We're Not Gonna Take It
Copyright 2016 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership
Saturday, Nov. 17th, 08:00
Harrisville, New York
The first thing Bill noticed when he arrived at Jonathon's house was that someone had rehung the front door, so he knocked and heard someone shout to come in.
Besides the regular parents, Peter's father, Frank, was sitting there. "Hi Frank," Bill said, "glad to see you here. Has everyone caught you up to speed?"
"Yeah. I knew something was up with Peter, but he don't always tell me everthin' he does. Said he was going down to Carthage for a while an' I took it to mean the Center. That's what I've been telling people when they asked. With what you all are telling me, that's probably a good thing."
"I suspect that was his way of protecting you, in case he was discovered."
Bill looked over to Jonathon. "How ya doing Jonathon?"
"I'll live, Bill. You haven't told the boys about Mary, have you?"
"No. I don't figure they need to know right off. Considering what's happened this morning, the longer we can hold off, the better Leland may be."
"Why? What's happened?"
"The short version is that while the majority of Rangers, over at Wanakena, have left the state to help out the folks in Maine, some of them stayed behind just to hook up with our guys." Bill had sat down and Nancy handed him a cup of coffee. "Thank you, Nancy." He took a drink before he continued. "Together, they took out the bridge at Long Lake..."
"With that, it pretty much destroys direct support to Plattsburgh from Fort Drum." Mathew interrupted.
"Yeah. Since they took out most of the air support at the Fort; locked up Highway 3 and now Highway 30; delayed everything on Highway 11; Plattsburgh is now isolated. What I'm hearing is that Plattsburgh is essential to holding the entire nor'east. Between that and what's been happenin' in the last week, President Bryce is beginning to put a hurt on Ashwood. More on that in a minute. What's important is what the guys did."
"You mean they did more than take out the bridge at Long Lake?" Emily asked.
"Yes. That bridge was guarded by a reinforced armored platoon and two Apache Attack choppers. The report is that there were about a hundred soldiers in Long Lake. They destroyed both choppers and six armored personnel carriers. Near as the folks in Long Lake can count, they killed about forty of the soldiers and wounded another twenty-five.
"Our boys now have a name for themselves!"
Frank's eyes went up, "Oh? Something they made up?"
"No, it's something that the Ashwood troops have started to call them. One of the radio reports that I intercepted, called the boys, 'Fantasmas en las montañas Adirondack'. Another called them, 'Fantasmas del jaguar'."
"What the hell does that mean, Bill?"
"Well the first one means, 'ghost of the Adirondacks' and the second one is 'the jaguar's ghost'. I'm guessing that these guys are a bit on the superstitious side."
"Sounds like someone has determined that all of the hit-n-run tactics are being done by a single group, instead of multiple units."
"Nancy, sooner or later they were going to come to that conclusion, just based on the area of operation. Two or more teams would have a wider field of attack."
"This does make me wonder if these names might be something our guys can use to their advantage," Colin mused. "You know… like that old movie, what was it called?"
"You mean, Red Dawn? It is sorta similar, now that you mention it."
"Yeah, that's the one."
"Just remember how that one ended. I don't think we want that."
"All that aside, Bill, you mentioned something about what Bryce is doing." Frank interrupted. "What's that all about?"
"It appears that a carrier group from the 7th Fleet is not following Ashwood. They have sided with President Bryce. What I have been able to hear is that when Ashwood took control, he rounded up as many of the Congress as he could find, along with the Supreme Court, and stashed them in an underground complex at Fort Detrick, in Maryland.
"Some ground forces rescued the hostages and took them to the carrier group. I'm pretty fuzzy about what happened next. The reports I've heard say that the Congress and the Court were loaded onto a C-5 and that aircraft landed on the carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. That can't be true. Nobody in their right mind would think to land such a beast on a carrier! All I know is that last Tuesday, what was left of the Congress, declared Ashwood was a traitor and in rebellion against the lawful authority of the US. Apparently the Supreme Court declared that the transfer of presidential power to Bryce was constitutional as was the declarations of the Congress. This was all sent out over clear radio channels and picked up by many of my friends around the country.
"One of the last things I have heard, is that both France and England have sided with Bryce and have augmented the Ronald Reagan Carrier Group with some of their naval ships.
"Then, this morning I heard something about a raid that occurred last night or very early this morning in Orlando. Nothing confirmed, as yet, about whatever that was."
"So news is getting out about what is happening in this country." Jonathon stated.
"Yes, but it is slow and spotty." Bill said. "If an area doesn't have any ham operators, then they are getting nothing. So I don't think most of the country, east of the Mississippi, is aware of what is going on. In the west, they seem to be doing better. They have some radio and TV."
"Well, even 'slow and spotty' is better than nothing, I guess. It at least shows that Bryce is doing something."
Colin looked at Bill, "East of the Mississippi?"
