[Originally posted at Slacktivist (page 4).]
[This follows from Fighting Fate.]
Alice said, “New York says that there's been a press release from the Ministry of Peace-”
“Orwellian bastards,” Verna spat.
“They say that they've retaliated on militia who took over a former Nike base in Chicago.”
“A shoe store?” someone asked.
“Nike missiles,” Verna said. “It was a defense project decades ago.”
“A missile base in Chicago?” Cameron asked. Then it hit him, “Wait? The golf course?”
“It just says 'former Nike base',” Alice said.
“Which means golf course,” said the intern who had no bubblegum. “Take a look,” he pointed at his computer. They all gathered round and sure enough, the site of the old base was a golf course.
Cameron said, “Ok, tell New York -and everyone else- that we're not calling it a former Nike base. The government attacked a golf course and we're going to call it a golf course. We're not legitimizing using military force against a golf course by pretending it's some kind of stronghold.”
Cameron took a moment to think, then asked, “And why the hell did they attack a golf course?” No one had an answer. “We've got to get someone over there to find out what's really going on.”
“I'll go,” said the intern with no bubblegum.
“What's you name?” Cameron asked.
“Good luck, Jake.”
Jake started to leave, Cameron said, “Jake, wait.” Then said, “Camera,” and someone tossed Cameron a hand-held video camera. He looked at, couldn't figure it out, and asked, “Does it have the thingy and the thing?”
“Yes, and yes,” Alice said.
He tossed the camera to Jake and said, “That has a … a,” he gave up and gestured to Alice.
“A satellite up-link and an internet connection over the cellphone networks. You should be able to broadcast live with that in two different ways. Someone needs to actually decide to put it on the air, but even if there's no one to do that it's set up to stream live on the web.”
“What she said,” Cameron said. “Do we have any of the super special cellphone things laying around?”
Alice pulled out a cellphone, fiddled with it, and tossed it to Jake. He asked, “What's special about it?”
Alice said, “GC set up an emergency communications network so various services wouldn't be interrupted in the event of..." Alice looked at the blank stares. "It works even when the normal cellphone network is overloaded.”
“I have no more toys for you,” Cameron said.
Verna said, “Good luck.”
Jake headed off.
“I'm getting reports of bombs being dropped on DC.”
“As in... aerial bombing?”
“That's what I'm hearing.”
“Someone refresh my memory, why would you bomb a city while you're in it?
“Who's doing the bombing?”
“And it doesn't work,” Cameron said, “Where's the switch to put it into super duper cell mode?”
“It's under the battery,” Alice said.
Cameron removed the battery and switched the modes, “Why is it there?”
“So that you don't hit it accidentally,” Verna said.
“This is Camr-”
“I don't care who this is,” the reporter in DC said. “It had better be fucking important.”
“Do you know who's doing the bombing?”
“Can you prove it?”
“No, but they pulled out their forces right before the bombing started and-” the reporter stopped talking, Cameron worried that something might have happened to him. “A cheap first aid kit, a pistol off a dead cop, and not much else. What do you need?” Another pause. “No problem, I can't shoot for shit anyway.”
“Stay alive,” Cameron said.
The reporter said, “That's unlikely,” and hung up.
Cameron told everyone that preliminary reports were that the GC, not the resistance, was responsible for the bombing that had caused most of the deaths in DC, they sent word to everyone else through back channels since the GC had already shut down their primary lines of communication.
“Bruce is in the hospital. Last anyone heard he was unconscious.”
Cameron's heart sank when he found out it was Northwest Community, right next to the so called base the GC had attacked. He asked a colleague about traffic and quickly concluded Chloe couldn't make it by car. On foot, maybe, if she'd had a bike or small motorcycle that could maneuver around cars, maybe, but not by car. Rayford was trying to get to Bruce from a different direction, he had a pretty good start and had a chance at getting there, but even that was doubtful.
Chloe decided to go to one of the places they'd stashed resources, medical supplies that might be needed in the very near future, and prepare for the coming war.
Cameron called Jake and told him that Bruce should be in the hospital there, and -if he'd regained consciousness- he should have an inside line on what was going on. Either way Cameron asked to be told how his friend was doing.
“New York says that there's been a threat to use nuclear weapons against Kennedy Airport,” Alice said, her tone making clear that she thought there had to be something wrong with the report.
“That doesn't make any sense,” Verna said. “Why say the airport? If you drop a nuclear weapon on the airport you're nuking the city.”
“Maybe it's some kind of code?” Alice offered.
“Maybe, but from whom to whom?” Verna asked.
No one knew.
“I have a completely different question,” Cameron said. “Why haven't we been arrested yet?”
“Maybe it's like my toothbrush,” Alice said.
“It's an electric tooth brush, with a timer. After a certain time it does a sort of stutter thing, telling you to wrap things up. It always does that about six seconds after I think I somehow missed it. Maybe we're just-”
A walky-talky cut her off. Brian, on the roof, said, “They're coming. Get out.”
“It is like my tooth brush.”
As they were leaving the building Cameron heard someone behind him say, “London is gone.”
Someone else said, “What do you mean, London-”
“I mean that they could see the fucking blast from Paris. I mean that the shockwave shattered glass in Glasgow. I mean that London doesn't exist!”
Cameron's phone rang. He considered that it was probably extremely traceable, and then answered anyway.
“I've got bad news about your friend.” Jake said.
There was as short pause, then Jake said, “He's dead.” Cameron couldn't find anything to say. “The hospital got hit pretty hard, maybe the hardest of all the buildings around here. They said that he was helping evacuate the other patients when it collapsed. So... I guess he woke up. He made a difference. I talked to a few people who said he saved their lives. I... I wish I had better news.”
Cameron's mind flashed, as it always did when he heard about someone heroically getting someone out of a building, to an image of children, five to ten years old, being rescued. And then, as always happened, the full reality of the Rapture hit him again. There were no children like that. There were babies, there were teenagers, but until the babies grew up some more there would be no five year olds. The Second Coming would arrive before the next ten year olds.
Whoever Bruce died saving, they weren't the children Cameron imagined. And that's when Bruce's death sank in for Cameron. When he was able to talk he said, “Thank you ... for finding out about Bruce. What about the attack?”
“The soldiers aren't talking. They're being very scary. Anyone who asks questions, not just me, is getting some very threatening blowback. No one else has any idea why it happened. I'm not even sure the soldiers know. I saw them snatch someone's camera when I first arrived, so I'm only filming when they're not looking. I got some footage of the hospital ruins and some of the other damaged buildings.
“I've also recorded some of what the survivors said. I haven't done much else.” Jake sounded like he was confessing to a horrible failure when he said that.
“You're doing fine. If you can, record every single thing that was damaged. This didn't happen because someone had a bad day's golf, the intended target has to be something else. At least some of the accidental collateral damage must be neither accidental nor collateral. See if you can figure out what it is.”
“Will do, boss.”
“Be careful. They've already taken over the office, at some point they're going to try to round up the reporters in the field.”
“I'm already being careful.”
[Skewed Slightly to the Left Index]