Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Eric Aune and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
Earlier that morning after giving orders to his young Cyber Security Director to find out who hacked his hardened computer system, President Ashwood turned his attention back to Major Guthrey who was sending out orders for the pardons to be reprinted and sent by Osprey along with the military equipment that was in Houston to the Juarez facility.
"Major. I need some good news. Send orders to that team in California to do their job. Send some of those pardoned thugs from Chino, the gangbangers and some of our people and get them up into the mountains. Tell them to take that compound of MacLeod's down. Raze it to the ground and send me pictures. That bastard practically bought California for Bryce. I want him dead. I want him erased from the face of the earth. I want others like him to realize what happens when you cross me…in my country. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir, Mister President, crystal clear, but what about….?"
"What about what?"
The Major saw the snarl on Ashwood's face, and swallowed anything else he might say. Instead he nodded.
"Nothing sir. Right away, sir."
Ashwood nodded once and went over to his chair and sat down. The Major turned around and did as he was told. Ashwood shuffled through some papers on the desk in front of him and with a sneer, drew a line across a sheet of paper that he placed on the top of the stack, crossing out billionaire Brett MacLeod's name.
The boys had taken Jamie off of the bed so that he wouldn't be lying next to the body of his dad and had him stretched out on the floor. The connecting bathroom still had water, so they had gotten a washcloth damp and Josh was wiping Jamie's face.
"C'mon Jamie, wake up. It'll be alright."
The cool damp cloth slowly brought him around. He looked up at Josh bending over him and then looked around until he could see the bed. He turned back to Josh and there were tears in his eyes.
"Is it true or was it a bad dream."
Josh had tears in his eyes as he paused a moment before biting his lip and nodding his head. Jamie's face crumpled and he began to cry. Josh pulled him up to a sitting position and held him. Jamie clutched desperately to Josh as he let out his anguish. He had barely known his father for just a few months, and now he was gone again. His emotions were strong and Dylan who had for a time been a brother to him knelt down and put his arms around him as well. Jamie freed one arm and pulled Dylan to him until he was hugging both boys. They stayed like that for a few moments as the others gently laid Brett onto his back and pulled the sheets up to cover him until later, when arrangements could be taken care of. While they were doing that, Ian got a confused look on his face and stopped them. He pulled the sheet back down off of the body. He put his hands on the leg that Brett had injured and moved them slowly up and down the leg. When he finished Logan and Sean who had been helping him, saw a confused look on Ian's face.
"I don't know. Something's not right."
"Well yeah, our brother just lost his dad."
Ian looked at the other boys clustered around Jamie and lowered his voice to a lower volume.
"No, that's not it. Something isn't right about the body."
"What do you mean, something isn't right?"
"Well this body, doesn't have anything wrong with his leg."
"Of course not, his head is crushed…."
"No, damn it! That's not what I mean! I've done some healing on Jamie's dad; you know when he hurt his leg in the lab explosion. I was able to ease some of his pain, but he still had a limp when he walked and it still caused him some pain if he was on it for too long. I did as much as I could but I can't regenerate what's missing."
"What do you mean, what's missing?"
"When he injured his knee and with the subsequent operations that he went through to repair it, he had almost no cartilage left in his knee. The cartilage helps cushion the joints. He told me that he had been putting it off for some time while he searched for all of us and worked on getting us together, but his doctor had told him that he would probably need the knee replaced at some point in his future."
"Okay, so he's going to need his knee replaced…"
"No, that's just it. This body does not need its knee replaced. The knee is exactly how it should be for someone his age and build. There's nothing wrong with it."
It took the other two just a moment to connect the dots and then they all looked at the body between them. They studied the face and although it was a little misshapen, there was no doubt it was Brett. They looked at Ian.
"I don't understand. How could that be?"
"I have no idea. I know it sounds completely insane, but this body, looks like Brett and has the same build, and if it could talk, I bet it would sound just like Brett, but somehow, it's not him."
"But how can it not be him? He was here last night, we all saw him."
The three of them were speechless for a few moments before Logan looked up with an expression that looked like he had figured something out and it scared him.
"What if….it wasn't an earthquake? What if it was a bomb? What if the GRA, the ones that escaped or maybe there were others that were part of it, or maybe even in charge of the whole thing, that we never found out about, are behind the destruction."
The other two started to nod, but Ian shook that idea off.
"But what about the body?"
"Maybe they snuck in last night, kidnapped him and substituted this body so that we would think that he died, but their keeping him at another of their labs and are trying to get the information about his research so that they can make more of us."
