Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Reckoning

El Tres de Mayo
Francisco de Goya

The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an Army four star, had seen better days. His uniform was filthy and he needed a shave. The consequences of having been imprisoned for a long period of time with limited means of washing or getting clean clothes. Colonel Jeff Tanaka was somewhat appalled at the sight of the man he had once looked up to, he took SFC Levine off to the side.

"Joe, what the Hell?"

"He did it to himself, Sir. He's been refusing to eat, shave, or change his clothes for at least a week now. Apparently he's protesting what he calls his 'unlawful imprisonment.'"

"How are the other prisoners behaving?" Tanaka was a little concerned with General Mileris' condition, but if he had done this to himself, that was different.

"They're behaving. I think most of them understand why they're being held, they're not happy, far from it, but I guess they realize that committing treason was probably a bad idea from the get-go." SFC Levine answered the colonel's question, but the look on his face showed that he was having second thoughts about the proceedings.

"Look Joe, we've had a ruling from the lawyers on whether or not these people committed treason. They all gave aid and comfort to enemies of the United States ..." before Tanaka could complete the sentence, Levine chimed in.

"Sir, we're not at war, are we? Doesn't Congress have to declare war?"

Tanaka thought for a moment, then said, "Again, our lawyers say that we are in fact, at war with the People's Republic of China. They invaded the United States under a false flag, claiming to be UN peacekeepers on the one hand, and on the other, they actually landed troops on the coast of California. Just because Congress refused to consider a declaration of war, doesn't mean that we're not at war. These assholes assisted the Chinese to do these things, if that's not treason, I don't know what is."

SFC Levine had been in the United States Army for seventeen years, had been in combat, two tours, one in Afghanistan, one in Ukraine, and had been decorated. It used to be enough to trust that the officers over him, and the government, had the best interests of the people of the United States at heart. He'd learned, much to his sorrow, that that hadn't been the case in recent years.

"Okay Sir, I'm good with that."

"What the f**k is that?" Jack Bishop brought his rifle to his shoulder as a small group of people came out into the street about a hundred yards down the street.

"Look like gangbangers to me." Billy Kasparian blurted out.

This earned him an angry look from Sgt. Heather Jefferson, "Why, because they're not white?"

Billy turned beet red, "No, it's the way they're dressed, I mean come on, they're all wearing those damned hoody things."

"Damn, you need to get out more Mr. Kasparian, that's just how kids dress, besides which, it's still kinda cold, a hoody keeps your head and neck warm. Hell, your parka has a hood, are you a gangbanger? Besides which, look again, those aren't kids." Jefferson glanced over at Ida, Billy's wife, who rolled her eyes.

Before Billy could utter another word, Ida said, "Put the shovel down Billy, the hole's deep enough." She then spoke to Jefferson, "My husband is rather clueless when it comes to modern things in the cities and suburbs and what the kids are doing these days. We are kinda isolated out where we live."

"Sorry Sarge. But it does look, I don't know, kinda suspicious."

Jefferson nodded and said, "It's okay, Mr. Kasparian, none of us have had enough sleep and I'm kinda cranky right now."

Bishop was still watching the people walking towards them, they were oblivious to the presence of other people until one of them noticed the MRAP. At first one, then the others, all raised their hands in the air to show that they weren't armed, at least not obviously armed.

"Sarge, you want to handle this?" Bishop asked Jefferson.

"Nah, you go ahead Sir, I mean you were in the Army and you sure as Hell outranked me."

Bishop called out, "Okay you folks, that's close enough. Who are you and where are you going?"

General Martin Mileris stood calmly as he was tied to a makeshift post in the Pentagon courtyard. He thought back over his career, he'd made sure that he had had the right assignments, he had made sure that he'd spent time in combat zones, he had all the right checks in the right boxes and he had been promoted for that.

He looked across the yard at the men and women who had volunteered for the firing party, they looked no different from the thousands of soldiers he'd served with over the years. He didn't feel guilty about what he had done to get to his station in life, it was only when the temptations of power and money had been dangled before him that he'd gone off track. He didn't think that he was an evil man, just greedy. He looked to his right as a colonel came up to him.

"Would you like a blindfold, General?"

"Who are you?" Mileris asked gruffly.

"The man commanding your firing squad, why?"

Mileris studied the man's uniform, pretty standard stuff - jump wings, Ranger tab - he had those himself, but there was one thing on the other man's uniform that he didn't have, a Combat Infantryman's Badge. Odd to see that stuff on a Marine uniform, guy must have served a joint tour, probably more than one.

"What's your name soldier?" Mileris asked, "I guess I should know the name of the man who's having me shot."

"Jeffrey Y. Tanaka, Colonel, United States Marine Corps, and I'm not the one having you shot, your actions are the reason you're being shot. Do you want a blindfold?"

"No, not necessary. The sun's coming up, I want to see that."

"Very well."

The Senate Majority Leader jumped when he heard a loud bang just down the hallway. Jesus, he thought to himself, that sounded like a gunshot. He heard footsteps coming down the hallway, then a set of keys rattled, then a door being opened. He heard the voice of the House Majority Leader quite clearly.

"By whose authority are you doing this?" he demanded, loudly.

"Stand up," was the only answer he received.

"How dare ..."

Another loud bang, the Senate Majority Leader suddenly realized that someone was apparently executing the Congressional leadership. The rebels had locked them up three days ago in separate offices, he was in an office next to where the House Majority Leader had been locked up. He heard the footsteps again, he heard the keys, he heard the door being unlocked to the office he was in. He wet himself.

The people in the street were locals, they had seen the uniforms of U.S. soldiers and had been overjoyed. After listening to the Guardsmen tell them the news of the outside, they related their own harrowing tales.

"At first the gangs ran wild, the police refused to do anything, the mayor said on the television that the folks doing the rioting, looting, and shooting had been oppressed for years, now it was their turn. Pretty soon the thugs grew tired, there wasn't much to loot after a while, so they all headed south, to the city. Well, most of 'em anyway." The speaker, an older black man, nodded to his compatriot, a Latino man in his '30s.

"What Bobby says pretty much sums it up, these bastards were trashing our neighborhoods, not the places where the mayor and city council folks lived. So we took up arms and defended ourselves, Mr. Kim here told us about L.A. back in '92. How his folks and their neighbors took to the rooftops to defend their shops and homes from the rioters. Damn if it didn't work here. Right Mr. Kim?"

Teddy Kim had been born and raised in California, both of his parents had been born in Korea. He'd been a little kid in 1992 during the Rodney King incident and its aftermath. He remembered the stories his Dad and his uncles had told him.

"Didn't take much to get these folks to defend their homes, especially when the cops were looking the other way. Well, not all of 'em, but enough to make us fear for our lives. Couldn't have done it though without Bobby and Pablo, these are some badass dudes right here!"

