We're Not Gonna Take It
Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Not long after that, the parents of the other boys were meeting with Jonathon and Mary. They were being shown the video evidence that Paul had collected and heard the discussion on how they felt about these developments. Then the bombshell was dropped. Jonathon brought up that it was not all the US Troops that were fully behind Ashwood, that he had brought in thousands, maybe tens of thousands of South American troops to "pacify" the American populace. Only when it appeared that all the adults were on-board for doing something to stop Ashwood, did Jonathon and Mary make them aware of the dire consequences, should any of them be caught. They would be labeled as subversives and most likely be executed.
When this was said, Mathew Stoddard, Ben's father, spoke up. "Jonathon, it won't be just us that they will go after. It will be the entire family, won't it?"
"Yes, Mathew. I'm afraid it will be."
Mathew looked at his wife, Emily. "Dear, can we handle this? Ava is only 16. They will kill her. Terrance is away at school, but they will most likely track him down, just as an example." Mathew had just expressed a concern that Colin and Nancy had. Their other son, Lawrence, was at Georgetown University, in D.C.
Emily's face hardened. "Mathew, how can you even ask the question? Our forefathers gambled everything they had, when they revolted against the tyranny of King George. Can we do any less, and still hold our heads up and call ourselves Americans? This current tyrant, Ashwood, must be stopped at all costs."
Colin, listening to Emily and Mathew, cleared his throat, causing Emily to stop. "Nancy and I have already discussed this. Jonathon has yet to mention exactly why he has told us these things, nor why he has called us here. Mathew, don't you find it odd that that the boys are over at the old house, and not here? They are adults and have every right to be in this conversation as we do. They have as much to lose as we do.
"I said that we have already had this conversation. This is the second time we have viewed these videos. What you don't know, and Jonathon may not know, is that earlier today the boys met over at our house. They were already concerned about what is happening in our country. Paul had the videos and the boys viewed them there. Nancy and I also watched... they were in the bedroom and James didn't close his door. So we watched. After that, Nancy and I left, as she was very upset over the Breckenridge Massacre.
"The boys were in the room for another hour or two, and I kinda guessed what was going on. More on that in just a moment.
"Nancy and I talked about the situation. I expressed my feelings at what the boys may be up to. Together, we agreed to support them in what they are about to do."
"About to do? What do you mean?" Mathew asked.
"That was the part that I was coming to, Mathew." Colin noticed that Emily looked rather proud, even if (and just maybe despite the fact) Mathew was a bit confused. "I think that the boys are going to do something daring and bold. Something that hasn't been done since the founding of this country. I'm sure that many will call this a civil war. Of course, they are correct, in the strictest sense. Just as the revolution that founded this country was a civil war. But just as we call that time the Revolutionary War, so too is this. And it is my suspicion that our boys will be part of this new revolutionary force.
Mathew looked at everyone while he thought about what was said.
Meanwhile, in Lee's house, another similar discussion was being held.
"Lee, you had no right to drag our folks into this. What we are about to attempt means that we have to shield them." Ben said angrily.
"Ben, listen to me for a moment, please. What you suggested has a lot of merit. I'm all for it, as are the other guys. Are we agreed on that point?" Lee looked around for anyone that didn't agree with Ben's plan. "But there is one thing you forgot. If any of us get captured, killed or identified in any manner, our families are all at risk of being put to death. All of them. Not just our parents, but our brothers and sisters. They will be used as examples to the rest of the people. They will use us and our dead families to show what happens if Ashwood is opposed. If you don't think they will, then you haven't thought this through far enough.
"So yes, I will follow you. This is your plan, and I have to think you know what we need to do. I will take your orders. But understand this; everything we hold dear is at stake. Our families need to understand what we will be doing will put them as much into harm's way, as we ourselves will be doing. They need the facts to determine if they will support us, or not. They need to know what is at stake.
"I told you what Paul and I saw. After witnessing that I have no doubt in my mind that they will execute our families. I think it safe to say that if we cannot trust our families, then it will be just the four of us... as we certainly won't be able trust anyone else."
