Land Of Flatwater: Chip Meets World Part 7: Fear.
Pull out the stop plugs, drain all the waste
Who needs it anyway
Fill all the big holes, leave no trace
No sign of yesterday
I was all the dishes and I clean up my place
No sign of yesterday
I stare at the photographs of your dark face
No sign of yesterday
Out in the yard, was such a lovely place
It's where we used to play
Inside, outside you can feel and taste.
No sign of yesterday
Kearney Municipal Airport -- 1:20pm -- Tuesday March 27, 1984
Agent Clayton steps out of the Cessna and into the cloudy early spring air.
In the background one could hear the faint noise of a radio...
"By order of the Governor of Nebraska, the Highway 30 corridor is restricted to official and Combined Forces traffic until further notice. All non-official traffic is forbidden...."
Turner Gill stood next his patrol car, his eyes scanning a fit man in combat dress. "He could've played linebacker for us," he thought.
Clayton looked at the young man. Tall, strong and imposing in his own right.
"You must be my ride," Clayton said. "Toussaint Clayton, special assistant to the Emergency Government"
Gill extended his hand, "Captain Turner Gill, Civilian Defense Unit of Buffalo County."
Clayton recognize the younger man, even through a growing beard. "The quarterback?"
"I'm just a soldier in service to the people of this state, sir," Captain Gill said.
Clayton nodded and smile. "Well, I remember what you did to LSU a couple of years back."
Gill opened the door to the patrol car. "What brings you out here, sir."
"Direct orders from the Governor and CINC-NEBCOMFORCE..It seems we had a little problem here that comes from a bigger problem."
"I guess you heard about the attack on Kearney State," Gill said.
"I was about to ask," Clayton continued. "Were you there?"
"What did you see?"
"2 dead CDUs, a dead perp, a Civil Air Patrol commander with two bullets in his stomach, and seven local yahoos trying to steal medicine."
"What do you know about them?"
"Not much," Gill said. "According to our county interrogator, most of these guys are just locals trying to help their kids...They have that Grand Island Flu thing going around.."
Clayton nodded, "Anything unusual..."
"There's one," the younger man continued as he drove back toward the town. "He's not a local...I can tell that."
"You don't exactly look local either," the agent said.
"I'm originally from Dallas, Texas, sir...But I've been here enough...My fiancÚ grew up here."
"Yes," the captain smiled. "We were planning to get married this fall...before all of this happened."
Turner Gill looked along the distance of the flatlands and the town proper on the horizon. He thought of his Gayle.
Clayton's mind was churning. Looking at the rearview mirror he saw a small stuffed panda bear in the back seat.
"You have children, son?"
"Not yet," Turner Gill replied, "Hopefully if we get married we'll have some..."
"I noticed the little toy in the back seat.."
"That bear belongs to a brave little kid," the captain said. "I'll bet that little boy is still scared.."
"A little boy?"
"Explain...what were kids doing there? Refugees?" Clayton asked.
"No," Turner answered. "Civil Air Patrol youth cadets..from Colfax County somewhere. I guess somebody out there learned something about this sickness...and the people at Kearney State also knew something. They put their heads together, and flew some different medicines here. The bandits heard from somebody on the inside, and they came out of desperation."
"What did this kid do?"
"From what I heard, one of the gunmen held one of the other CAP Cadets at gunpoint. This little boy supposedly bit the mans leg like a doberman, fought him off, helped the other kid get away. Another one of the bad guys grabbed the kid, a little girl...and this little boy fired two bullets into the man's leg, helping the little girl escape."
"The other man shot the CAP commander, that little boy was so angry and scared, that we had to almost wrestle the gun out of his hand.. He was very angry. He kept mumbling the very bad names that man called him...Racial stuff...We've had some of that around here in the last month."
Clayton nodded, and remember his notes from Griswold.
WE HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE IN POSSIBLE INVOLVEMENT WITH TYLES.
"Where is this little boy now?"
"Good Samaritan most likely. Checking on their leader. He's in surgery again..They say the gunshot wounds are infected."
Clayton nodded again.
"You know," Gill said. "I'm still haunted by the look on that little boy's face. It was blank. Dead. Too shocked to cry or scream. I've seen too much of that look."
"You best get used to it, captain," Clayton said.
BASE ALPHA -- Geneva, Nebraska -- same time
"Governor, we are going to send some additional troops up from Lincoln to Fremont. Not CDUs but the crack troops. Regulars.," Griswold said.
"The Sheriff up there could use the help," the Governor said as he pointed to a map...
"I'm closing off Highway 30 to everything but official traffic. I want a secure corridor of troops down the length from Fremont all the way to Central City. From Central City, I want your Grand Island detachment to form a second corridor. I also want to beef up security at every BLACK ANGUS and BLUE BUNNY site."
Griswold nodded. "I agree Governor, but we need to do more."
Griswold point at the red box near Albion. "Governor, I want more than just stationing troops there. I need action authorization."
Governor Kerrey replied. "Action authorization?"
"Yes sir," Griswold said firmly. "It is time for us to send a message now."
"General, what kind of message."
