|Anatomy of a Rebellion
Author: J.Kuzzey PM
With the world on the brink of a full scale war, a young Army officer tries to take control of the country.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Chapters: 87 - Words: 282,058 - Reviews: 85 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 02-16-11 - id: 2891762
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Part V: Percy's War
Chapter LIX: 0200hours
Two in the god damn morning, William thought as he checked his watch. He was still at work and he was exhausted. Shadows had formed under his eyes and his body was shaking because of the lack of energy. He was miserable. He thought about how he should have been at a bar in downtown, enjoying a glass of whiskey, while using his charm and family name to woo some pretty lady. That wasn't really part of his personality, though. He said to himself, "I'm a good Catholic. I wouldn't do something so stupid." Although with the amount of stress that had suddenly been thrown onto him, he could at least use the whiskey.
He found himself outside a door he had never stood in front of in a building he had probably never been in. Only half awake, he was lead there by a man in uniform and paid no attention to where exactly they were going. He just knew that General Ellis had called for him; by why in the hell did General Ellis need him at two in the morning? He checked his watch again. He misread it; it was actually almost four in the morning. Then he overheard the term, "martial law," and a zap of energy entered his mind. He looked down at the papers – real papers, not an electronic pad – and saw that Cross had scribbled out a warning hours ago. "They've done it," his hand writing said. "The government okayed a state of emergency."
Then the door was opened for him and he stepped inside, an authoritative air about him. William's job was to represent the government; he had to believe in the government's case, believe they were innocent or right at every move they made. However, he was a guardian of law before he was a lawyer. The government could not participate in hypocrisy. If it were brought to the courts, there was simply no way that the government would win. Unless the courts are corrupt, bought off by politicians and men like my dad, William thought as he finally stood in front of General Ellis.
This was the first time the two men met each other. Ellis was an older man, his face adorned with wrinkles from old age and the stress of war. His lack of youth made him appear fragile to William. On the other hand, Ellis viewed William as a wannabe, a punk, a young and ignorant man whose pretense of knowledge would be his own demise. With these negative feelings already between them, they stopped and observed each other in a moment of silence. It was broken by William who asked, "What do you need, General? I'm sure the Attorney General would be more valuable to you at this moment."
"The Attorney General doesn't have a brother calling for revolution over public airwaves," Ellis said. William frowned; he had not heard about his brother's antics. "I need you to bring him here. Now."
"With all due respect, General, my brother – whatever he said – was merely practicing the First Amendment," William argued. "The actions of an individual are the responsibility of that individual, regardless of what motivated them. If Francis's words do indeed cause revolution, it would be because the public already willed it so."
General Ellis glared at William. "You're an arrogant fuck, aren't you?" he asked. It took William off guard, but somehow he kept his face straight. "You think because your daddy has a little bit of cash you can come in here and speak to the Commander-in-Chief that way?"
"I'm sorry, but the Commander-in-Chief is a title that has no authority over me," William said. He could see Ellis twitch. "You are the leader of the military, not the citizens."
"Apparently you haven't heard, Mr. Attaway. Martial law is in place. I have authority over everything," Ellis boasted.
"I'm afraid that's an incorrect statement, General," William said. "You have authority over those who allow it. I do not allow you to have authority over me."
"I'm going to crush you, kid."
"You're mistaken again, General. I'm going to crush you. You're nothing, and you know you're nothing. You're just scared of families like mine, because we're the ones that pushed you down again and again. Right? You're just a blue-collar nobody that happens to be pretty good at killing people so you wiggled your way to a position of power. Now you're going to bleed that position dry before it even settles into place."
Ellis remained perfectly still and said not a word. His fingers tapped against his desk in quick succession before they stopped again. Then, to William's surprise, he said, "Major Raymond has begun attacking American bases. Not that I have proof, but with bases near Union falling within moments of each other, I have no choice but to believe it's him. You visited there not long ago and compiled some information, correct?"
"Yes," William nodded. "I and my intern, Mr. Cross, have a detailed report on the Union base."
"Do you have someone on the inside?"
William thought for a moment before he answered, "Something like that."
"Give me the report," Ellis commanded. "I'm sure you'll sit on it like you did with General Trotter's investigation. Looks at where that ended up? You should have acted on it."
