part 3 of the continuing story
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Ibrim waited exactly twenty minutes after Akbar and Hodgie left, and then the rest of the team went into motion. He sent three men to the cable television company to take care of the media problem. Two others were dispatched to the telephone company to shut down the phone service. With them they took a handy little gadget invented by Muhommad. All they had to do was plug it into the tower at the phone company, and it would shut down the cellular transmitters. The rest of the men went with Ibrim to the ammo dump to get the needed supplies for the mission. They each had their duties, and they would not meet together again until it was all over.
When they reached the highway on post, Ibrim checked his watch, and took out his cell phone and dialed 911. He explained to the dispatcher that poison gas was about to be released upon the town and that it was Allah’s will that they all die. Before the startled lady could reply, the phone went dead, and Ibrim nodded in satisfaction.
“The telephones have been taken out of service,” he announced. The men in the van smiled grimly. They were too intent on maintaining their focus to cheer. Within minutes, the van and the cargo truck pulled up to the gate at the ammo depot. A young soldier walked to the window of the van. Only one other soldier was in sight, lounging in the small guard shack.
“May I help you, sir?” the private asked.
“Why yes, you may die now,” the driver answered in his heavy accent. He raised his pistol and shot the guard in the chest twice, and quickly pulled up to the guard shack. The other soldier sat where he was, his mouth hanging open in shock. Within a second, he too was dead, his blood spreading in a dark stain down the front of his uniform. Ibrim jumped out and walked quickly to the gate. He fired one shot at the chain, and it fell to the ground. Ibrim shoved the gates open and sprinted to the first warehouse. By the time the van was backed up to the door, he had it opened and was motioning the driver to back inside. The cargo truck was backed in beside the van, and the men unloaded. Once in, they turned to survey the situation. This part of the plan was based solely on assumptions, as they had no way of knowing exactly what they would find. As they looked around, they stood frozen with shock.
To the right of the door was the first shelf. It was the same type of shelf that you would find in any distribution center or warehouse shopping center. It was twenty-four feet high, and ran to the edge of the building, a good two hundred feet away. The shelf was loaded with pallets, and each pallet was labeled the same: “C-4 Explosive, Handle with Care.” As they looked around, they realized that the building was huge, and full of these shelves. Some held grenades, some held various types of mines, and many held ammunition. This place was a mother lode beyond their wildest expectations. After a few seconds of gawking, Ibrim quickly put the men to work.
“Alright, let’s get this stuff loaded,” he called out. “Get the truck opened up; we will take as much as we can.”
The pallets of C-4 consisted of eight wooden boxes each. The wooden boxes contained two pound bricks of the rubbery compound. To make C-4 explosive, it must be compressed tightly, and ignited. Without compression, it will simply burn, like a piece of cardboard. The boxes were the perfect size for their needs, much to the delight of Ibrim. Before loading them onto the truck, each box was opened, and a blasting cap was shoved into a brick. Then a small piece of plywood was inserted on top of the explosives. The lids were then forced closed and taped shut, providing the needed compression.
Abdul found the shelf where the blasting caps were stored, and quickly set to making the fuses for the others. When the truck held as much as it could, they loaded ammunition, grenades, and a few AT-4 handheld missile launchers in the van. The vehicles were pulled out of the building, and the doors carefully closed. With a little luck, they might even be able to come back and get more. Once outside the fence, Ibrim ordered the van to stop. While the gates were being closed, he had the dead guards carried out into the trees and hidden. After the area looked acceptable to him, the men mounted the vehicles and rolled out. Ibrim noted the plume of smoke in the distance, and nodded. Everything was going perfectly. It was just after five o’clock, and most of the remaining soldiers on post would be headed home by now. Resistance would be light, if there was any at all. The element of surprise was definitely to their advantage today.
Akbar and Hodgie arrived at the Post Exchange parking lot at the same time as Ibrim. The parking lot had been decided on as a meeting place, as it was easy to find, and centrally located. There were three vehicles and three motorcycles parked there that had been placed by the Al Qaeda agent and his family that morning. Ibrim opened the door of the first car, reached under the seat, and found the keys to all the vehicles. He tossed to keys to each of the men who would be driving them. They all immediately went to work, dispersing the C-4 among the trunks. Weapons were then handed out, and the men split up.
