POLAR VORTEX: SS: EIGHTEEN: FINAL

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
A column of terrorist Armored Personnel Carriers crosses the frozen St. Lawrence River and invades Canada.
A group of young Canadian men join with an older American man and some other characters to pursue and undo the work of the terrorists before a final face-off.

Submitted: January 31, 2017

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Submitted: January 31, 2017

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  POLAR VORTEX

A Short Story in Chapters

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Eighteen: Final

Everything Wade Stanwell predicted occurred. As a result of luring the APC column to a halt almost directly over the deepest part of the St. Lawrence River, the terrorist column found themselves stranded on the thinnest layer of ice.

Weight, RPG fire, dynamite, hand grenades, Glock bullets, shotgun blasts—all combined to summarily sink the APCs.

Snow, metal, and eventually ice filled the entire area in a lighted scene of winter horror as the banks of lights on the APC’s  shivered, shattered, and broke free, creating slanting surreal angles of illumination in the lowering snow.

The ragged remains of the snowplow sank more slowly than did the carriers. For a moment, the jagged hulk appeared to float in the freezing waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway channel before bobbing up on one end like the Titanic, then slowly bubbling its path beneath the surface and disappearing.

Ice cracks appeared immediately following the igniting of the bundles of dynamite on the surface of the snow-covered river. With extreme attention to detail under the harrowing conditions, all the snow-vehicle riders quickly enlarged the diameter of their circle surrounding the doomed column.

Drivers of the snowmobiles, four tracks, and a few snow buggies—including their passengers, watched a myriad of separations in the snow shoot toward them. Beneath every separation was a crack in the ice. Most of the cracks formed gaps, which then formed channels of open water.

Judge Lawson and Lieutenant Johnson decided that the Morristown contingent, along with half of the Brookvale volunteers would act as rescue teams.

Lieutenants Forbes and Johnson, with the aid of Sergeant Grimes, immediately understood Wade’s overall plan and assigned two more circles of vehicles to surround the APC column awaiting the certainty: that some personnel and their machines would be unable to escape the expanding hole in the ice created by the millions of cracks formed when the ice under the area of attack fractured.

After the first explosions, everyone carried out their assignment before rushing to assist those spilling into the river or already struggling in the water. Some battled the clutches of the currents. Shouts of confusion and alarm rarely rose beyond the roar of Thor.  

The second and third rings of resistance fighters immediately came to the rescue of those dropped into the St. Lawrence along with the APCs. Men and machines rushed to the edges of the broken ice to retrieve fallen comrades from the icy murk.

Wade required a good stiff pull from Harold to bring him out of the water. Twelve more vehicles fell into the huge cavity of death

A number of the several rescues proved to be dicey at the very least, while some were downright death-defying. Nonetheless, the knowledge of the primary ring of resistance fighters who were firing and tossing explosives to send the terrorists into the deep, understood that they would probably find themselves driving on, and then sinking into water. They prepared for their ordeal.

As soon as they saw a separation in the snow cover around the APCs, they prepared to abandon ship. Most rescues occurred near or at the edge of the widening hole of water. The less fortunate reached the edge of the ice only when resistance fighters stopped their machines to toss ropes or knotted clothing to those who found themselves several feet from the edge of the ice and safety.

The current carried a number to the south-west rim of the ice cavity where dozens of hands plucked them from certain death. Adele made the rounds of the waterlogged, shivering survivors, dispensing rum from a third—even a fourth bottle.

After ten minutes, all that remained of the battle was an immense, slowly-expanding chasm in the snow laden ice, a shrunken armada of snow vehicles, and all the resistance fighters; some thoroughly waterlogged, but all alive.

The resistance members gingerly avoided the spreading crevice as they sped toward the Brookvale shore carrying their soaked comrades, their joy, and the indelible images of the past half hour.

Judge Lawson personally demanded that the Morristown and Alexandria Bay contingents attend the raucous celebration at the Brookvale Emergency and Disaster building.There were four floors to accommodate all the resistance fighters as well as the Fire and Police Cadets not tagged for the first shift of skeleton crews to man the Brookvale Police and Firefighting forces.

Parents, siblings, and volunteers increased the number of guests to a serious party atmosphere. Laughter and tears broke out on all floors.

Lieutenant Commander William Noonan provided blankets, electric heaters, and steaming coffee. Adele produced more of her seemingly limitless supply of rum. In addition, Bill asked Andy to fetch the few bottles of Jim Beam squirreled away in a remote crevice of the basement.