"I don't know. Maybe. But they said that they got everyone. Sean, are you sure, you found everything about the GRA?"
Sean thought for a few moments as he ran through all the searches that he had done for any trace of the GRA or the PRI or anything having to do with Archer or Kelly or any of them. He knew that he had searched everywhere, but he also knew that there were some highly secure systems that he had not hacked into for fear of being caught. He shook his head.
"I searched pretty much everywhere and found nothing, but there were some high security government systems that I didn't want to try to hack into, because of the level of security and it looked from what we took from the lab and the DC office that we had everyone. We never found anything that pointed to someone above Archer. I'm certain we found everything."
"But the idea of this being a…a double, seems like a movie script."
"I know, but I don't have anything else. I know that Brett's knee was pretty trashed, and the knee on this body is in perfect health. Something is completely off about this."
"I gotta get to my workstation downstairs. Oh shit, I hope it's not trashed."
"Wait, we gotta take care of the others first and see if anyone else is hurt. But first we gotta tell the others."
They nodded, and after Ian covered the body back up, turned to the boys around Jamie.
The others except for the two holding onto Jamie turned their attention to Ian.
"Um, something's wrong."
Ethan was about to say something but he stopped and looked at Ian in surprise.
Ian pointed at the body on the bed.
"Uh, this isn't Brett?"
"Of course it is, we all….."
"NO, it's not. I checked."
"But we all saw his face."
"I know, but like I told Sean and Logan, I've done some healing on Brett's leg to see if I can fix his limp."
The others nodded.
"Well this body doesn't have any of the damage that Brett had. The leg and knee is fine. There is no damage."
There was some stunned silence for a moment.
"Maybe you checked the wrong knee?"
"No. I know which knee was damaged, but neither of these knees are damaged. I swear to you, this is not Jamie's Dad."
Ian's last statement seemed to cut through to the boys on the ground or at least one of them, as Jamie looked up from the huddle he was in and turned his head towards Ian.
"What did you say?"
Ian got off the bed and went to Jamie. The others around him made way and he knelt down next to Jamie and reached out his hand to place on Jamie's shoulder. He pointed at the bed.
"That body is not your Dad's."
"But I saw his face and this is his room. It has to be."
Ian shook his head and tried to give Jamie a reassuring smile.
"I know you did, but I know what I know. That's not him, unless by some miracle his knee was magically healed before he was crushed by that wall."
Jamie's face took on a look of hope as he slowly extricated himself from the arms of Josh and Dylan. Ian snapped his fingers as something occurred to him.
"I know a way to prove it. C'mon."
He stood up and held his hand out to Jamie. Jamie grasped at it, almost as if he was grasping at straws and allowed Ian to pull him up. Ian started to lead him over to the bed, but Jamie pulled back. Josh joined his boyfriend and put his arm around him.
"Trust me Jamie."
"But I don't want to see his face."
"I don't need to uncover him, except for his leg."
Jamie looked between Ian and the shrouded body. Josh leaned in close, put both arms around him from the side and kissed him gently on the cheek.
"I'm right here. Let me help you."
Jamie held back a moment more before nodding. He swallowed a couple of times and then allowed Ian to lead him over to the side of the bed. Ian let go of his hand and he turned so that he had both arms around Josh and his head turned to where Ian was standing. Ian reached to the covers and uncovered the body's leg. He reached down to the bottom of the pajama leg and pushed it up until the knee was bare. He leaned down for a moment before turning around with a satisfied smile. He pointed at the knee.
"I was right. Come and see."
Jamie hesitated and then slowly moved next to Ian, so that he could see what he was pointing at. The two boys stood next to him and looked to where his finger was pointing. They looked but didn't see anything. They looked at Ian and shrugged, still looking confused. Ian barely restrained an exasperated look.
They looked again and the other boys started to crowd around to see what Ian was talking about. Jamie looked at Ian, still with a confused look."
"There are no scars. Your dad had a lot of scars around his knee and on his leg."
Ian pushed the pajama bottoms farther up, exposing more of the leg. Jamie and Josh, as well as the others looked again and it finally connected in Jamie's mind. There were no scars. He had seen his dad's leg plenty of times. There were scars up and down his leg from the operations that had been done to him to attach plates and screws to the bones in his upper and lower legs so that the bone would heal properly and his knee had even more scars. This leg was clear, there was nothing there. He started to smile but then something crossed his face and his expression darkened.
"If this isn't my Dad, then where is he?"
