Chapter 2. Assault
Watching the sign in front of the police department headquarters count down to midnight. A slight change in how the clock looked and they added seconds. and they synced the clock to internet time. Then it clicked over to the next hour.
“Eighteen-hundred tone.” It would be the last transmission for a while unless things went sideways. A small tone sounded in the earphone, it was an electronically generated tone of 2600 hz sound and now everyone knew that they were now on the clock.
The Grizzly Adams wannabe walked through the doors of the foyer that remained unlocked twenty-four hours a day to deal with business that always seemed to find its way to the clerk’s window. Fix-it tickets signed off, complaints filed, young reporters reading the register right up to midnight, trying to be the first to pick up on something interesting.
The clerk looked up and was momentarily startled by the view of the mountain man walking through the doors, she started to smile. It was not uncommon to see dressed up people this time of year, even if he was a bit early in the season.
Mountain Man walked up towards the window, it was very thick polycarbonate bullet resistant panel bolted to very thick polycarbonate and required the use of speakers and microphones to communicate.
She was just asking if she could help him when he stopped and smiled. “Sorry for this.”
Then he aimed the long rifle— it was as long as she was tall— and he said in a conversational tone.
Kirsten Kloster screamed as she hit an alarm button and ducked. The report of both barrels of the blackpowder long gun rocked the very floor of the room.
Something fell on Kirsten, she screamed as it sounded like the wall fell over.
It had, the impact of twin chunks of lead with a collective kinetic energy greater than the window mounts could withstand. The bullet resistant barrier fell in, followed by a dense choking cloud that smelled of sulfur. Bob Adkins, the other clerk was screaming into a radio for help.
Alarms sounded and magnetic plates locked the doors in place, normally left open round the clock, now they were solid and immovable. There was no more shooting and radio traffic said that back-up was two-minutes away, everyone was responding from all points.
Footsteps pounded up stairs as seven police officers ran from the downstairs armory towards the foyer up the steps. They burst through the door that prevented anyone from going into the back offices unchecked and began choking on the smoke that was dissipating in the large room.
Looking about, the officers covered the room with multiple layers of crisscrossed laser sights.
“Where is the shooter?” Shouted the watch commander.
“He was there!” Adkins yelled and pointed to the middle of the room.
“Sweep the area. Check the restrooms.” The watch commander Sargent Leslie Murrie said as she surveyed the destroyed window, torn from the mountings of the three-clerk wall.
“Miss Kloster, what window were you standing at?”
“I don’t know, the middle one. He said to duck before he pulled the trigger.”
“He said … Duck?” Leslie said in disbelief. “If he was shooting, why did he give a warning and why did he aim at a window that no one was at?”
“Sargent! He has blocked the Men’s room door.”
“Call him out.” Standing on either side, an officer banged on the door. “
Sir! Come out now. You have no exit, there is no window in there. Sir! Come out with your hands empty, arms up and walk backwards out of the door!”
There was no sound other than footsteps coming down the hallway of the swat team that had geared up rapidly with forced entry tools and stun “flashbang” grenades. And a favorite tool for forced entry, someone brought the two-man ram to force a door.
Pushing on the steel restroom door, it did not give even a little. He had thrown the emergency deadbolt. A twin-bolt lock with a key required on either side to throw the bolts without setting off the alarm. Without a key , he had to have picked it from the inside to activate the lock.
“Kirsten, key please.” It was Jake, a ten-year patrolman that enjoyed driving. Even if his history had a long record of destroyed patrol cars, to his credit, he had never hit any moving object. Always trees, fences, one mailbox, ditches and only one fatality of running over Marty MacBean the mascot at the MacBean’s chili house.
The plastic head of Marty MacBean still adorned the squad room after two years.
The key refused to slide into the lock, on close inspection, the unknown subject had jammed toothpicks into the keyhole.
“Fuck it, use the ram.”
“Sir!” Jake pounded on the door.”Sir come out, if we have to come in it will not go well for you.”
Sirens sounded outside, approaching patrol cars were responding code-3 on a call for an emergency.
“Cancel them, Kirsten.” Leslie said. “We have him contained.”
“Sir,” Jake repeated with pounding. “That was a good trick with the toothpicks, you need to unlock the door and come out or we are coming in.”
“Ram it.” Jake nodded. “Toss in one of your party poppers when you get it open.”
Two of the biggest officers rushed up and swung the thirty-kilo battering ram. The door barely rattled in the hinges and failed to open, twice— three times. Four. Five! The fire-rated steel door did not give easily.
With redoubled effort, the two big men hit the steel-clad and core fire-rated door with a design to resist an assault and be a panic room shelter. Twenty strokes, the door bowed in as they forced their way. A gap opened the width of half of a hand and something rolled out, it was a cylinder about as thick as a flashlight and as long as a hand was wide, and attached to a short cord that pulled a pin as the cylinder reached the end.
“GRENADE!” Leslie yelled. The detonation was not half has loud as the whistle, but it was as bright as if one would to look directly into the sun for a blink of an eye.
And again! The whistling sound it produced was painful.
And again! The light made bones in one of the officers hands that he covered his face with, visible as shadows for a moment. Five times in all the cylinder puffed out a cloud of dust and ignited it with deafening booms.
The shock could be felt in the very core of their chests, cups fell off of desks, papers ruffled and fell to the floor.
And another cylinder hidden against the wall behind a plastic waiting chair was jarred loose from the explosions and fell to the floor and popped off it’s spoon on impact with the tile.
And deafened them with another five blinding explosions with whistles that exceeded comfort levels.
“Throw one in!” Leslie yelled. “WHAT?”
The SWAT team member yelled.
“I will throw in now.”
“I had said that.” Leslie yelled back. The officer looked at her oddly as he pulled the pin on a flashbang and tossed it into the opening.
But dizzy and dazzled, mostly deaf by the ten flashbangs that had been left for them. He missed.
For the eleventh time the police endured the concussion and flash of a flashbang grenade in an enclosed space.