We're Not Gonna Take It
Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Paul's first stop was to cautiously go into town to Truesdell's Computers. South Creek Road made a turn and became Main Street. Mrs. Wilson's and Polly's bodies had been removed by someone. Whoever it was had even tried to wash the blood out of the road. Paul rode by and turned right onto State Street. Then another hundred feet or so to the store. Parking his four-wheeler, Paul got off and went to the door. Before he could knock, Bill Truesdell opened his door.
"Well Paul! I didn't expect to see you back so quick. What brings you here on a Sunday?" Bill shook Paul's hand as he led him into his house. The front room of which had been made into a computer display and sales area.
"Actually, this is sort of a business call." Paul took the stool that Bill offered.
"Oh? And what does the shop have that you think you need?"
"Mr. Truesdell, last week you got in an encrypted transceiver set. Base, mobile and handhelds. Are they sold?"
"I thought I had a buyer down in Carthage. But what with all that's happened, that's not going to happen now. Why? What did you have in mind?"
"Um, I, um, happen to know some guys who could put that equipment to some real good use. Especially now." Bill's eyes shot up at this.
"That equipment is some of the latest in encryption tech. Not to mention that the broadcast range is much better than most that's on the market, today. That makes it kinda pricey. Do these 'friends' of yours have a couple or four thousand dollars to buy the lot?"
"Depending upon how much profit you want to make on this stuff, w... they might be able to come up with the cash."
"Hmm... Cash you say? For cash, I might not need to make as much a margin as I normally would charge. Considering all that's going on right now, and if a certain group of people could really use the capabilities of this equipment, I might could be persuaded to let it all go at cost." Bill was thinking real fast. He suspected what Paul wanted the stuff for. "Tell me Paul, did you hear about what happened to poor Mrs. Wilson and her daughter, Polly?"
The last things Bill said made Paul squirm a bit, as he thought Mr. Truesdell was close to guessing what the equipment was going to be used for. But the abrupt change in topic caught him completely by surprise. What happened yesterday came boiling back to him. He couldn't keep the anger from showing on his face, at the same time his eyes began to tear up, as Paul remembered what had happened.
Bill Truesdell sat silently, while he watched Paul process what he had just said. He saw the anger and fury suddenly come upon his face, and he saw the tears begin to form in the corner of the boy's eyes. This brought back a lot of memories to Bill. None of them were kind or pleasant. He suddenly understood not just what had happened, but who saw it happen. "My God, Paul! You were there. You saw it happen!"
Without warning, something crept up on Paul. Something snapped inside of Paul. The anger was still there. But it was building to some sort of crescendo, something like a volcanic eruption.
Something inside him screamed and the fury almost broke loose. A fury that knew no bounds. No friends. No love. All it wanted to do was to lash out and kill!
It wanted out, and if it found its way out, no one would be safe around him. Hit. Smash. Destroy. KILL!
With a strength he did not know, Paul pushed it back down. He thought of Lee. The love he had just found. If he let it out, it would kill Lee, just as sure as the sun comes up in the morning. If it came out, it would destroy that love he had just found.
Paul pushed it down, until it was just anger. But even now it took a back seat to a new resolve he had just found within himself.
Bill saw it too. It reminded him of himself, when he served in the Army and had fought in Vietnam. Bill watched as Paul fought his demons. Wearily Bill watched, to see which would win. Preparing to defend against the madness that sometimes grips those who see, feel or experience more pain and agony than any man should ever be permitted.
Bill breathed a sigh of relief, when at last it was clear that Paul had won. Paul would not succumb to the mind-numbing madness. Softer, Bill said, "You saw it all, didn't you, Paul?"
The tears that had suddenly dried up, came back. This time they leaked past his eyelids.
"Yes, Bill, I saw it. So did Lee Bradford. We were on our way back from seeing some friends and we were taking the old Main Street road back to town. We were in the treeline, so they couldn't see us. We watched them take Polly. We watched them gun down Mrs. Wilson when she came out of her house and ran to Polly. We watched them get finished with Polly and let her go. Polly ran to her mom. One of the bastards walked up behind Polly and shot her in the head. Yes. Lee and I were there. There's a few of us, and we're going to do something about that. Whatever it takes to stop those bastards... We will put those radios to some damn good use."
Truesdell just shook his head. "I knew they had been shot... I didn't know about the other thing."