Ian and the others shook their heads.
"I don't know. Sean, Logan and I were talking and we were wondering if maybe the….GRA isn't destroyed like we thought and maybe they kidnapped him to get his research and maybe put this body here to hide the fact that they are still around."
"But how did they know about the earthquake."
"Maybe it wasn't an earthquake."
"If it wasn't an earthquake, then what was it?"
Jamie looked around.
"But if it was a bomb, wouldn't there be a fire too?"
The others shrugged.
"We need to find out what's going on and we have find the others and rescue them. C'mon we need to get to work. I need to find out where those fuckers took my Dad. We need to make sure everyone's okay and get Josh's uncle and Gabe and find out where they took him so we can rescue him, like we did for Josh."
The others voiced their agreement and they left the room. Jamie took one last look at the covered body before he and Josh joined the others. They looked around where they were and found that they could not get to anything more on this floor. They went back to the stairway and headed downstairs. They turned towards the collapsed part of the house. They stopped by the office where Brett and Sean had their workstations. Looking in the room, Sean saw that monitors had fallen over, and some were on the floor or laying on the desk or chair. It looked like a couple of the monitors on Brett's workstation were smashed and in pieces, but Sean's looked okay except for one of the monitors being on the floor. Sean wanted to get in there and start working on it, but then he needed to make sure his parents and little brother were okay first.
They headed to the collapsed part of the house. It looked like a pile of lumber, drywall, glass, furniture and other things. They pitched in and started moving things out of the way. Jamie moved the large pieces out of the way. They were running out of room inside the house, until Jamie came up with the idea to start throwing the stuff out of the nearby broken windows. He used his TK to move the big pieces outside and dropped them on the ground out front. The others formed an assembly line and passed the smaller pieces outside. When the pile outside the window got too big, Jamie would pick the pile up and drop it farther away. They started building several piles in front of the house. Jamie was just lifting a large part of a wall out of the way when a voice behind them startled them.
"Thank God. Are you boys okay?"
Jamie's concentration wavered as he turned around.
He whipped back around and caught the wall before it fell. Beneath it was Dakota who was on his knees with his arms over his head. Jamie grimaced.
He quickly moved the wall outside, practically throwing it before he turned around and rushed to his Dad, practically throwing himself into his arms and crying. Brett was almost knocked over, but he was able to brace himself with his good leg so they didn't end up in a heap on the floor.
"I was so scared, Dad. I thought you were dead, and then you weren't, that it was the guy that looked like you and he was dead and Ian said it wasn't you and he showed me your scars or not your scars, cuz the guy didn't have any and then you were kidnapped or maybe killed or….."
"Whoa son. Slow down. You're babbling. I'm right here. Are you hurt? Did you hit your head?"
Brett leaned back a little to look at his son. He reached up and started inspecting Jamie's head for any injuries, concerned that he had hit his head on something. Jamie shook his head.
"No. If I had, Ian would have fixed me. I'm so glad that you are okay. You are okay aren't you?"
Jamie got a good look at Brett now and saw that there was blood on his head and he had what looked like hundreds of cuts and he even saw pieces of glass sticking into him, little pieces anyway and they were everywhere.
"IAN! Dad needs some help. He's hurt."
Ian came over as Jamie let go of Brett. Ian did a quick assessment and got to work. He took care of the head injury first and then took care of the worst of the cuts. The other injuries that were minor, he left alone after he made sure they weren't still bleeding. He didn't want to go too far since he might need to do a lot more for the others and didn't want to tire himself out. They were brought back to what they were doing, when they heard a faint call from the debris pile behind them. Everyone turned and got back to work while Jamie led Brett to a chair to rest while the boys worked.
"Boys, someone should go over to the bunkhouse and get Gabe and the others so they can help. It will be a lot faster."
Sean put action to words and headed for the front door. It was already half open, so he pushed it the rest of the way and ran to the bunkhouse. When he got there, he pulled the door open and went inside. He went to Gabe's office and when he got to the open door he heard groaning from behind the desk. He saw a hand come up and grasp the top of the desk, followed by Gabe's head and the rest of his body as he slowly stood up with one hand on his head and wincing. He looked around and spotted Sean standing at the door.
"Where's the fucking truck that hit me? I'm going to kill the bastard driving it."
Sean giggled a little, he couldn't help it. Gabe focused back on Sean and the headache started to ease.
"An earthquake…or a bomb?"
That got Gabe's attention.
"Bomb? Where are the other guys?"
About that time, Patrick came stumbling into Gabe's office.