Ben held his hand up to silence Lee. "We won't be traveling with any kind of ID. None of us have ever been in trouble with the law, nor have we been in the military. Our fingerprints are not on file. Anywhere. We will be completely anonymous. How the hell are they going to figure out who we are?"
And so the arguments went, back and forth, for a short while. Ben finally realized that what Paul, James and Lee were saying was nothing more than the unvarnished truth. Ben always was the stubborn one of the group.
After that, things went a lot more smoothly. They discussed who else they could approach and how to get their families on board. One of the things that was decided was that no married couples were going to be allowed. At least at first. It was just too dangerous to leave wives and children behind, at this early stage. They wanted some successes behind them before they even thought about approaching their married friends.
They had just started to list all the equipment they had, and to build a list of the stuff they actually had to have, when there was a knock on the door. James got up and went to see who it was.
"Hi James. Can you boys come over to the main house and talk with us old folk a bit?" Jonathon asked, with a big grin.
James hollered out, "Hey guys, the old timers want to talk with us studs!" (smack) "Ow! What was that for Mr. Bradford?" But James had a shit-eating grin on his face, so Jonathon knew James wasn't really mad.
Once everyone was settled in the living room, Jonathon brought out the whiskey for the men, while Mary had made up a pitcher of lemonade for those that didn't want the hard stuff.
The sun had not yet set, but the room was darkening in the late afternoon. While the generator had been shut down for the night, there were several oil lamps spread around the room to provide illumination. "Us 'old folks' have decided that, despite the risks, we are gonna support you boys in whatever it is you're gonna do. So first, how're you all gonna get around?" Colin opened this combined meeting.
Ben took the floor right away. "The most silent course would be to take horses. But if we get chased it will be by vehicles, whether it be ground or air, or even both. So while horses may be as fast as ATV's in the forests around here, they don't have the stamina of a machine. The other problem with horses is the need to feed. We are heading into the winter months, and forage will be a problem. So we have figured on using our quads. Plus, we can carry more gear that way.
"The other benefit is that we won't have to find forage for an ATV. Just gas. For that we can trade, or if we have to, raid."
"So how do you figure to quiet them thing's down? They're pretty noisy, ya know!"
"Actually, that's the easy part. Just like a quiet motorcycle, and yes, there are quite a few of them, we adapt good mufflers to them. Will this decrease the power and MPG? Yes. There are always trade-offs. But in the long run, if they can't hear us, we have a big advantage over them." Ben was on a roll here. "The parts we need can be found on almost any farm. Certainly, we can do the work, if I can convince the shop manager at Viking-Cives to open up for a morning.
"Lee is a good mechanic. With his help, we can modify our four quads and have them pretty quiet in a morning's work. I've been researching this for a while, with the idea that in hunting, the quieter we are, the closer we can get to an area without scaring all the game. So I already have the plans for what is needed, and how to make the modifications."
"That sounds like a doable thing, Ben." Jonathon began. "I know Bert Harper fairly well. I can see if he will open the shop Monday morning." Seeing Ben about to object, Jonathon continued. "Opening the shop on a Sunday would raise some suspicions, Ben. On Monday, we can open it up under the premise of getting the town's snow equipment ready. Since that's where they are stored in off months, it shouldn't raise any red flags."
"I had thought of that, Mr. Bradford. Since there are now troops stationed here, we probably should keep to the posted curfew schedule they've put out. But… we also need to get moving as fast as we can. That means we have to get the quads outfitted tomorrow, or we may just find ourselves locked down. The faster we proceed, the less chance the ‘authorities' have in establishing firm control.”
“OK. So, tomorrow I'll get with Bert and convince him to open the shop. You get the ATV's modified, pack them up, and leave as soon as you can. That also means you have only tomorrow to get anyone else to go with you."
"Do you have any sort of plan to harass Ashwood's men?" Asked Mathew.
Ben looked at everyone, before he answered. "I don't think it would be a good idea for anyone outside of us 'guerillas' to answer that. You all are going to be in enough danger as it is. So, the less you know, the better for all concerned."
