Jamison slept through the night that evening. There were no nightmares, no night sweats, not even a bathroom run. But early the next morning he sprang out of bed buffeting at empty air as Johnson looked on from the bedroom. When he came to himself he was standing in the middle of the room trying to remember where he was and why he was wearing nothing but boxers.
“Wow, remind me not to startle you.”
Jamison, sat back on the bed, round unblinking eyes darting around as if a wild animal would leap out of a corner somewhere to attack him. “Don’t startle me,” he said.
Johnson laughed and explained he was going to go sailing with some buddies. Jamison was welcome to stay home, come along or mill around in the shopping district downstairs. Jamison decided not to go because he had other ideas on how to spend his day.
So Johnson left and Jamison headed to the bathroom, anticipating his first on world shower in a little over four years. The water felt incredibly good, but Jamison had plans so he got dressed and headed downstairs. He bought breakfast at one of the restaurants downstairs. He ate at one of the tables, and then strolled back to examine the shops deeper under the shopping section of the housing complex.
He found a likely looking store and went in to ask a few questions. It turns out the shop keeper remembered his father’s shop from the old days. Jamison thought to himself, how odd to call it the old days, it was less than five years ago.
The man gave him rough directions to where the shop was now, but strongly advised against going there. He tried to assure the man that he wouldn’t he was just curious. But the man didn’t totally believe him.
The shopkeeper pointed him to a back room and when they entered he found a surprising array of weaponry. Some hand to hand weapons like knives and clubs, but most of them were firearms. These were divided into two types, ballistic weapons that fired some form of projectile and energy weapons which would run out of batteries rather than out of ammo.
Jamison remembered the view he had of the city coming in and he bought one of the energy weapons. He could set it to different intensities and he could recharge it. On the highest setting each shot acted a like a grenade when it hit. Ten of those shots and it would be totally discharged. On the lowest setting he could fire thousands of non-lethal shots that would not hurt an opponent, but would likely make them hopping mad.
The shopkeeper gave him an extra set of batteries and encouraged him to practice on the gun range. The range was conveniently located deeper under the store. When Jamison fired the weapon the first few times his shots were pretty much random. After about ten shots he was plinking every target right between the eyes. He was remembering why he qualified as a sniper in the CDF.
He thanked the man, tied on the weapon, side arm style, and headed up toward the doors they had entered the building through the day before. As he left the building he heard the doors slam behind him and an automatic bolt locked it behind him. For a moment he panicked wondering how to get back in. But when he turned around the monitor above the door said, Welcome back, Jamison. He reached for the door and heard the lock release before he even touched it. Then he stepped back and he heard it secure again.
This gave him confidence he could return at will, so he turned around and headed toward what had been the location of his family home and business. As he traveled through the city he was amazed how different streets and locations where which should have been familiar. And then in the middle of all this change he would see a building that looked exactly as it had when he left.
At one point he turned around to get his bearings and noted as he turned that two figures behind him ducked for cover. He took note of this, but didn’t let it spook him. Instead he began using every chance to check his situation without turning around. He would watch their reflection in windows. He would double check their position from behind corners.
He could have made it all the way to his destination before they caught him. He preferred to not give away where he was headed. So he ducked to a side road, went silently up the fire escape of an abandoned building, ducked inside a window and waited. Watching from above while the two figures approached.
At the entry to the alley they both pulled out clubs. They began methodically searching through dumpsters and debris while Jamison watched from above. He decided they were more of a threat than he originally thought so he switched on his side arm, and pushed the setting up a couple of notches. It was still non-lethal, but if he used it they would not be getting up right away.
He slipped out of the window and looked down on them with his weapon aimed. “Looking for me?”
The two figures acted like they had already been shot. They jumped around trying to find cover, and finding none they finally just cowered in the street. “Why were you following me?”
Pow Zing! The two sounds blended together and Jamison immediately knew someone had fired a bullet at him. He spun, saw a man with a handgun on the ground across the street, and popped the man with his first shot. He was shocked how solidly his shot impacted the man, but he also noted the man would be up and moving in a few minutes.
He looked back at the two in the alley and found one pulling out an energy weapon similar to his own. He dropped that man into an unconscious state was well. At first he didn’t see the other, but then he felt a vibration on the fire escape and knew the last man was trying to climb up.
Jamison waited patiently for him to pull his head up above the level of the platform. When he did his eyes crossed trying to see around Jamison’s weapon, inches away, aimed between his eyes. Jamison intended to do a short interrogation. Before he decided what to ask first he heard someone yell, “Enough! Do not kill him, or we will kill you.”
Jamison stepped back and realized a small group of people had gathered in the alley opening. Several rifles were aimed at him, and at this range even a bad shot would not miss. Standing in front of them was a small man who apparently commanded them all.
“Both of you come down from there.”
A moment later they were standing on the ground. He was ordered to surrender his weapon. He did so because he believed any other action would result in immediate death.