"What the hell happened?"
"Sir, we need help at the house. Brett sent me."
Both adults looked at him and Gabe waved to Sean to lead him.
"Pat, get the others and bring them up to the house. See if the runners are back and tell them to head to the house."
Gabe looked around as they walked through the bunkhouse. The destruction inside the building was not as bad as the in the main house Sean noted. Inside it was items off the walls and furniture that was knocked over. When they got outside Gabe paused to look around. He saw that some of the vehicles were crushed under trees or large branches. He looked at the house and one side looked like a pile of scrap lumber and the other side looked like something collapsed underneath it. He looked around at the other buildings and a couple of the smaller ones had collapsed when a tree had fallen on them. The big garage also looked as if a one corner had collapsed where it appeared to have fallen into a collapsed part of the ground beneath it. He turned and headed into the house. As he did, he saw a large piece of debris come floating out of a broken window and joined one of the stacks that were being piled up in front of the house.
"C'mon sir. They need help."
Gabe nodded and gestured for Sean to go ahead as he started jogging to the house. He turned around and saw behind him, Patrick, Doc, Aldo, and Jim. The runners had not returned yet so it was just them. Gabe glanced down at his watch and saw that it had stopped. He looked around the property once again.
"Muldoon, you're the bomb expert, check around the house for any evidence of a bomb."
He looked back at the house and pointed to the pile of lumber.
"Start on that side and circle the entire house. Let me know what you find."
Aldo sketched a quick salute and headed to the side of the house.
"Doc…good, you've got your medical bag."
Doc gave him a wry smile and patted the large bag hanging off his shoulder.
"Never leave home without it."
"Good. From looking at the destruction of that side of the house, there are probably casualties. I know we have Ian, but go give him a hand and take care of the minor stuff, so that he can concentrate on the more serious injuries."
"You got it."
"Jim, go turn off the gas. If this wasn't a bomb, we don't want to turn the house into one. Also make sure the propane tank is secure. Let me know what you find."
"On my way."
Jim headed to where the large tank was located near the garage.
"Patrick you're with me. Let's go see what we can do to help."
As they jogged up to the house Gabe looked up and shook his head as he glanced over at Jim.
"Do you remember it being this cold in the middle of summer before?"
Patrick shook his head as they reached the front door. Inside the house they turned towards where the debris pile was and saw Brett. He waved to them when they came in. He was kneeling next to Ethan's parents and little brother who were being tended to by Ian and Doc. The others were working on the pile. Doc was patting Ian on the back.
"Good job, son. I can take it from here. You need to save yourself for the serious injuries. Don't sweat the small stuff. We don't need you to pass out on us because you were concentrating on healing all the small injuries. I know that we're going to need you before we're through here. So just use what I've taught you to apply first aid. After we get everyone out, and the major injuries are fixed, then you can heal the little stuff. Okay."
Ian nodded and began to assist Doc.
Just as they started, Dakota cried out and pulled a young boy out of the pile.
"Found another one of the boys!"
Patrick and Gabe jumped in to help as Dakota picked up the boy and carried him over to where the others were being laid down. Ethan's parents were pushing themselves up and helping Paul up from the floor. Brett looked at them in the tattered remains of what they had worn to bed. He called to Sean who had joined Dakota in hauling debris.
He turned around when he heard his name.
"Go up to my room. I have a bunch of sweatshirts and sweatpants that I wear when I'm just lounging around here. Grab all of them that you can find and a bunch of other sweat shirts and bring them down here. Also why don't you grab some of the smallest stuff that you guys have for your little brothers. It's too cold for them to be running around in tattered underwear."
Sean nodded and ran for the stairs. Brett looked at Russ and Barb.
"We'll get some warmer clothes for you guys to change into and have enough for the others when we get them out."
A short time later, Sean returned with his first load of stuff. He dumped them on a couch and he headed back upstairs to get more. Brett grabbed one of the sweatshirts and put it on over his t shirt to cut the cold air. The adults grabbed some sweats and went to a nearby bathroom to change. Aldo went over to join Brett and Gabe. Jim joined the boys who were doing the excavating. Aldo went over to Gabe.
"No evidence of any bomb. I would have smelled something and there should have been some fires as well, but it had to have been an earthquake. Why would they think it was a bomb?"
Gabe shook his head.
"I don't know. That was what Sean said.'
"There's something else. When I was checking around the house, I noticed that the kitchen side of the house and a big chunk of the ground around and beyond the house toward the garage is collapsed like there was something underground that collapsed. I've seen something like that when tunnels close to the surface are blown up. The ground above them collapses. Is there a basement underneath the house?"