Pablo Mendoza laughed then asked Jefferson, "So where's the rest of the Army?"

"For now, we're it, the rest of my unit is patrolling back home to make sure the Chinese don't come back." Jefferson answered.

"Where's home, Sarge?" Bobby Washington asked. When Jefferson told him he whistled and said, "Hey guys, these troopers are the real badasses, they chased the Commies out of New York! Damned fine work Sarge, I'll bet your Momma and Dad are real proud of you."

Heather Jefferson was a little embarrassed but she confessed that her Dad had convinced her to join the Army. He was a veteran of the Second Gulf War, and proud of that fact. "Thanks Sir, they are, but it's gonna be dark soon, you got a place to hole up for the night? I feel kinda exposed out here."

"Sure do, it's right over there in that cluster of buildings in the park. Good lines of sight and the 'bangers know better than to come anywhere near us."

For the moment the trip to Albany was looking promising.

Jeff Tanaka had wanted to get drunk, very drunk, but how would that look to the troops? He felt sullied after the execution of Mileris. He had to give the man credit, he may have been a greedy traitor, but he died well.

But still and all, Colonel Tanaka bemoaned the fact that he had ordered the execution of a general in his own military.

"Colonel, it was necessary, I hope you don't mind me saying that Sir." MACS Sorge came into Tanaka's office unannounced and uninvited, she brought freshly brewed coffee though, which Tanaka was grateful for.

"Thanks Senior Chief, it's been a long night and yeah, it was necessary. Any news of what's happening over at the Capitol?" Tanaka took a sip of coffee, damn it was strong. What they said about coffee from the goat locker¹ was true.

"I talked to Captain Pearson about an hour ago, the assignments were carried out, the Senate president pro tempore, the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House Majority Leader were all executed in the rooms where they were being held. Word got to the rest of the Congress critters in the Rotunda and you wouldn't believe how quick those spineless bastards caved and started pointing fingers at each other."

"How's the Captain and the men he selected taking it?"

"Sir, he did the deed himself, said it was only right, he said something about a guy named Ned Stark. You know him?"

"He's a character in a book, and a TV series, 'He who passes the sentence should swing the sword.' Game of Thrones, you familiar with it, Senior Chief?"

"Negative Sir, but that's a good quote, is that why ..."

"I commanded the firing squad, gave the late general the coup de grâce²? Yup, seemed fitting. But now, what about tomorrow? I think we've cleaned house, time to put things back together I suppose." As Tanaka said that, Harry Fairchild came into the room with a grim look on his face.

"What's up Harry?"

"We've lost a boat in the Pacific, USS Gudgeon, SSN 815, Virginia-class, she hasn't reported in in over two weeks. Pearl has reported her lost, presumed sunk."

"What the Hell? Accident? Do we have any information?" Tanaka got up from behind his desk and walked to the maps on the wall.

Fairchild walked over and pointed out the last known position of Gudgeon.

"Damn, that's within spitting distance of Vladivostok. Do you think ...?"

"I do Jeff, I suspect the Russians are jumping in." Fairchild guessed.

"Goddamn it!"

Notes on Treason from the Constitution:
Article I, Section 6, Clause 1
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Article III, Section 3, Clause 1
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

¹ Tanaka knew the term from an assignment to a Joint Staff billet in Hawaii, where he had served mostly with sailors.
² a final blow or shot given to kill a wounded person or animal.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The "Simple" Answer


"So if the President is removed from office, I assume using the 25th Amendment, obviously the Vice President takes over." SFC Joe Levine was trying to understand what his officers had in mind. The idea that there were eighteen people in the line of succession to the Presidency boggled his mind. Seemed like overkill to him.

MACS Janet Sorge said, 'Right now the Vice President has taken refuge in the Russian Embassy, of all places. So I'm kinda guessing that removes him from consideration. So next up is the Speaker."

"That geriatric witch?" Levine blurted out, "Sorry but I think she's a traitor. I've seen documents with her signature requesting UN intervention during the last election."

"But unless she's removed from office ... " Sorge began.

"Then we're stuck with her I guess."

Colonel Jeff Tanaka walked into the office after being down in the Operations Center talking with the Air Force Brigadier General who was running the show down there. Another officer who had "resigned" her commission then accepted commissioning as a lieutenant colonel in order to participate in the rebellion.

"There's a simpler solution troops ..."

Senior Chief Sorge looked up and asked, "Which is ... ?"

"We have the President order the Vice President to report for duty; when he doesn't, we take that as his resignation, dicey I know."

"So the President nominates a new Vice President which both Houses of Congress have to vote on. As if the President is going to go along with that." Levine objected.

"Look, the doctor who looked at him last said the old guy is on his last legs. He's barely coherent half the time. I think it's doable, so we get the former President nominated as the new Vice President, I mean the President actually likes the guy." Tanaka explained.

"Then the President resigns and bingo, we have a new President. But good luck getting Congress to go along with that!" Sorge pointed out.

Gunnery Sergeant MacAllister, who'd been listening in from the inner office chimed in, "Right now those Congress critters are terrified, they think they're going to be executed at any minute, well the crooked among them do. This is very doable. Of course, I'm just an old Gunny, what do I know?"

Former President Wilson James Rutherford  just shook his head when Admiral Fairchild and Colonel Tanaka explained Tanaka's plan to him. "It won't work gentlemen, as soon as you turn things back over to the elected officials who created this mess, they'll claim coercion and the Supremes will overturn all of your machinations."

Tanaka sat for a moment, eyes closed, he took a deep breath then opened his eyes. "There is an even simpler solution."

"Which is ... ?" the former President asked.

"We start executing people, those in the line of succession anyway. It may be tough to get to the Vice President, but I think we can convince the Russians to throw him out of their embassy."

"Jesus Jeff, that makes us no better than some banana republic!" Harry Fairchild came out of his seat and began pacing the floor.

"Well Harry, with the goddamn UN, then the Chinese running around in our territory, I think we have stooped to that level." Tanaka paused, then said, "When it's over, I'll take the fall, no matter what that might entail."

Fairchild and Rutherford looked at each other, there had to be some other way.

Jack Bishop was driving, he knew the roads better than anyone else. In the back were four heavily armed Guardsmen, two of Frank Teller's deputies, both men had served in Afghanistan in the Marines, and Billy Kasparian. Billy's wife Ida was sitting up front with him, she had a set of paper maps in front of her and a GPS receiver, the GPS was her backup.

The vehicle was a Caiman MRAP, which Ida had "liberated" from the police department in the county seat, saying, "What the Hell do those assholes need with a military vehicle? There's not enough crime in the county to even justify giving Barney Fife that single bullet."

Billy had laughed at that one, he stopped laughing when his wife had revealed that she'd taken the vehicle at gunpoint. "Are you serious?"

