First we take Manhattan...

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom, for trying to change the system from within, I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them, First we take Manhattan, Then we take Berlin

The door slammed open, and the tall blonde stumbled inside, nearly tripping over casually discarded clothes piled up on the floor. She almost fell into the old chair in the middle of the living room, her face buried in her hands until her shoulders finally stopped shaking with tears. Suzanne sat back in her chair, the business clothes that she wore badly rumpled, clearly having been slept in more than once. Long blonde hair fell down into her eyes, eyes that were shadowed with worry and fear.

Suzanne kept those eyes firmly closed as she listened to the news reader quietly report the daily news. There was no mention of the attack on their home over two days ago, no mention of the police taking people into custody without a warrant. They hadn't even read the rights to her, they had just cuffed Janice and then took her away. With Suzanne struggling and crying in the soldier's grip standing behind her...

Calling up their lawyer to try to get Janice a hearing had been a waste of her time, too. The man had been quite frank with her: in the present political climate and with the way that the new laws were written, the security forces could do whatever they wanted to. He'd file a formal protest, of course, but it wouldn't do any good.

"Since when did we all start living in Nazi Germany?" Suzanne had asked him weakly, a chill settling into her bones.

Softly he said, "I'm bound by the attorney/client privilege, but I strongly advise you not to repeat that sort of thing in public." A long beat of silence and he added, "They might just decide to take you away, too."

"How the hell did things ever get so bad?" Suzanne had muttered to herself, but she knew. They all knew what had happened.

It had all started more than thirty years ago, with the terrorist strike on the World Trade Center. The war on terrorism was quickly declared, the United States leading the charge against the terrorist forces. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, then after catching their breath, the military searched for other targets. North Korea fell under their might, as slowly but surely the Pax Americana, the American Peace, was brought to the world.

And things began to change at home...

The threat of terrorist attack was very urgent, the politicians said from their positions of power, and quite reasonable steps must be taken to ensure their safety. It began quite small, with certain kinds of racial profiling being used to identify possible terrorists, but soon it was expanded. Certain civil rights were officially repealed, temporarily, as a measure to root out terrorism, while other threats to the state were discovered.

Public speakers who raised dissent were declared enemies, then those that stayed carefully neutral were dealt with, too. Outside of their borders they reminded their allies where the power really lay, and advised them that if they weren't with them... they were against them. Nations quickly fell into line, and those that did not were found to be sheltering terrorists.

Suzanne swallowed past an uncomfortable tightness in her throat. 'And I never even squeaked about it when all of this was going on,' she thought to herself grimly, 'I only really started to care when it actually effected me.'

I'd really like to like beside you baby, I love your body and your spirit and your clothes, But you see that line there moving through the station? I told you, I told you, I told you I was one of those!

The presidential announcements came out from the heavily fortified White House where President-for-life Bush resided about one every few months. Often he would rant about the terrorists who hid themselves in seemingly friendly nations like Britain or France, places that would soon be on the 'enemies' list. And occasionally he would name a new kind of domestic foe, one that we had to watch for in case they might sprout more terrorists. The latest announcement was the one that had effected Suzanne and Janice, the one about... homosexuals.

They had gaped at each other in shock, wondering if they had heard the old man correctly. Then that sinking feeling, dread and fear coiling inside of them both. Suzanne was much less exposed, thankfully, she had never dared to come out for her government job, but Janice... she was out. But the first weeks passed as they quickly retreated into the closet, and when no one came to break down their door, they thought they were safe.

They were wrong.

Suzanne got out of her chair, wiping at eyes that were wet with her tears. She hesitated for a moment, then she made her way past the messy table over to their bedroom. The double bed was a shambles, but she strode on by it to the dresser. She opened up the bottom drawer, ruffling through the piles of clothes crammed in there until she finally found a nearly flat black box. It lay there ominously, until she reached out and picked it up.

I'm guided by a signal in the heavens, I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin. I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons, First we take Manhattan, Then we take Berlin

Suzanne cleared the table with a single sweep of her arm, sending the dirty plates, silverware and legal papers to the floor. She opened up the slim black case carefully, pausing to look down at the silvery weapon that lay there in it's gray padding. Quite carefully she took it out, disassembling it with the ease of long practice.

With rag and oil she cleaned each and every part, then smoothly put it back together. She calmly slid the copper jacketed bullets into the clip one at a time, then slapped the clip into it's place, loading a bullet in the chamber. The gun felt oddly right in her hand, and she could understand the lethal temptation of such things.

Looking up, she saw one of the photos of Janice and her on the wall, and she felt that sudden surge of loss once again. "Janice," she murmured softly, her grip tightening on the gun. For a moment she wanted to put the muzzle into her mouth, but she resisted the urge.

Janice wouldn't be back here, Suzanne knew that instinctively. The government could hold you for years until they finally got a confession from you, then publicly airing you reading a prepared statement that you had committed the crimes you were accused of and more, besides. Even if she got Janice back, she's be broken, not the woman she had once known.

Suzanne raised the gun, hefting the weight as she considered it thoughtfully. "They say that homosexuals can become terrorists," she murmured to herself softly, "I'll show them what happens when you take my lover away from me." A grim little smile, "They have no idea yet what they've done, but they're going to find out."

You loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win, You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begun? First we take Manhattan, Then we take Berlin.

Some nights later the news reader was reporting the news once again. "A terrorist assault has destroyed a re-education center in New York, freeing a number of dangerous criminals and political dissidents. If you see any of these terrorist sympathizers it is your duty as citizens to report them to the proper authorities."

A deep breath, "Today's danger level is Orange, repeat, Orange. Remember, when the police ask you questions you must reply, or risk arrest. Cooperation with the authorities is what all good citizens do, and if you do not, you are a bad citizen...."

Decades later, the history books would make note of that day, and it would become known as the date the second American Revolutionary War had actually began. It would be a hard battle, and many lives would be lost, but in time the constitution would be restored. Never again would the rights of the citizens be put aside, and certain names would be remembered with honor.

Janice Lane died in a re-education facility, still refusing to name any others or to confess to any crimes. Suzanne James died in the attack on Washington, DC, when Bush made his final stand in the White House along with his loyalists. They, and all of the others that fell in battle, would be remembered.


Author's Notes: the title song First we Take Manhattan is by Leonard Cohen, and the name Suzanne is also from one of his songs. The verses in this story aren't all in the correct order, but I thought that they worked better for my story this way.

While I'm not too anti-American, I really don't like what I've been hearing from the US government and from many of it's politicians. Now, I don't really see America becoming like what I've written about, but I do think it's a direction that they could be going in. And before you think all of this is pure fantasy, note that the US government has held people without trial or representation for months at a time in the war on terror, often citizens from countries that are supposedly their own allies. Racial profiling is being used to identify possible terrorists, and even having certain names can get you in trouble. Even if you were born and raised in the US.

Sorry, I didn't mean to go off on a rant. Read some of Michael Moore's books, they can be quite enlightening. Watch some international news stations, including the BBC and CBC networks. And for a historical view, try to track down 'Rogue State' a book on American dirty dealings for the past thirty or so years.