November 7, 2014
Worth Fighting For - Entry III: Things That go Boom
Location: Brooklyn Rebel Base
Date: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003
It had been three months since we freed Isabella and rescued Troy. The fight for freedom has never waned during this time. The Soviet forces had been diligently arresting people and relocating them to Alaska for “retraining.” Isabella and Mr. Jones had implemented various strategies to beat back the Reds but every inch of ground we regained, we lost ten more in another district. Phil was fed up with the situation, it was his group that did most of the fighting and they had little to show for it. Chris rose quickly in the Manhattan Resistance ranks and now led his own fighters into battle. I had accompanied him many times, trying my best to record our struggles and triumphs.
It was autumn now and the weather had turned bitterly cold. I could tell that the mood had changed and that a plan was being formed. Isabella and Phil were arguing in the command tent when Chris and I approached. I only heard pieces of their plan but it sounded like Phil wanted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge to try and cut off the Reds from Manhattan. Isabella thought it was too risky but Phil was adamant that we needed to hit back and hit back hard. Mr. Jones was still in Manhattan, fighting the Reds and helping civilians in that area. His calming influence and level headed thinking were sorely missed in times like these. Troy had also been away from the base for a few months. He had convinced Isabella and Chris to let him travel outside of Manhattan to recruit members and start resistance groups in outlying areas. His goal was to build a strong enough network of resistance fighters that we would turn into a national movement. His goals were admirable but Chris had told him to just focus on New York for now.
Isabella and Phil continued arguing for a few more minutes until they both realized that Chris and I had appeared. Phil pointed at us and flatly told Isabella that the three of us would be more than willing to blow up the bridge if she was too afraid to do it. Isabella yelled back at Phil, telling him that even if we could get near the bridge, we didn’t have the explosives to blow it up. Phil countered that if we sat by and did nothing, that the Reds would weed us out within the month. I thought Isabella was going to punch Phil but Chris intervened, pointing to the map of Manhattan that was lying on the table. We all leaned in to see what he had set his finger on – the Brooklyn Hotel. The Soviets had established a base of operations inside the old hotel when they took over the entire block. There was an abandoned diner where the Reds stored their explosives and the dilapidated apartment buildings were used to hold prisoners. Isabella laughed and Phil slapped Chris on the back, if we could take down the Brooklyn Hotel, we would be in control of the diner. With those explosives, we could destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and deliver a crippling blow to the Soviet Armed Forces.
Location: Brooklyn Hotel
Date: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003
I found myself on the street corner near the Brooklyn Hotel late at night. Chris, Phil, Billy, and Miguel were also with me. It was Chris’ plan to attack the hotel and so he was the one chosen to lead the assault. Phil, of course, volunteered to join him and I followed Chris wherever he went. Billy and Miguel had also remained loyal to Chris after helping us rescue Troy. Many people now respected Chris and his ability to fight, now more than ever, with the SAFN declaring him to be the infamous “Freedom Phantom.”
As we surveyed the city blocks leading up to the hotel, we quickly surmised that we were outnumbered and outgunned. Helicopters roamed the skies overhead, patrolling the surrounding area with their heavy machine guns. Soviet troops littered the area, either marching up and down the sidewalks or standing guard at the many defensive posts scattered across the streets. We all knew that we had to abort the mission, there was no way the five of us could beat the SAF here.
Chris wasn’t about to give up though. We could see the abandoned diner close by and knew that there were prisoners being held in the vicinity. Phil suggested that he and Miguel create a distraction to lure as many SAF away while the rest of us sneak in and steal the C4 we needed to blow the Brooklyn Bridge and other structures that might need to be demolished. With the go ahead from Chris, the two took off in the opposite direction. Chris, Billy, and I snuck closer to the diner. It was wedged between two tall apartment buildings and had only a few guards around it. We climbed over a chain-link fence and snuck into the back parking lot where we waited.
