Monday, April 26, 2010

American Apocalypse IV - Heartland - Chapter 3

He passed the binoculars to Ricky who took a look. He handed them back to Loco and said "Looks like a checkpoint of some sort."

Loco replied "Yeah. You see the flag?"

"Flag? Hand me them binoculars again." Loco passed them back to Ricky. "Yeah. Okay. I got it." He held the binoculars to me. I took them and scanned back and forth. Lucky the wind was blowing lightly. The flag unfurled enough in the breeze for me to get a glimpse of the device sewn to the white cloth. "Y'all see whats on that flag?" I was looking at Loco when I asked. "Not really. It ain't the star spangled banner. That's for sure." Ricky added. "Yeah. That's got to be something else." He laughed and said. "Maybe it's the local warlord."  I didn't laugh. "Yeah. Probably. I don't like the watchtower." There was a platform built on top of a two story building that had a lookout with a rifle on it. "That could be trouble" Ricky observed.  I agreed with him. "He does have a couple blind spots once you are inside of town." I pointed them out to them. They were trying to wall the main area in with dead cars. So far they had only managed a 100 foot section.  Half of that had been covered in dirt. Somewhat.  It did not look to impressive.

 I told them "Lets sit tight here. See what happens for a bit. Spend the night. Look at them again tomorrow. I want silence now until tomorrow. No cooking either." I told them the watch schedule and sat down and began cleaning and sharpening my weapons. I also had to figure out how we were going to do this.

The flag had a cross and something else emblazoned on the white field. It probably meant Christian milita types. I wanted to figure out some cool strategy to do this instead of just showing up. Something more military. Something more Max like. I couldn't think of anything other than show up and if it got weird, well, kill them all. I watched the village as darkness came upon us. I saw the light of a couple lanterns for awhile glowing through windows. Lantern light was different than real light from a light bulb. It glowed more than it illuminated. I shrugged, and thought to myself "I was what I was." I told myself "Tomorrow we would go down and say "Hello." After that it was see what happens." I got up, stretched , and went to relieve Ricky of the watch.


  1. I can't imagine that Max hasn't been sniper certified at some point in his career. One accurate rifle, even with iron sights, in the hands of an experienced user should be able to deny the 'fortress' their use of the tower watchman. Presuming, of course, that our heroes are going to do what I think they're going to do...

  2. I wonder about Freya's current capabilities.

    How far out from her location can she enlist birds to provide visual intelligence?

    From the bomb incident, there's evidence that her network apparently reaches out as far as Gardener's scout team.

    If that's true, it would seem that she could probably pull in news from 10 or 20 miles in front of the scout team.

    If this were true, almost nothing the scouts encounter would have to be a surprise if Freya were paying attention.

    Since she's a young goddess, maybe she doesn't realize she should do this. Maybe Gardener has to put 2 and 2 together and ask for this kind of help?

    Does Freya have access to only bird's visual input or could she make use of their other senses?

    If she could hear using a bird's hearing, would she be able to hear what humans in the open were saying? Would human speech register with a bird's auditory system or would a bird just be hearing and paying attention to the cheeps and cries of other birds? What would the auditory sensation be of listening from inside of a flock of birds? Wouldn't this make your head feel like it was exploding until you got the hang of it? Could she get her birds to pass along human speech sounds that she could interpret for herself?

    With her powers waxing, would this be something she might be delighted to discover that she could do? Will she be able to delegate some of this bird monitoring to her young teen assistants?

    If this kind of listening were possible, she would be able to send bird infiltrators to flit around in bushes near an outdoor conversation, and unobtrusively get interesting intel. Also could send them into airy buildings without attracting too much attention.

    This kind of thing would give the horde intel capability beyond what the Feds have with their spies in the skies. The Fed's can see what's going on in real time and can see farther because they are gazing from space or from stratospheric drones, but Max and Gardener could sometimes find out what opponents intend to do from Freya's interpretation of what her bird sleuths hear.

  3. I recently had an opportunity to trade a couple of film cameras for a Ruger Blackhawk in .45LC.

    The cameras were pretty nice, recently serviced, vintage 35mm and 120 roll film and came with a heavy box of good-quality accessories and a gallon sack of refrigerated film, so I wish the budding chemical photographer well. Retail might have been near a grand for the lot, but mostly a whole lotta nuthin' without a buyer for the past couple of years.

    When offered, I had to consider for only a second that guns appreciate and there is almost no market I can see for film cameras outside of collectors and a few artists who can't get their head around Photoshop and RAW image format.