"Paul? You asked the price for the equipment?... It's a heavy price…"
"What kind of price you asking for?"
"The usual... I want in."
"Mr Truesdell... Bill, do you understand what you are asking? This isn't a decision that I can make alone."
"Paul, you trusted me when I took you in, after your mother kicked you out. We both know why that was. But you trusted me, then. I'm asking that you trust me now." Bill leaned forward, "I know the dangers of what you're implying. I know them very well. I saw what happens... in Vietnam, to people that refused to collaborate with the VC."
While Paul was mulling over this "demand", Bill was thinking about Paul's reaction. There was a definite sign of PTSD involved here. Paul had almost gone berserk. While Paul had won this battle, Bill knew that the berserker would always lie just under the surface, waiting to burst out. Unless Paul got some form of help, and now, not later, it would surface again. Perhaps as soon as the next contact with the enemy occurred.
"All right, Paul. Here's what I would like for you to do. I strongly suspect you have others you want to, um, enlist, in this effort. I'm assuming your team is not completely built. So... go on about your business today, but call me on the CB when you guys have made your decision about the radios. We will talk again, after that. Deal?"
Paul nodded his head and stood up. "Be listening on Channel 14." The two shook hands and Paul left.
After leaving Truesdell's Computers, Paul went directly over to Pastamorés. At this time of day, the Church groups had mostly finished their brunch and John Merrill would be pretty free to talk.
Paul found John in the kitchen, doing some pots, pans and other assorted dishes. They wouldn't have an actual dishwasher until the evening crowd came in, if they came in. "Hi John. Can we talk?"
"Sure, as long as you don't mind me getting this work done... Whazzup?"
"Here, let me help while we talk." Paul replied, as he got into position to stack rinsed items into the washer/sanitizer.
"John, are you aware of what's been happening in this country the past week?"
"I know we had an election that President Ashwood seemed to have lost, only to nullify it by calling Jack Bryce an international terrorist, then Ashwood declared Martial law. Power seems to be out throughout the country. No communications. A few foreign troops, with machine guns, came into town yesterday to administer the 'new' law and a curfew has been imposed.
"Seems these guys like to eat, so they're letting the local businesses stay open, as long as we can get by with no power or have our own generators. Seems that includes Stewart's out on the highway. Guess they like their Orange Cream, cause the CitGo, at the other end, is closed. So we have gas to cover the generators."
"You heard about the murder yesterday?"
John sighed. "Yes. I wasn't here yesterday, and from what I heard, it happened just a block down the street. By the time I got here, this morning, things had been cleaned up."
Paul closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, for a second. "Yeah. There's more to it than that. But, let me tell you what's really been happening."
Paul began to explain all that he knew.
Lee had gone directly to Conlin's Bakery, where he had been having much the same conversation with Peter Conlin. Lee didn't have the same problems as Paul had, in explaining what was going on. Peter, a former Recon Marine, had stayed up on the politics of the day. Even though only twenty-seven, he knew what Ashwood was trying to do. He was aware of some of the video's, as he had watched them on live TV. He didn't have the type of Internet access that Paul had to see the Breckenridge massacre, but it didn't faze him either.
"You say Paul Mason has that video? I would like to see it, if it can be arranged. Just to satisfy my own doubt over what you've said it shows. Not that I disbelieve you, understand. But that is a mighty big claim that Federal alphabet agencies destroyed that entire town."
"I can see that, Peter. I'm sure that Paul will let you see it."
"Good. So how many folks are you trying to recruit?"
"Well, I'd be pretty stupid not to recognize an enlistment speech when it slaps me upside the head, now wouldn't I?" Peter actually laughed at the expression that came over Lee's face, when he said that. "Look, Lee, if the video is anywhere close to how you described it, I'm in. Especially after what I saw this morning..."
"What about this morning?" said lee, with a suspicious tone to his voice.
"When I came to work, there were two bodies laying in the middle of Main Street, just a block from here."
"Yeah. Mrs. Wilson and her daughter."
"Hmm... Yes it was. The Mrs. had been shot three times in the chest. Looked to me like it was a burst from an M4, from the shot pattern. Then there was Polly. She was executed, gangland style... One to the back of the head, that is. But not before she had been gang-raped. That was rather obvious to me. I have a rather strong suspicion of who did this."
