I talked yesterday about the nationwide raids on people and groups that the government has identified as Green Front. Now let me tell you what happened here in Miami.
Obviously, the Synergists survived. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this message if we’d all been captured or killed. But the raids did do considerable damage.
Synergy Central was one of dozens of targets across the country that were hit at almost exactly the same time by anti-green forces. Depending on the resources available in each city (and a few rural areas), the teams consisted of some combination of local police, state police, Bastion, and some type of special forces that we think were directly overseen by some intelligence agency. The government is being very vocal about the need for these raids, but very quiet about the exact details. These special forces had no identification, of course, so we have no way of knowing who exactly they were.
If we had been a bigger target, we would all be in jail right now — or worse. The raids on the biggest targets were very successful because they had the most resources: communications monitoring and disruption, the new sonic cannons, knockout gas, armed drones, hundreds of troops, and so on. But we get the impression that the policy makers in Washington have written off Miami as a lost cause. So no federal troops or special ops teams for Miami. The remaining police in Miami are overwhelmed on a good day, and the Florida National Guard members who aren’t overseas fighting for oil and natural gas are busy protecting key infrastructure. So they decided to let Bastion run the whole show here.
It was quite a show. Jess, Ermete, and I were all asleep in our apartment at Synergy Central. Harold was away visiting Synergy Roads for the night. Our exact head count at Central on any given night varies, but that night we had thirty-two people. Many were asleep like us, but some were awake on guard duty.
The local Bastion leaders must have thought that we were some type of helpless community center that hadn’t put any thought into our defenses. About two dozen of them rolled right up to our front door in three black boats with all the lights turned off. Two of the boats unloaded their crew to storm the building on foot while the third boat hung back a bit so they could lob teargas and flashbang grenades into the first few floors. About a dozen other people went to other parts of the building to cover alternate exits. All of these people were in black tactical gear and had various tools and weapons to help them in the raid.
If we hadn’t been prepared, it would have been easy for them. They had about as many people as us, if not more. They all had better gear and training than most if not all of us. They were all awake. They had the cover of darkness in their favor. It would have been a slam dunk if we weren’t prepared.
But we were prepared.
From the outside, it looks like we just have two guards at night who are just casually watching TV and using the internet to pass the time. But really, we always have several more just out of sight. They’re usually the people with the most experience. Harold and the other Green Guard have given us all at least some training, but our night guards tend to be ex-military. They have a lot of important skills related to security and know how to keep their heads in a crisis.
When Bastion lobbed a flashbang grenade through the front door, our team knew what to do. The two at the front desk were momentarily stunned, obviously, because that’s what flashbang grenades do. But our backup team understood immediately what was happening and sprang into action. After a brief exchange of gunfire, our people sounded the alarm and retreated up the stairs. Once they made it up the first flight, one of them activated our first line of defense.
Ermete calls it the Zapper.
Like most buildings in Miami, the first floor of Synergy Central is always flooded. The water’s low enough that we can still get in and out using the old doors. We can even put some desks and ramps on boosters to raise a portion of the ground floor above water. But even after that, most of our lobby is still flooded with water. So we decided to use that to our advantage. We wired the lobby so that with the press of a button, the whole thing becomes electrified. It took a couple of weeks of rewiring and testing, and it’s an outrageous safety hazard and building code violation, but it works.
Most of the first wave of Bastion troops were subjected to a strong enough shock to cause a momentary paralysis, leaving them helpless and at risk of drowning. If it had been freshwater, it probably would have been lethal. As it was, Jalen and Bridget had to go back down into the lobby to make sure that no one was actually drowning. Of course, we took away their weapons too.
We were hoping that the Zapper would discourage any other troops from entering the building. Bastion troops are mercenaries, after all. They’re not doing this out of some high-minded idealism about God and country. They’re doing it for a paycheck. And that paycheck seems a lot less important when your buddies just got zapped downstairs.