"Op-Sec... Operational Security."
"That's right, Mr. Robbins. Let's just say that besides what Lee has seen, I've talked to others who have seen a bit more and based on that, I have some good ideas on what we can do."
"All right, then. I think we need to all get back to our own places, before the sun goes down. This curfew thing is going to hinder what we can do, but we can operate within those parameters." Jonathon said. "Tomorrow, being Sunday, we had all best go to church, like we normally do.
"I suspect you boys will be talking to others, seeing how they stand and if you can count on more help. The other thing to do tomorrow is to get all of your equipment prepared. I agree, the sooner you get out of here, before Ashwood gets enough people here to really lock us down, the better off we will all be. We will help you with as much as we can. Just let us all know what you boys need and what we can do."
"There is one more thing that we need. No one has mentioned it yet." Paul spoke up.
"What's that, Paul?" Lee looked at him.
"Communications. We will need to have a way to not only communicate with each other, assuming we can get enough guys to make 2 or more teams, but with some of our folks back here. We are going to need any Intel they might hear about that we can use. Sure we probably all have CB's of one sort or another, but these all broadcast in the clear. That will kill us, as sure as a bullet to the brain. We simply can't let the enemy eavesdrop on what we are doing."
"Damn!" Ben cursed. "I hadn't even thought of that, beyond using some sort of coded phrases on our CB's, between us."
"Just last Monday, Mr. Truesdell got in some encrypted radios... a base station, two mobile stations and six handhelds. These are some of the latest tech to come out, this year. They operate on both VHF and UHF. They are high power and long range digital transceivers. The mobile and base stations can take an external antenna, to increase their effective range to about 150 miles. The handhelds, well, they are good out to about 15 miles on VHF and half that on UHF.”
"The best part of that? They are capable of some very, very good encryption." Paul added.
"Now what in the world would he be doing with that kind of high end equipment?" Mused Mathew.
"I think I know who it was for, but right now, it don't much matter does it? I think he'll let us have it at cost, just to get it off of his books. That's if we can come up with about $3500." Paul wasn't happy, but said, "I have about $200 in my wallet. That's all I have."
Lee smiled. "I have $2000 in cash, right now. How about the rest of you? What do we have?"
After a bit of discussion, it was decided to pool their monies and get the radios, if Truesdell would let them go. Paul would ask him tomorrow. As they were all getting ready to leave, going to their separate homes for the night, Jonathon asked one final question.
"I need to know how you all feel about the 'Gay Issue' Ashwood keeps bringing up."
"Why, Jonathon? Do you have a boyfriend that Mary doesn't know about?" Colin laughed as he asked.
"Jonathon Bradford!" Mary quipped, knowing why he brought it up. "When are you going to invite that poor misguided man over for supper? There are things I can tell him about you, that he simply needs to know!" Everyone laughed, while Jonathon sputtered a bit. He really hadn't thought this would backfire on him, as it had.
"Jonathon, all joking aside," Mathew had gotten serious, "like Ben, we were wondering how long it would take for Lee and Paul to come to their senses. And no. It doesn't bother me or Emily in the least." At this, both Lee and Paul were blushing something fierce. "Sorry, Lee, but Ben couldn't help himself and told us that you had asked Paul to come live with you, last night. I agree with Ben... about time!"
Colin agreed. "While I can't say for sure how Nancy feels, I have long suspected why Abigail turned her son out to the cold. Knowing the friendship both boys have had, it doesn't come as any kind of surprise, let alone, shock."
"Knowing those two, I think it came more of a shock to them, than it does us." Nancy added. "Thinking about it, Lee, I think it was more of a shock to you, than Paul."
Paul just stood there and smiled, even though there was still a bit of a blush in his face. Lee, however, had sat down and was holding his face with both hands. Everyone could see that he was as red as a beet! "How is it that everyone else knew what I felt, except me?" Lee whined.
"And he calls me, stubborn!" Ben laughed.