"Governor," Griswold said slowly. "Near Albion, there is a group of burnouts with heavy weapons picking off our supply convoys and they fried a bunch of kids, remember? I have a race war simmering in Fremont. And in Kearney I have six jackasses, and one really dangerous jackass who disrupted a badly needed piece of our recovery. It is high time that the people of Nebraska know that their emergency government will keep them safe, and people may not be sure of that."
"General, I agree with the frustration, but we also have a process and we cannot abandon that process. If we do that, we slide deeper and deeper in a hole we may not be able to climb out of."
Griswold tried to keep his calm, "Bob, we may already be there. We are in that hole now. And we have some serious plans we have to get in motion. This sickness has already pushed things back. The recycling plan? Corpse recovery? Relectrification? Planting? Its been damn near 2 months since the attacks. We are 5 months from where we have to get crops harvested. We need spare parts, fuel and food. We have restless refugee camps. We have terminal radiation sickness clogging up the camps. All this lawlessness is hurting us. "
"I understand that we are trying not to be a police state. I don't want to be a police state, but we have bad guys out here and some of those have armament equal to the NCF..and we have a man at large who seems to have toys, and connections and this mess has strengthened his hand."
"Now you sound like Clayton," Governor Kerrey said. "We have to be careful with him. He's CIA."
"GOOD!" Griswold said. "That makes me feel even better. Right man for the job out in Kearney."
"Yes, Bob," Griswold said. "Clayton's probably there now."
"You are sending that man out over six local yokels?"
"One of those men isn't so local. Those guys had weapons that follow the profile Clayton gave us. One of the people has been identified as possibly having direct links to Tyler Tyles in one way or another. If it involves Tyles, I want Clayton on it."
Governor Kerrey's thoughts turned suspicious. "Clayton may cause more problems than he solves."
"It what way?"
"Nothing in our emergency plan involves torture."
"Governor," Griswold answered with frustration. "This bastard shot a good man! From reports this bastard held a 12-year old girl with a gun to her head! All these assholes potentially could have wrecked a cure for the Grand Island Flu crap! These men jeopardized thousands more lives. We need to make a serious example of them, Governor...and the Attorney General agrees."
"What is your idea?"
"Governor. Phase one is these seven. We've left the punish phase up to local authorities. I propose in these hard cases, we set up punishment battalions. For smaller stuff, chain gangs. Hell, they can rebuild roads and help the recycling campaign for their dinner. But these seven? I say we put them on the Reconstruction Duty Program that Kay Orr suggested with a change."
Griswold grinned. "There are two places that need reconstruction the most.....The Panhandle Exclusion Zone and the Omaha Exclusion Zone."
Kerrey frowned, "Nobody can survive out there, not for hundreds of years."
"What better place to send people who directly threaten our recovery," Griswold retorted. "Starting with these seven...Then we go to phase two."
"And that is?"
"Mobilization and pacification. We start with where the hell these seven people are from. We find that town and we level it. Burn it to the ground! Send a serious message. If you harbor elements that are a danger to the recovery, every fucking body suffers! At the same time, these jokers in Albion? I want them all dead. Same with Fremont, we pacify all the opposing factions. I don't give a damn what color they are. We have too many problem children in Nebraska who need spankings right now."
"General...This is NOT the way to do it. Premptive action only makes us a police state. We're taking some hits from the populace already back from the snowstorm. We need to inspire the public trust, not their fear.
"Damn, Bob...Look around...We became a police state the second the first bomb hit! You know and I know this drill. Hell, you saw this in Vietnam."
Governor Kerrey's mind quickly drifted back to Vietnam, his eyes trying to shut out the things he didn't want to remember. "General," the Governor said calmly. "The last thing any of us should want to bring some of the things we did in Vietnam here. This is not Vietnam, General. THIS IS NEBRASKA!"
"EXACTLY, Governor! And that is what I am sworn to protect. I am not above napalming a bad village to save many more good ones. Right now, there is no damn Uncle Sam! There's just Nebraska. We have a whole bunch of people claiming to be a federal government. There's nothing else but us right now. Governor, I'm not saying I like this, but we have to take some serious punitive action NOW, so we can affect positive action for our people. Positive action like what Dr. Suhr was overseeing in Kearney. I have a good friend dying right now because of these people. Now is the time, Governor. We have to send a message loud and clear. No one will destroy our recovery. Not the Russians, not the Klan and not Tyler Tyles. We are the last fucking thread of civilization, Bob and its unraveling damn fast!"
Griswold turned heel and walked down the corridor. Governor Kerrey was left to ponder.
"I don't agree with Grizz at all," the Governor thought, "But damn if isn't right."
And I can't hear you calling
I can't hear you calling
I can't hear you anymore
Metal ships are falling
This old car keeps stalling
Always seems to be the way
Pick up the pieces, and go dig out the dead
Then you can go to bed
Night is the stealer and time is the test
No sign of yesterday
to be continued.
The Colors of War. The Hopes for Peace. The Trial Of The Prairie -- Land Of Flatwater...May 30, 2013.
Last edited by Chipperback; June 12th, 2012 at 10:36 AM..
Reason: now its done