In the early nineteenth century, a group of less than two hundred volunteers, led by Colonel William Travis, Davy Crockett, and James Bowie, occupied and defended the Alamo for nearly two weeks against an army of Mexican soldiers over ten times their number led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna. These brave Texan patriots died on March 6, 1836. It was a very wise Mark Twain, born just three months prior to the historic conflict, who would later quip, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Several centuries later, the hymn of the Battle of the Alamo found its second verse.
Clutching his government issued AAp rifle, Captain Daniel Bradford looked overhead and saw the hovering forms of the airborne tactical units supporting his platoon’s position. The winged packs on their backs each contained a device that produced a limited gravitational shield, which in turn significantly reduced their weights. Tiny rockets were mounted at the base of the pack and on the ends of two stubby wings. Since pilot and equipment weight was negligible with the shield activated, the propulsion system didn’t need to be very powerful to provide impressive speed and control. The soldiers darted through the sky like dragonflies, stopping to hover briefly before soaring off in a completely different direction.
The men and women of the airborne rangers wore light gray camouflaged pressure suits with their light-blue helmets exposed, whereas Daniel and his comrades wore olive drab camouflaged uniforms with their light-blue helmets covered by green canvas wraps; they’d just moved into the city proper from their temporary HQ in the outland perimeter.
The Flying Fraggers, as they were more affectionately known by the ground troops, were also equipped with high-capacity tactical weapons known as AAu rifles. The difference between AAp and AAu rifles was much more than just a single acronym letter. The AAp or Antimatter Anti-personnel rifles, fired rounds containing around 2 pico-grams (pg) of anti-hydrogen, whereas the AAu or Antimatter Anti-urban rifles, fired rounds containing a whopping 2 micro-grams (µg) of anti-hydrogen. The former was perfect for killing a single person in a blast with about a half-meter radius, while the latter could completely disintegrate four or five city grid-blocks.
It was a sad fact, but since the researchers of the Global Science Organization developed a semi-efficient and semi-economical method of producing anti-hydrogen, the best use the new global government found for the substance was packaging equal portions of matter and antimatter into cartridges designed to perfectly combine the molecules on impact. Since the energy released by such a reaction was 99.9% efficient, it was a very powerful force for suppressing rebellions. Although the technology was eventually put to use producing vast amounts of electricity, there was no effort to use it as a propulsion system to colonize the galaxy, much to the dismay of the scientific echelon. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the new weapons definitely kept the peace on earth.
A bigger version of the AAu, known as an AAu missile launcher, held cartridges of 50 µg of anti-hydrogen with a blast radius of about one kilometer and secondary destruction out to a radius of three kilometers. The largest quantity of antimatter to be successfully contained was used on the AAm or Antimatter Anti-metropolis missile launchers. The AAm rockets packed 500 milligrams (mg) of antimatter that provided a blast with complete destruction in a ten-kilometer radius with secondary destruction going out to a radius of about fifty kilometers.
As these facts from his combat training floated through his mind, he turned his attention back to the mission. Daniel was just happy that the biggest guns they were fielding for this mission were only AAu rifles. Their primary mission was to put down the final pocket of resistance in the former Free State of Texas. Their secondary goal was to inflict as little collateral damage as possible. The city-states of Dallas and Houston had already surrendered and the final pocket of rebels was pinned down in the free-city of San Antonio.
Daniel’s unit moved into the downtown area where taller buildings began to hem them in. Urban combat was a dangerous undertaking but with a flak jacket and an AAp in his hands he felt a bit more secure. Once these rebels showed themselves, they didn’t have a chance.
Suddenly the popping of conventional semi-automatic rifle fire broke out to the left of his position. He heard what he assumed was the return fire of an AAp burst, but then he heard the howl of one of his comrades. Shouts broke out and soldiers ducked for cover, as he looked in the direction of the cry. He saw his friend James lying in a pool of blood. His flak jacket was torn open revealing a gory hole in his chest the size of a watermelon. “Jimmy’s down! They’ve got p-Shooters!” Daniel yelled to his unit.
Daniel quickly rounded the corner of the building between his unit and the direction of the fire and squatted down. He looked at his wrist navlink to calculate his retreat and contacted the air support. “We’ve got a sniper with a p-Shooter on the roof of the building at November 29.421 Whiskey 98.500. Falling back to…” He looked down at his navlink again and added, “…November 29.426 Whiskey 98.486.”
The voice came back, “Roger that. Captain, you have two minutes to clear out before we redecorate.”
Daniel ordered his unit to fallback to a position a few grid-blocks north and east of their current location. Two minutes was plenty of time to make the move at a brisk jog, so they carefully scanned the building rooftops and upper windows for more snipers as they withdrew. That’s when the whole situation fell apart.
Automatic machine gun fire flashed from the top floor of the building to his right. His Global Army troops returned fire with their AAp rifles. Then rebel AAp rifles opened up from the ground floor of the building on their left. Two more of his unit went down, and the jog turned into an all-out sprint. Daniel called for immediate air support. “I know we’re not at a safe distance yet, just fire on that last position…and put another shot just a bit east of it for good measure!”
Seconds later the explosion behind them was spectacular. Two consecutive blasts completely leveled six city grid-blocks, and shockwaves were sent down the street and through the buildings above them. He saw the building to his right begin to collapse and heard rebel cries from the roof. He looked about 30 meters to his left and saw a lone shooter coming out of the ground floor of the other collapsing building. They both leveled their AAp rifles and in unison fired at each other from pointblank range.
Daniel’s shot removed the rebel’s cowboy hat along with his head, but not before the freedom fighter’s counter-shot disintegrated both Daniel’s weapon and his forearms from the elbows down. Shrapnel pierced the skin on his face as he collapsed in the street.
His lieutenant hollered, “Captain Dan’s down boys! I need some cover fire!” Daniel felt himself being dragged down the street. Behind a barrier, his lieutenant stopped and let him sip from his waterskin, and he heard the man’s reassuring voice, “You’ll be okay Cappy, we’ll get you out of here and the doctors’ll fix you up as good as new. You’ll see.”
Soon after, he felt himself being lifted to safety by one of the Flying Fraggers. As he was being carried over the building tops, the last thing he remembered before completely losing consciousness was hearing the echo of a rebel yell, “Remember the Alamo!”
His mission had been a failure, but somehow Captain Daniel Bradford had survived the ordeal. Regrettably for the Texas rebels, the Global Army didn’t waste any more of its soldiers on the operation. Daniel read the report from his hospital bed the next morning. The thirteenth AAm rocket unit had been called in and within ten minutes after Daniel’s platoon had been evacuated, the rebellion was over…so was San Antonio. It was just another casualty in the name of global peace and stability.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Most of this story is a slightly enhanced excerpt from my first book, The Omega Gambit, by David Alan Brown. Published on LuLu, and available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and bookstores everywhere.
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