The first indication that things were seriously amiss in the county came the evening after Ken intercepted a massive ride of Hell’s Angels coming from the annual Sturgis rally, diving upon them from above in the same attack plane that he used to shoot down the Syndicate and Zetas hitters. Without warning he winged over and strafed the bikers, ripping apart their double-column with a volley of big bore machine gun fire and then powered away before the bikers could react. He swung around, did it again from the other side and moments later the highway choked with burning bikes and bleeding bodies bearing big, bold bottom-rockers showing that Angels from across the nation now laid dead or dying on that rural road.
Back at the airport, Ken met The Sheriff as he got out of Guiscard’s old attack plane.
“You got a hell of a plan.” The Sheriff said, “There’s five-score corpses on the highway heading into town west of here. Ain’t no way that the media will ignore that.”
Ken smiled. “Good. That’s just what I need to embarrass and humiliate the bosses. There’s no way the men in charge of these three organizations can afford to back down now, not if they want to save face with each other.”
“Y’know, for a guy who never served a day in the military or ever spied for anyone, you sure know how to start a war.” The Sheriff sighed.
“Oh,” Guiscard said, “by the way. I took some liberties while you two were out. My people in the right places informed me that the Zetas and the Syndicate are, as you people say, astonished- and, also, angrier than they ever were before.”
Ken chuckled. “Excellent.”
“So,” The Sheriff said, “what’s the next step?”
“Call Reggie. Get that militia out, warmed up and ready to roll. All of them. Put the county on a total war footing; tell the women and children to head to the hills, batten the hatches and hunker down until it’s over.”
“That bad, eh?” The Sheriff said.
Ken nodded. “The Zetas play for keeps, and don’t obey decent folks’ ideas of war.”
“The Syndicate isn’t any cleaner.” Guiscard said.
“What about the media?” The Sheriff said.
“Let them be. Stupidity is a self-correcting problem, and as I recall the local managers aren’t a bunch of morons.” Ken checked Guiscard’s computer.
“And if they come from The Cities, Duluth, Chicago, L.A., N.Y.C. or D.C.?”
“Again, self-correcting problem.” Ken said, “Apparently, someone’s already on the scene and has a Livestream report going.”
“Citizen journalism.” The Sheriff said, walking over, “Ah, that’s the Anderson boy. I’m going to have to have a word about listening in on the police band with him. There’s no way that the bad guys are not going to find him first.”
Ken smiled. “Then he just volunteered to be our bait. Put an eye on him.”
“You’ve gotten hard since I last saw you, Ken.”
“Nearly dying does that to you, if it don’t break you.”