"Bastard wouldn't give me the keys ... "

As they approached Albany they began seeing lots of signs of disorder near the capital, abandoned cars, looted buildings, even the occasional dead body. Things in the city were far worse than they had heard.

Ye Meihui looked at the cheap pistol she had taken from a gang member, she wondered if the thug had ever bothered to clean the weapon. Fortunately it was a revolver, a simple mechanism which was less prone to jamming than an automatic. But before she had cleaned it, the odds of it firing cleanly would have been small.

She had been surprised at the gang activity in Albany, quite a few of them were foreign, from Quebec and also a surprising number from Central America. Of course, there were a lot of native born "gang bangers" as well. Due to the unrest in the northern part of the state the police in and around Albany had quickly been overwhelmed.

She had managed to bandage her wound and it only pained her a little. Though most of the drug stores had been looted, no surprise there, first aid materials were still available. She had been collecting just that when she had been confronted by the gang member, she assumed that he had come down from Canada based on his accent.

She had easily dispatched the man, she had had no choice but to kill him as he clearly meant to kill her once he'd had his "fun." She had been gratified by the stunned look on his face when she had crushed his larynx.

Looking back over the past few weeks, she realized that handing out debit cards to revolutionary groups, for she thought of them that way, was something which was completely ineffective now. In fact, had been so since the first "peacekeepers" had moved into the state. In her dealings with the Americans, she also realized that most of them were probably far too smart to actually use the cards. She also wondered if her superiors had intended to track the various groups through their purchases. And if so, why?

The MRAP rolled to a stop by the wrecked police car. Jack could see at least five bodies in the immediate vicinity of the wreck. One in the driver's seat of the wreck, in uniform, the other on the ground near the passenger's side, also in uniform. There were three dead civilians nearby, from the looks of their clothing, Jack figured that a bunch of gangbangers had ambushed the cops. Things in Albany didn't look good.

Jack looked at Ida, who said, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Turning to the crew compartment she said, "Hon, are you seeing this?"

Billy moved forward and said, "Damn, this is bad, really bad."

Sergeant Heather Jefferson looked at the big civilian and thought, "No shit Sherlock." Out loud she suggested that her fire team should dismount and have a look. Jack Bishop agreed.

Jefferson had Bill Winston, Kurt Jacobs, and Jennifer Taliaferro with her, all had performed well in the attack on the Chinese compound back in the winter months, she trusted them all with her life.

The team spread out to cover the MRAP. The nearby streets were lifeless, lots of broken glass and looted shops, she had a grim memory of her hometown of Baltimore. Joining the Army out of high school was the smartest thing she had ever done, joining the New York National Guard the second smartest. After Afghanistan she felt that she couldn't stay on active duty any longer, odds were good that she'd be deploying to that shithole again and again. "Dumb bastards withdrew back in '21, why the Hell did we go back in?" she muttered.

"Sarge, I got movement three buildings down, left side, top floor." Private First Class Taliaferro had her rifle scope on the location in question, Jefferson checked with her binoculars, yup, at least two people. Probably looters, she hadn't spotted anything that looked like a rifle.

"Keep an eye on 'em, Tolly. Jake, do you see that overturned dumpster just past the burned out cop car?"

"Got it Sarge."

"Slide on down there, see if you can get eyes down that side street."

Private Jacobs moved out while Winston covered him. To think he'd left the Corps for a "quiet" life in the Army National Guard. "Funny the shit life throws at ya," he thought.

"He's where?!?!" the President was furious, his own Vice President had apparently defected to the damned Russians.

"Can I fire the sumbitch?" he asked.

"Uh no Sir, you cannot. However, with the evidence we have available, I'm sure you can make a pretty good case for impeachment. Fleeing to a foreign embassy during a time of crisis looks really bad. I'd be willing to bet that the VP will resign voluntarily. Provided of course that the Russians will let us talk to him." The President's Chief of Staff was getting tired of explaining the President's job to him. He was a decent guy but mentally? He'd been going downhill since his second year in office.

For the moment the President looked like a petulant child, in his own heart he knew that he was starting to lose it mentally. "Damn it!"

White House Chief of Staff Rudy Petrocelli left the Oval Office and returned to his office nearby, the Chinese were making warlike noises, the UN was demanding explanations for the attacks on their peacekeepers, most of whom were now Chinese, and the President was losing his mind. He picked up his phone, dead, so he walked down to the White House Communications Office, Jed Kelly was minding the store.

"Jed, do we have any way of communicating outside of the White House?"

"Only if we go through the Pentagon Sir, the rebels cut off all communication here and over at the Capitol. We were running couriers around, but that's finished too, seems the military is now patrolling the city."

"The Pentagon, huh?"


"Get me a line to them, I wanna talk to the head rebel I guess."

"Give me a couple of minutes Sir. The system is down more than it's up, but I think I can get through now."

Petrocelli looked around and said, "Just do it Jed, things have gone far enough, we need to make peace with whoever is running the show over there."


"Well, sure, why the f**k not? They hold all the cards now."

Monday, October 25, 2021

Big Week

 No, Beans, we're not going to discuss events that happened in Europe from 20-25 February, 1944 when  the Air Force launched ~3500 bomber missions against aircraft manufacturing plants in Germany.  I remember discussing that in AFROTC in college, but it is more "blah, blah, blah, bombers..." memory.  However, for a decent description of "War of Attrition" in action, I'd recommend this wikipedia article about the campaign.  A lot of good lessons were learned from the missions.  Including the importance of the mission my "last ride" was built for.

Yep, Beans, all that just to get a picture of an F-15 in the post.

On with the post, see I'm in a positive mood this week, as opposed to "Somebody" who seems to be more prone to an "Off with their heads" position.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  We certainly could use a bit of it. Pour l'encouragement des autres, doncha know!

Anyhow, Big Week ahead.  GC#1 is expected any day now.  MBD and her OB Doc have decided on NLT Thursday one way or another.  All is progressing normally and She (GC#1) is expected before then, but....What do I know about giving birth?  

I know there was a lot of stepinfetchit, little sleep, a lot of "No Dear, we don't ever have to do the sex thing again" involved.  With Little J, they wouldn't allow me into the OR (C-Section), so I got a couple hours of sleep with his opening act.  On the second (MBD), they also made the decision for a C-Section  after 24 hours of labor.  I was looking forward to a nap when the nurse told me to get the scrubs on and get moving.  

Gentlemen, if you ever get the opportunity to hold your wife's hand during a C-Section, I've just got one word of advice.  DON'T look on the other side of the curtain! Trust me on this!

So, MBD and SIL are the only ones authorized, other than hospital staff, to witness the actual arrival of GC#1.  Therefore, our plan is, on notification that they're headed to the Hospital and at a reasonable hour of the day, Mrs J and I will head to C-Stat and get things set up for homecoming.