"Not that I know of. I noticed that a part of the garage has collapsed at the corner and it seems to have been caused by the ground collapsing underneath it. We'll check it out later and see what it is. Probably the earthquake caused the ground to collapse a bit. Let's get to work and get the rest of the people out."
Aldo and Gabe pitched in and soon more material started moving out of the pile. Finally it happened. In the back of most of the adult's minds when they had first seen the pile of rubble that used to be part of one end of the house, there was the fear of what they would find in that rubble, but they continued to hope that their fears were groundless, as they continued to pull injured, but living family members out of the pile. As for the boys, once they rescued the first members of their family, in their minds they made the assumption that everything would be alright and everyone would be fine. As the work proceeded, their hope grew stronger that they had dodged the bullet and everyone would come out alive. If they got them out and they were injured, they knew that with Ian there, the chances were good, that anyone injured would be saved.
It was Jim and Patrick that found them. Jim saw the blood first and then a small hand. They called Jamie over to help them carefully lift the piece of roof off of them. When he did that, another larger piece started to shift and Jamie held his other hand up as if he was personally holding it in place while he moved the first piece. Once he got that piece out of the way and outside, he moved the bigger piece to join it. There were a couple of smaller pieces that were thrown to the side by the workers before they could get to the buried persons. When they cleared the last piece they saw who it was. It was Dylan's mom Marion and his new little brother, Michael. She was lying on top of the young boy, trying to protect him from everything that had fallen around and on them, but unfortunately, she had been unable to accomplish that last task. It had happened too quick and there was too much debris that fell on top of the two of them.
Gabe grabbed Dylan as he tried to get to his mom.
"Hold on, son, let the others get them out of there."
Dylan stopped struggling as he watched Jim and Patrick bring the bodies out of the pile and place them gently on the ground. Ian immediately went to them to see if he could do anything. After several moments of trying he realized that there was nothing he could do. He looked at his friend and the tears in his eyes gave it away without the need to say anything. Dylan collapsed into Gabe's arms and turned away as he started crying. There was a groan from the pile and everyone turned back to it. Jamie started almost tossing the big pieces outside and then on the instructions of Jim and Patrick he lifted a large section up and they reached in and pulled out Will, Dylan's dad from under the pile. As they pulled on Will's arm, he cried out in pain, but Jamie lifted the pile higher so that they could pull him out safely. Ian went to his side and quickly looked him over. He had some injuries and Ian soon had him awake and mostly healed. They helped Will over to where the triage area was and Dylan went over to his dad and hugged him.
"Hey buddy. You're okay, you're okay."
They held each other for a few moments.
"Where's your mom, Dilly."
Dylan said nothing. He shook his head and continued to cry into his father's chest. Will looked around and saw everyone standing around. He saw their faces and he looked around until he saw the bodies of Marion and Michael nearby. He saw that they were not moving. He willed their chests to move but they were so still, that he knew. Tears came to his eyes and he held Dylan tightly to him, adding his silent tears to Dylan's louder ones. The others got back to work. Jamie started practically throwing debris out of the house into the piles in front of the house. It took another hour but they finally rescued the last person from underneath the pile.
All of them were injured in some way. There were broken arms and legs, cuts, bruises, scratches and things like that. Some of the injuries were internal things that Ian had to work hard to heal up, but he was able to deal with them and was now resting on one of the couches with his head in Logan's lap, having gotten pretty worn out in expending all of the energy that he had in healing everyone. Jamie was lying on another couch with Josh at his side, as he had expended a lot of energy as well, but he was not quite as wiped out as Ian was. Those that had been found earlier were now helping others by getting them into some warmer clothes. While they had been clearing the pile, they had found most of the suitcases, and they had been set to the side for the owners to get into when they were cleared by Ian or Doc.
Gabe knelt down next to Brett.
"Boss, now that we've taken care of everyone."
They both glanced at the covered bodies of Marion and Michael Mason.
"When Sean came to get us, he mentioned that maybe it was a bomb. Do you know anything about that?"
Brett started to shake his head, but then stopped and looked over at Jamie. He motioned for Gabe to follow him and they went over to the couch. Jamie looked up at his dad and smiled.
"How are you feeling, Son?"
"Okay. A little tired."
Jamie glanced over at Ian, who had his eyes closed and looked like he was taking a nap.
"Not like Ian, but I'm okay. Do you need me to help with something?"
