Instinct and Reflex, Chap. 6

When Scotty said he had a few surprises for me, I wasn’t quite expecting this. After making my way from his burned-out apartment to our secret room, I found myself surrounded by more gear, equipment and weapons than I could ever have hoped for. Scotty always was a pack-rat. If only I could ask him how he procured this much stuff.

Since this place is still concealed under a CoD, I figure I have all the time in the world to check out everything he left. Over on his old bench, I find a somewhat-corroded inventory list. That’s Scotty for you. Or was it Carla? Checking the handwriting, I find it was Carla after all. She was the neat-freak of the group. Scotty and I were the most disorganized, at least when it came to day-to-day dealings. Our weapons, on the other hand, were an entirely different affair. We kept them meticulously maintained and always in tip-top condition. We wouldn’t have had it any other way. Like the old Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed said “I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.”

The list, looking more and more like an old grocery list the more I stare at it, begins like this:

  1. 16 plasma rifles
  2. 2 million plasma rounds
  3. 45 fragmentation grenades circa 1991
  4. 4 sets of Ironskin body armor
  5. 4 mini-CoDs
  6. 4 thermal wet-suits with mini-rebreathers
  7. 1 underwater demo kit with 10 HE armor-piercing charges
  8. 4 high frequency, long-range, encryption-capable comm sets

The list goes on and on. I’m puzzled as to why there seems to be 4 sets of most equipment. Did they know something I don’t?

After checking the inventory, I quickly find what I was looking for: a portable scanner. I power-up the scanner and begin the process of scanning myself for any tagging beacons. Thankfully, I find none. There’s one worry gone. I suppose if I’d really been tagged, I would have never made it this far. I very easily could have suffered the same fate as my brother did.

Among the various other items in Scotty’s “ancient arsenal” were several carbon-fiber boot knives. Besides being lightweight and concealable, they also never need sharpening and are damn near indestructible not to mention untraceable by government scanners. Also stacked neatly on a shelf are a few antiquated lasers and their power packs. The only problem with them is the power packs are old and the lasers can be detected. I don’t think I’ll be taking them with me, but I do think I could find some use for them down here. In the wall-locker on the east side of the room, I find 4 sets of utility uniforms in urban camouflage. Four sets again. What the hell did Scotty know that I don’t? That question is going to bug me until I find out.

On the old military-style desk I find a stack of various papers. About half-way through the stack, I find the answer to my question. It seems that Scotty had been quite a busy boy while we were separated. He created a list of about 10 other service members who were sympathetic to the resistance. Tops on the list is Capt. Roderick Wilson, my old platoon commander. Son of a bitch. That old salt never once let on he was one of us. We all knew he was being fast-tracked to Colonel before an ion mine put him on the permanently disabled list. Maybe he blames the government for that. Who knows? Either way, Rod was a good guy who never lost faith in the abilities of his Marines. Even after he was forced out, he still kept up with some of us. Me being the rebel, I got the hell away from anything that seemed to be government-sponsored immediately after being discharged. I guess that’s why I never found out about Rod’s distrust of the government.

Directly beneath Scotty’s list are directions on how to locate the individuals on it. He has listed a bunch of frequencies to be used in the event of an emergency such as the one I’ve found myself in. That explains the comm gear he left and the 4 sets of everything. He also wrote down the challenge code to be used to identify each list member, but if I know Scotty, the ones wrote down aren’t the real codes.

I let my eyes wander about the room searching for the compartment I know Scotty has the “real” info hidden in. Scotty never did take chances when it came to concealment. He almost always left “bait”. It would appear that the challenge codes are the bait this time. God only knows what other surprises are waiting down here. Just overhead I note the faint lines of a shadow box. I’ll have to check that out later when I continue organizing my supplies in the morning and before I bug out of here. I’m gonna need to try and find any remnants of the rag-tag bunch of mercenaries Scotty listed if I ever want to beat these bastards. But first, I desperately need to get some real sleep.

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