Not that MBD hasn't been doing that for a while now, but Mrs J will be staying for a week or so to provide mothering help.  (As an aside, Bill, yes, we secured the electronics, only one had a password, it's been changed.)

My Job? My job is to cook several meals and freeze them, then RTB and take care of the critters as well as any paying guests we may have at the guest house.  Oh, and finish the table.

The only thing salvageable on the table was the top.  The old leg support (round) frame is beyond my woodworking skills to fix, The new, rectangular support frame will have to be cut and assembled. Replacement legs have been purchased. Then the staining part comes.  I think it'll take a week, or the rest of my life.  It's a coin toss.

Ahhh, the joys of Grandfather-hood.

Pictures of GC#1 to follow.

Peace Out, y'all.  We're winning.

**Late Breaking news update.  While I thought Thursday was the NLT Date, apparently that date is still up to the scheduling gods.  We shall see.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The People Rise Up


Cheng Zhiqiang, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party was sitting at his desk, sipping a cup of tea. He felt very satisfied, he had just returned from the trial and execution of the former commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy, Admiral Chang Bojing. Though the man had been politically reliable, he had proven to be a disaster as a naval leader. The massacre of the expedition to land troops on the breakaway province of Taiwan had been an outright disaster.

He looked up at the knock on his office door, "Yes?"

His military aide looked in, "Comrade Chairman, I have reports of civil unrest from Shanghai, Chongqing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Nanjing. Also in some of the smaller towns and cities throughout China."

The Chairman set his tea cup on the desk. "Civil unrest? What sort of civil unrest Comrade Colonel?" The Chairman's voice had gone as cold as the wind from the north in January.

The colonel hesitated, in olden times the leaders of China had been known to shoot the messenger, the events of the past few months made the colonel think that those times had returned. "Riots Comrade Chairman, the people are rioting in those cities."

All of the months of convincing the people that sacrifices would have to be made, that strenuous efforts were required to reunite Taiwan with the mainland, that were also required to quell American resistance to just that contingency, had all been in vain apparently.

"Call out the Army, crush those riots!" Cheng stood up, yelling in fury.

The colonel seemed nervous as he answered, "I'm sorry Comrade Chairman, but the Army has joined the people."

It was then that Cheng noticed the pistol in the colonel's hand, aimed at Cheng's midsection. Suddenly the office felt cold, as cold as the grave.

Billy Kasparian saw Jack Bishop's Jeep coming up the heavily rutted road. Winter was nearly over and without maintenance crews servicing the roads, they had suffered badly. Billy had to wonder what the Hell Albany was thinking.

His wife Ida came up behind him and said, "That's pretty much the last of the coffee. I have a recipe for parched corn coffee, but I'm not sure if it tastes any good. Guess we'll need to experiment."

Billy nodded and said, "I suppose if the Iroquois drank it, that makes it a traditional upstate New York beverage." He finished the cup of coffee then set it on the table. "Damn, I'm gonna miss that. Do we have any left?"

Ida nodded and said, "I suppose Jack will want a cup?"

As the door swung open, Jack Bishop said, "I sure would, but you folks go ahead and finish it, I've got a bit left so I won't be drinking up what you've got."

"How's things out there?" Ida asked.

Jack shook his head, "Reports out of Albany aren't good, the police tried to put down a few disturbances and the people went nuts. Last I heard, there were a lot of dead politicians in the capital, a few dead policemen as well."

"Damn, that ain't good." Billy offered.

Jack remembered something, "Remember that Chinese lady?"

Ida asked "What about her?"

"Seems she's wanted for murdering a cop."

"No shit?" Billy said.

"Yup, no shit. What the Hell is going on back east?" Jack shook his head as he said that.

"So that's the situation Mr. Rutherford, the Chinese have been driven out of New York, they're cut off in the Twin Cities and they've pulled back into British Columbia from Washington state." Colonel Tanaka looked at the former President, knowing that he'd want to know about his home state of California.

Wilson James Rutherford, "Jim" to his friends, sighed and stood up. "I suppose California has gone completely to Hell. That asshole governor out there couldn't organize a, sorry, I almost said 'Chinese fire drill' but that seems insensitive even in these times."

"We all grew up saying stuff like that Mr. President." Admiral Fairchild offered.

"Doesn't make it right, so, Colonel, California?"

"The cities are cut off, the L.A., San Francisco, and Sacramento metro areas are running out of everything. The people out in the countryside have cut them off from all supplies. Folks are probably going to start starving when stocks run out."

"What about resupply by sea?" Rutherford asked.

"The Navy stayed loyal to the Constitution. The Marines control San Diego, they actually drove off a Mexican invasion two months ago."


"I know Sir, that was a shocker. But it wasn't the Mexican government, it was the cartels. They thought they could start throwing their weight around. The Marines, Navy, and surprisingly, the Mexican Army, cut them to pieces. Seems that most of Mexico is in chaos right now, martial law has been declared and drug gangs are fighting each other and the Army. And losing badly by the way." Fairchild responded to the President's shocked look at the news of the Mexican invasion.

"As to resupply by sea, the admiral is right. The Chinese thought they'd sail right in and take over. Most of those ships were sunk within sight of shore, what few Chinese made it ashore were butchered when they landed. The government of California might lean pretty far to the left, but most of the people don't. Sacramento's latest rulings concerning water supplies from the Central Valley to the cities pissed a lot of people off." Tanaka continued the briefing.

"What about the California National Guard?" Rutherford asked.

"Split by a third, a third, and a third. Some backed Sacramento, some backed the people, quite a few stayed home. It's a mess out there Sir."

"Where's Texas in all this?" Rutherford asked again, he had a feeling that Texas might leave the Union rather than deal with this mess.

"Texas stood by the Constitution Sir. Especially after the Mexican cartels invaded California. Some folks in Austin wanted to secede, cooler heads prevailed. There were riots, but the Texans got things under control without any outside help. They've even offered an expeditionary force to go into California." Tanaka paused as he relayed that last bit of information, "Personally, I think that's a bad idea." Tanaka finished.

Rutherford nodded, "Yup, can't have one state go charging into another. Now if the governor of Texas would agree to put his Guardsmen under Federal control?"

"They might buy that, hard to say, those Texans are a stubborn bunch." Tanaka looked at Fairchild as he said that.

The admiral grinned and said, "Yes, yes we are."

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Rebellion Gets Organized

US National Archives


Normally Colonel Tanaka would not have yelled out SFC Levine's name when he wanted to talk to him, the Army sergeant was manning the outer office while MACS Janet Sorge was getting some much-needed rest in the makeshift quarters they had set up on the floor below them. But he was waiting on a call to come in and was tired enough that he couldn't think of the right button to push to get him on the intercom, but Hell, the man was just outside!