James walked over to Lee and pulled him up in a hug. "Lee, Ben and I had you and Paul figured out years ago. After that night at Pastamorés, and you both left together to go over to Paul's house. We thought that that was the day you two were going to finally get together." James let go of Lee. "After we sorta heard what happened with Paul, and you began to withdraw from him, I kinda figured what all else had happened. Why Mrs. Mason never outed you, I'll never know, and it doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that you have made things right with Paul. Both Ben and I were on the verge of beating some sense into you. Paul was very much hurt by your rejection. At least, it was plain to see to Ben and I."
"Judging by what our folks have just said, it appears it was plain to a few of us." Ben said, taking Lee and Paul into a sort-of group hug. "It should also be clear, that we don't care who a person loves. Gender doesn't mean as much as the love that is between two people. At least it shouldn't."
Jonathon, wanting to spare Lee and Paul any more embarrassment, took charge. "Alright folks. Let's call it a night, we all have a lot to do tomorrow, if we are gonna get these kids everything they will need to pull this off."
Sunday Morning, November 11th
Mass was subdued at St. Francis Solanus Church this morning. Most of the usual parishioners were there, but even Fr. Grimley's homily, which was supposed to be an uplifting talk based partly on the Old Testament and Gospel readings, as they pertained to the parish, was off. It was more a low-key effort on obeying lawful authority.
As the Bradford's were leaving the church for home, Lee just had to comment. "That is so typical of the Church. Keep the status quo, preserve authority, regardless of the harm the current 'authority' is causing."
"Normally, I wouldn't allow that kind of talk about the Church, Leland. This time... I can't say that I disagree with you. Fr. Grimley has to have had an idea of what is going on, especially with the murders yesterday." Jonathon was disgusted. "Most of the people I heard were saying the same thing you just said."
"So, what are you boys going to do, today?"
"Well, I'm going to go and talk to Peter Conlin. He spent six years with the Marine's Force Recon. If I remember correctly, he was a demolitions expert." Lee answered. "Paul? Are you going to talk to Mr. Truesdell?"
"Yes I am. After that, I think I'll go and talk to John, over at Pastamorés Pizzeria. We're going to need someone who knows how to cook more than hamburgers and boil water."
"Oh! that was low, dude!"
"Maybe, but pretty close to the truth and you know it."
"Oh, you are so-o dead. I'll get you back for this!" Changing the subject, "Dad? Were you going to get ahold of Mr. Harper?"
"Yes. And as soon as I know what time you and Ben can get in the building, I'll call you both on channel 14 and tell you what time to meet him at the factory."
"Good enough. We've already agreed to keep our hand held's on that channel. All Ben and I need to do is to make one muffler that works, and then duplicate that for six or eight more quads."
"You aren't thinking of taking too many with you, are you, son." It was more a statement than a question.
"No Dad. Ben had thought at first, that we might use fifteen to twenty guys. But last night after considering some of our options, we all agreed that that was too large a group. Leaves too much of a 'footprint' in the woods. So we settled on six or eight. Much more manageable and it still gives us two teams to strike at Ashwood with."
They turned into the drive and up to the house, where Jonathon stopped his truck. Jonathon and Mary got out and went into the main house while the boys went to their house.
After changing out of their Sunday clothes, Lee said to Paul, "Take the other quad that's in the barn, Paul. It's got a full tank and I've already made sure it's tuned up."
Paul grabbed Lee and pulled him into a kiss. After a moment, Paul said softly, "Lee, we aren't gonna have much more time together, you know that, right?"
"Yeah, I know. Here we just 'found' each other, and other than last night and tonight, we are gonna have to steal any more time together, assuming we can do that. As much as I hate that thought... I can't get what happened to Polly out of my mind. We have to try and stop this shit, any way we can. If we win, we will have the rest of our lives together. If we lose, we won't live through it. We will either be dead, or… well, we know what Ashwood will do to people like us. Either way, it's worth the risk."
"Yes it is, Lee. So let's go and see what mischief we can make!" With that, the boys left to go on their separate paths. Just as Paul was about to enter the barn, he looked over his shoulder and noticed that Lee had to adjust himself, before he mounted his quad. That left a big smile on Paul's face, as he opened the big doors.
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