Whoops of joy, huzzahs, yells, yahoos!,  and cries of relief bounced off and around the walls of the E&D building.

A version of VE or VJ day celebration erupted from every quarter. Only the sailor kissing the Nurse was absent. However, someone found the ‘party’ cabinet and immediately distributed streamers, confetti, and New Year’s horns to blow. The sounds of jubilation soon rose far above the decreasing shrieks of Thor.

Not until every person was inside the Emergency and Disaster building and enjoying the conviviality of this singular occasion, did it dawn on the resistance fighters that the terrorists’ phone detonator failed to activate.

The location of the commander and that of his detonator cell phone in the column could never be determined. Some believed he was in the huge snowplow, a leader leading his men. Others thought it more likely that he was in the first APC—or even the last one, being sure that all his machines and men were safe, in line, and prepared to run the last half of the river to their escape vehicles.

All agreed that the charges remained unexploded before the resistance made their stand; a very wise place to make a stand as it turned out; there on the tricky nature of the ice sheet covering the deepest part of the river housing the strongest current; the channel of the oceangoing ships using the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Most of the resistance fighters agreed that whenever the commander did figure out what was happening he did not have his phone—the phone—close to hand.

Perhaps it slipped somewhere when the plow lurched slightly to its sudden halt, allowing the second column of two APCs to fall in behind the first column.

Perhaps it was in a pocket of his winter clothing that he removed to enjoy the heat from the truck or APC heater. All suppositions sank to the bottom with the commander.
 

Wade and his gang fell upon the contents of the vending machines on Bill’s conference table. Anticipating the return of hungry resistance fighters, some very thoughtful souls brought substantial food items. Most of those awaiting the safe return of their family and friends, brought along dozens of bottles of  alcoholic beverages as well as a few of the non-alcoholic variety.

The insanely giddy crew of resistance fighters ate with vigor and drank with wanton disregard for most of the social graces, while they exchanged stories of their unique experiences on the frozen, snow-covered St, Lawrence while they were doing their bit to push back against the evil in the world.

After all the fighters were present or accounted for, Judge Lawson could not contain his enthusiasm for the exploits of his Magnificent Seven and their leader

“Here they are, ladies and gentlemen, the seven pillars of wisdom and creativity that not only were the first to alert us of the danger but also devised the plan to sink our enemies.” Rumbles of cheering, howling, and shouting rippled throughout the ranks on all four floors of the building.

“But before I bring them up to stand on the table and receive your thanks, I want to call up a remarkable man; a man who left his country; left the safety of his hearth and home—and especially his wife, Lenore—to cross the frozen river, braving the power of Thor, to alert the Police and Firefighters of the dangers concerning a suspicious column crossing the river to invade Canada. So, Harold, where are you?” Heads and bodies swiveled to seek out the intrepid Harold Stanton.

They found him on the second floor, chatting with some comrades in arms from his side of the river indigenous to Morristown and Alexandria Bay. All insisted that he go to the fourth floor to accept the honors from all.

With some reluctance, Harold Stanton once again entered the spotlight of heroism to receive another award for bravery: the unending appreciation of the entire Canadian nation for his actions.

Harold was appropriately modest and mentioned that he wished that his wife, Lenore, were there. Someone got her on a speakerphone where tears flowed through the line to her darling Harold while he assured her that he was fine—and would be home sometime before dawn. Everyone laughed but none louder than Lenore did. Harold said thank you several times amid the cheering of the fighters and their support groups.

When the clapping and roaring applause subsided, Judge Lawson called the names of his Magnificent Seven and the eighth man, their leader, to come up and stand on the table for all to see and applaud.

There they were: Finlay Camden, Johnny Saxon, Danny Lawson, Billy Brimsek, Colin Banner, Joel Siegel, Chip Meadows, and their leader, Wade Stanwell.

The young men were suitably both ecstatic and self-conscious. They wore smiles that lasted for weeks.

“These men,” stated Judge Lawson, “perceived a danger and did something—a lot—about it. Well done, men.” The Judge led the clapping and the cheers. Danny was sure he saw a tear in his father’s eye when he looked at his son. Danny’s smile broke onto a broad grin.

When the volume of the accolades for the young men subsided, a shout split through the crowd.

“Look; out the window.”

Everyone edged to the wall of glass facing south on each floor of the E&D building.

The full “moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow/gave a luster of midday to objects below”. Thor was through.

The white landscape stretched across the St. Lawrence, punctured by an immense black hole.

 

THE END


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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