"Yeah, I need a detail to head on over to Capitol Hill and pick up the people on this list. Assume that they won't come voluntarily." Tanaka handed the list to Levine and sat back rubbing his eyes.

SFC Levine perused the list, he recognized most of the names, most of them were pretty high up in the Congressional leadership ranks. Men and women of both of the major political parties were listed, as well as three so-called Independents. He shook his head, up until now he had not taken any direct action against the country's current political leaders, the ones who had led to him joining this coup / revolution / rebellion, whatever they were calling it.

Levine had sworn an oath, more than once in fact, in which he had sworn to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The problem he was having was that his oath also said that he would "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me."

The first part of that oath was the same as the one the officers used, the second was not¹. He was not having second thoughts, but he was a little nervous about that oath.

"What if they resist, Sir?"

"Then zip-tie their hands and drag them if you have to." Tanaka looked up and sighed, "Don't rough 'em up too much. We want them to look good for their trials when this is all over." That last bit had gotten an odd look from Levine.

SFC Levine headed out to find Gunnery Sergeant MacAllister, just the guy to call on to handle something like this. As a soldier, he found it odd that he was relying so heavily on the coup's Marine contingent. Of course, most of them joined the Corps for the adventure, most of the soldiers available to him had joined to earn money for college. Besides which, unlike the Army, every Marine was a rifleman first, then whatever specialty they had.

Ye Meihui gasped as she checked the bullet wound low on her right side. It was just a graze, but it still hurt like Hell!

She had been ordered to Albany by her control, a man named Wong who ran a Chinese restaurant in Utica. The trip had been uneventful until she had been stopped by an American police checkpoint just inside the city. She had papers identifying her as an American college student attending RPI² in Troy, just north of Albany.

They had made her step out of the car while they searched it, she had been beginning to get a bad feeling about the situation, one of the police, who appeared to be drunk, kept leering at her. The man had suggested that he should search her, his sergeant had laughed and said, "Take her over to that closed shop, you can, ya know, 'search' her there."

He had led her that way, she knew that he intended to rape her. She had known that Chinese were not all that popular at the moment, but there were many Americans of Chinese descent, as she spoke perfect English, she hadn't been worried. She hadn't factored in the attitude of some who saw all Chinese as a threat.

When they got into the small shop, the door had been broken out and the place had been looted, the policeman had said, "Head for the back lady, no funny business, if I shoot you it's just one more dead chink."

The hair stood up on the back of her neck when she heard the slur, she resolved to take drastic action, she had to continue her mission.

"That's far enough, turn around and strip." the man ordered.

As Ye turned she pulled the knife she kept hidden and slashed the cop across the abdomen. She had meant to cut his throat but she had stumbled over some trash on the floor of the shop. He gasped and reached for his pistol, he was hurt but still dangerous.

She grappled with the officer, trying to stab him in the throat with one hand while with the other she tried to keep his pistol hand under control. Her agency had trained her well in the martial arts, but the man was strong and was fighting as he knew his life was on the line.

The pistol fired, the bullet slashing her skin but not penetrating, the report of the shot seemed to startle the officer. It didn't last as she plunged her knife into his eye, where it stuck. As the blade penetrated his brain, he had collapsed instantly, dying shortly thereafter.

She looked around and saw a rear exit, which had also been smashed open. She ran for it, she regretted the loss of the car, but she could always steal another. For now she had to run, she had heard the officer's partner yelling outside.

As she ran, she regretted not taking the officer's pistol. Ah well, this was America, she was sure she would have no trouble finding another.

Gunny MacAllister had a full platoon of Marines with him when they rolled up to the Capitol. The mixed bag of Army, Navy, Air Force, and, to his surprise, one or two Coast Guardsmen, guarding the building looked on curiously as the Marines went into the building.

All of the people who had been in the building when it was seized were being held in the Rotunda, MacAllister noticed the smell immediately, the space, and the people held within it, smelled very bad.

Corporal Winston gagged as he looked around, "Jesus Gunny, it reeks in here."

"Yeah, it's not like we've been letting them go home to shower and change."

"Don't they have facilities in the building?" A young Marine named Sue Bolton asked.

"Yeah, they do Private, but it's too much of a problem to take some to wash up and use the heads, so they get buckets."

"Damn!" Bolton exclaimed.

"Yup, let's grab the people we came to get and get out of here."

An Air Force captain came over and listened as MacAllister explained his mission. "Peace of cake Sarge, we're holding these people on your list separately from the rest." Turning to an Air Force Security policeman the captain yelled out, "Hey Lobbes, go upstairs and bring the 'specials' down."

"Roger that Sir."

"Uh Captain?" MacAllister said.

"Yeah Sarge?"

"I'm a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, call me Gunny, not Sarge. You copy? Sir?"

"No problemo Gunny, I'm an Eagle driver myself, never worked with Marines before." The captain stuck his hand out, "I'm Les Pearson, Gunny, honor to work with you."

"Lou MacAllister, Sir. Once we get this shit sorted out, I hope you can go back to flying, and I can get back to training new Marines."

"Roger that Gunny."

The trip back to the Pentagon was uneventful. The Congressional leadership was rather subdued riding in the back of one of the MRAPs³. The Speaker of the House had protested loudly when told that they were being taken to the Pentagon. She had outright refused to go and had sat down on the floor with a petulant look on her face.

Private Bolton had jerked the older woman to her feet and gotten right in her face, "You're getting on this vehicle you old bitch, dead or alive. Now move that wrinkled ass before I bayonet it!"

Gunny MacAllister would talk to the young Marine later, but her method had been very effective. The elderly Congresswoman had wet herself then went meekly, as did the others when they realized that these Marines weren't screwing around.

Former President Wilson James Rutherford sat quietly in the back of the Army Humvee. He had been America's second black President and many would say, one of its best. But election irregularities had seen him voted out of office after just one term.

Rutherford was neither a Democrat nor a Republican, he actually was an honest-to-God Independent. Both politically and in his beliefs. He was a conservative on the economy and in foreign relations, but one might say a liberal about everything else. That had made him popular with the American people, popular enough to have been elected overwhelmingly when he ran against the two party hacks that the Democrats and Republicans had offered the people.

He was perhaps too popular and the two major parties resolved that one term was all he would get. Which is what caused the current crisis. The winning party had been happy with the result, the losing party had petitioned the UN to intervene. Now the country was in disarray, but from what he'd been told, the people were fighting back.

The vehicle rolled to a stop at one of the Pentagon entrances and the door was opened for him, as he stepped out he realized that an honor guard was present. There, in front of him, was a Navy four-star he recognized.

"Mr. President." Admiral Harry Fairchild saluted as Rutherford stepped out onto the curb.