"No, you go ahead and rest. When you saw me, you were kind of babbling about my being dead and then alive? What was that about?"
Jamie started to sit up, but Josh pushed him back down.
"You rest. I'll show 'em. You've done a lot and need to get your energy back. Besides, I don't think you want to see that again."
Jamie nodded as Josh got up from the couch. They held hands for a moment and Josh gave him a quick kiss. He started to turn around to lead them when he stopped and looked around. He looked at Gabe.
"Where's my Unc….uh, Dad?"
In all the excitement they had forgotten about the missing runners.
"Shit, I forgot."
"They're not…..they're okay aren't they?"
"I think so, Josh. Eric and some of the others went for a run earlier and they hadn't gotten back by the time the earthquake hit, so we really don't know. They weren't in the house, just outside running."
"They might be hurt."
Gabe looked around and started giving orders.
"Doc, take Patrick, and go find the others. I'm concerned that they are not back yet. I would have thought that they would have come back here right away, unless they are lying out there hurt."
"I've done what I need to do here. Ian's done most of it. We'll stop by the bunkhouse so I can replenish my supplies and head out. We'll take one of the SUV's, in case we need to transport someone back here."
"You know the route that they would take."
"Yeah I know."
"Good, take one of the radios with you. Aldo, go back to the bunkhouse and get a radio and bring it back here so we can stay in touch. In fact, bring several, in case we need them for something."
The men nodded and left the house. Brett and Gabe looked at Josh.
"We'll find them, Josh. Don't worry. Now what is it you wanted to show us?"
Josh nodded and led them upstairs to Brett's bedroom. When they got to the room, they stopped in the entrance when they saw the covered body on the bed. Brett looked at Josh.
"I thought we got everyone else out? Who is that?"
"What? What do you mean, it's me?"
"See for yourself."
Gabe and Brett walked over to the bed and Gabe pulled the blanket back to expose the face. Both stepped back in surprise. They shook their heads in disbelief and looked again. It was unmistakably Brett, except for the injuries. They looked at each other and Gabe dropped the blanket back over the face.
"Boss? What the fuck is going on?"
"I have no idea. This is like out of a Sci Fi story. It's like this is a clone of me."
"That's why Jamie acted the way he did. He thought you were dead. We thought that the GRA had kidnapped you, left this body and then set off a bomb to kill everyone."
Brett nodded his understanding. He looked at the covered body.
"I wish I had a lab up here to test for DNA. Maybe I can get some testing done at a hospital down the mountain, like Loma Linda. That reminds me. We need to see what we can find out about how bad this earthquake is. We may need to help some people in Fawnskin. I really want to make sure that Tom, Alice and the others are okay. I'm going to grab Sean and get on the computers and see what's going on out there."
They left the room and went back downstairs. Aldo was waiting for them and handed Gabe and Brett, each, a radio. Gabe clipped his to his belt.
"Boss, are you folks okay here for now?"
Brett looked around and nodded.
"I think so."
"Okay, I'm going to take Aldo and Jim with me to the bunkhouse. Call me on the radio if you need anything. We'll be back in a little while."
"I think we'll get some food going. It's getting close to lunch time and I'm sure there are some hungry people here."
"Sounds good. We'll come back and join you in a few."
Gabe motioned with his head for the two men to follow him and they left the house. Brett meanwhile asked some of the other adults if they were up to fixing some lunch. They readily agreed and headed to the kitchen to see what could be found. They noticed that the floor of the kitchen seemed to be at a bit of a slant, compared to the rest of the house. They started searching and soon had the fixings for sandwiches together. Back with the others, Brett went over to Sean and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Sean, we need to get some more information. Let's see if we can find out how bad this is and see what is going on out there."
Sean nodded and got up from where he had been sitting with his and Dakota's families. He followed Brett to the computer room and they set about checking everything out. They were quickly joined by Dakota, who had come to help Sean. The broken items were unhooked and put to the side. They soon had both systems up and running. Sean put on both of his MYO units and the Emotiv headset. Dakota pulled a stool over to sit on while he watched what Sean was doing.
Sean first went to the USGS website to see if he could find out anything on the earthquake. Right away he saw that preliminary estimates were 9.3 centered somewhere around San Francisco. He noticed that it was followed within minutes with a similar sized quake near Los Angeles. It was the San Andreas that had gone off. This may have been the big one that had always been predicted. He also saw that a sympathetic quake of around 7.7 had been triggered on the fault line that caused the 1992 Landers and Big Bear quakes. He saw that the San Andreas earthquake seemed to have caused some of the other fault lines to slip as well, causing widespread damage throughout California. He and Dakota were looking at the data when they heard Brett at the other workstation.
