Chapter 7 : The Finger of God

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Interstate 75, Laurel County, Kentucky. Contested Appalachia.

This was a spot as good as any for an ambush. I-75 cut through a canon about four miles northwest of East Bernstadt. The walls formed stone ridges on each side were about 20 feet high and impossible to climb. The distance from one side of the road to the other was about 125 feet.

On the south side of the road, the ridge sloped away toward Wood Creek Lake, so it would be impossible to flank them from the south. The north side of the ridge sloped down to Wood Creek, which would be the source of water for the men if the fighting went on for more than a couple of days. If the Gilead forces tried to flank them north along Route 25, the ambush team could pick up and move a half mile and set up the same ambush facing north.

Now came the hard part. The leadership cell of Travis, Captain Moore, Lieutenant Orr, Master Sergeant Cayhill, and Travis's Brother in law, Cole, needed to come up with a plan. Travis knew that he was nominally in charge, but he had no experience fighting tanks or armored personnel carriers - which was what was most likely what would come up I-75. So he let Captain Moore do his thing. He had to admit that the man knew what he was doing.

The Captain's first order of business was to inspect the road, the guardrails and the surrounding area for any "deadspace" or areas that couldn't be hit with direct fire. The deadspace was covered with sharp sticks that would hopefully impale any dismounted soldiers and at the least give others second thoughts about hiding there. Any vehicles coming down the road would get hit with rockets and hopefully create a blocked road and channelized kill zone filled with lead from the ambushers. This would only work once but when it was done, the road would be blocked unless the Sons of Jacob could move up heavy equipment and wreckers. If they tried that, the guardians would have to move burning vehicles off the road while under concentrated heavy fire. This would hopefully make them shit to Route 25, where Travis's men could then set up a second ambush.

Travis ordered Cole, Master Sergeant Cayhill and a small team of two men to hide near Route 25 to monitor their northern flank. Master Sergeant Cayhill would take two rockets and his radio. Ben Butler would ride his horse the half mile between their two positions if the radios failed. If they were flanked, it would take at least 20 minutes through the forest to get to Route 25 and the men needed as much warning as possible to prevent being overrun.

It was a solid plan. And now that the orders were issued, Captain Moore finally told the Owsley County Boys why they were so important.

Hill Air Force Base Dining Facility, Utah. USA.

Private Akers was shocked when he entered the mess hall. The rows of tables were covered in table cloths. Each table had baskets of bread and bowls of candy. There was even a civilian contractor by a freezer that looked like it contained ice cream.

"What the F?" Private Smith said.

"We are so screwed," Specialist Castro said.

Private Akers moved forward in the chow line and he got a glimpse of what they were serving - steak and shrimp.

"Heavenly Father, protect me." Private Akers said.

"Well," Private Smith said. "At least we know we're done training."

The whole battalion had been told to pack their gear for three days, drop their gear in the company area, report to the chow hall and leave their cell phones behind. They had even been frisked for phones by two smiling male and female master sergeants before going inside. Now Private Akers knew why they had frisked him for a phone as the 500 paratrooper-strong battalion filed into the dining facility.

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