Darkness Creeps Forth

By Brian Greiner

Thriller, Action & adventure, Crime & mystery

Paperback, eBook

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564
3 mins

Chapter-1 - The Sword Descends

The Doll S7H heavy equipment trailer rumbled heavily down Highway 401. Its load was carefully obscured with padding to disguise the shape, and with tarps to protect it during transport. Nothing, however, could disguise the HET but it looked similar enough to normal low-slung transports that it would not excite any interest to any but the most discerning observer.
Secrecy was the watchword for this trip. It began at CFB Petawawa and was to end at a heavy equipment shop in Quebec. The route was not the most direct of routes, but that, too, was part of the security plan. Designed by experts and approved at the highest levels, the plan for transportation of the cargo was considered flawless. It was vital that security be perfect, to avoid any political fallout. The Minister of Defense herself was adamant that no protest groups learn of the cargo much less the route.
The cargo in question was an enhanced 2A6M Leopard tank. An excellent tank, proven in battle, it was en route from testing by the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Rightly or wrongly, the tank had become a symbol for wasteful military spending by a government committed to overspending on big-ticket military items. With the purchase of a new fighter aircraft to replace the aging CF-18 bogged down with years of infighting and accusations of corruption, and the navy ship program grinding to a halt due to incompetent management, the Leopard tank upgrade program was the latest big-ticket item to come to public attention. To buy votes in Quebec, the government had ignored qualified firms in Western and Central Canada to give the upgrade order to an inexperienced firm in Quebec. Protesters of all stripes, from anti-war activists to budget waste protesters to anti-Quebec protesters to people just fed up with the whole venal collection of toadies and self-serving mercenaries in Ottawa, had zoomed in on this latest scandal-ridden boondoggle for all sorts of reasons. Oh, and national security played a small role in the security concerns, but only to the professionals. The politicians and bureaucrats were only worried about the protesters and political spin. Because of the overwhelming need not to draw attention to the trip the HET traveled alone with no escort, in the wee hours of the early morning to avoid traffic.
As the HET approached Highway 427, it suddenly signaled a lane change. It continued changing lanes until it was heading south on the 427. Surprisingly, this did not elicit any comment from Security Control who was monitoring the progress of the HET via a wireless communications link from the on-board GPS. This was, perhaps, not so surprising since the GPS and associated data link were actually on board a van that had been pacing the HET and was continuing eastward along Highway 401.
Soon the 427 came to an end and the HET continued eastward along the Gardiner Expressway. The HET was not seen as out of place, since with all the construction occurring such a transport was a common sight as they hauled large bulldozers and such from site to site.
As the HET approached downtown Toronto it began to gradually slow down, letting the sparse traffic pass it. Eventually it came to the Harbour Street exit, and it finally came to a stop with its flashers and tail lights strobing rapidly. A half-dozen men poured out of the cab and began slashing at the lines holding down the tarps, which were rapidly pulled off to reveal the Leopard within.
Suddenly, with a roar, the Leopard tank erupted into life. It spent a few seconds bellowing curses at the sky, then rolled off the HET and onto the roadway. From there, it accelerated down the ramp and onto Harbour Street. Picking up speed it turned north on Bay Street. Smoke began belching from the sides of the turret, and the wumph of the side-mounted mortars was heard at regular intervals. A police car on a side street roared up with sirens blazing, but was quickly silenced by bursts from the 7.62mm machine guns. As the tank passed Front Street, suddenly the main 120mm smooth-bore gun vomited with a roar of smoke and sound, and a split-second later the side of a building exploded into the night. Then another roar from the main gun and another building exploded. The main turret swung from side to side, periodically spewing destruction. The machine guns added a background chatter to the main gun, clawing away at buildings and vehicles.
Thundering past Wellington Street, King Street, Adelaide Street the guns of the tank raked destruction along either side of its path. Onward past Richmond Street, then on Queen Street it slowed slightly as it jogged left then right and drove onto Nathan Phillips Square in front of City Hall. The tank fired one last blaze of destruction into the middle of City Hall, then fell silent. A brightly-coloured orange helicopter noisily clawed its way from the sky and landed in the Square, off to one side of the tank. The top of the turret opened up and out came the black-clad crew of the tank. They scurried into the waiting helicopter and were whisked into the night. A fountain of flame erupted from the tank as the incendiary charges left inside ignited. An answering eruption of flame answered from the Gardiner Expressway as the HET burned as a result of similar charges.
The helicopter made a powerful leap upwards and made a quick flip to fly south as it rapidly gained altitude to rise above the smoke and haze of the destruction wrought by the tank. It continued flying south until it got to the lake shore, then banked, flew down towards the water, and was lost in the waiting darkness.
The city was silent for a moment.
Then the screams of broken buildings and broken flesh split the early morning darkness.



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