Continuation (part 3) of the ongoing "learning through fiction" series.
John shifted uncomfortably as he pulled the scratchy, surplus wool blanket to his side to plug an annoying draft. He forced his eyes closed and tried to focus on the vibrations the big locomotive was producing....anything to quiet his mind from replaying the events of the last twelve hours. The adrenaline had finally subsided, but while his endocrine system may have adjusted to his current situation, his brain refused to be so accommodating. He started to stand from his curled up position in the corner of the cab behind the engineer. He was not quite erect before the engineer growled at him to keep out of sight or he would kick him out right here and now. John sunk back down, not wishing to be ejected into a pine tree at 50 some odd miles an hour.
The events from hours earlier began their mental replay again - after he had squeezed out of the tiny café bathroom window and found no storm-trooper waiting to engage him in the alley, he knew he could not go home again and was officially on the run. He dashed to the opposite end of the alley, took a deep breath and stepped casually into the midday shopping crowd crawling the downtown sidewalks. He knew he had little time to create distance before they cordoned off the whole area for blocks in each direction. The general public had grown all too accustomed to the “snap checkpoints” and “safety inspections” that used to only exist in some abstract faraway combat zone. Remembering his training, he hunched down in the crowd as he slipped on the sock hat and glasses he had in his pocket. His heart sank as he approached the end of the block and an MRAP squealed to a halt, troopers jumping out and beginning to erect barricades. His mind raced.....he side stepped into a drugstore to try to compose a plan. He headed into the back employee area as if seeking the bathroom. Looking around he spotted a makeshift break area and some lockers. There were a couple employee smocks hanging near the lockers, the type with the store logo and plastic name tag. John grabbed one and slipped it on without skipping a beat. At that moment the back service door opened and an employee pushed a hand-truck through overflowing with sundry items. John nodded at the preoccupied worker and stepped out the door finding the delivery truck still running.....could he really be this lucky? he thought. He pulled the cargo door shut, jumped in and stepped on the gas. His disguise may not have been great, but it was good enough to get him through the chaotic checkpoint still being established.
He knew he was on borrowed time driving the delivery truck, as it was surely being reported stolen at this very moment. That, coupled with the fact that all vehicles were mandated by the regime to contain a “black box” which included GPS tracking and, rumor had it, a remote kill switch. He took the next exit off the freeway and pulled into the long term parking at the regional airport. He navigated the truck into a space in the middle of the sea of parked vehicles, locked the keys inside and struck out for the adjacent road that bordered the airport. He managed to flag down a cab leaving the terminal area and directed the driver to his next stop. John had chose the airport for a couple reasons. First, he hoped it would cause confusion as to where he was headed next and how he was getting there. Second, regime helicopters and drones would have to arrange airspace deconfliction with the airport which would buy him some more precious time. The cab drivers were technically required by law to scan a passenger's ID before leaving the curb, but luckily, few actually bothered with it. A short fifteen minutes later, the cab dropped John off in front of a school playground just as the sun disappeared to the west. John handed him the last 20 from his pocket and headed north away from the cab. Once the cab was out of site John spun around and ran back to the south. A couple blocks later and his destination came into view. He pulled himself over the fence and started towards the back of the poorly lit cemetery. By the time he had located his cache point and dug it up with the aid of a jagged rock, it had grown quite dark out. A condition he was grateful for as he noticed the red and blue light reflecting off the tombstones and trees around him.....
John thought back to his first assignment as an auxiliary member. He had been tasked with mapping the location of every surveillance camera in a particular section of the city. It seemed at first a rather menial task, but he soon realized, the more he looked - the more cameras he found. He had no idea just how prevalent the devices had become. He was to make a note of each camera's location followed by a simple description.....
Covert or overt?
Fixed or motorized?
Did it depend on a supporting light source?
Suspected field of view and angle?
Private, commercial or government?
If he could not make an accurate assessment on one of the requested items, he would indicate as such. It was his duty to supply raw information. The resistance Intel folks would further assess and develop it into useful intelligence. If he was able to do so without compromising himself, he was to take a close up photo as well. Once he compiled the data, he would create an overlay on a city map that had been provided to him.
About a week after turning in his assignment via dead drop, he received new instructions. He was to take the newly compiled city-wide overlay, find the surveillance gaps and plot as many routes in, out and through the city as he could. He was to do this for vehicles as well as for foot traffic.
That evening, in the cold cemetery, as he pulled the map from his cache, he sincerely hoped he had done a thorough job.
.....Don't underestimate the relevance of the Auxiliary....