Lee's stomach lurched again and he had to cover his mouth with his hand, while the moment passed. Only then did the anger touch his eyes. "So no one bothered to clean up the mess, I take it?"
Peter didn't miss a beat. "Nope. Not till I got there. I pounded on some doors to get some help to move the bodies... But not a soul would open their doors. I'm guessing everyone who saw it was too scared. So I got some big bags from the bakery, here, and moved the bodies over to the post office. It was the least I could do."
"I wish I had had the foresight to have brought my rifle."
"I'm glad you didn't, Lee. A single bolt action at close range is no match for rifles set on burst-fire. You would have been dead. So. If you saw it happen and they didn't see you... Where were you? In the woods at the end of Main?"
"Yeah. I kinda lost my lunch, while they were raping Polly. We left, shortly after those soldiers took off."
"'We'? Who was with you, Lee?"
"Paul Mason. He's staying at my place. We had just come from a meeting with Ben Stoddard and James Robbins. We plan on doing something about this shit. That's why I'm talking to you. We want to get six or eight of us together and harass the hell out of these Ashwood troops. Ben is sort of the leader for this."
"Ben has a good head on his shoulders. I've never been one to lead much. But I do know a thing or two about real combat. Since all we have are hunting arms, how do you plan on doing any real damage?"
"Ben thinks that if we can take out a patrol or two, using snipers and possibly some explosives, we can arm ourselves from the dead."
"Hmm. Small group tactics to harass the enemy, taking the enemy arms for resupply... You're talking guerrilla warfare here. Yup. That just might work. For quite a while, if you guys are really serious."
"You know the danger your families will be in?" Peter had stopped working and was looking Lee, dead in the eye.
"Yeah. It's already been discussed and our families are behind us, despite any danger. They will help however and whenever they can. They know they are dead should any of this be discovered."
"Good to see you've discussed all the consequences of your actions. Now, how about communications and transport?"
"For transport, we are all going to be using quads. I'm waiting for a call right now, so that Ben and I can get over to Viking-Cives and make some real mufflers for the units. With a quiet ATV, there's a lot of places we can get to, totally unnoticed. We can trade the locals for gas. Or steal it if we have to. Being that they have a real high MPG, fuel won't be as problematic as finding forage for horses.
"For communications... How does 256bit AES encrypted VHF/UHF transceivers sound? We just might have access to a base station, 2 mobile stations and 6 handhelds. Kinda depends upon the price. We've already pooled about $3500 dollars in cash to get them."
"Lee, it sounds like you are right in the groove. You've got just about everything you need. How long do you guys think this will last?"
"We figure it may be months before whatever troops Bryce has can get over here, and we know he has the backing of most of the West. We're kinda hoping a year. But realistically? It may be longer than that."
Peter thought back over all that had been said. There was one thing that still nagged him. "Lee, earlier, you said you lost your lunch, over what happened yesterday. You didn't tell me how Paul reacted."
"I think at the beginning, he was about to lose it... But he just kinda hardened. There was a lot of anger building up in his face. But at the end, he just kinda said we should move on, as there was nothing we could do to help things."
"Oh boy." Peter almost whispered. Just then, Lee's radio came to life.
"Viking-Cives is open. Get to it." was all that was said.
"OK, Peter. That's my cue to get the mufflers made. Think you can meet over at my place, say 4:00pm? That'll give us time to get most things solidified and get everyone back home before curfew."
"When do you think you'll be ready to strike out?"
"I think the sooner the better. Like sometime tomorrow, so we can all get far away from here."
"Sounds about right to me. Now, would you please get ahold of Paul and tell him I need to talk with him. Just me and him. No one else."
"OK... Can you give me a clue as to why?"
"Nope. Not at this time. Maybe when we're out of here."
"Alright. I'll give him the message. See ya later this afternoon."
Lee got home that afternoon at about 3:00pm. A bit later than he would have liked, but he came home with a large box strapped to his quad. Inside the box were six mufflers. They installed fairly easy, and they were exactly what they wanted. They easily cut the sound by two-thirds.
They didn't look real nice, but they worked.
When Lee stepped into the house, Paul was up out of his chair and moving towards Lee... But stopped and wrinkled his nose. "Eww! Man you're greasy! Ya smell real good, too!"
Lee laughed. "Yeah, I need to get into the shower and get the grease and stink off." He went into the bedroom and stripped. "Hey," Lee hollered at Paul, "Peter Conlin is in. He'll be over within a hour."
