April 15, 2009 0600 hours
In the mountains of Oregon
As the sun began to peek over the mountains, casting a deep shadow across the camp, the first of the older "lumberjacks" as the older ones were called, began to rise.
Thorn was the Crew Chief, cook, as well as a chopper, a big man with 25 years of sawing trees behind him, his chest was nearly as big as some of the trees he fell. He was no doubt the strongest man in the camp, unchallenged, even at his age. The first wisps of grey beginning to trace their way through his otherwise dark hair. Soon, he had the bacon sizzling, the smoky maple odour wafting through the camp brought tire groans from the young ones. Thorn smiled, the "young ones" were strapping young men, strong and hard working. One of the best new crews Thorn had ever seen. "Lots of promise in that group" Thorn thought, as he poured some more pancake batter on the griddle. Soon Davis, the Camp Second, was looking over his morning coffee, which Thorn had made only 5 minutes before. Davis' hard grey eyes met Thorns, and with a quiet nod, silently reported to Thorn the events of the previous night were resolved and the men had settled down. All was well with the world.
Billy smelled the coffee before he smelled the bacon, and was stirring with the dream of a dark hot coffee to rid him of the chill he had spent the night with. He was afraid of nothing, after all, he was nearly as big as Thorn, His long dark brown hair matched his uncle's deep brown eyes. Billy's eyes had more a hazel colour, but they were as hard as steel. He knew hard work, growing up in the prairies of Alberta, Canada. He had been raised on a ranch, slugging feed to cattle at -25 c in 50kg bags. It made lugging a large chainsaw almost seem easy. He had to prove his strength, though, unlike his Uncle Thorn, with the other choppers. He gained nothing by being related to the boss.
Will was arising just as Billy went by, awakened by the fresh smell of breakfast. His flaming red hair often looked like a campfire, the way it rolled and billowed in the wind. Will rarely let it loose, though, as his pale white skin would not allow him to work without a broad rimmed hat. His hunger caused his stomach to growl, and a chill to go down his spine. He was not going to be the first to mention the events of the previous night. He would not show his fear to the others in the crew.
Before long, the entire crew, 12 men, were gathered around the table, though despite the great food, they were unusually quiet. All were thinking about the noises in the trees last night, and those footprints, those huge footprints.To break the silence, Davis cleared his throat and with a mouth half full, began to lay out the area that needed to be worked by the end of the day. A chopper with supplies was due that evening, and a landing zone would need be cut out of the forest before anyone ate supper. Plus the regular cut line would need to be chopped, and that before the LZ. If it wasnt done, the helo didn't park, and there was no breakfast tomorrow. As the men cleaned off their plates, and stood to prepare for the day, the sun was just clearing the meadow.
April 15, 2009 0700
In the mountains of Montana
The young commander, this his first field assignment, was anxious that the raid be successful. They were all stationed out of the Portland office, but the distance from their base did not bother him. His strong jaw, and blonde hair gave him the look of Thor, the thunder God. Lt Phillip Crimmon was at the top of his game, his training and perserverance made him confident. His men often joked that he should be carrying a hammer, not an M-16. He had been a member of the elite ATF field team only 2 years before, when he was promptly put into a leadership program, and fast tracked to commander. At 24, he was the youngest commander in the western region, maybe in the entire U.S. his 2IC, Agent Tilley, was a devoted and dedicated man of integrity. Agent Tilley never spoke a word that he didn't move Heaven and Hell to keep, and that made him a fierce and forceful friend, or foe. Phillip noticed Tilley inching his way over just as he brought his focus back on the task at hand. They had been staking out this site for 2 days, documenting any evidence they could, through the lenses of the 20 mega pixel cameras the CIA had lent them. Johan, the newest agent, smart, and professional, was manning the left camera, while Tim, the oldest agent on the squad, was viewing his world through the camera on the right.
Johan was thinking about the amazing clarity, even when zoomed in at its maximum 25X digital zoom, when he heard the single chirp through his headset. No word was spoken, but he knew that the men in the compound below would be starting to stir, the roasted smell of high quality Colombian coffee, and fine Cuban cigars would soon fill the air. He pointed his camera into position, ready to see who and what came to breakfast. Tim's tap on the radio transmitter had brought him to focus just in time, as the "Minister",as he called himself, sat at the head of the table, an AK47 strapped to his back. Soon the table began to fill, although Johan's view was limited to 2 men on one side, and 3 men on the other.
Tim looked through his camera again, and gently patted the M40 rifle beside him. Having the sharpest vision, and the calmest hands, coupled with thousands of rounds put through the rifle, made him a deadly sniper. The marines had trained him how to shoot it, but he had nearly perfected the mastery of it, having recently made his 50th kill in 50 shots. He was quietly excited to get on this team, as the prospect of improving his record loomed ever closer.
Julia, the only woman on the team, was a beautiful brunette, shapely and in shape, she was a handful and a mouthful to handle. Considering herself every inch an equal to the male members of the team, they respected her for her skills. Her hand to hand and close quarter skills were as finely tuned as her antique Colt 1911a1. Her father had used that pistol during the Korean war, and she still field stipped and cleaned it every night. If the perps were lucky, Tim would put one between their eyes before Julia could get in close.
The remaining members of the ATF's primary response team, a 12 person team, were just as patient and still as the cool moist grass, anxious, but patiently awaiting the sun creeping across the meadow.
April 15, 2009 0730
In the mountains of Oregon
The work had commenced, Thorn in the lead, was laying down logs, like they were butter. He was the first to notice the unusual calm of the forest. It was as if the birds and insects had left for warmer climates. He knew they hadn't, so he worked guardedly, keeping an eye on his crew. Davis was bringing up the rear, with the loader, picking up the fallen timber.
In the mountains of Montana
The first sentry of the day stepped out of the building, sweeping the area for bogeys. The ATF Team was well out of sight, being over 200 yards away and into the forest, beyond the view of the sharpest sentry. Silently waiting for the signal from Crimmon, the forest was unusually calm. The sentry was soon joined by 3 more, all armed to the teeth. All were completely unaware of what was about to be unleashed upon them.