|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 LXVI: A Calm Wind
Royal was at ease, despite the events that had taken place earlier. In another state, men of his squad fought against the Leavenworth inhabitants. He knew nothing of their status or exact whereabouts; all the information he had about their operation he had overheard at the hospital. Yet he was no longer at that hospital. He had changed into his dress uniform, snuck out despite Jack's orders, and slipped down the road to the empty cornfield just outside the base. Fletcher, Edwin, and others near Royal's age had commandeered the abandoned land and turned it into a makeshift baseball field. There they played scrub baseball and were so caught up in the game they didn't even notice Royal pass through. At the other end, where broken cornstalks greeted him, was a fading dirt path. On autopilot, his body moved down that path to a small creek that threatened to flood from its banks.
He sat down in front of the creek, took off his service cap, and then laid down. It was his favorite spot. No matter what time of day it was, the trees created a canopy which blocked out any unwanted sun. The grass was lush, wild, and just a bit damp. His neck could feel the little blades tickling him, as if they wanted to get his attention. That breeze – it was perfect! – the way it rolled off of the calm creek water and swept over him, playing with his hair and sending the dark strands dancing across his forehead. A content sigh escaped his lips as he enjoyed the refreshing air. At this spot, no matter his troubles, he could lie under the trees, on the grass, near the river and simply be a boy.
Just as sleep had overcome him, a warm hand found its way to his face. His dark eyes fluttered open to see a delicate girl hovering over him. He couldn't help but lean into her soft hand caressing his face, and his thin lips twisted into a satisfied smile. This comfortable spot just got more delightful. If there was ever any person he had wanted to see it was her. To him, she was perfect.
Others didn't think so, as he clearly remembered his friend saying she was too skinny, too fragile; her hair was too brunette, too plain; her eyes were just brown with no life in them; she had no sense of adventure, just devotion; she was just too boring. Where did his friend get such ideas? Surely he could see that she was of a small frame but full of passion; her hair was a brilliant auburn and flowed effortlessly; her eyes were a deep, loving chocolate and they were for him only; her devotion was pure and honest; and she was certainly imaginative and not boring.
Sitting up, he grabbed her hand and turned to face her. She gave him a quick inspection with her eyes and said, "You look handsome." Goosebumps erupted up his arms and a shiver ran down his spine. Was it because the sound of her voice was full of so much pride? Yet he knew there was a hint of displeasure in her tone.
"Thank you, Evelyn," was all he could manage. Despite the fact he wanted to ask if she was upset, he didn't have the heart to hear it. It was at times like this when he wished the Lord would hear his pleas for help. Though he didn't doubt the Lord heard, the young man just wanted some sort of response.
Evelyn could only smile at his attitude. This was a special place for the two of them, full of memories that were sacred to the young couple. She could only pray that they would be allowed to make new memories in the future. Ones in which they would be holding hands, talking not of war or civil strife; they would watch their children play, smile, and laugh without being afraid. There was a fear, though, that plagued her. Even if he did survive, would he still want to marry her; would he still want to have children with her; would he still be this handsome, sturdy, faithful man she had been blessed with?
As she thought this, her hand reached to his face. Without a thought, it moved to run through his hair, but instead found the patch of hairless skin where he had been shot. The stitches bumped against her smooth fingers. Royal didn't react to the touch in the slightest. Soon, the inch or so of bare skin gave way to his hair once more. She pulled him to her; their shared a chaste kiss. When they parted, his hand found hers and grabbed it affectionately. Their attention was turned to the creek and the tall fields just on the other side. It seemed to stretch on forever. When they were children, they assumed it really did; they never could have imagined how small their little plot of land really was in comparison to the world.
He sighed, "It's frustrating, wondering what's going on out there."
She knew that "out there" meant wherever the fight was. She reached over and grabbed his arm. With a smile she said, "I'm sure everything is fine. This is all part of God's plan."
He wanted to tell her that she sounded oddly like his father, but decided not to. She couldn't stand the look on his face, the obvious desire to fight. His dark eyes were distant, gazing far beyond the field in front of them. Didn't he realize he nearly died at Ellsworth? She cried for hours, afraid that his final breath had left his lungs.
"Royal, I -"
"I had this dream," he interrupted her, jumping to his feet. Slowly, she stood with him, and he grasped her hands and squeezed them. "It was with you and I, and we walked along Carson's Path on a warm spring day. When we emerged from the path and found ourselves here, we were greeted by smiling faces. They were children, and although I've never met them, I somehow knew them. The eldest boy ran up to me and he said, 'Dad, dad! Your home for good, the war is over!' I looked at you, and saw your smile, and I realized these were our children. But most importantly, I had survived and when I came home, I was greeted by your smiling face, my favorite spot off of Carson's Path, and our children!"
In his excitement over this dream, he picked her up by her waist and twirled her around three or four times, smiling and laughing. When they came to a stop, he realized that her deep, chocolate eyes were full of a love and hope he had never known. This only made his smile grow. There was no apprehension in his voice when he said, "Babe, I need to ask you something."
