|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 LX: Free States
A terrible headache was the first thing Warren felt when he opened his eyes. It was still dark; he tried to focus his vision but failed. He could clearly make out the silhouette of his wife as she sat in a chair next to him. He groggily gazed around and realized that he was in his room. At the sight of him moving, Lindsey leaned over and gave him a kiss on his forehead. He smiled at her. She said, "I'm glad to see you're awake. I was worried."
"I love you," was the first thing his parched lips said. Then he asked, "What time is it?"
"It's five, sweetie," she said. "Don't worry about service today; Gregory will take care of it."
"God bless him."
"Warren," Lindsey said. It was a strained noise, a desperate little quip that managed to sneak its way out of her throat. He knew something was wrong, but was patient enough to not ask because he knew she would tell him eventually. So he just offered her a smile. It was returned; she grabbed his hand and then whispered, "Honey, Royal's been hurt." He did not react. He could not react because he needed to anchor his wife. He almost laughed; she had always been the anchor.
"He's been shot in the head," she informed him. That took the air right out of his lungs and he could feel his heart stop. "He's alert, but the doctor wants to keep him under observation."
"When did this happen?"
She didn't answer him. By now she was well aware that their country was in the first steps of a civil war. She didn't have the heart to tell her husband that it was because Royal was killing other Americas; she couldn't say that their son was fighting against their country. Instead, she turned to the nightstand where a package rested. She picked it up, eyed it for a moment, and then handed it to him. She said, "This was left on our porch. I think it's for you."
He sat up when he accepted it. Slowly, he reached his hand inside the corner that had been opened by his wife. He grabbed fabric. Carefully he pulled out the garment that rested inside. Under the natural light of the moon he could see the golden thread that lined the pockets and collar of the black shirt. The material was almost silk like in its texture, and as he ran his thumb over it he caught a metal pin. It was a Chaplain's cross. Wordlessly he gazed at the reflection of the moon's light as it bounced off of the cross. He knew what this was and he knew what it meant.
He ignored it. The shirt was shoved back inside the package. He asked his wife, "Has there been any word on Wallace?"
"I haven't heard anything," she told him honestly.
It took Warren a second to speak. He had to swallow for some reason unknown to him. He said, "We should go see our son."
They did just that. Together Warren and Lindsey made a slow trek across Union to the unfinished medical facility inside Percy's base. The rain had quit hours ago, but the roads were still soaked. Clouds had parted and the sky was visible; the couple might have commented on how beautiful the sky was on any other day. They arrived at the facility and were greeted immediately by the Company Surgeon, Jack. He knew right away that they were there to visit Royal. The journey down the dead hallways was not quiet, as Jack had to tell Warren all about the incident in Lincoln many months ago. He told him, "Your son is a good man, sir."
He left them once they spotted Evelyn. The girl broke down at the sight of Warren and Lindsey; she started to cry and the majority of her words were incomprehensible. Lindsey embraced her. Warren peaked inside the room Evelyn waited outside of. His eyes caught the sight of a drenched and dirtied Wallace seated in a chair near Royal. Warren stepped inside the room and greeted, "You're not dead, are you?"
"I don't think so. Unless you are, too," Wallace answered. It wasn't a joke. Both of them casted their eyes to Royal; the young man was asleep. His face had been cleaned up and the side of his head where he had been shot was shaved. "Jack said that fragments from his helmet and maybe the bullet were inside his head. The idiots on the field stitched it up without looking. But, he'll be alright. When Jack says someone will be alright, they'll be alright." Wallace stopped long enough to swallow. He let out an awkward, pitiful laugh then said, "I heard he'd been shot in the head, so I panicked. I thought he was going to die. But he's too tough. He just can't die."
Warren watched as his friend turned away for a moment. It upset Warren; he felt as though Wallace held more love for Royal than he did. He had to convince himself that it was impossible. No one loved Royal more than himself. He would die for his son. Just because he didn't shed tears didn't mean he wasn't worried. He could only say, "I hope there are no more tears for my family. I hope this war isn't real."
"I know," Wallace said. "When I was out – man, I was really out in that river, I should have died – I dreamt of my future. I dreamt of what it meant to be a father. It kept me alive, I'm convinced. I should have died. But I couldn't leave Adela and my child. My child… weird. I never wanted to be a dad before but it's what kept me alive. I'm more ready to fight than ever. I should've have died, but I didn't for a reason."