Boom! That was our signal. Phil and Miguel had rigged a car to explode and now the Reds were running towards the sound. Only three soldiers stayed behind to guard the diner. In a coordinated attack, we snuck up and killed the three soldiers stealthily with our knives. Three months of training and battle hardened skills had turned me into a warrior and not just a journalist that sat on the sidelines. We quickly packed as much C4 as we could fit into our bags before scurrying over the fence and back to our original hiding place. Phil and Miguel were already waiting for us and had intel on the prisoners that were being held nearby.
Date: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003
Chris decided that it was best for us to split into two groups. Phil and Miguel had already scouted out the area surrounding the Brooklyn Hotel and had an idea where the POWs were being held. They would try and rescue as many prisoners as they could while the rest of us headed to the Brooklyn Harbor. It was there that the Reds stored their small arms and artillery for the troops in the area. It had become a major shipping hub for the SAF with ships coming from Mother Russia almost every day. The helicopter fueling station was also located near the harbor, by blowing this up, we could ground the Soviet chopper fleet that guarded the hotel.
We snaked our way through dark alleys and abandoned buildings until we could spot the large maze of warehouses near the ocean. We were all taken by surprise when a soldier snuck up behind us. She announced herself as a friendly and introduced herself as Charlie Raider. She had been one of the POWs that Phil and Miguel had set free only minutes ago near the hotel. She wanted to do her part and volunteered to track us down and assist us with blowing the fuel station. Chris gladly welcomed the help and thanked Charlie for getting back into the fight so quickly.
As we scanned the warehouses, we could see that they were heavily guarded. Reds were everywhere; we estimated that over 50 were on patrol, weaving their way around the network of buildings. Guard towers were scattered throughout the harbor and their spotlights reached almost every corner of the area. We knew that there had to be tens if not hundreds of soldiers we couldn’t see inside the various warehouses. Billy pointed to the west that there was a manhole that connected to the sewers. It was a good place to regroup if we got split up when we infiltrated the maze. A ship was just pulling into port and Chris thought that its presence would be our opportunity to try and sneak in. With the soldiers unloading supplies from the ship, we hoped that their security would lapse and we would be able to set our explosives without any confrontation.
For the first few rows of warehouses we passed, our plan worked. A few spotlights were turned towards the dock to help illuminate the transfer which created cover for us to advance. Chris had targeted a warehouse in the center of the harbor. We had witnessed the Reds storing explosives in that building and knew if we blew them up; it would cause a chain reaction throughout the other warehouses. As we crept closer and closer to our destination, the soldier movement began to increase. We were only four people, but it was hard for us to remain undetected with all the activity the supply ship had brought.
We passed another row of warehouses when all of a sudden we heard voices growing louder. Two SAF were pushing a cart full of boxes directly towards us. Billy was the first to act, opening a door to a warehouse and ushering us all inside. We closed the door just as the soldiers passed. We all were about to breathe a sigh of relief when we turned around only to realize that we had not taken refuge in an empty building but in a warehouse that was converted into a barracks. We had stumbled upon ten unsuspecting Reds, some playing a card game and a few others lying on their racks. Chris was the first to react and opened fire. Our presence was now known and we had but one option, fight our way through.
The Reds were unprepared for our assault and we defeated the enemy before us with ease, but the sound of gunfire alerted the hundreds of soldiers outside of our existence. Chris knew we had to pull back and ordered us to retreat towards the western end of the harbor where the manhole was located. We ran out the door, firing blindly at the Reds who had gathered in front of it. I sprinted ahead with Billy, trying to clear a path for us to escape, as Chris and Charlie covered our six. Two SAF jumped out in front of us, I shot one in the gut and he crumpled at my feet. Billy hunched forward and rammed his shoulder into the other man with all his might, knocking the SAF to the ground.
We kept racing and winding our way through the labyrinth of warehouses, not sure how close we were to the safety of the sewers. We had to have been close, maybe two buildings away when we heard Charlie cry out in pain. She was lying on the ground, blood pouring from her side and spilling onto the concrete. Chris was laying down covering fire as Billy and I ran to pick her up. We half dragged, half carried her into an empty warehouse. She was bleeding out and having a hard time staying awake. Chris had caught up to us by now and tore his shirt to use as a bandage. Billy and I stood guard while Chris tried his best to patch Charlie up.