"Come on Harry, I'm an ex-President, the correct form of address is Mr. Rutherford. You should know better, you're an admiral."

"Um, technically I'm a Commander now. I sort of stepped down so I could work with the Rebellion."

"The rebellion? What is this, an episode of Star Wars?"

Fairchild chuckled and said, "It's a bit more serious than that Sir. Please come with me, Colonel Tanaka would like to meet you."

"Colonel Tanaka?"

"He's the military leader of the Rebellion."

"Ah, I see. Who's your Mon Mothma?"

Fairchild stopped and looked back, "Who?"

"Never mind Harry, I guess you're not as big a fan of Star Wars as I am."

"No Sir, never really got into it. But we have captured the person I would view as Darth Vader. That character I know."

"Ah. Well lead on Admiral, er, Commander. Let's meet the players."

¹ The enlisted oath: I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
The officer oath: I ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
² Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a very good school.
³ Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected is a term for United States military light tactical vehicles produced as part of the MRAP program that are designed specifically to withstand improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes. (Source)

Friday, October 22, 2021

You Wanted BRRRRRRT!

US Air Force Photo

Well, you get BRRRRRRT!

Back tomorrow with another episode of The War.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


US Air Force Photo

SFC Levine poked his head in the door of Colonel Tanaka's office, "Sir, the Duty Officer says he has a guy on the line claiming to be the Chinese general commanding the peacekeepers in New York state."

"Does the guy speak English?" Tanaka asked.

"Negative Sir, but the duty officer actually speaks Mandarin."

"What's the duty officer's name?"

"Roy Feng, he's a Navy lieutenant commander. Line 5, Sir."

"Got it."

"So what's going on Lieutenant Commander Feng?"

"Yes Sir, I've got a guy on the line who claims to be General Liao Yong of the PLA. According to our intel, the guy commanding the Chinese units in upstate New York is a guy named Liao Yong. Not sure how we could verify that."

"What's he want?"

"He wants to surrender, they got hit by A-10s and drones yesterday, apparently caused a lot of damage."

"Why's he calling the Pentagon? Can't he surrender to the guys up there?"

"Quite frankly Sir, he said he can't make contact with anyone up there, but his aide knew the phone number here."

"Well, I'll be damned. Hang on a second." Tanaka checked his notebook and found the New York State Adjutant's phone number. Heck, the Chicoms should surrender to him, it was his state they had invaded. "Okay commander, give him this number, that's Major General Allan Jones, acting commander of the New York National Guard."

"Acting Sir, is New York's governor dead?"

"He is to us, bastard's on the other side."


"Sir, it's the Chicom bastard who invaded us, they want to surrender."

Major General Allan Jones thought for a minute, then asked, "Does the guy speak English?"

"No Sir, he's speaking through an interpreter." Major Morrison was grinning from ear to ear. His guys had been planning to attack the Chinese lodgment on Fort Drum tomorrow, after another A-10 attack. Now it looked like they wouldn't have to, which made him very happy, since this undeclared war had started, he hadn't lost any of his people. Now they might all survive.

"What did the American say?" General Liao was a very unhappy man, he had received orders from his commander up in Canada to "fight your way to us, then we shall march to the sea together and withdraw from this accursed place" were his exact words.

That way was death, he knew that, his commander knew that. He had served the Party for forty years, now they were willing to throw him and his men away. For what?

"We are to come out of the compound, leaving all weapons and equipment behind, hands behind our heads, fingers interlocked. When we have cleared the compound, all personnel are to drop to their knees." his aide explained.

"They mean to humiliate us, Comrade General!" Major Huang Bai protested, jumping to his feet.

General Liao turned to look at him, "Sit down Major, we have already humiliated ourselves. We have been defeated by common citizens and second line troops. If you would prefer to die, then you may do so at your own convenience, but I mean to take my troops home, alive."

"They will shoot you as a traitor!" Major Huang screamed.

At that point, Colonel Peng Yu drew his sidearm. As Huang reached for his own pistol, Peng shot him in the chest. With a stunned look on his face, Huang dropped to his knees, he stared at Peng and began to speak. Peng shot him again.

Sergeant Heather Jefferson had her squad ready for anything. She could see the Chinese troops massing inside the compound, so far it appeared as if they were following instructions. They appeared to be unarmed.

"Damn Sarge, that's a lot of Commies!" Corporal Bill Winston was by Jefferson's side.

"Sure is Corp, gotta be at least five hundred of the bastards. You know what to do if anything odd goes down, do the guys know their jobs?" She knew they did, but she had to ask.

"Yup, anything funny happens, light 'em up. The guys know it, in fact, they're kinda hopin' the bastards try something."

Jefferson turned to look at her assistant squad leader, "Keep 'em under control Bill, I don't want my guys opening up just because they're pissed off."

"Roger that HJ."

"I'll be damned." Colonel Tanaka said as he hung up the phone. "Seven-hundred and seventy-two prisoners, our guys have retaken Fort Drum. The Chicoms wrecked most of their equipment and we did find a couple of booby-traps in some of the offices, but nobody died, nobody got hurt. Upstate New York is back under our flag."

"Now we just need to get those assholes out of Washington and Minnesota." Admiral Harry Fairchild said from a corner of the room.

Tanaka stood up and went over to the situation map, "Is this data up-to-date?" He was pointing at the computer graphics marking up the map over the state of Washington.

"My sub commanders stayed loyal to the Constitution, every man jack of 'em, oh yeah, my two female captains as well. They report in whenever there are no Chicom satellites overhead to intercept their comms. We had no idea the f**kers could detect our transmissions from those satellites. The sonsabitches actually stole most of the tech to make those from us. We reported it to Congress but they didn't care." Fairchild said, with barely restrained anger in his voice.

"What?" Tanka said, turning in shock to the Admiral.

"Yup, bastards said it would 'upset trade negotiations.' They're stealing our stuff while we negotiate how much Chicom-made crap we're going to buy from them."

Tanaka thought for a moment. "Do you have names?"

"Names of the Congress-critters who made that decision? Sure, why?"

"Let's just say, I want to take this coup to the next level."

"Take over the government instead of just ignoring them? Fairchild asked.

"Yup. You got any better ideas?"

Fairchild sat there for quite a while, then he said, "I play golf with an ex-President, can we at least talk to him first before we move on Congress?"

"Which one?"

When Fairchild answered the question, Tanaka's eyes got very big, "You've gotta be shitting me. Him? I would think he..."

"Look the man might have leaned the wrong way politically for our tastes, but he was always a pretty strict Constitutionalist. Hey, we don't have to listen to him, but..."

Tanaka, still slightly surprised at the name Fairchild had given him, finally spoke, "Do it, it might save our asses later, if they need saving."

"Okay, I'm on it."

