Trouble at Home

Trouble at Home by David Macfie

The following morning the team were awake and breakfasted early. Such was the excitement over the discovery of early hominids that they were looking forward, with eager anticipation, to the new day. However, their plans were dashed by an urgent message from Genesis. The humans from the latest ship to arrive, were causing serious trouble. They had started numerous fights with Taurians and with earlier human settlers. The level of violence was escalating and Komando-Ka was at his wits end. In ten minutes the helicopter was aloft and heading home.

On arrival at the space port, the team were met by the others from Jamie’s group and Komando-Ka and his officers. They gathered in the shade of a warehouse. The commander summarized.

“The trouble started as soon as the ship arrived. The men in the group began to argue with the workers, human and Taurian, who were trying to get on with their tasks. The women egged them on. I sent a team of Pantando-Ka’s colleagues who forcibly restrained the trouble makers and brought them to my house. I questioned them and they were rude and insulting to start with. After a long discussion they quieted down and we took them to their houses. Since then, they have caused trouble everywhere they’ve been. But they have been gone by the time my police have reached the scene. They aren’t living in their houses so we are hunting for them all the time. It appears that they have no permanent homes but are scavenging around the settlement.”

“During your first conversation, did they say anything about what their problems are?” asked Jamie.

“There was lots of ranting but not much sense.”

“And all of them are fully involved?”

“Yes, all of them. We have several people in hospital after beatings and there have been threats that killing is on their agenda.”

“Any idea where they are now?

“None at all.”

“Has anyone studied the previous incidents to see if there is any pattern to the locations?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“Do you have that information with you, together with the dates and times of the incidents?”

“No, but I’ll have it sent to us immediately.”

As good as his word, the requested information reached the group in under ten minutes and they stood round a packing case studying the locations, times and dates. The commander spotted the pattern almost immediately.

“I feel like a fool,” he chided himself. I never thought about patterns so I didn’t look for one. But, clearly, they are visiting key sites in the provision of essential services. They’ve been here seven days and have caused trouble at six sites – the hospital, the electricity distribution center, the sewage works, the building pre-fabrication factories, the food distribution warehouses and the water purification and circulation pump stations. They haven’t been to the desalination plants or the communications control center or the electricity generation facilities using fossil fuels. They started the process with a minor confrontation on day one at the Space Port. All trouble has taken place in the late afternoon so today will be at one of the three places yet to be targeted.”

“Sounds right to me,” observed Jamie. “Anybody got anything to add?” There was nothing so Jamie continued.

“I have only one question,” he said. “Are they armed?”

“They have sticks and iron bars and rocks to throw, and a few knives, but no guns or swords or bows or spears. They are relying on intimidation and threats and bluster. But they are well practiced with what they have and have hurt some victims badly. So we cannot take them lightly,” answered the commander.

“OK, here’s what we’re going to do,” began Jamie. “Immediately put covert surveillance at each possible site. They must watch for this group from a kilometer away and inwards to the locations. I want to know as soon as they are spotted and exactly where they are. I want rapid transport to get me to them as quickly as possible so that I can confront them before they start causing trouble. I’ll take it from there.”

“That’s too risky for you,” Jenny said immediately.” “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Don’t worry, love. I’ve got a plan,” replied her husband with a cheeky grin. “But perhaps you should be concerned for them so we must have a couple of ambulances standing by to treat their injuries.”

He was so confident and sure of himself that there was a moment of complete silence.

“I don’t like it either,” said the commander eventually. “Nor me,” added Peter Bishop and George Montgomerie, simultaneously.

“Relax, guys. I know bullies like these. They’re fine when they’re facing people who haven’t any training or experience and they won’t be expecting any resistance. They don’t know me so I have a big advantage. Believe me it will be fine. I am going to teach them a lesson they won’t forget and then we will send the whole lot of them home to earth. No leniency and no second chances.”

Against their better judgement the group finally agreed and the arrangements were quickly made. The surveillance groups were in place by early afternoon and all had communicators and video cameras so that everything could be recorded for dissemination to the other settlers later. A fast hovercraft was ready to get Jamie to the right place at the right time. In the meantime he went home with Jenny to prepare. She was really anxious and tried, one more time, to talk him out of the plan. But he was firm and calm.

“Come with me if you want to keep an eye on me,” he offered. “But stay back out of the way or I’ll have to worry about you instead of concentrating on them.”

“I think I will,” she said and made no more comments.

Jamie dressed in cool, loose clothes that didn’t restrict his movements and had lightweight, close fitting canvas shoes with rope soles. He said they gave him reliable grip and contact with the ground without inhibiting his speed. He drank some water and then sat on the floor, in a meditation position, and relaxed. His communicator gave him the same reports as all members of the surveillance teams were getting, as well as the commander and Jamie’s team members. Just in case, the commander had also organized a back-up team to support Jamie if necessary. He hadn’t told Jamie about this of course.

At just after four thirty, the first layer of surveillance at the communications control center reported in.

“Troublemakers have just passed the one kilometer perimeter at the intersection of First Street and Third Avenue.”