"Yeah. It seems the country has been split into two. Everything east is Ashwood's and the west is under Bryce's control… Which reminds me, if the things I'm hearing is true, there were several major earthquakes along the West Coast and California is practically destroyed."
"I heard it happened just after the elections. I don't know how someone could engineer such a thing, but it sure is coincidental this happened just as Ashwood was trying to take control of the country."
"I don't believe in coincidence, Bill." Mathew said as several others agreed with him.
"Yes," Bill said, "there are way too many military stationed in California, along with a lot of Navy. If many of them weren't on Ashwood's team, then it only makes sense to somehow incapacitate them.
"I suspect that the surviving police and National Guard are now too busy with search and rescue. If Mexico is rattling its sabers, I don't expect President Bryce to pull out whatever Federal troops are left. Hell, I expect that they are busy with the cleanup, if not on the border. So the earthquakes have at least taken all of them out of the picture for the foreseeable future." Bill told them.
"This is all kinda good news on the war front, Bill. But let's bring this back home. What are we gonna do about Abigail and that Pastor Rennick?" Jonathon looked at everyone in the room before he continued, "I say 'we', 'cause if'n it's left up to me, they will both be dead before the end of the day."
"I know you don't want to hear this Jonathon, but if anything happens to them, what do you think them Ashwood troops are gonna do? Doncha think that you will be their first target? Gettin' yourself killed won't bring Mary back." Bill thought for a bit before he said, "Let me get on the radio to the Rangers and see what they think. They're the closest thing to a legitimate police force we have at the moment."
Traveling north on Highway 30, it took the guys about nine minutes to reach Circle Road and meet up with County 10 at the east end of Little Tupper Lake. From there it was another ten minutes to get under the canopy of trees and buildings at the boat launch. The very first thing everyone did was to throw their tarps over the quads, followed by the reflective foil-lined emergency blankets, in the hope that this would reduce the heat signatures enough that the Apaches FLIR would not see them.
A few minutes later, they could all hear the tell-tale sound of the Apaches as they made their way to Long Lake via Highway 30. Since the choppers did not immediately turn and head for them, the guys breathed a small sigh of relief. Now they simply had to wait out the inevitable search patterns before they could continue on to Sabattis.
Maxwell looked at the Bait and Tackle shop, "OK, let's break into the shop and wait there. That will help to reduce our heat signatures even more. Besides," he said looking at Lee, "Lee is bleeding more, so we need to see what they have to rebandage that leg.
"Ben, can you give Esteban a call and let him know what's up?"
"Sure thing, L.T."
"How ya doin', Lee?" Maxwell asked as they headed over to the shop.
"Hurts like hell, but I can handle it," he grimaced.
A couple of swift kicks and the back door flew inwards. "Someone clear off that table." Maxwell pointed to a display. "Let's get an inventory of what we have for first aid. Look for clotting bandages. Lee, hop up on that table and pull your pants off. We need to get that wound bandaged properly. You got another pair to wear?"
"Not here. But back at the school with our other stuff."
"Well maybe they have something you can wear, here in the store. If not, we will get by with washing out the blood and drying the pants in the sun. I have a feeling we are going to be here for a bit, until they call off the search."
With the table cleared and Lee out of his pants, he hopped up and lay down while Maxwell began to cut off the bloody bandages. Paul had moved over to Lee and held his hand, while Maxwell worked.
Seeing this, and also noticing that no one else said a word, communicated volumes to Maxwell. He simply raised an eyebrow and finished stripping off the old bandages. With some betadine wipes, he cleaned the entrance and exit wounds, while Peter moved up. "L.T., let me look at this, I've had some training in combat medicine." Maxwell nodded and moved out of Peter's way.
After looking at the wounds, Peter said, "Lee you're damned lucky. The bullet missed your femoral, or you'ld be dead by now, and it was an FMJ. In and out with little tissue damage, as would be the case if they had used hollow points.
"A couple of days off that leg and you will be as good as new!" Peter smiled.
Sgt. Mallory walked up with a couple of insulated coveralls when he saw Paul holding Lee's hand, "Are you two a couple?" Mallory directed his question to Paul, who nodded. "Did someone forget to tell us that you have a gay couple?"
Peter looked up, "And that matters, why?"
"Well I can see that if they were on the same team and this had happened, it could have turned out a lot worse. It could have compromised the entire team, even the mission. Emotional entanglements have no place in combat."
"Interesting viewpoint, Sarge. You do know that it is historically wrong, though?" Peter replied.
Paul turned to Mallory, "Lee and I both know that one or both of us may die. We've made our peace with each other on that account. Did you even notice that neither of us has gone into the type of hysterics your scenario suggests?"
"Well, nothing," Tom interrupted. "If you don't remember about the Macedonians or the Athenians, perhaps you might recognize the Spartans. It was only with the rise of the Puritan movement during the Elizabethan Era that pretty much saw the end of homosexuals in the military. It's only been in the last three hundred years that the religious fears of contamination became widespread. Before that, couples were welcomed because they fought harder and individuals were at least tolerated."
