PLAN OF ATTACK!
“Oñate is vain,” Mr. Nez intoned, as he adjusted the display of a power point presentation projected on a large posterboard screen behind him. “It’s a weakness we will exploit.”
His eyes scanned the group of zombie soldiers gathered in the main cabin of the secret La Familia training camp in a remote part of Joshua Tree national monument. It was only three weeks ago we’d been given our attack assignments, and for three weeks we had dutifully planned, drilled and trained. Now we were at the final countdown briefing for the assault on the Juan de Oñate zombie compound, an attack that might well save humanity from extinction.
As usual I was sitting in the front row, next to Pearl, with Vida, my zombie dog, at my feet. Around us the other zombie recruits listened attentively to the wisdom of the five hundred year old zombie.
“It will be his downfall.” Mr. Nez continued. He clicked the computer mouse and an aerial photograph of a wooded campground appeared on the display screen.
“This is the latest reconnaissance photo of the Big Bear Oñate compound. It was taken yesterday by our aerial drones.”
Mr. Nez took a laser pointer and indicated the main driveway into the camp.
“Here, on the south side, is the front entrance to the camp. You can see there’s only a perfunctory guard gate, consistent with their make-believe religious youth retreat. All our recon photos confirm no outlaying perimeter watches, no advance warning system. Oñate considers the compound safe and his pride won’t allow him to think that we could or would ever counter attack after the devastation he brought on us at the meeting hall.”
A flash of sadness hit me as I thought of my mother who’d lost here life during that meeting hall attack.
Mr. Nez painted to two roads coming from the east and west into the main cluster of five buildings.
“Here are the other two roads that lead in and out of the camp. These three buildings here are the main activity centers. Over here these two long buildings are the barracks for the soldiers. And over here, set apart from the main cluster is what we are calling the “Presidential suite.”
Another slide appeared on the wall. This showed detail of the two barrack structures. Clearly visible was a group of perhaps a two dozen children entering the larger of the two barracks..
“The smaller of these two structures houses the adults. This larger structure here, as you can see from the children seen entering in this photo, is for the zombie children we’ll be rescuing. Remember, their human mothers were killed shortly after their births and they have been raised by Oñate ever since. We don’t know how deep their indoctrination has gone, what he has told them, or who they believe they are. We must be ready for anything.”
Next he pointed to the other three structures on the photo.
“These three activity center buildings here are the kitchen, mess hall and conference rooms. Surveillance shows there’s no one there at night. Now, I’ll let Pearl Gonzalez and Gus Dominguez explain the attack plan,.”
Pearl rose from my side and went to the computer where she was joined by Gus Dominguez. She clicked on the power point and a stylized schematic of the camp layout appeared.
“Our attack plan is simple. We’ll attack at night. Jenny Mendez and I will approach from the front gate here, damsels in distress. We’ll create a diversion for whatever guards may be present. Filomino, Gus, Sally and Jaime will be our back-up. They’ll stay out of sight here at the main gate, till we put the guards away. Once we’ve neutralized the guards, we’ll move directly to here.”
The slide on the power point changed, showing an elaborate two story structure about two hundred yards from the five main buildings of the compound. Now Gus took over the presentation.
“From out surveillance,” Gus explained, “we’ve determined this is the main headquarters living facility. We’ve not seen any aerial evidence that Oñate himself is present at this compound. But if he is, he’ll be here in this structure. If he’s not in the camp, whoever is running the show will be in this main building. It’s the head of the beast.”
He paused for a moment to read the faces of his comrades.
“Our plan is to take the building and neutralize the leadership within. If we’re lucky we’ll get Oñate.
The slide changed to one showing the camp but highlighting the three roads leading into and out of the grounds, the main gate, the western exit and the eastern exit. Gus continued with the briefing.
“Betty Hernández, Rudy Cortez and Carlos Ramirez will approach in their van from the western side road. Raul Torres, Sal Duron and Winston Begay will approach from the eastern side road. We’ll be using the night vision on our helmets.”
The power point now focused on the two barracks.
“The first group,” Gus continued, “led by Betty, will deploy to surround the adult barracks, covering both front and back entrances. The second group, led by Sal, will deploy around the
barracks we think house the children. Again, covering front and back entrances. The third group, that’s Lazaro and Beto, will bring in the two vans we have arranged to ferry the children out. They’ll park the vans here, next to the children’s barracks.”
Pearl now addressed the group. “As I said the plan is simple but direct. We enter the camp, we neutralize any and all Oñate adult zombies and we leave with the zombie children. Gus and I estimate the whole operation can be accomplished in fifteen to twenty minutes, a half hour max.”
A silence pervaded he room as Pearl and Gus finished their presentation.
Finally a hand went up. It was Sally Mendez.
“I’ll be part of that group that targets the ‘Presidential Suite.’ How will we know Oñate if we run into him? Do we have photo or something?”
At this point Mr. Nez stepped forward. The look on his face and gravity with which he addressed the group immediately shut us up and made us pay attention.
“We DO have a photo of Juan de Oñate, taken at another locale just six months ago. Engrave this image in your mind and don’t ever underestimate him. He is diabolically evil, unbelievably smart and as ruthless as they come. Shoot on sight, shoot to kill.”
With that Mr. Nez took over the power point and with a click of the mouse a color photo was projected onto the presentation board.
It took only a moment for the image to register in the minds of my fellow zombies. Then each one of them let out an uncontrollable, audible gasp.
It took a full minute before the image registered on me. Then I saw it. At first vaguely familiar, and then, wait, a face I knew as well as I knew my own.
As I absorbed the photo and its implications, I saw that everyone else in the room had turned to look at me. More gasps. I looked to Pearl and saw her mouth was agape, shock and bewilderment on her face.
I couldn’t blame her.
The photograph of Juan De Oñate that Mr. Nez had projected on the poster board had an unmistakable, irrefutable and uncanny resemblance to the face I saw every morning in the mirror.
Copyright 2013 Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions Inc. This blog was previously published on Latinopia on June 6,2013.