Immediately, Jamie and Jenny raced to the hovercraft and told the driver where the action was going to happen. They had agreed beforehand, exactly where to drop Jamie off. He’d chosen the half kilometer perimeter position in the direct line from the entry point of the group to the target. They got there in good time and Jamie took up his position in the middle of the road. Jenny stood ten meters behind and the hovercraft parked behind the nearest building. Jamie was getting regular whispered updates on the groups’ progress so he knew exactly where they were. The five men were leading the march and the five women followed five paces behind. The men had the weapons that had been described and the women carried stones in baskets. Jamie waited calmly as the tension built in those that were watching on video. Jenny was starting to feel scared and couldn’t keep still. She shifted her weight from one leg to the other to try to release the tension, but with little success.

Suddenly the ten rounded a bend about twenty meters away. They saw Jamie immediately and kept on coming. He let them approach to a distance of ten meters then spoke for the first time.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that’s as far as you go. I will give you only one chance to lay aside your troublemaking. If you don’t, then things will go badly for you.”

The leader was a brute of a man, two meters tall but middle aged and running to fat. He carried a meter and a half long metal pipe that he was hitting into his left hand.

“Who the fuck are you?” he grunted, belligerently, hunching his neck into his shoulders and pushing his head forward, like a bull about to charge.

“I’m Jamie Calhoun. Who the fuck are you?”

“Oh, I see. A wise ass,” ground back the big guy, in a voice that sounded like he was chewing rocks. “Better get out of our way, little man. We’re coming through whether you like it or not. Move aside or we’ll hurt you bad. We may hurt you anyway. Now move.”

Jamie was happy for this chit-chat because he had been sizing up the group and deciding which order he would take them in. First the big guy, then the one beside him on his left hand. That one had a hard wood stick, a meter long and about four centimeters in diameter. From there he would take out the two behind, who both had metal pipes and he’d finish with the guy on the leader’s right, who was carrying a stick like the first one. These four were all about one point eight meters tall. Beside them Jamie looked very small.

“Not going to happen, big man,” he replied casually. “Last warning. Take another step and I will punish you all. And ladies, I suggest you keep your stones in your baskets. You don’t want to throw them and hurt your husbands do you?”

The big guy laughed and charged. His men followed too close behind. They would get in each-others’ way. Jamie waited until the big guy was almost upon him then he kicked him directly on his right knee, which broke with a satisfying crack. The big guy toppled, with a scream of pain. Jamie landed an uppercut that put his lights out. Before he even hit the ground, Jamie was all over the second guy, who didn’t know what was happening. He was far too slow and Jamie felled him with three rapid blows just under his breastbone and a straight right to the jaw. Two down. Three and four were tangled up with each other and trying not to trip over the two on the ground. Jamie kicked both of them between the legs and followed up with head-buts that broke both noses. Four down. The last guy was still trying to figure all this out, because it had all happened in less than half a minute. He hadn’t even turned right around, when Jamie danced around to his front and landed a three punch combination – straight left, straight right and an uppercut all landed perfectly. The last guy dropped like a felled tree. Jamie turned to the women.

“Ladies, if you wish to fight me like your men did you are welcome. I will show you just as little respect as I showed them. I will not tolerate trouble-makers on Androm. I will make an example of any and all who try, just as I have today. We are now all going to the space port where you will be loaded into the ship that will return you to earth. Shall we go?”

Just then two ambulances arrived and loaded the unconscious five. They then headed for the space port. A bus came and the ladies got on, accompanied by Jamie and Jenny. One woman looked curiously at Jenny.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m his wife. I only came to watch. He told me not to worry. Said he had a plan. Seems he did, wouldn’t you say?”

“Sure as shit. I never saw anything like that. Five against one and all down inside of a minute. Guess nobody will ever give you trouble, with him around. You’re a lucky girl. But I’m glad this is done now. I just want to go home.”

The rest of the trip passed in silence. At the space port, the men hobbled into the waiting ship. Only the big man was badly hurt with his broken knee, but all were thoroughly shaken. And none of them could make eye contact with Jamie. The women followed at a distance. Jamie and Jenny had been joined by the commander, his leaders and Jamie’s team. They watched until the ship had taken off, then Komando-Ka turned to Jamie.

“That was even more impressive than your first contest against my son. The big guy was close to Pantando-Ka’s size and the other four were pretty big too. I was watching carefully and I’m not really sure what exactly happened. I’ll have to watch the video in slow motion. It was all over incredibly fast. How was that possible?”

“They made several mistakes that showed their lack of knowledge and experience. First they got into a chat with me. That gave me time to plan what I was going to do. Before the big guy charged, I knew exactly who I was going to hit, in what order and with which blows. Second they were bunched so close together that they got in each-others’ way. None of them managed a single attacking move against me. And third they had no plan at all. They just rushed in.”

“What could they have done differently?”

“Numbers against one should spread out and circle the one. They should then attack simultaneously. They’d have cleaned me up in no time unless I had a plan for that too! Which, of course I do!”

That got a laugh from everybody.

“Drinks are on me,” said the commander.”