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"The Ending Begins" -> (23 skipped) -> "The Ending Begins: Chapter 25" -> "The Ending Begins: Chapter 26"

The Ending Begins: Chapter 27  by OriginalSim
  All of the people – about three hundred of them – who lived in Tri Lando were summoned to the shop. Most of them brought any weapons they had, and a few workers were bringing out rifles and crossbows to stack for those who didn't personally own a weapon.
  Saunders called for order. “Okay, people. You all know what's going down. Those of you that have been drilling with the Militia are our 'front line' people, me included. We'll have the high powered rifles and will try to make these jokers think twice about getting any closer. I think we can do that, since our estimates show about seventy-five invaders.”
  George continued. “That could mean that they simply don't know that we are three hundred strong. It could also mean that they don't care – maybe they have superior training or better weapons or maybe,” his face came as close to a grimace as it could, “Maybe they have reinforcements we are not aware of.”
  I began to look around the shop some more – taking stock. My interest in ancient engineering always had included warfare, simply because mankind had always used engineering to attempt to overcome the odds of battle. If man were peaceful, we'd still have stone-tipped spears – merely to get food with. But when you put a bronze tip on a spear, you gain the advantage of a lighter, sharper weapon that is worth two or three stone spears. Likewise with iron versus bronze, chain mail versus leather armor and rocket propelled grenades versus rifles.
  I probably looked like a caged animal, staring at things and moving from pile to pile. Saunders was busy assembling the Militia and giving instructions, I didn't know or care where Emma was. However, George followed me over to the lawnmower pile.
  “You don't have to stay, Howard. I can show you where your supplies are and you could high-tail it out of here before the battle starts.”
  “George; after all you have done for me – saved my life, probably! I could not turn my back on you now. I am a student of history – engineering – ancient warfare. I am perfectly suited to come up with some military advantage for you now. All I need is time.”
  “Well, I can't promise you much of that. We'll do our best, though. Take anything you need, whether Emma approves or not.”
  I looked hard at his face. I though maybe I saw a cold look: as though he knew what Emma was really about. He must have picked up on that.
  “Emma hasn't been the same since her Uncle died. He came back from LA...”
  “Yeah. She told me.”
  “Well, Saunders believes she set us up for this attack. I don't know if I'd go that far myself.”
  “I know I'm the new guy, here, but I agree with Saunders.” I told him why.
  I almost regretted it, because his reaction was like a father that learns his favorite child is capable of unspeakable actions.
  “Then I guess I need to send someone to throw her in what we pass off as a jail cell. Let me know what you come up with.”
  Saunders figured that the attackers would get close before nightfall and camp out until the pre-dawn hours. He anticipated the attack to happen just at sunrise – when the sun would be at their backs and in our faces. There was a ridge about half a mile east of Tri Lando, beyond which was a wooded valley. He expected them to camp there and climb the ridge in the dark. The access path to us was a grassy, dry section between two marshy areas – a path directly to Tri Lando. It made sense to me. The path narrowed about 300 yards out from the edge of town, and I thought it the perfect area for my booby traps. I got Saunders and George and outlined my plan, requesting about five people to help me with another three as guards.
  It was late afternoon before I could assemble all the materials I needed. George had given me more than the five I requested and that made the difference. We found and drained the sulfuric acid out of a couple of batteries from lawnmowers and found some industrial drain cleaner that was mostly sulfuric acid. We put various amounts of the acid into glass bottles. I set others to various tasks – we built some wooden blocks with nails sticking out and sharpened the points and then covered the points in oil. I grabbed the two Claymore crossbows Emma had made, but instead of rocks, had them loaded with drinking glasses with some specially prepared dilute sulfuric acid. None of these items were particularly lethal: but in combination, it would slow down any army that cared to cross the path.
  When all was ready, we loaded up a cart and proceeded down the trail to start placing the traps. It was nearly sunset before we finished. I took advantage of the land, as I had read many ancient commanders did also. At the point where the path began to narrow, there was a natural slope. This slope became littered with the greased nail boards, covered in loose dirt with only the slightest hint of a nail point protruding. When someone stepped on these, the idea was that the loose earth would pack down, and their weight would drive the nails into their feet, or at least become embedded in the soles of their shoes and trip them up. It would slow them somewhat regardless. About 25 feet away from that, we set up the acid Claymore. This was simply a trip wire that would throw the acid up and out. Not truly lethal, unless the acid got into mouths or eyes; however it sure would burn like hell and again, slow them down so our snipers could thin out their ranks.
  The final trap was either going to do lots of damage, or dud out. You can dilute sulfuric acid with plain water. But the trick is to add the acid to the water. If you add the water to the acid, you get this wonderful exothermic reaction with lots of hot boiling acid sputtering around and some nice fumes, to boot. I found three glass casserole baking dishes, and filled them half way with acid. Into this was set one glass bottle each. In these glass bottles was a slurry of sugar water. A sharpshooter would be ready to pop the sugar water bottles, letting the water and sugar drop into the acid and doing its chemical magic. This would create a lot of fumes and some smoke, as the sulfuric acid boiled from the water and dehydrated the sugar. In the process, it would also produce a charred black chunk of stinky burnt sugar-carbon. Again, this wasn't going to kill anyone, but they would likely pee their pants and maybe suffer some fume damage. Meanwhile, our guns would be taking them out.
  Now all we had to do is wait. Sometimes that is the hardest part of all.
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  'The Ending Begins: Chapter 27' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: Feb. 21, 2008
Date published: Feb. 21, 2008
Comments: 0
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Word Count: 1376
Times Read: 496
Story Length: 10
Children Rank: 3.5/5.0 (4 votes)
Descendant Rank: 0.0/5.0 (38 votes)