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denylistianto > The Western Front: Parts 1-3 > Part 13
As the jets performed a cross turn and headed back to the west, the soldiers in the ERC 90s could see tracer rounds from multiple locations on the island. The bullets flashed skyward in response to the attack.

The convoy proceeded east down the boulevard and stopped in the center of Port Isabel. Just ahead lay the long causeway that led to the guard's redoubt. They aimed their cannons eastward and began to sh.e.l.l the island.

South Padre once again flashed bright from the light of the explosions. Buildings were erased from the horizon. A dark cloud of smoke hung heavy in the distance. With the aid of binoculars, a few peculiar looking units on the island could be seen mobilizing in groups and returning fire. Soon the counterattack dissipated. The soldados cheered enthusiastically at their overwhelming victory.

After he was satisfied with the utter destruction of the island, the Capitn Primero ordered the convoy to cease fire. The attack was violent and swift, and had apparently caught most of the guardsmen by surprise. They had expected a fierce battle after finding the dead soldados on the roof of the apartment in Matamoros. They were all but certain that the gringos had discovered their ama.s.sing army. As it appeared, though, their fears were unfounded.

The island was silent and empty in the distance. The winds from the east began to blow the heavy, billowing smoke from the island over Laguna Madre, and into Port Isabel. The Capitn opened the top hatch of one of the front vehicles and peered through his binoculars for several uneventful minutes. Finally satisfied, he ducked back inside vehicle and gave the command to proceed over the causeway.

"Golden eagle! Golden eagle!"

Barrett and his fellow guardsmen rushed to their positions as their radios squawked to life. The code words from the SEAL scout team in Brownsville echoed in their heads. The army in Matamoros was on the move, and they were coming to the island.

They had been lying in wait for days. Barrett had expected the a.s.sault much sooner, but Providence had withheld it. The delay had afforded them the much-needed time to plead for reinforcements from Austin. They had begged for air support from Camp Mabry, but were told none was available. After a call to the governor's office and a second call to command control, a plan began to form. The more they discussed it, the more Barrett and Holt fell in love with it; and if they were lucky, it might even work.

Command control had recently been informed of a discovery in a National Guard Armory; crate upon crate of aging, Dragon missiles had been found languis.h.i.+ng in the back of a storage bunker. It had been decided that the entire stockpile of the M47 Dragons would be sent to Padre Island, along with six of the state's latest riot control vehicles.

At less than 6' in length and 4' tall, the Gladiator tactical vehicle was perfect for urban crowd control. The small, remotely-controlled vehicles could

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