The backyard was not that big but it had most of a privacy fence still intact. Freya motioned for me to go first though the back door and I stepped out into the yard. She didn't follow me, instead she stood in the doorway, and watched four of them quit drawing a map in the sand and stand up. They did it sharply too.
I watched them watch her. No doubt about it, they responded that quickly because they feared her, not cause she was wearing a long white cotton dress, and from the way the sun illuminated her, nothing else. The next thing that struck me was how they were outfitted. My first thought was. "Damn. They look more like the feds then the feds do."
They were wearing khaki colored uniforms. Uniform meaning exactly that. They were all cut the same which meant there was a factory making these somewhere. They all had helmets, fed helmets in the same color, their webbing and vests were leather, and they were extremely well armed.
Once again all the equipment looked standardized. AK-74's, grenades that looked like German WW II ones but with a bigger can on the end, an M240 machine gun, the belts for it looked different though, and a Barrett! These guys were packing some weight. I doubted they had but if they walked here they probably hated my guts. Two of them had sledge hammers on their backs in sheaths like I carried Sword. These guys must have been doing a lot of city fighting before coming here.
I studied the men while she talked. It was a quick once over because she didn't say much. It was your basic, "Do right, die right, make me and your families proud. I am with you." Then she left. I grinned when she did.
They were not what I expected and I was glad. Everyone of the four in front of me, and what I could see of the two pulling security, were over 30 years old. Even more surprising was that two of them were officers and the rest were senior NCO's.
I looked closer, they were wearing black stripes under their eye's, I had insisted on that way back when. No one was going to be wearing sunglasses around me, I was surprised it had stuck. They had also kept the Crow badge that was given for killing a number of the enemy under difficult conditions. They all were heavily tattooed with intricate designs that probably meant something if you could read them.
They were staring back at me, most definitely taking my measure too. Like the lady had said, "The clock was ticking" and I was beginning to feel uneasy. Fuck the speeches and idle chit chat about what was happening back in the NordLand.
"I want two fire teams of three. We move in bursts. First squad on me. Second squad burn this house down." I didn't bother to see if they understood or would burn the house down. Freya was gone, of that I was sure of. The rest of that motley bunch would vacate when they smelled smoke.
People all over what was once America hated my guts and most of them did the hating from new places because I had burnt their town down. My rule had been if you helped the feds you paid. Then you paid some more.
I hit the gap in the fence running while simultaneously mentally saying, "Freya. Show me." Instead of Freya responding I got the voice of a young woman with an Asian accent who told me, "This is Northern Arizona Control One, stand by for immediate area feed. "Jesus, the fucking bitch is outsourcing?" went through my head but was quickly flushed by the imagery that followed. I stumbled and my vision blurred, the data flow was like a fire hose, "God damn it!" I yelled. "Simplify that shit now!" I heard a "Standby" and got my vision and balance back. Just in fucking time too.