Chapter Twelve

Cristobal Allende was tired of the drudgery of driving campesinos from Tijuana to the eastern mountains and then going all the way into the desert, crossing the border at Mexicalli and collecting maybe half of the pollos on the American side of the border and then having to take them to Los Angeles.

Besides, he only got $3,500 for the risk.

Many of the ones he picked up on the U.S. side of the border talked of the riches they had seen in the Norte Americano’s houses and how much they had been able to steal and how they planned to return and grab even more — after they had stolen a car.

It drove Cristobal Allende crazy.

So this time Cristobal Allende would bring the campesinos across himself. This time Cristobal Allende would collect $2,000 from each. And this time Cristobal Allende would be right there to profit from the rich Norte Americanos and the riches of their houses.

Two days ago he had taken 17 to a spot near the border and then driven the 100 miles around the edge of the great American fence — the Wall — to pick them up — only to discover that they must have found great riches because none of them were there to get a ride from him to Los Angeles. Borrachos!

Tonight, Cristobal Allende had twenty in his truck. He had $20,000 in his pocket and he would receive the other $20,000 when he got his chickens to Los Angeles.

He could not lose. This time he would leave his truck there at the border fence and then take the 20 across. Then he would have them rob every house they found. If they were successful then he could steal a new truck and drive them to Los Angeles. If they failed then he would just leave them and return to Mexico. His most immediate problem was the cash in his pocket. His cargo could easily kill him. It was only his valuable knowledge of the border, the trail, and of America that kept him alive.

He drove the road slowly. The road was treacherous at night. A small mistake — just six inches — could mean a broken axle and the end to his fortune. Also, he had heard of campesinos robbing and killing their coyote when the border crossing went badly.

He remembered the spot for the night’s crossing because of the white wooden crucifixes at the side of the road. There had been a bad auto accident there and the families had placed offerings to the Holy Mother at the site.

He pulled as far off the road as he could and told his human baggage to get out of the truck. He lined them up single file and told them to do exactly what he ordered. If he told them to run then they should run. If he told them to attack then they should attack. If he told them to steal then they should steal.

He did not like the looks of three of his passengers. He had heard stories of how campesinos in San Quintin, Baja California Del Norte were starving, rioting and robbing stores. Some of the men had been so hungry that they had broken into a store and eaten raw fish.

He had heard that some of these men now wanted guns so that they might return to their village and take over the farms and the ranches. The best place to get guns was from the Norte Americanos.

These were dangerous, desperate men.

Cristobal’s plan was to quickly pass the first house they came to — it would sometimes automatically light itself as bright as a soccer field. Instead, they would continue to the next house and on to others.

“La Migra” had placed listening devices along the border. These devices could detect men walking from a distance of ten feet away. It could also detect metal (perhaps only the size of a rifle) and it could hear voices. It was best to walk softly and not to speak. If one needed to speak it was best to click two small stones together — softly. The group would all stop and the parties could whisper.

The little band started north — following the path worn into the hillside. The fence had been torn away here by the road accident and had not been replaced. There was more than enough room for even a truck to drive between the separated pieces of fence and possibly go all the way to the American freeway miles to the north.

“The critical element to our survival is to decapitate their leadership.” Bill was thinking out loud.

He again pulled up the 3D topographical map and looked at it on the screen. They both knew where the FBI had set up their command post — right at the shallow depression at the end of San Diego Gas and Electric’s line of power poles. There was more than enough room there for twenty or more vehicles. And it was out of sight of everything — the nearest ranch was more than three miles away and the pavement was five miles away.

“We’ve got one more sniper team to get and we better get them soon.”

Sally wasn’t even listening to him. She had her headphones on and she was typing phrases into the PC to mimic the dead teams. She had even convinced the command structure that the team that at first was thought to have blown itself up had really only set fire to the brush around it. All six team members were now back on the land line and having animated conversations with everyone. The northern and western teams had convinced the command that they should wait a bit before being relieved. They had been waiting here for all of these hours and were really the on-site experts. All had agreed to wait until 21:00 to send in the new teams.

Sally was about to have a nervous breakdown. She could not keep up with the sniper’s chatter.