Warren was a bit surprised at the amount of time Wallace's felt the need to say, "I should have died." It was unlike him to be unsure of his life. But that concern was washed away when he noticed his son finally moving. He was at Royal's side in an instant. The younger man blinked his eyes open, and the first thing he saw after fallen unconscious was his dad's smiling face. He said, "Shit, I've died, haven't I?"
Warren frowned, "You think I'm in Heaven?"
"No," was all Royal said. Then he stared up at his father and said, "Dad? I – I want to get married. Will you marry me?"
"I think you meant to ask that to your girlfriend, Roy."
"No, I meant. Will you marry me and Evelyn?"
Warren smiled at his naïve son. "Have you asked her yet?"
He blushed, "No."
"Ask me again after you've asked her, okay?" he said. Royal nodded. Warren's smile grew; he gave Royal a pat on his shoulder and said, "Take it easy, son. I have something to take care of, but I'll be back soon. I love you."
He didn't wait for Royal to answer. With a hurried pace he pushed past Lindsey and Evelyn without a single word. His destination was Percy's office. None of the soldiers bothered him; by this point in time, everyone was well aware who Warren was and his friendship with both the Major and the Warrant Officer. With ease he entered the office building and pressed forward toward Percy. Rudely he barged into the squad leaders' office, which was occupied by most of Percy's staff, as well as the Major himself.
They were going over various scenarios when Warren entered. He ignored the stares sent his way when he arrived. He looked directly at Percy, ripped open the package and held up the uniform that was inside. He asked, "What is this?"
Percy titled his head and said, "Probably a uniform."
"Don't joke," Warren said. "You sent this to my wife, didn't you?"
"No," Percy said. It was clear he was being honest.
"Find out who thought this was funny and tell them I don't want it."
"Did you even try it on?" Percy asked.
Warren stopped. "No," he said. Awkward silence hit; an embarrassed Warren realized all eyes were on him. They were waiting to see him try on the uniform. He took off his jacket and tucked in his undershirt. The black uniform top slipped on effortlessly. A wave of nostalgia rushed over him as he recalled the hundreds of time he put a soldier's uniform on when he was enlisted. Each button was clasped shut in succession, all the way up to his chin. It was snug but comfortable.
"Looks good," McGill commented.
The others voiced their agreement. Barton said, "Sit down, Chaplain. We'd appreciate your input."
He took a seat next to Conroy. The pilot looked over and eyed him curiously. Once the Minister made eye contact with him, the pilot smiled. "So we've already decided that we're not concerned about a government at this point," Mackenzie said. She looked near-death thanks to getting a wink of sleep. "We'll worry about that after we've eliminated the American threat. But that doesn't change the fact that we need supplies. We'll still need food and money to stay alive."
"I'll take care of that for you," a voice from the entrance said. It was Freddie. He spotted Warren and said, "That uniform looks good on you." At that moment, Warren knew exactly where it had come from. Freddie continued, "Tell me what you need, and I'll get it for you."
"Why should we trust you?" someone asked.
"Because I've gotten you this far, haven't I?" he said. There was no protest. "You forget the entire fortune of England's royal family is solely mine. You also forget that I am good friends with Prince Brunhart. Leave the planning of a government to me and my allies. Just focus on keeping Ellis and the rest of America away from here."
Warren awaited Percy's response. Surely, he would not accept Freddie's proposal. Percy said nothing but he did nod to signal his approval. Warren almost groaned in response. Conroy prevented him from doing so, as he asked, "So, what are we going to call ourselves? If we want people to rally with us, we should have a name and a goal, right?"
"Well," Barton thought aloud. He bandage on his chest poked out his uniform a tad. "We'd like others to join us. Like a federation?"
"Yeah, a federation of free states," Wakeman agreed.
"There ya go," Conroy said. "We're the Federation of Free States. If a bunch of jacks and pounders make it their business to fight America it looks like we're all power hungry cocks attempting a coup d'état. No one wants to support an army. We need a civilian to represent us."
Jordan was situated in the back of the room and had been ignored up to that point. However, he soon found everyone's eyes on him. He could only blink back in confusion. Then he realized it was the group's way of nominating him. "Me? No, no! I'm way too shy!"