"WHAT THE HELL?"
Sean and Dakota stopped looking at Sean's monitor and looked at Brett. He was sitting back in his chair with a look of shock on his face.
"What's the matter?"
Brett looked at the two boys and just shook his head.
"Did you find anything out?"
"I went to USGS and they said it was a 9.3 earthquake somewhere near San Francisco on the San Andreas, followed a short time later with a similar sized one in Los Angeles. There were other sympathetic quakes on some of the other fault lines near the San Andreas and the Los Angeles quake appears to have affected the fault line that caused the big quakes up here in 1992. That is probably what hit us. They are cautioning people to watch for aftershocks."
Brett nodded as he digested that for a few moments. He looked at what was on his workstation and then over at Sean.
"Sean, I need you to do what you do best. Go out on the web and find out what the hell is going on. I'm finding some very strange things and even having some difficulty getting some places. It's like someone or something is blocking parts of the web. It's like I'm some child whose parents have put parental locks on everything important. See if you can find anything."
Sean nodded and mentally cracked his knuckles as he got to work. Brett continued for a little longer, trying to get somewhere and finally pushed away from his workstation.
"Damn it. What the hell is going on?"
He rolled his chair over to sit next to Sean and the three of them began to look at things. For a short time Sean was held up by some of the same blocks that Brett had run into, but he began to work his magic and the blocks melted away before him. The first thing that they noticed was the date. Sean had missed it when he was on the USGS website. November 8th, 2012. This was the first shock, as Brett had missed this as well, before he started running into the other blocks. That was a year and half earlier than it should have been. Sean looked through several things before concluding that the date was correct as far as he could find out. The next was that there had been a Presidential Election that had concluded on November 6th. The winner was someone who was a former President named Jackson Bryce and the loser was a President Ashwood. While he was looking at other things, he had one of his own programs running down information on each of those two names.
As he dug deeper he began to find some things that had been going on for the last few days. One of the first things they saw was the massacre of a huge number of kids and their parents in Breckenridge Texas, the day before. The video that he found was shocking and all three of them had tears in their eyes as they watched little kids being gunned down at the school by Federal Agents and military helicopters and Ospreys. As he dug deeper, they saw the attack on Bryce obviously ordered by Ashwood and then reports of Ashwood declaring the election null and void and not conceding when it was evident that Bryce had won the election. Sean checked into the information that he had on Ashwood and found out how evil he was. It was evident that the man was evil through and through and intended to hang onto power as a dictator. He apparently had no problem with killing innocents to get what he wanted. On the other hand, Bryce appeared to have been a good leader when he was President, who believed in what the United States stood for. Ashwood was tearing up the Constitution, while Bryce was fighting to preserve it and the country. During his presidential terms he had helped to make the country stronger than ever, while what Ashwood was doing was destroying the country. As they looked through everything, they also saw the actions of the unknown military group that seemed to be working with Bryce to protect the country and fighting against what Ashwood was doing. Actions by other groups throughout the country were also in opposition to what Ashwood was doing.
Mentally, Sean was making a list of things to do. The biggest was to try to make contact with some of these other groups. He began to run into a blackout of everything east of the Mississippi River. He was able to make little stabs into it, but held back a bit, because he sensed that the government was actively blocking it. He put on the list of things to do; trying to crack through that wall. Nearly everything west of the Mississippi was more open. He started hearing some things about Kettle Falls, Washington. Then the big things began coming in. Ashwood declaring martial law, and many of the states especially in the west throwing their support to Bryce and against everything that Ashwood stood for. They were all shocked when they heard about his executive order against gays and the removal of children from loving homes because they were gay. There was also reports of people, particularly gay people disappearing.
Then the truly evil things came in. The military strike on Austin, Texas with Sarin gas; a huge bomb in Kansas City; a Dirty bomb in Oklahoma City; the blister agent in Boulder, Colorado. All of these attacks were causing terror in some cases, but in others they were causing anger and all of it was directed at Ashwood. Texas declared its independence from the US and declared war on the Ashwood administration. Other states in the west looked like they might follow Texas. He also started finding mentions of something called Starshine. He hadn't found much yet, but he wanted to find out more. That went on his mental list of things to do.