"That's good." said Paul, as he walked in the room. "So is John. Since his folks live down in Carthage, they won't be in the know. And John won't be missed. He's supposed to be here in a bit, also."
"There was one complication. I'll tell you about it when you get out of the shower."
"Well, you could always join me. Help to get me clean..."
"Um, not a good idea, Lee. There's not that much hot water... And I don't think we have that much time." Paul sighed loudly.
Lee laughed. "Yeah... Our first shower together should be, um, unrushed."
Paul went back out to the living room, just as there was a knock on the door. So he changed direction and opened the door, to see Jonathon standing there. "Come in Jonathon."
"Thanks Paul. When did Lee get back? I notice his ATV out there, but I never heard him pull in."
"Oh, about five minutes ago. He's in the shower, getting all the grease and stink off."
"And you... Um... I'll just keep my mouth shut." This time it was Jonathon doing the blushing, then when Paul figured out what he was going to say, Paul started blushing.
"Well... um... It looks like we have at least six of us that are going to be involved. John Merrill and Peter Conlin are in. Now we need to see if James or Ben are bringing anyone with them."
"So I take it that Ben and Lee were successful in getting some mufflers made that really work, seeing as I didn't hear him come in."
"I didn't hear him either, so it sounds like it. Would you like some coffee, Jonathon? I've already made a pot and it's fresh!"
"Don't mind if I do."
"You just sit down then. I'll be back in a second."
Paul wasn't gone more than a minute when he came back in with two cups of coffee. He handed one to Jonathon, while he sat down on the sofa.
"So what about them radios? Did Bill offer a good price?"
"Um, that kinda depends on what we consider a good price."
"OK. You have my attention. What did that old scoundrel want?"
"He wants in. That's his price."
Lee choose just that moment to make an appearance. "What price? Who wants in? Wait a minute. Let me get a cup and you can tell me what the heck is going on."
A few moments later, Lee sat down on the sofa, next to Paul, with his coffee. The next few minutes, Paul told Jonathon and Lee what happened over at the computer store.
Right after that, Ben and James showed up, so it all had to be repeated again.
"So, do we take him up on his offer?" Paul asked.
"Boys, if I may be allowed to voice an opinion?" Jonathon asked. There were nods of heads and "yes sirs" from all.
"Bill is a Vietnam vet. He's seen his share of combat. He knows what we are all getting into. He's also getting up there in years, so he doesn't have a whole lot to lose. So if he's willing to take those risks and is offering his help, I say we take it."
"Just what do you think he can do, Mr. Bradford?" This from James.
"I think with the risks we are all gonna be taking, why don't we just use first names, James? Hell, we're all marked for death just meeting like this. Doesn't much matter to the Ashwoodians, whether we follow through or not, I suspect." Jonathon paused for a second to let that sink in. "But, to answer your question, I think that Bill wants to be the base station operator. He already knows how to operate it, and since he has the antennas already set up, we won't need to try and hide one someplace else.
"But we'll have to wait till he gets here to really find out, won't we?"
Paul stood up. "OK. I'll give him a call. He's waiting to hear from us on the CB." Paul grabbed the radio from it's holder and stepped outside. In a few moments, he came back inside and replaced the radio. "He's on his way."
"Ben? How did you and James do with your recruiting today?" Lee asked.
"Well hell. This was harder than I thought. I casually talked to about four different people, and not a one was interested enough to pursue to any length. It's like they just don't give a… um, they don't care." Ben said, and you could tell he was angry at his results.
"I had the same problem, guys. What is it with some of these people?" James said.
Jonathon coughed, "That's why this country is in the shape it is. People don't give a fuck anymore." The four boys mouths dropped. "What? You never heard that word before?" Jonathon laughed.
"Um, no Dad... not from you."
"Well get used to it. Bad times call for bad language!" Just then they all heard a truck pull in, followed by a car and an ATV. Everyone got up and went outside.
The truck had Bill Truesdell, along with some boxes, presumably the radios. On the ATV was Peter Conlin, and the car, an economy import, held John Merrill.
"OK guys. The base station is set up in my basement. I've programmed the mobiles and the handhelds. Where do ya want 'em?"
"I'm ready, guys. Where's my muffler and I'll take one 'o them radios."
"Hey, anyone know where I can get a used quad?"
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