"Profiling is illegal, General," William smiled. "If you'll excuse me, I have to be going. I need to be ready for Sunday Mass in the morning."
William let himself out. He stepped out of the General's office and carefully closed the door behind him. To his surprise he had a visitor; standing in front of the office, haphazardly dressed, was Senator Hughes. Ethan looked out of breath, as though he has run all the way from Michigan to Washington D.C. in the middle of the night. William motioned for the Senator to follow him; Ethan did so without hesitation. The two men traveled through the halls side by side, an odd sight to be seen at four in the morning.
Ethan was the first to speak. He said, "I take a break from work for a few months and the entire government's gone to hell."
"It was a shock to me. We needed you," William said. "Only you could have convinced them this wasn't the way to go."
"You're going to fight this, aren't you, General?" Ethan asked.
William stopped and Ethan did the same. He stared at the Senator and said, "I'm sorry, Senator. I can't. I think your fiancée is doing that for us. Have a good night, Senator."
Then William left a very confused Ethan all alone. The Senator reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. He hadn't talked with Mackenzie much in the past few weeks. He was busy preparing to return to Washington and she had worked odd hours that made it difficult to know when to call. He stared at his phone and wondered which he should call, her home or her work? In the end, he dialed neither number. The phone was returned to his pocket and he hurried to get back to work. It was time to fight the government from the inside.
It was a good thing he hadn't called Mackenzie. She had just returned to Union from Plattsmouth. Work had started at six in the morning and she desperately wanted to sleep, but since her entire day had been wasted at Plattsmouth, she hadn't completed any of her workload. It was easily going to be a twenty-four hour plus workday. Percy had called her into his office the moment she returned; it was unlike Percy to still be awake at such an hour. When she arrived at his office, she found Goldwin nearly asleep in a chair and Percy leaning against his desk.
Before she had a chance to even say hello, Percy began to tell her the events of that day; from when Wallace slipped into the river up to the moment Ellsworth was captured. Her reaction was a very flat, "You went to war with the United States because the Warrant Officer fell into a river?" He opened his mouth to protest but she had more to say. "Why didn't you inform me of this earlier? Has he been found?"
"He's fine," Percy told her. "I just heard an EMT pulled him out of the river a few miles south of here. He did a good job keeping his head above water but he was unconscious when they found him. He'll be fine." Percy looked stressed just speaking of it, but Mackenzie assumed he was just as tired as she was. Although it was possible Percy didn't believe it was really Wallace they saved; he had a tendency to only believe what he saw for himself. "Anyway, I'll probably put you in charge of Offutt, as we will absorb it into Union once we finish smoothing out a few details."
"Of course, Major," she answered mechanically.
He watched her face for any signs of concern or anger about his decisions, but there was nothing. She was, in the end, completely loyal to him regardless of what happened. "Well then," he said to her, "you're dismissed. Finish up the paperwork on Plattsmouth and you can go home. I expect you here at eight tomorrow."
She saluted and sharply left his office. Exhausted, she refused to make the trip to her own space and instead found a seat at one of the squad leader's desk. Not a single muscle of her moved as she attempted to relax. Goldwin and Percy both left; they provided her with a mandatory, "Goodnight," and wave. It took a lot of effort for her to respond. After sitting for a few minutes, she finally turned on her electronic pad and began to flip mindlessly through all the reports awaiting her. She wondered, If we're at war with America, do I still have to do paperwork for America?
A loud commotion from down the hall caused her to lookup. The three Sea Dogs pilots had just arrived back; they stopped at the entrance of the office space. "I'm going to grab some coffee," Wilson announced. "You guys want anything?"
"Yeah, grab me a doughnut if there's still anything from earlier," Conroy said. "I'm fucking starving! My fatass is going to wither away if I don't eat soon."
"You'll probably spit in my coffee, so I'll go with you," Rawlings said.
A few more jokes were passed between Wilson and Rawlings as they disappeared down another hallway toward the coffee and doughnuts. This left Conroy to himself. He didn't greet Mackenzie at all; he just threw his helmet down on a desk and took a seat near her. He leaned back and propped his feet up. An entire minute passed before anyone said a word. It was Conroy, who observed, "You look like you've got a lot on your mind."