Brett stood up. They were coming to realize that something was seriously wrong. This was not the country that they had been in when they went to sleep last night. There was no way that this was an internet hoax. This was real. This was happening and the old phrase "We aren't in Kansas anymore" came to mind. The meaning of that was staggering to think about.
"Keep looking, Sean. I'm going to go and get some of the others."
Sean absently nodded as he continued to work. Brett brought the radio up to his mouth.
"Gabe, this is Brett."
"I think you need to come up to the house. Sean and I have found some things that you need to see."
"On my way."
Brett went to where the others were.
"Everyone, can I have your attention? We have found something that is extremely disturbing and we need you to see it yourselves or you won't believe it. I've seen it and I wouldn't have believed it, if someone told me. Now the computer room isn't big enough for everyone so if some of you can join us so we can show you some of what we have found out so far..."
"No need, sir."
Brett turned around as Sean came into the room with his laptop. He went over to the large screen still attached to the wall. Dakota turned it on first and flipped through several channels showing that there was nothing but snow on the screen. He helped Sean hook the laptop up to the screen and in moments his laptop screen was on the flat screen. Gabe joined them.
"What's up, Boss?"
Sean looked at Brett and nodded.
"Show them the date."
Sean brought up a feed from the Atomic Clock. It showed official time as 1230pm, Thursday, November 8th, 2012. There were gasps from everyone in the room.
"What the hell! It's July 31st, 2013."
Brett shook his head.
"We don't know how, and we've checked everything. This is straight from the Atomic Clock. This is the official time of the United States. It is November 8th, 2012."
There were several questions being directed at them. Brett held up his hands until they stopped asking questions.
"Just bear with us; we have some things to show you and nearly all of it will not make sense, but it's important."
He nodded to Sean again.
"Sean, show the pictures of the two candidates."
Sean flipped through a few things and then put the two pictures up.
"What you see are the pictures of the two US Presidential Candidates. The one on the left is the incumbent, President Ashwood."
"Ashwood? What about Obama?"
"There is no Obama at least not as President. The other guy is former President Bryce. Two days ago was the 2012 election. Bryce won the election and Ashwood has refused to relinquish power. He is doing everything to destroy the Constitution, and Bryce, besides winning the election by a landslide, is trying to preserve it and the country. Ashwood appears to be ready to tear the country apart to retain power. There have been some really bad things happening and it appears to be under the orders of Ashwood. Sean, show the video of Breckenridge. Ladies would you mind taking the young boys into the kitchen just for a few minutes. This is not something that they should see. Sean and Dakota have already seen it. I want the others to see it as well, I think they can deal with it."
Once the ladies left, Sean started the video. For the next few minutes they watched the scene unfold and there were cries of disbelief at what they were seeing. When Sean turned off the video, they looked at Brett.
"What is going on?"
"I don't know, but there is a body up in my bed that looks exactly like me. It is November 2012 and the Presidential Candidates are people we have never heard of. I don't know what it means, but Sean and I are going to do what we can to find out. We need to know where we stand. There are people out there working with Bryce and standing up to Ashwood and I'm leaning toward trying to connect with them, but we don't know how, but I'm sure Sean can find out. Now…."
"Wait. Something's wrong. I just lost the internet connection and the TV went dark."
They tried to get the TV back on, but there was no power. Sean's laptop was still working, but he couldn't connect to the net. The WiFi wasn't working either. He checked in the computer room and there was no power. He picked up the phone and there was no dial tone. Sean went back to the others and told them.
"Boss, maybe I'm being overly cautious, but I'm going to go get the other guys and see if the runners are back. Something doesn't feel right."
"Yeah. Um, Mister MacLeod. I think Mister Patterson is right. I think something bad is going to happen and I think we're in trouble."
Brett looked at Logan for a moment and then nodded to Gabe.
"Go, and hurry back."
Gabe nodded and headed out the door. The ladies entered the room with more sandwiches and drinks, followed by the younger boys. A few moments later there was a noise that got everyone's attention.
"What was that?"
"I don't know."
There heard the sound again.
"That's a gunshot."
Suddenly there were several shots.
"I think 'the something bad' is here."
Brett looked at the others.
They followed him into the computer room. He pulled open a bookshelf and behind it was a gun safe. He worked the combination and opened it. He started handing out the guns that he had in there. There were a couple of scoped hunting rifles, a lever action Winchester, an AR-15, a couple of 9mm handguns, a .357 revolver, Colt 1911 .45 handgun and two 12 gauge pump shotguns. He handed out ammunition and they quickly loaded everything. Outside, the gunfire began to increase. Those with the guns moved to where they could see outside.