Unfortunately, they were very determined. They made their way onto our lower level roof — the former pool and tennis court — by climbing over from a neighboring office building. They trashed part of our garden and damaged a rainwater catchment system along the way. Fortunately for us, we had already seen this coming. We changed all of the locks on those doors so that we could lock out any intruders who tried to come in that way. We go in and out of those rooms all the time during the day, but at night it’s locked up tight. There’s also additional reinforcement on the doors and a few barricades in the hallways on those floors. This slowed them down enough that we were able to drive them back out of the building with some of our own flashbang grenades and a few warning shots to let them know that we were armed.
Honestly, most of this happened before I was even ready. Our team downstairs sounded the alarm and triggered the Zapper, and the Green Guard among us who were asleep when it all started sprang into action a little faster than the rest of us. My role consisted of waking up, figuring out what the hell was happening, and running out the apartment door with Jess and Ermete to see how we could help. I ended up tossing a flashbang grenade down a tube to disorient the Bastion troops while Ermete talked on the walkie-talkie and Jess covered the door to make sure none of the Bastion troops had found a way to sneak up on us.
Ultimately, our defense of Synergy Central was successful. A few Synergists had minor injuries, including one of the lobby guards who was shot in the bicep and grazed in the head, which apparently bleeds a lot even when it’s not a deep wound. Jalen and Bridget tended to the wounded, including some of the Bastion troops who had to be rescued from drowning and carried out to their boats under a white flag with a red cross on it. It was basically just a painted bedsheet, but it worked. Once their ground crew was mostly disarmed and their roof crew was on the run, they gathered up their wounded under our watchful eyes and beat a hasty retreat.
That was without a doubt one of the most stressful and scary and frustrating experiences of my life. I feel sick inside just thinking of it. I’m still not used to anything remotely resembling violence. It was loud and confusing and bloody and awkward and way too real. I spent most of my life completely removed from violence, and on some level I feel like the past couple of months of occasional training has not been enough to prepare me for the realities of living at constant risk of violence.
But you know what? I survived. And we survived. None of us died. None of us got captured. And we didn’t lose our home. There’s some damage, but we can repair it with time.
What we can’t repair, I’m sure, is our relationship with Bastion. They were never happy to have us on the edge of their turf, but now they must want to drive us out of here by any means necessary. Hopefully the fact that we provided emergency care to over a dozen Bastion troops will help soften their hearts, but somehow I doubt it. The government will probably tell them to try again — and even if they don’t, Bastion may take it upon themselves to try again just so that they can be rid of us.
With that in mind, I decided earlier tonight to send Bastion a warning.
We know about how many troops Bastion currently has in the Brickell area. If they really wanted to, they could definitely get together enough people to take us out. No contest. But you know what? It would leave them vulnerable. Very vulnerable. The only way they could put together a bigger raid would be to pull people off of their regular duty assignments — patrolling the streets of Brickell, guarding the banks and offices, doing personal security for the most rich and powerful people around here, and so on. So I decided to send them a warning.
If they attack us again, we’ll send out a distress signal to the entire city. If we do that, two very important things will happen. The first is that our growing number of friends at Synergy Havana and Synergy Roads and the Liminals and beyond will each send some backup our way. The second is that every criminal organization in Miami will know that the banks and offices are vulnerable.
I don’t like making these types of decisions. I don’t like playing these types of games. I just want to be left in peace to spend time with my friends working on our ecological and community projects. But don’t mistake this desire for peace as a sign of fear or weakness. If you come and attack a peaceful group of Synergists who are just trying to provide food and electricity and sustainable living to the people of this city, there will be consequences. You may take down Synergy Central, but you will lose Brickell. Keep that in mind the next time someone in Tallahassee or Washington or anywhere else tells you it’s time to go attack a group of people who have never done you any harm.
So there it is. That’s what happened here in Miami during the Purge, as some people are calling it. There were a few other small arrests, but their main attack failed. Here’s hoping they’ll have the good sense not to try again.