Akbar and Hodgie were once again a team. Hodgie mounted a motorcycle and followed Akbar out of the parking lot. They drove to the main entrance of Fort Stewart, which was about one mile from the Post Exchange. On the south side of the intersection at the gate was a dirt trail that led into the trees. Akbar slowed the car and turned on to the trail, with Hodgie right behind him. A few meters in the trees cleared, revealing the primary natural gas storage site for Fort Stewart and Hinesville. The site consisted of five, eighteen thousand gallon tanks lined up side by side. Hodgie stopped the bike and watched as Akbar crashed through the flimsy chain link gate protecting the tanks. He pulled the car in between the second and third tanks, shut it off, and popped the trunk. It only took a minute for him to light the simple time fuse. The fuse was cut forty-eight inches long, which would give them about twenty minutes to get away. Akbar jogged back out the gate and climbed on the back of the motorcycle. Hodgie gunned the engine and sped out onto the street. With the blast radius they expected from this, he didn’t want to be within ten miles of it when it exploded.
Abdul drove the second car, but without a getaway motorcycle behind him. He had a longer drive in front of him, and what he considered a more glorious ending. He followed the map closely, although he had memorized the route days ago. At last he pulled out on to Highway 144 and drove east. Timing would have to be very close on this part of the mission. It took almost twenty minutes for him to reach the end of the highway, which was at the ocean. A small speed boat was tied to the deserted dock. Abdul quickly set to transferring the boxes of explosives from the car to the boat. When he finished, he parked the car on the shoulder of the road, leaving the keys in it. He unrolled his prayer mat and spent two minutes in silent meditation before going about the rest. Just as he stepped onto the dock, he felt the ground tremble beneath his feet. It only lasted a few seconds, but he knew exactly what it was from. He climbed into the boat and started the engine.
Abdul kept the boat fairly close to shore. There were lots of inlets that could easily be confused with rivers, and it would be devastating to the mission if he got lost. It turned out that he had no need to worry about that, though. The immense container ship that was just entering the Savannah River could be seen for miles. Abdul breathed a sigh of relief, and eased the throttle open a little more. The Port of Savannah was located about two miles upriver, and Abdul wanted to meet the ship about halfway to it.
Abdul idled the motor back as he pulled alongside the container ship. It was stunningly huge, larger than anything he had ever seen. Not allowing himself to become distracted, Abdul quickly set about his task. He lifted the heavy magnets one at a time, and stuck them on the hull of the ship. Using the fabricated magnets for moorings, he tied the speedboat close alongside. It took a few minutes to lift all the boxes to the side of the speedboat, but Abdul accomplished it just as they were passing River Street, and within sight of the ports. It was at this point that the channel was the narrowest, and a sunken ship and thousands of loose containers would cause the most problems. Abdul said his last prayer, and ignited the detonation cord. The reaction was immediate, and even though Abdul was looking right at it, he never saw a thing.
The first block of C-4 exploded, which set off all the other bricks in that box. A simple chain reaction followed, as each box exploded in turn, all five boxes in less than one second. The damage to the container ship was more than any of the terrorists had imagined possible. The ship was old, less than a year from retirement. The hull was worn thin in places, and the owner had been hiding rust damage on the inside for several years with fresh paint. The blast ripped through the outer hull with ease, and tore a large hole through the interior hull. The lower cargo hold began to fill with water quickly, as the damaged metal was torn almost eight feet below the water line. The ship might have survived had that been the extent of the damage. Instead, the shockwave from the blast rippled throughout the entire hull, bursting seams and popping rivets from one end to the other. Two motor mounts broke, and the newly unrestrained belt began to pull one of the giant engines into the ship. The huge prop stopped turning after it cut a large hole in the bottom of the rear deck.
The ship went down rapidly; leaving a log jam of floating containers that spread several miles back out into the ocean as the receding tide pulled them out. The ship settled on the bottom of the channel with only the tip of its tallest radio mast protruding from the oily water. There was no sign of Abdul or his speedboat. They had both been completely vaporized by the initial blast.