She didn't stop her work. She answered, "I was thinking I should call my fiancé. He's probably having a fit."
"Something tells me it's more than that," Conroy said. She stopped her work that time. For the first time ever, she inspected Conroy. He was about a decade older than her, and it showed itself in his eyes more than anywhere. They seemed to hold a lot of wisdom, but they showed clearly that he was tired; not just of the day's work, but of his life's work. He smiled at her; it was a big, cheeky smile that spread across his entire face and forced his eyes almost completely closed. It was a boy's smile, not a man's. Despite his age, despite his experiences, he was still a boy on the inside. He wanted nothing more than simple things, and his heart yearned for nothing more than peace. A peace not necessarily political but real, something that he could personally feel for himself. He was a selfish guy, after all.
She thought about her words carefully. "What do you fight for?" she asked. "Is it easy for you to fight the United States?"
Immediately he answered, "I fight for my guys. I want Johnnie and Rashaun to live an easy life with their families. I fight for their families. Their wives are my sisters and their kids are like my own. We're brothers, me and them. The same for my mechanics. I would die for them. I would die so that they could be free. We were betrayed by the United States. You don't really think that three pilots is a full squadron, do you? I regret that I lost so many friends at Corpus Christi. Besides, what do I have left if I don't fight? I'm a bachelor, and an old one at that. It'll be alright if I bear the burden so boys like Joshua can be free to follow their dreams."
"But aren't boys like Joshua caught up in the fight?" she inquired.
"Is it any different? Does it matter if you're caught up in a war, or if you live in a terrible place? It's the same thing, right? That's the way the people of Taipei viewed it. That's the way I view it."
"I guess it's a little different for me," she said. "I'm worried about the future. My fiancé is a Senator, and for the first time I thought about whether or not we could be happy together if we were on different sides of the same conflict."
"Then why are you here now?" Conroy asked.
"I don't know," she answered. "Because men like the Major are more rare than men like my fiancé, I guess. When history is about to change, which side is it best to be on?"
"The side that wins," a newcomer answered. It was Rawlings; he balanced three cups of coffee and two doughnuts. He carefully set a warm cup near Mackenzie and gave her a pastry as well. "Here, it's fresh. You looked tired and hungry, so I thought it might do you some good. You're soaked, too. You need to warm up."
She thanked him and picked the cup up to her lips. Carefully she sipped on it; it was brewed perfectly and was at just the right temperature. Conroy took a cup from Rawlings and asked, "Where's Rashaun?"
"He fell asleep," Rawlings answered. He took a seat near the duo and asked, "I didn't interrupt anything, did I?"
"No," Conroy answered for the both of them. "She was just asking why I fought against America. What about you, Johnnie?"
His answer was delayed by the gulp of coffee of took. "I want my children to be free," he said honestly. "I want Joshua to have the chance to get a good education and I want my daughter to be able to make her own life choices. If my wife and I have more kids, I'd like them to know what life is like without civil strife or war. I want another peaceful era."
"What does your wife think of this?" Mackenzie asked.
Rawlings shrugged, "I never asked her. In hindsight, that was rude of me. But with love, marriage, and a family comes a mutual understanding. She knows I became a pilot to protect certain things, and a government was not one of them."
"You're chatty again," Conroy teased. "I thought you'd lost your voice during that run."
"I'm keeping the conversation civilized. God knows what kind of garbage would come out of your mouth around a woman," Rawlings said.
Mackenzie let out a very faint and short laugh before she said, "Thank you both for the conversation."
"It's not over yet," Conroy interrupted. "Not until you know what it is you're doing here."
She pondered it for a moment. "We're not so different, Commander," she said. "I'm just protecting my boys. When you've been to hell and back with a group like this, it's hard to turn your back on them or abandon them. I don't care much for philosophical debates about liberty and justice. I care about what I can hold for myself. I'm sure Ethan understands this."
Then the quiet returned. The only noise any of them made was the sips of their coffee and the munch of their doughnuts. Abruptly, Conroy reached over and grabbed Mackenzie's shoulder. He squeezed it gently and said, "It's going to be alright. Everything works itself out."
That cheeky smile returned and this time, Mackenzie smiled back. Something about the way he said it forced to her believe it was true.