We were all tense, we had been in danger before but this time it felt like we were done for. I tried to stay focused but my mind wandered. How did I let myself get wrapped up in all this, I was a journalist not a fighter. I shouldn’t have even been here but then I remembered who I was with. Chris had led us out of situations many times before and I couldn’t doubt that he would fail us now. Then that’s when I spotted it, outside of the window, I saw the manhole but it was already opened. I motioned for Billy to cover me while I opened the back door to get a closer look. When I did, five people started to climb out of the sewers.
I jumped and readied my gun but Chris put his hand on my shoulder and told me that they were friendly. I looked closer and could see that it was none other than Phil Bagzton and Miguel Bishop, with three other resistance fighters in tow. Phil informed us that he figured we might need help so he brought the other POWs he and Miguel had rescued to try and provide assistance. The three new resistance members quickly introduced themselves as Steven Ryan, Tony Ramos, and Manny Perez. After we did a quick round of introductions ourselves, Chris explained the situation we now found ourselves in.
At first, Chris was thinking of aborting the mission but if we left now, we would never get another chance to blow up the warehouse. No way would the Reds let us waltz back in here so easily. Tony volunteered to help get Charlie back to safety; he was the only one who knew his way around the sewers. Chris agreed and we quickly got Charlie and Tony into the sewers and on their way home. As for the rest of us, Chris had a plan. He wanted Phil, Miguel, and Billy to head towards the helicopter fueling station that was on the eastern side of the harbor. They were to wait for Chris, myself, Steven, and Manny to make our way towards the explosives warehouse. Chris hoped that this would create enough of a diversion to allow Phil and his squad to make it across the harbor with little fighting. We all nodded in agreement, it was now or never to finish this.
Chris led the way with Manny while Steven and I covered our backs. The Reds were still searching the nearby vicinity but had no idea where we were exactly. Phil had rigged up a little present for us, setting a grenade to go off a few minutes after we had left the safety of the warehouse. It went off just in time to lure the Reds away from us and towards the bait. We raced onwards towards the explosives warehouse. It was located in a courtyard that was only accessible by entering another warehouse attached to it.
When we broke through the door, we found that this other warehouse was some kind of command room for it was filled with communications equipment and Russian officers. We all dove for cover behind the file cabinets that lined the room. SAF officers were no laughing matter, they were well-trained and had deadly accuracy. We were hunkered down, unable to advance when Steven called out to me. I looked up to where he was pointing, a soldier was climbing across the scaffolding to try and shoot down on us. I yelled for Steven to provide covering fire while I leaned out and shot the Red from his perch. He fell down on the other officers below him, knocking all of them to the ground. Chris didn’t waste this opportunity and was able to eliminate them while Steven and Manny finished off the remaining Reds in the room.
We advanced quickly, climbing the stairs to the upper level of the building. There, Chris found a sniper rifle and a window overlooking the courtyard. He proficiently mapped out our plan of attack. Steven and Manny were going to enter the courtyard to draw the attention of the dozen or so Reds awaiting us. I was going to flank around, laying down fire to pin the Reds in position while Chris would remain in the loft with the newly acquired sniper rifle. We executed Chris’ plan almost flawlessly. Steven and Manny were able to draw the Reds fire long enough for me to flank them and keep them behind the cover they were using in the courtyard. Chris then unleashed hell from above with his sniper rifle; killing every enemy that stood in our way.
It was eerie walking across the now silent courtyard. We were almost at our destination with the munitions warehouse before us. With everything that had gone wrong, I was a little surprised that we had survived this long. A tiny smirk crossed my lips when a sudden explosion erupted in the distance. We all dove to the ground and scrambled to find cover. A few seconds had passed when Manny broke out in laughter. I shot Steven a quizzical look but then Chris joined Manny with a chuckle. I then realized that the explosion we heard was the helicopter fueling station being destroyed by Phil, Miguel, and Billy. We were one step closer to the Brooklyn Hotel and now it was our turn. The four of us quickly placed our C4 around the warehouse and set the charges. With another gigantic bang, we leveled the ammunitions warehouse to the ground; rendering the Reds ammunition and artillery into a useless pile of rubble.