.
Axle James was the pilot of the Blackhawk. He was a marine UH 60 pilot for years, with thousands of combat hours in the Iraq war. He hated the goat humping bastards with a passion.
He had positioned the Blackhawk to make a pass down the side and rake it with the mini gun. Instead, he kicked it around enough to put two Stingers into the end of the barn and six more into the side. With that done the side was raked with the mini gun. There were two mini guns in the Blackhawk – one fired out each side door – each one fed with a rack that carried ten thousand rounds, firing up to six thousand rounds a minute. He emptied that rack into that side of the barn. Every foot was receiving dozens of rounds.
Axle flew past the barn then turned and put two more Stingers into the other end of the barn and the six remaining into the other side. A swooping turn brought the other mini gun to bear on what was left of the barn. With the racks and tubes empty, Axle landed the helicopter in the grass.
My group was outside of the SUV we were riding in, looking at the inferno that used to be a barn. Axle and his crew walked over to us.
“Well boss, that is all I got unless I empty my Glock into it,” Axle said.
“Looks like you had just enough. Do you have enough fuel to get back to Morton?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, no problem there. Do you need a hand or two before we leave? Or maybe a bag of marshmallows?” he asked looking at the fire.
“I forgot the marshmallows,” I replied. “Besides with all that ammo going off I doubt you could get close enough.”
“Probably just as well, they would have an odd taste to them,” he said as he started to walk away.
“Axle, make a circle and take pictures of this fiasco. I may need them later,” I said. “Also, keep them to yourself.”
By now dozens of ambulances, EMTs and Medevacs were arriving to care for the injured and dead.
I sent Anne and Andrew to use their phones to take pictures of everything, everyone and their position. I knew we were going to need them.
Fire companies were arriving to put out the barn fire.
“No, let it burn out,” I ordered. An order that pissed them off. It makes fire fighters mad not to be able to put water on a big fire.
My cell phone rang; it was the service manager at the dealership, “We think we have figured out a way to slow the truck down but not stop it.”
“No need to worry about it now – I blew it up ten minutes ago,” I replied as I ended the call.
I turned to Fred Creber, Eric’s DHS director Harrisburg office, “Get some of your healthy men and watch those four corner buildings to make sure no one comes out of them with a gun. When the fire cools down open them carefully. I don’t have to tell you that if there are tunnels to put a camera robot in them to check them out. If you are in doubt, get an excavator to dig up the tunnels.”
“By the way Fred, you’re going to have to come to Washington to explain the fubar tactics used in this raid,” I said.
Eric looked at me then the ground; he knew there had been a major mistake in the raid by his department. There would be hell to pay.
“Have you sent anyone to check out the box truck for anyone alive? All those bikes in the back have to be disarmed,” I asked Ben.
Then I reminded Eric that this place needs to be kept under guard until it gets an all clear.
“Eric, call your New Jersey and Ohio offices to send some agents here to do that. Tell them to pack for a couple days. You know the drill,” I said. “Call the state police to see if they will help, but I doubt they will.”
Eric and Ben both looked at me, finally Ben said, “I want to hear how you explain all this at the news conference and to the President.”
“Not me; you have the big boy pants on now. I will stand behind you, smile and look cute if that is possible. I just have to explain it to Congress and that will be after months of investigations and reports. By then they won’t really care and just go through the motions,” I said.
“I will help you write out the statement if you ask nicely,” I said.
Before he had chance to think, I asked “How many were injured and what is the number of dead?”
“Ten agents died, over thirty wounded – many critical. Every agency that participated lost someone,” Eric replied.
The media had given up on getting in by road and sent their news helicopters. They were in the air over the farm when the Blackhawk took off. All four Harrisburg stations were running live coverage.
It would take days to sort through the evidence here; there was no need of us staying for that. I had gone out of my way to destroy all the evidence I could.
