Patrick Ito of the California Resistance stood on a corner trying not to attract any attention. The Japanese, in force along the miles of central Los Angeles, were too disciplined to openly show fear. Still, things did not look good for the battalions that had garrisoned the city in the wake of the invasion that had started two weeks ago.
Collecting the data he needed, Pat went to find his radio. It was time for his daily report, and the boys in Washington would want whatever he could dig up and send out to them.
He tried to move quietly among the streets of the city. The garrison forces were securing defensible positions while herding innocent civilians together to use as hostages. If the American forces assaulted the city proper, more than Japanese soldiers would lose their lives in the action. At least those that could were leaving as fast as they could. Pat didn’t blame them. L.A. was about to become a free-fire zone with no mercy for anybody who got in the way.
Pat made his notes and continued his inspection. He only had so much time before he had to submit his report to his intelligence officers. Then things would really hit the fan.
Richard Ito, Patrick’s brother, also walked the quiet streets of the city. His goal was to ascertain where he could do the most good to apply his abilities as the new Quicksilver. He had come across an armory and decided to look inside. Slipping past the guards, he counted the weapons rapidly. It took him only seconds to remove the firing pins of every rifle on a rack.
The speedster moved on, making sure his intrusion had not been detected. He had not wanted to get involved with the war, but now it was his main focus in life. At least with the Manhunter out of the way, his missions would be easier to complete.
Hopefully his small efforts would end this part of the war in weeks and not years like the last war had been.
Control surveyed the information on his desk. American troops had already marched across the state, retaking San Diego and most of the towns leading to the Mexican border. But isolated pockets of Japanese regulars had barricaded themselves in with hostages. He could see months, maybe years, of internal fighting weeding those elements out of existence.
Refugees were flooding out of the affected areas, passing through Army and Marine posts after being cleared. A few spies had been caught trying to pass themselves off as true Americans, and they had been turned over to Counter-Intelligence for interrogation and trials.
He considered making a request for some of the Freedom Fighters to help the troops finish cleaning up and help retake Los Angeles and Orange Counties. But the team had not been seen in public in months, and he guessed they were involved in deep cover assignments.
Control read the preliminary report on the Manhunter from Mars and began wondering if the supposed alien was really an alien at all.
Japanese soldiers were watching the points of the compass as reports and broken platoons streamed into the city ahead of the advancing American forces. Heavy casualties were the norm on both sides as the Imperial Army retreated from the enemy.
The orders were to hold their position at the city and take it hostage until reinforcements from Sacramento arrived to help garrison the city. After all, the Americans would not risk their own civilians by transforming the city into a massive free-fire zone. That’s what had helped the Japanese hold the state for as long as they had. Neither side was prepared for the civilians to take matters into their own hands and become their own army.
Sgt. Kendo Hitashi scanned the night with light-amplifying binoculars. His men were spread out in a perimeter to guard the arsenal set up by the Japanese forces. Other such sites were spread out over the city to prevent loss or destruction. Platoons like Hitashi’s were in place to hold the Americans back from the vital reserve ammunition and firearms.
Hitashi didn’t see two of his sentries fall to garrotes by the fence around the squat building. He also didn’t see the stealthy intruders spread out over the grounds and ambush his men before they could set off an alarm.
He only became aware of the invasion when someone threw a grenade against the main door and it exploded. The entrance was wide open, smoke drifting on the air, as Hitashi tried to come to grips with the new situation. He began to issue orders as bullets flew through the air around him.
A stray round caught him in the chest as he dived for cover. He bled to death as the battle ceased and the Americans took his charge from him.
Resistance cells came up with plans, leading raids across the city. They confiscated weapons, destroyed or seized files, and cut down groups of soldiers in ambushes.
Patrick Ito moved from place to place with a rifle he had modified to suit his needs. The travel was hazardous, but the five-mile area of Los Angeles spread the occupying forces thin on the ground. He had used that to his advantage to move into the high ground and snipe soldiers in the out-of-control fighting the citizenry had begun.
Free California Radio reported the spontaneous battles and the approach of American forces as the day wore on. Their spotters reported the sudden opening of holes in the Japanese defenses as explosions rocked the burning city.
Everyone knew that L.A.’s own freedom fighter was on the job, even if no one saw him work his own brand of magic on the enemy.