"Wow! Where'd that come from, Tom?" Peter asked.
"In my first year with Combat Engineers, we had a gay couple in our unit. They never did anything really overt and it was maybe three to four weeks that people finally figured them out. Mostly it was little things that after a while began to add up. Anyway, there was some, um, dissent by certain of our guys. Our Top had us all research the issue and what I just explained was part of the result."
"So what happened to the guys who had problems with gay men?"
"For most everyone it was a non-issue. Some, after they had time to think on it, figured it didn't really matter. There were some that just couldn't change their attitude, so they were transferred out with low conduct marks in their jackets."
"Not really. The Top had a reason for being the way he was. His brother was in the Marines and had won the MOH in the Mexican War, posthumously. His brother was gay," Tom explained. "Top didn't say anything about this until after the dust settled. Simply put, he wasn't going to put up with that kind of discrimination."
Lt. Maxwell cleared his throat and looked around. "Mallory, my own experience with gays in service is roughly the same. Change the attitude. Now, that being said, we're liable to be here for a few hours. At least until they call off the search for us. Hardy? You and Merrill take the first watch, out in the tree line. The rest of us, get some shut-eye," looking directly at Lee, "Lee, you rest. Find a spot and sack out. No watches. Ben, grab your maps and let's go to the back room and talk."
Ben grabbed his backpack and followed Maxwell into the back. He had just set out a map on a table when his handheld went off, "Smokey to Striker."
"Is Smokey Actual handy and are you in a private area?"
"Is my actual aware that you have a couple on your team?"
Ben looked at Maxwell as he replied, "Affirmative."
"Is either of them where they can hear us?"
There was a distinct pause, before Esteban began speaking again.
"The foreign troops in Harrisville have found out that Paul and Lee are a gay couple and attempted to arrest them, early yesterday morning. They first came looking for Paul at Mr. Truesdell's place. When they didn't find Paul, they roughed him up before moving on to Lee's place. When the troops came to Lee's house, his mother was shot and killed by those troops. Stormcrow says they are pretty sure they know who gave Ashwood's troops the info and Lee's father wants revenge. Stormcrow doesn't think that Lee needs to know about this at the moment. Also, he's not sure how to handle Lee's father. He's afraid of reprisals against the entire town. Wants to know what he should do. You copy?"
"Roger. Standby, Smokey."
Maxwell looked at Ben, "Fuckin' hell! This is not what we needed to hear."
"Like it or not, you know Lee has a right to hear about what happened. Conversely, his dad has a right to know Lee is wounded."
Maxwell thought a moment before he replied to Ben. "Yeah, and I also suspect that if any reprisals are taken against the informants or the troops in Harrisville, they just might destroy that town and everyone in it." With a sigh, Maxwell asked, "See if Stormcrow will tell us who the informants are."
"Ask Stormcrow who the informants are."
Ben began folding the map and putting it back into his backpack. Both he and Maxwell then headed back out front and onto the showroom floor. As they pushed the door open, the radio came alive again.
"Stormcrow says it was Paul's mother and her pastor."
"Aw Fuck!" Ben then keyed the radio, "Roger. Tell Stormcrow to hang tight. We'll get back to ya."
"Roger. Smokey out."
Before anything else could be done, Paul stood up, "What's this about my mother?"
Sitting up, Lee grabbed Paul's hand. "Easy Paul. Let's hear what they have to say."
Maxwell looked to Ben and nodded. "It's your show Ben." Ben stared at the floor for a couple of seconds before he shook his head and walked over to where Lee and Paul were. "Sit down Paul. Everyone else, gather 'round. While this concerns Lee and Paul, it affects all of us."
A minute later, with everyone but the guards outside, sitting around Ben, he began. "We just received a report from Bill, relayed through Sergeant Esteban.
"Early yesterday morning, Ashwood's cronies in Harrisville set out to arrest Paul and Lee, for being gay. They first went to Bill's place. They roughed him up when they didn't find Paul there. Then they went to Lee's place and for whatever reason Lee, your mother was shot and killed."
Several intakes of breath and muttered obscenities could be heard from everyone. Lee just sat there in shock, while his eyes began to water.
For Paul's part, he looked at Ben and with barely contained rage said, "It was my mother that turned us in. That's what you just heard, wasn't it?" Ben nodded before he asked, "Paul, what church does your mother belong to?"
"That Foursquare Church. They're super fundamentalists and pretty much toe the line with everything Ashwood says or does."
"Bill seems to think that her pastor, Rennick? Is that who it is? Anyway, Bill thinks that this pastor is somehow involved."
"That would make sense. She thinks I'm an abomination. Probably thinks that of Lee now. She would have told Rennick, who would've went to Ashwood's stooges."
Lee looked up at Paul, "They both have to die. You know that, right?"