    At a flea market this weekend, I picked up an 8.1MP Panasonic LUMIX camera in great shape for cheap. This is my first digi-cam with RAW capability (which sucks up card space). Found an 8GB SDHC card for $19.99 at Bi-mart and will be shooting cheaply for anther couple years.

    A tiny bit of web-search shows Ruger New Blackhawk to be a very-good pistol that can be safely carried with all-6 holes loaded. Consensus is that using ammunition suitable for Single Action Army .45 Long Colt will be a slight underload leading to very long useful lifespan of the Ruger. Cor-Bon makes some loads ONLY for Thompson Contender and Blackhawk that are bigger-faster-more but still guaranteed safe when used in the strong actions.

    Steve, thanks for putting this pistol on my radar screen. I can feel why Gardener appreciates it.


  4. Just an odd thought - does Gardner 'fan' the hammer on his single-action revolvers?


  5. pdxr13,Ruger will fit a .45 acp cylinder to that pistol for a very reasonable price which will allow you to shoot less expensive,more easily located ammo."Buffalo Bore" sells hunting loads for the blackhawk in .45 LC that are powerful enough to handle anything that lives on this continent,300 Grain hard cast SWC at 1200 FPS.If the trigger pull is heavy,consider Wolff Springs,Tom

  6. Just an odd thought - does Gardner 'fan' the hammer on his single-action revolvers?


    Ruger, in the user manual, specifically cautions against holding the trigger back and fanning the hammer. It is possible for the hammer to not go back all the way and the cylinder to not index completely to put the firing dimple on the next primer. Click, not bang. In worse guns, a mis-indexed cylinder might fire not-quite on the forcing cone. Sounds bad. If you lock the hammer back and release it with the trigger, the weapon will nearly always fire at and when you wish.

    You only get 6 shots (X-1 with old-style revolvers). Every one must be a hit. Reloading is slow without another weapon. I can only imagine an unaimed shot at very close range as quickly as the shooter can clear the holster and rotate the barrel up while cocking. Probably a hit at 2-5 paces, and super-fast if trained.

    Still wishing for a G34 to come my way used with a little holster wear.

    Since Blackhawk is SAO, trigger is pretty nice, even before stoning. Maybe, previous owner (1980 serial number) had work done?

    Thanks Tom.


  7. I'm assuming this guy's pistol is heavily modified (not to mention the gaudy gold-plated finish), but dang, he's fast.

  8. I think, based on what was seen earlier that the bird vision lacks perspective for humans. It takes awhile to get used to it. It is also black and white. Plus those darn birds get distracted by shiny objects and dead meat. Not always a great view then.

    Fanning? No. It is hard on a Ruger though they can be modified. I always thought it was kind of amateur. Clint never fanned.


    He is pretty good too.

    The guy you linked to his pretty famous. The guy on the book on the left was good too. The difference was he did it in real time with people trying to kill him. There was a small number of guys like Bill Jordan working LE back in the 20's and 30's. They were DA shooters. Bill, in his book, mentions using throwaway guns in case you screwed up and the guy was actually reaching for his wallet.

  10. Blickling,

    Yeah. More of a watchman than anything. I noticed in Europe that they built high skinny towers just to watch for Viking types. The entrances to the tower were like the Pueblo people in America. Dump the ladder and wait them out.

  11. Speaking of justice in the 30's - a couple of stories related to me from a man that was a prosecutor in Amarillo at that time and later became a Texas Supreme Court justice.

    1. A witness for the prosecution froze up on the stand and started to recant. The prosecutor called for a recess, took the witness into a hallway and proceeded to beat the crap out of him. When court resumed, he put the witness back on the stand, visibly bloodied, and asked, "Are you ready to tell the truth now?"

    2. If anyone was accused of rape, they almost never made it to trial. Instead, the family of the victim would pay the bail. The accused never showed up for trial after that. Officially, the accused was a fugitive, but the Sheriff never spent any time looking for him.

    The throw-away gun doesn't surprise me. Even today, you wonder what happens when the police are out of range of their patrol car cameras.

  12. D^2,

    Oh, I know a few stories. The problem is one bad cop can taint a lot of cases when he gets caught.

    About 3 months ago I was spent a week getting forensic training. The guy teaching us had just retired from Texas LE. He mentioned that they still get out the phone books. Using phone books to beat a confession out of someone is an old school way of getting someone to talk. No bruises.

  13. Just bought AA:1 on Kindle, and can't put it down. You've a new fan here, and a fellow NoVA resident.

    ST from west of the Bull Run.

  14. Anon,

    I thought about using Bull Run Mt. in the story...If you can ,,,write a review...It helps.

    Thanks for reading