Her eyes never left his. "Anything, of course, Royal," she whispered.
"There's been a lot of talk going around town."
The sudden intrusion of another's voice caused Royal to jump. Evelyn couldn't help but laugh at the sight of her boyfriend pale with surprise. He swung his head up toward the nearest tree where the voice seemed to have originated from. There, swinging from a limb ten feet off the ground like a monkey, was Fletcher. The older boy hoisted himself up and perched his body in the tree. Royal sent him a glare, but otherwise did not move from his embrace with Evelyn. "What are you doing here?" Royal asked.
Fletcher could only grin at Royal's attitude. He gave them a half shrug and said, "Edwin saw Eve run after you and said I'd best keep an eye on you guys. You know how he is."
"We're not seven and you aren't our parents, so feel free to leave," Royal said. He even added a little wave from his hand for effect. At this, Fletcher laughed out loud. When Royal realized Fletcher wasn't going to leave, he asked, "And what exactly are people saying around town?"
Fletcher seemed to glow when he heard the question. "Oh, you know. That there's a revolution. That Major Raymond and his Easy Eight are rebelling against the government. That there's going to be another civil war. Is it true?"
"Why don't you go ask Major Raymond yourself?" Royal asked. His tone made it clear he was annoyed.
Fletcher jumped from his spot in the tree and made an effortless landing despite the height. He approached his friends and said, "Come on, Royal. You expect guys like me and the others to just wait for others to take care of us? Hell, even Edwin would pick up a gun if he had to."
"Then if it is true, who do you point the gun at?" Royal asked. "Do you point it at us or do you point it at the Americans."
"I'll point it at the men who shot Abigail; the soldiers that attacked Union in the night with their drones and infantrymen; I'll murder the bastards that had the gall to shoot Justin and then send him off to war. I'll fight alongside you, man."
"You don't understand what you're getting yourself into," Royal argued. "War isn't a game, you know. It's a lot scarier than fighting fires or getting into brawls with your buddies."
"Well someone has to bear that burden, so girls like Evelyn don't have to, right?" Fletcher said. It caused Royal to send a deeper glare his direction, but it was an irrefutable statement. "It's men like our fathers that refuse to fight. It was their complacency that got us into this mess in the first place. As long as they were being fed what they wanted, they never even once thought about the consequences. They don't care that America is where it's at now. All they're concerned with is getting their wealth back to where it was before. Nothing has changed with them. It's up to us. It's up to our generation to fix it. Otherwise… otherwise whatever family you two might have in the future will be ruled by tyrants and dictators. They won't know what 'freedom' is.
"Can you imagine? Imagine growing up sifting through censored textbooks, lie after lie; trying to chew through the veil of propaganda covering the media; not knowing which is real or fantasy, but not even given the chance to question? To be told, from the moment you are born, what it is you need to know, and what is it you need to do? To be ruled by others, forced through institutions that brainwash you and feed you the supposed 'truths' that you have to know? Wow, now that I think about it, we've been there for a long time now."
Meanwhile, Percy had yet to sleep, and spent his day fixed to a chair in his squad leader's office space. He rolled his neck and allowed the creaking and cracking to relieve any stress that had built up. His eyes darted from the satellite image in front of him to the window. The sun was high into the sky, and the orange glow on the horizon meant that McGill's team was at a disadvantage. It's difficult to fight in the daylight against such a large number of opponents. Guerrilla warfare was best left to the nighttime. Regardless, he held out hope that things were going well.
Percy watched and waited patiently for the next blasts to rock Leavenworth. The squads had decided they would hit the Fort with mortar fire; they would send blasts in at random, and then change locations. They were going to drive the people of Leavenworth out and then pick them off from the bushes. It was difficult to get a good read on the enemy, however, as they were on high alert and performing a lot of shuffling maneuvers themselves. Patrols just outside the base were constant and heavy. So the Major found himself staring at an unchanging satellite picture, his tired eyes somehow still open despite the exhaustion he felt. His mind was wide awake and he was anxious for the battle to continue.
His headset was quiet; McGill and Skipper's squads had nothing to say. They were silent in their mission. Only an occasionally word or two was spoken, but Percy's ears were perked up to the static. It was very possible that Percy hadn't slept a wink in several days, but his senses where in top shape nonetheless. The office was completely empty and had been for several hours. He had ordered all of his squad leaders to get some rest; Chiang Sun's squad was still up North, fighting what remained of the Ellsworth force. Although the base was captured, there were still many soldiers who refused to give up. Those "nuisances" as Percy called them would take more effort to extinguish than the act of securing the land.
Percy was pulled away from the screen by the sound of a door closing. Wallace had arrived; he dragged himself into the room, his hands deep into his pockets, his shoulders slumped, and stopped at the entryway. He held up a hand and said, "Yo." The greeting was returned by Percy, and Wallace found himself a place to sit. With his arms crossed and legs propped up on a desk, he looked ready to nap. Percy's attention went back to the screen.