Tanaka watched the admiral leave the room, he'd done some crazy shit in his time in the Corps, but this had to be the craziest. Hopefully it would work. In the meantime, how do I get the Reds out of Washington and Minnesota?

Just when he thought things might get less complicated...

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Day of the Hog

US Air Force Photo

"I'm not buying it, it just seems too pat. I mean we've got the bastards on the run and suddenly agents from Taiwan show up? It stinks to high heaven." Ida Kasparian said to her husband as they walked out to the tool shed behind the house. Yesterday's Chinese visitor had been picked up a few hours after their arrival by a civilian helicopter. Jack Bishop and Frank Teller had stayed overnight and were still asleep after a long day.

Billy stopped walking and turned to Ida, "I never thought of that, I was just happy to think that we weren't alone out here. But yeah, what you say makes sense. I wonder where that Ye person was going next. Damn it!"

"Calm down Billy, Ye is legit. Right Jack?" Frank Teller had seen the woman's identification papers, they were real, or the best forgeries he had ever seen.

Jack Bishop sat on his cot, he looked terrible. He hadn't slept much in the past week. He wanted the Chinese woman to be legit, Hell, he needed her to be the real deal. But Ida had a point, did they believe her because they wanted to? A plant from the Chicoms wouldn't really be a stretch. The debit cards they'd received, it struck him, how the Hell were they supposed to use those? What was there to buy in this area that they needed those sort of funds for?

"We need to run some checks on this lady, Ida's right, this is just too convenient."

The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper was loaded with two Hellfire missiles. It could carry four, but the Guard didn't have that many to go around. With two other drones airborne, both loaded with two missiles each, they wanted to keep the remainder of their missiles in reserve. All the intel they had received indicated that the Chinese wouldn't, in fact couldn't, reinforce their remaining units in New York. The Canadian forces were in open revolt against their government and were hounding the Chinese forces in Canada to death.

1st Lieutenant Marcia Hopkins was watching her screen intently, she moved the drone with deft, subtle movements on the controls. She had been selected to fly fighters in training, then the government decided that it had enough F-16 pilots, so she went to fly drones. Yes, she hadn't liked that at all, but like her Dad always said, "Don't get what you want in the Air Force? Keep fighting, don't let the bastards get you down." He, and his backseater, had died when she was still in high school when an engine died on takeoff in his fully loaded F-15 Strike Eagle.

"Hey Charlie, are you seeing this?"

Her intel analyst took a closer look at the screen, "Looks like a PGZ-04, late model from the looks of it. Just the one?" MSgt Kirk Bellows wondered what a UN peacekeeper force would need with antiaircraft weaponry. No doubt that vehicle had been smuggled into the country. So the odds were, there might not be many more.

"Yup, I didn't see any others. Great vis today, it doesn't look like the Chicoms are exercising really good camouflage discipline. Which seems suspicious all by itself."

"We're maybe seeing what they want us to see?"

Hopkins thought for a minute, then said, "F**k it, I'm gonna kill it."

The commander had wanted their vehicle moved closer to where the base's ammunition was stored, he was worried when reports had come in of American ground attack aircraft being reported at one of the American air guard facilities. With their logistics line to Canada having been cut, the commander was losing sleep over his ammunition and fuel reserves.

"Have you found the problem?" the sergeant was getting impatient with the driver. The vehicle had stalled when they were moving it from its original camouflaged position over to the ammunition dump. The driver had crawled into the engine compartment to figure out why.

"Ah ha, loose cable!" The driver connected it and climbed back into the driver's seat and cranked the engine, which started right up. As he poked his head up to tell the sergeant that the vehicle was ready to proceed, he noticed that the sergeant was running towards the nearest cover. Looking up, in the last moments of his life, the driver saw the exhaust from an American AGM-114 Hellfire missile.

The men going about their duties on the Chinese base, which the Americans called Fort Drum, heard the explosion and wondered what was happening. They had been ordered to prepare for both of two possible courses of action. They were to prepare defensive positions against a ground attack and to prepare to be ready to withdraw back to Canada at a moment's notice.

A number of the units had drawn their reserve ammunition and fuel to be ready for either eventuality. The one thing they weren't prepared for was an attack from the air. One man had seen one of the American drones up above because he had happened to be looking in just the right direction when the drone had fired a missile.

Word spread quickly around the base that they were being attacked by drones. As the men hunkered down, and stayed clear of any worthwhile targets, like anti-aircraft positions, of which there had been three, all of which been taken out by the drone-fired missiles, above the sound of explosions a few men heard an odd droning noise.

"There do you hear that, it sounds like a turbofan engine, doesn't it?" Corporal Wu listened and sure enough, he could hear it. As the noise of missile explosions faded, to be replaced by the sound of flames and secondary explosions, the sound of what had to be aircraft engines became more obvious.

"Anti-air positions! Incoming hostile aircraft!!" Wu screamed at his squad.

Major Josh Topher lined up on his target, all he had other than his cannon ammunition were four old AGM-65 Maverick missiles. On his display was what had to be a munitions dump.

"Boozer, I'm on an ammo dump, watch my six."

Captain John Walker replied, "Two." Then watched as his lead launched his missile. Expecting a streak of flame as the missile was pushed away from the rack, he sighed as it simply fell to earth, the rocket motor had failed to ignite.

"Camel, negative ignition on your Maverick."

"Copy, firing another."

This time the forty year old missile actually worked.

Captain Luo Shuren saw the two aircraft on their run, he saw something fall away from the lead aircraft, then saw the streak of fire as the aircraft launched a missile.

His duty station was in the ammunition storage area. Much of which had been pulled into the open for issuing to the troops. He realized in an instant that the missile seemed to be heading directly at him.

Luo, a secret Christian, began to pray in the last few seconds of life left to him, he prayed for forgiveness.

General Liao Yong knew that the People's Liberation Army's North American Expeditionary Force's time in America was coming to an end, at least in New York state. "Contact the Americans." he ordered his adjutant.

"Which Americans? The puppet government in Albany? The government in Washington, who are apparently being held captive by their military? Who do I contact, Sir?" Colonel Peng Yu wanted to know, he genuinely had no idea who to contact to open negotiations.

"Contact their military headquarters in Washington, the Pentagon. The duty officer there will know who we need to talk to." General Liao wondered if he would live to see his homeland. If the Americans didn't kill him, surely his own government would.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Without Consent

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay. Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 United States Constitution

They met in one of the committee rooms of the Capitol, away from the prying eyes of other members of Congress. Two men and three women, all had held unprecedented power until the past few days had left them staring into the abyss.

"Has this been confirmed?" the Speaker of the House asked in a shrill tone.