"Then what was that speech you did last night?" Wakeman asked. "It seemed almost prepared, man. Like you were waiting for this moment."
Before Jordan could respond, his cellphone rang. He answered it; the rest of the room remained silent as they listened in. A few basic phrases were uttered but nothing revealing or significant. Then he hung up and said, "Someone should turn on the TV." Mackenzie did as Jordan asked. Everyone focused on the news as the reporters spoke about riots for probably the hundredth time since the Easy Eight had been home. It was old news. This time, however, the riots were bigger than ever before. The anarchists were out in full swing, with support from average Americans fed up over declaration if a state of emergency.
One of the cities being hit hard was Pittsburgh. Percy seemed uninterested in the news, so Barton made sure to point it out. "Hey, isn't that Pittsburgh? Looks like the place is burning down."
"I haven't been there since my sister died," Percy commented. "It looks different." They wanted to say that of course it looks different; it probably wasn't burning to the ground last time you were there. They watched the screen for just a tad longer. Percy was the first to stop. He said, "Well, that's old news. We should focus on where to strike next. The closest and most dangerous installations are Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth. Riley has almost double the population of Leavenworth, so we should strike there first and we need all troops available."
The group stared blankly at the Major. The town where his parents lived was under attack by anarchists and he didn't even bat an eyelash. It was back to work immediately for him. Conroy stood and said, "Well, I reckon that means its work time for me and the boys."
"My men need a day's rest, Commander," Percy informed him. "Run a continuous bombing run for at least sixteen hours, if you can."
Conroy grinned, "I sure can. Figure we got enough supplies between Offutt and Ellsworth to last that long at least. By the time your men are ready to go, Major, we'll have leveled Riley."
They watched the pilot leave; the Sea Dogs had a lot of work ahead of them. Somehow, the transportation of supplies from the captured Ellsworth hadn't turned into a logistical nightmare, but they were running out of time. There was more planning for everyone else, too. Wakeman said, "We can't keep Ellsworth, per say, because our supply lines would be way too long. We should focus on ensuring all useable supplies from there are at Offutt or Union before dinnertime."
"I agree," Percy nodded. "If we add more troops, Leavenworth and Riley should be valuable additions. But my main concern is getting rid of any threats. Procuring supplies for soldiers is one thing, getting supplies for the Sea Dogs is another. But we need them to help us win. We just can't fight a war without any air power."
"What's the exact plan for Riley and Leavenworth?" McGill asked.
"Bomb the shit out of them. Hopefully they surrender before we kill them all. If they haven't surrendered by midnight, we'll attack on the ground," he said. "Our success depends entirely on only three factors: How well the Sea Dogs perform, how loyal the American troops are, and how hard Ellis tries to counterattack. I am confident in the Sea Dogs. The other two are the unknown factors."
"What is the end goal, Percy?" Warren asked. It was the first time he had spoken, so everyone focused.
Mackenzie answered for him, "To end the – "
Warren interrupted her, "I'm sorry, Miss Ross, I asked Percy."
It offended Percy that Warren acted rudely to his adjutant, so he waited to answer. When he finally did, it was too the point, "The end goal? To form our own country. Do you have a problem with that?"
Warren smiled, "No, I really don't. I only have one question, and it's subject shouldn't surprise you. What place will religion have in your new country?"
"It won't have a place in my country, Warren," he decided. "My government will not use religion as a source of inspiration or fear. But it will not ever impose laws that dictate whether its people may or may not practice religion. The people of my country will have the right to choose."
"The right to choose?" Warren repeated. "That is the greatest right we are born with."
"You also have the right to choose, you know, Chaplain?" Barton said. "The right to choose whether you want to be a part of our country or not."
"I am a man of God," Warren told them. "What country I belong to is determined by borders and law; it is dictated by the acts of men. It is irrelevant to me. Regardless of what happens, I will always be here in Union, and I will always be practicing in my church."
"Imagine him as an adviser to the Major?" Wakeman said. "Between him and Mackenzie, Percy might not be such an ass all the time."
There was laughter, even from Percy. Yet the statement wasn't taken completely as a joke. Everyone in that room silently agreed that Warren would be a valuable and welcomed addition to their team. It had little to do with religion and everything to do with respect and character. Whether or not Warren would truly wear that black uniform had yet to be determined.