The fire that I refused to let be put out should have been hot enough to melt any remains of the Stinger missiles. Not that it mattered with so many witnesses to their use, but the serial numbers were gone so our source was secure.
I let the fire burn to destroy any explosive materials, booby traps, gunpowder or anything else that could kill any investigators. Who knows what kind of goodies Jaed left to kill.
The Stingers clearly crossed the line about military equipment being used against civilians. It was not a gray area, or maybe it was; only time would tell. The agents were clearly being attacked in a well planned military style defensive and trained operation.
I might be able to convince the powers that be that the mini guns saved the day. There were twenty thousand casings and belt links on the ground in the path the Blackhawk flew while firing. The guns ejected the empties and links out the open door of the helicopter so as not to jam up the gun. There was certainly no way to hide them.
The decision was made to get the bomb squad to disarm the bikes. We would give them all we knew about the bikes when they arrived. We needed several in one piece to get convictions against the machine shop people. They arrived as the last ambulances left with the dead.
“Tell the bomb squad we need an immediate count on the bikes,” I said to the FBI agent walking towards them.
“Yes ma-am,” he replied.
I called our helicopter to come and pick us up.
The hard part was over, the horrible part was next. Mayors, police chiefs and directors needed to meet to put together a news conference. That was on hold until all the families of the dead had been notified.
The massive multimillion dollar command center from the FBI arrived; it was big enough for all of us leaders, chiefs and directors to sort things out and write up a statement.
It rose, unfolded, stretched, and extended in all shapes and fashions into a command center.
First up was the causality list with age, the department list and so on. Totally disappointing, tragic, unnecessary and there would be fallout.
Then the pecking order for the local news conference. While they sorted it out I thought about our dark web intelligence source. I knew it was gone – or was it?
Harrisburg DHS Director Ross was to be the lead spokesperson at the news conference.
I knuckled the table for quiet, “When questioned and you feel it is necessary to answer about how we discovered this terrorist plot, the unified answer is to be that there was a leak from within the group that was called into the terrorist tip line.”
“I will expand on that answer at the Washington news conference,” I added.
My State Department cell phone started ringing; it was the President.
“Good afternoon Mr. President, how are things in Washington?” trying to ease into the conversation.
“Mr. President, I am in the FBI command vehicle with the other directors, the systems here are picking up both sides of the conversations. I believe we are among friends, go ahead with the questions,” I said.
“Is the news coverage about the raid on the terrorists?” he asked.
“Yes, the video you are seeing is the raid,” I replied.
“Have you found all the bombs?” the President asked.
“I am waiting on a count now from the bomb squad to verify we have all the bombs – I should have it in a few minutes,” I replied.
“I believe the threat to be eliminated, although I would suggest we keep advanced security at the park for the events there,” I added.
“Were there any prisoners captured?”
“Yes there were a few prisoners taken. No one in the barn survived.”
“How many causalities were there?” he asked.
“We took heavy causalities,” then I read the numbers.
“Why were there so many?” the President asked.
“We anticipated some resistance but not a heavily armed military style resistance with a fortified and reinforced structure,” I replied.
“Where does the blame go for that?”
I watched faces tighten up all around the table to the question.
“On me sir. I take full responsibility for the number of causalities. No one else is to blame. I failed to properly analyze the challenge the SWAT teams were going to face and to involve myself in the final details of the raid on the structure,” I said.
“We will be leaving here in a few minutes – go ahead and schedule the news conference in two hours. You can cut my throat and feed me to the wolves – better known as the press corps then,” I said.
I saw no need to throw anyone under the bus here now, the investigations would tell all tales. The investigations would be more truthful and factual if no one thought they were going to be the fall guy for the fiasco.
“See you in two hours,” said the President.
The helicopter had just landed; it was time to go.
“Let’s go! The pack will be hungry and circling by the time we get there,”
“Get me numbers from the bomb squad, ASAP,” I said as my group stood to leave.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.