"Did you get enough sleep, Wallace?" Percy asked.
The use of his first name caught Wallace's attention. Despite being good friends, it was rare for Percy to address him as such. He chalked it up to a stressful week and a lack of sleep. He answered, "Yeah, for now." Silence hit, and Wallace entertained himself by watching the dull events on the screen. It had been so long since he had seen any action he wasn't sure if he could even hold a gun properly. At least, that's the way it felt. After spending year after year in endless combat, the mere months that passed between firefights in America left him bored.
Percy felt the air get caught in his throat when he saw the first mortar round strike Leavenworth. Two more hit in quick succession. The siege had continued. McGill and Skipper's squad had to hold out for a few more hours on their own before Percy could even think about sending in more, and even then it would take what was likely to be minimal support several hours to get there. For a moment, he questioned whether or not it was the right move to attack Leavenworth and Riley the way he had; perhaps it would have been wiser to wait, to strike at a different time, to use a different method. Quickly he shook those thoughts from his head.
"Man, I'm kind of nervous," Wallace admitted. Percy did not look away from the screen. "Maybe we should see about sending out the Sea Dogs again."
"Don't be stupid," Percy said. "They need a week to recover. They've suffered a devastating loss."
"Maybe," Wallace quietly said, as though he were too afraid to admit he was wrong but secretly knew Percy was right. He knew they needed to find a way to get more aerial support, yet greatly doubted any pilots with any skill would defect to their ragtag irregular army. As he thought this, he observed Percy; he watched as his friend remained motionless and expressionless at the sight of battle in front of him. He accidentally asked out loud, "Man, why are you such a psychopath?"
The question did not seem to bother Percy. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe I hit my head when I was younger."
"Does anything faze you?" Wallace asked. "I was thinking about this earlier. Those pilots were crying for probably hours over the death of Wilson. But you? Man, I've never seen you cry. Over anything."
"Hm. I suppose I don't see the point in crying over a dead soldier, or any human for that matter. We're fated to die eventually."
"Then why do you even bother staying alive?" Wallace asked. He had laid his head down on a desk and buried it under his arms. His voice was slightly muffled. It caused Percy to turn and face his direction in order to hear better. "I think Warren's right, we gotta find you a girl or… guy if that's your preference. You've got no reason to live. It's kind of depressing knowing I'm friends with someone so utterly alone."
Wallace suddenly felt a bit awkward, so he raised his head just enough to peek over his arms. He saw Percy staring in his direction; there was the most defeated expression Wallace had ever seen in his life etched upon the Major's face. It caused Wallace to turn away and mumble, "I'm sorry."
"No, it's alright. I… guess you're right," Percy assured him in a quiet tone. He turned back to the screen. Wallace felt a tad bad about making his superior and friend look so lost. He'd never seen any traces of sorrow or happiness grace Percy's features. It was always indifference or anger. So although he felt guilty, Wallace couldn't help but feel a devil's grin inside his stomach at the sight. However, such thoughts soon faded when Percy went back to work and said, "They'll need support soon. Take command of the men formerly under Chen, team them up with what remains of Patterson's squad, and head to Leavenworth as soon as you can. When you get there, take command of the entire ground force."
"You're… giving me command?" Wallace questioned, a bit surprised.
"Do you have a problem with that?"
"No, it's just that you've kept me locked around your ankle since Laredo."
"That's was almost a year ago," Percy said. "You've done well enough since then. I need you, Wallace. I can't run this rebellion on my own."
"You're not on your own, Percy," Wallace assured him. "In case you forgot, I wanted to rebel before even you. I think, anyway. And you know that Mackenzie isn't going anywhere."
"At least, we can hope that."
"Do you think she'll pick Ethan over you?"
"That's a stupid question," Percy said. "She'd better pick Ethan over anyone. I just don't know if Ethan will pick her over America. The situation in Washington is obviously out of control and beyond our comprehension. Ethan is digging deep there, and who knows what he'll find that will help him make his mind? For all we know, he could be dead within a week."
"Well, you know Percy even if we both stay with you, there's no way three people can take over America."
"Not by force, at least," Percy agreed. "If we had been smart enough, clever enough… Hm, I guess it doesn't matter, because we're fighting the only way we know how. There are plenty of lunatics and idealists that will blindly pick up a gun for us."
"I suppose you're right," Wallace said. "And I suppose it's time for this lunatic to round up a bunch of idealists and head out for Leavenworth. I'll contact you once I'm there. Later!"
"What is it?" he asked. He stopped at the doorway and gazed over his shoulder.
Percy kept his eyes elsewhere. Patiently, Wallace waited for the Major to speak. Finally, Percy gave him one more command, "I expect you present at the birth of your child. Don't make me deliver the news of your death to Adela. I wouldn't be able to bear it. Consider it the only order from me you'll ever have to follow."
It took Wallace a moment to respond. He couldn't recall ever hearing Percy speak like that, so he took the order to heart. He provided the sharpest salute ever to his friend and said, "Yes, Major."