Bill went over to one of the PC’s and reconnected his cell phone and dialed into the Internet. He then started calling up data on every material he had stored downstairs. His reference library was the OSHA library in Washington DC


“Carbon tetrachloride. It says here that this stuff breaks down under extreme heat and produces a Carbonyl halide.” A little extra work and he discovered that while carbon tet would not produce any poisons at even 400 or 500 degrees — if it was suddenly raised to 900 degrees or more it would in fact produce more than 25% Carbonyl halide.

In this case the Carbonyl halide in question was Phosgene. That was a name he had not heard for a long, long time. Phosgene. The most deadly poison of World War One. The last official plan for its use was as America’s “final solution” against the Japanese in World War Two — after the two atom bombs.

It was amazing how gassing 30 million people with Phosgene was an absolutely fine thing to do — as long as we were the ones planning to do it. Killing more than eight million Germans after the war by starving them to death was also wonderful. But let 200,000 of the Chosen People die in camps because the Germans couldn’t get food to them — because we bombed the food dumps — and suddenly 6,000,000 died and for sixty years these “perpetual victims” held the world for ransom.

He pulled up his terrain map again and calculated the volume of the depression at the FBI’s command post. He used some Monte Carlo randomization and after twenty seconds and 10,000 runs the computer came up with an average volume of 1,500,000 cubic feet — when calculated to a height of ten feet. At the average human nostril height of five feet the volume was only 650,000 cubic feet. And at this time of night most of these people would be seated or prone (asleep). He would need 15,000 cubic feet of Phosgene to eventually kill everyone from a 30 minute exposure. If he could let them die more slowly then far less gas would be needed.

Now, the real problem was that Phosgene would not drop them like a blow to the head. Phosgene would have them dead in 24 hours after exposure. Often, the Phosgene would first create a slight euphoric state in its victims. In the present case there was good and bad to that complication. The good included the certainty that the bastards would be dead. The bad was that they might be in a slightly manic good mood till their lungs filled with fluid and they drowned in their own phlegm. These cutthroat bastards might just sit around and decide that because they were such a good mood they ought to just call a B-52 air strike and watch the fun!

The plan would have to be to gas them as quickly as possible and then maybe scare them off — so they would all die someplace else and screw up the entire command structure. People would not know if they were going to die next or not. It should cause them a loss of concentration or even — God forbid — a loss of interest in their present mission of murder. The really good news was that the only cure for Phosgene poisoning was an immediate lung transplant.

Bill went down into the basement and checked his propane heating system. He found that he had about half a tank of propane.

He then rigged a tube from the propane tank to the green 30 gallon tank of surplus carbon tet he had been using to clean generator parts. From here he rigged a soft copper tube to an empty “Steel Mix” welding gas tank and from there he ran a copper tube to the plastic pipe that brought the telephone line into the house. That plastic pipe could be used as a perfectly sealed delivery system for the Phosgene from the basement to the green box at the edge of the property line.

He wrapped duct tape over the junction between the plastic pipe and the copper tube from the old welding gas tank. He then covered each junction with spay sealant foam from a spray can. He then coated the place where the plastic pipe came into the basement really well and even rubbed the foam to make certain that it stuck to the concrete wall.

He then rolled out his government surplus gas welding system and clamped the torch so that it would heat the bottom of the empty welding gas tank. He then connected one hose from the torch to the propane tank and the other hose from the torch to his air compressor. He then ran a hose from the compressor air intake up the ladder and to the inside of the closet. This way he could suck air from outside and wouldn’t burn up all of the air in the basement.

He didn’t have pure oxygen so the flame would be quite a bit cooler than that of a cutting torch — but still over 900 degrees. He started the torch and waited until the bottom of the tank was bright yellow. He then opened the propane tank line to the carbon tet.

The propane pushed the carbon tet from its container and dribbled it onto the yellow — hot steel at the bottom of the empty gas tank. Phosgene gas would travel out of the tank and up the copper tube and into the plastic pipe and — eventually — into the open air by the distant green box.

Phosgene gas is quite heavy and would settle into every low point.

His major concern was that the bottom of the tank could melt, Phosgene would be released onto the floor — followed by propane and the basement would explode and everyone would be dead — right then or 24 hours later.

He guessed that if a liquid turned to a gas it needed 900 times the space. And then he figured that only about 25% of the gas he created would be Phosgene. He discovered that he could keep the bottom of the tank yellow and still pour in carbon tet at a rate of about four gallons an hour. So in two hours he should have pumped enough Phosgene down the pipe to do the job — death for anyone within 100 feet of the green box.