"Madam Speaker, this just came in a little over three hours ago. You know how difficult it is to get messages in and out since the military closed off access to the building. We are getting meals and the like delivered, and our sympathizers are helping with that, but full blown intelligence reports and up-to-the-minute news reports are nearly impossible. We get tidbits of what's going on in the outside world, that's it."

The Speaker looked down at the floor, she had to be aware that things were changing, but she still seemed to be in denial. Without rich donors, she and her ilk could lose their power over the rest of Congress.

The Marine staff sergeant looked at the pizza delivery man, who had been a defense contractor working out of Dahlgren until Congress had decided that his job should be outsourced to a company in India. "So they sick of pizza yet?"

The ex-contractor grinned, "Well, a couple of 'em were bitching about why they were only getting cheese pizza. I told 'em that their supporters were kinda cheap about supporting free pizza for them when they've been having trouble paying their own bills lately."

The staff sergeant grinned and said, "I wonder if we should tell 'em about the latest polls showing that the head of the Chinese Communist Party has a higher approval rating than Congress right now."

"Seriously?" the contractor asked.

"Well, he did order their peacekeepers pulled out of the country. That's something."


Billy and Ida Kasparian were outside making repairs to their house and the various outbuildings they had on their little patch of heaven, as Ida called it. Billy stopped what he was doing then looked over at Ida, "Do you hear that?"

"Hear what... Oh, it's a helicopter..." as she said that she looked up to see an Army helicopter fly over, then turn and come back towards their property. "Are they going to..."

"Land here? Sure looks like it."

As they watched, the helicopter flared then settled down about fifty yards away from the house. Three people disembarked, one of them turned and waved to the pilot, then the helicopter lifted off and headed towards town.

As the people got closer, the Kasparians recognized the two men, but not the woman. Billy's eyebrows lifted in surprise as he realized that the woman was Chinese. Jack Bishop was one of the men, Frank Teller was the other.

Billy nodded and said, "Jack, Frank, ma'am. What's up? Gotta be important if it justifies using an Army chopper to bring you out here."

Jack spoke, "Billy, Ida, this here is Ye Meihui, sorry ma'am, did I pronounce that right?

"Close enough Mr. Bishop." the woman stepped forward to shake hands with Billy and Ida. "I suppose that seeing a Chinese person is perhaps not a good thing in these times."

Billy spoke first, "Well, Ma'am, seeing someone not from around here was pretty rare, up until a couple of months ago. What do you do?"

"Ah, perhaps a better question would be, which China am I from?"

"Yes, Ma'am, that's good for starters." Ida said.

SSgt Craig Sager knocked on the door of the shack Major Morrison was using for his personal quarters. The man was trying to catch up on much needed sleep and Sager hated to bother him, but for this, he knew the major would want to be bothered.

"Okay, okay, I'm up." the door opened to reveal a very disheveled Army officer. "Damn it Craig, what the Hell..." he stopped talking as soon as he saw who was behind his sergeant. "Holy shit, General Jones! Er, sorry Sir, but what brings you way the Hell out here?"

Major General Allan Jones, until recently the Adjutant General of the New York National Guard, smiled and said, "Well, the Chicoms chased me out of Albany, so I headed west, seems that some of our boys have been chasing Chicoms with some success out here in the boondocks."

"Let me throw my uniform on, we can go over to the TOC¹ and I'll brief you on what's happening."

"Wow, you guys went old school," the general commented as he looked at the various maps of the region tacked up on the walls of the enclosure. Most of them with plastic overlays upon which grease-pencil markings had been applied showing the tactical situation.

"Well, when you have no network to connect to, or in our case don't have the latest access codes, then it's back to the 20th Century. Hell, Sarn't Sager here even dug up an old manual typewriter for written reports."

"So what is the situation? I've been on the run for over a month now and I'm kinda out of touch." General Jones leaned in and looked at one of the maps.

Major Morrison briefed the general on the current state of affairs, he knew the general had questions about the map with the annotation of "eliminated" next to a red flag marker. General Jones had a broad smile on his face at the end of the briefing.

"So the Chicoms are on the run?" he asked.

"Well, most of 'em," Morrison leaned forward and tapped on a position marked in red, right on top of Fort Drum, "suckers are holed up here, no air support but they're in strength. We don't have enough ammo remaining, nor the numbers, to hit 'em ourselves. But we had a courier come in this morning. We might be getting some help out of Hancock Field."

Jones nodded, then asked "Air Guard drones?"

"Drones and Warthogs General. A-10s, four of 'em. I sent one of my company commanders to liaison with the zoomies. Plan is to hit the sumbitches in three days. After we clear Camp Drum, we're going to drive the bastards into the open and kill the ones in Albany as well. Then the state north of Poughkeepsie will be clear of those Chicom bastards."

"Excellent, what's going on in the rest of the country, do you know?" the last thing Jones had heard was that a coup was in progress in DC, which he related to the major.

"We haven't heard anything in weeks from outside our little AO². Maybe the zoomies can tell us, they do get out more, so to speak."

"Let's hope."

"So Miss Ye, is it miss, or..." Billy began the questioning.

"It is Miss, I am too busy to start a family just yet. I think I know your question, I am here from the Republic of China, what your government insists on calling, 'Chinese Taipei.' My government has dispatched a number of representatives to the United States to work with the organizations currently fighting the illegal regime in Beijing. I am the representative for New York. Do you have any questions for me?" the young woman paused.

"No ma'am, seems pretty straightforward, but what can you do for us?" Billy asked.

"And what's it going to cost?" Ida continued.

With that question Miss Ye reached into her briefcase and withdrew a thick document which she handed to Billy, "This details what my government is prepared to offer your resistance movement. As to what it will cost you? Nothing, Sir. We have a mutual enemy, one that has threatened the peace of the world for far too long."

"While there is no tangible help we can offer right now, substantial funds have been deposited in various bank accounts removed from your government's scrutiny. There is a set of debit cards inside that document which can be used for anything you might need to resist the criminals from Beijing."

"Where'd your government get all this money?" Sheriff Frank Teller asked. He had been wondering how a government so far away, and from a pretty small country, was going to help them. Could they afford such largesse?

Miss Ye smiled and said, "A certain Mr. Cancelli, from Seattle, decided to cooperate with us after we showed him the error of his ways."

"Cancelli, the big computer tycoon?" Billy asked.

"The very same." Ye answered.

"When did he get so patriotic? I thought he was some kind of globalist?" Jack Bishop had to ask.

"Ah yes, well, as a character in one of your better motion pictures might put it, we made him an offer he couldn't refuse." Ye smiled as she said that.

In that moment, Billy Kasparian actually felt sorry for Will Cancelli.

¹ Tactical Operations Center, a command post, in this case it was two Humvees connected by a canvas tarp. A fairly minimal set-up, but in tough times, you go with whatever you have at hand.
² Area of Operations.