Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eastern Curtain - Ch. 4

The entire Republic of Texas was on high alert; no one knew what would happen next.  THAAD missile systems from Fort Bliss and Patriot missile systems from Fort Hood were being scrambled all across the former state in anticipation of a military strike from Washington.
Governor Baker’s heart pounded in his chest as he sat in the underground media room beneath the capitol building; he had heard the news shortly after it happened and had been working furiously ever since.  He had spent most of the morning on the phone with the governors of Montana and North Dakota; he desperately needed a state with Minuteman missile silos to formally throw its weight behind Texas as a deterrent to an all-out assault from Washington.  So far, he had not found the support he sought; now, he waited impatiently for his final opportunity to sell Texas to a like-minded friend in the northwest.
An assistant in the adjacent control room tapped the thick glass and motioned to the governor; Governor Baker took a deep breath before picking up the receiver and greeting his friend.
“Dylan, how are you?”
Scott Baker,” the voice replied in an affable tone, “I’m not the governor of Texas, so I suppose things could be worse.”
“Is that my reputation these days?”
“It’s not far from it, my friend; we all empathize with what you have to deal with.”
“Sounds like you’ve heard the news.”
“I was briefed not long after it happened; I can’t say I’ll mourn his loss, but I hate that it happened over sovereign Texas soil.  Any idea who’s responsible?”
“From everything that’s happened lately, I’d say Washington.”
“That would be a very bold move if that holds true.”
“I don’t think it’s any bolder than Houston.  I believe it was an easy decision for whoever made the call; it gets rid of someone who’d quit towing their line and it served as one more false flag so they can continue to push forward with their agenda.  They’re coming for Texas, Dylan; and when they’re through, they’ll come for the rest of the Border States that have dared to speak out against them.  After that it’s the Dakotas, then Wyoming, Montana, Idaho – and anyone else who resists.
There was silence on the other end of the line for several moments before the governor of Wyoming finally spoke.
“I know.”
“That’s why I need your help Dylan.”
The voice sighed and simply said, “I know.”
“So do I have it?  Wyoming will stand with Texas?”
Silence again.
“Dylan, tell me you will!”
“I can’t; we can’t.  Not yet.”
“If not you, who?  If not now, when?  There ain’t much yet left!”
“We want to help, all of us up here do.  I just left a meeting with representatives from eight or so states; I can’t tell you how many times Texas came up.  You’ve made it a lot easier for us; no one wanted to be the first.  Your hand was forced so you didn’t have a choice, but we can do it right; we can step out with a group so large that Washington can’t touch us without serious consequences.”
“Soon, very soon; but until then, we’ve agreed not to make any moves that would tip our hand.  Afterwards though, you’ll have our support, I can all but guarantee it.”
“I need it; it’s hard doing this alone.”
“Hang in there Scott, we’ll be in touch.”
Governor Baker reclined in his seat and contemplated the conversation.  His friend’s words had calmed his demeanor somewhat, but nothing had changed from this morning.  An aide peaked his head in from the control room and interrupted the governor’s thoughts.
“Sir, the press conference is about to start.”
“Thank you, turn it on.”
The flat screen televisions that hung on the wall across the room flashed to life; the background was the same as it had been for hours:  the reporter was still at the site of the crash, just a few miles east of Elgin, Texas.  The scene flashed back to a newsroom where several solemn news anchors sat around a table surrounded by monitors and a sea of cluttered desks in the distance, staffed by a small army of frantic journalists.
“We’ve just received word that the press conference will start in just a few minutes; the President pro tempore of the Senate, Frederick Engels, will be addressing a grieving nation about this morning’s events and where we go from here.
If you’re just joining us, Kyla Matthews is onsite in Elgin, Texas, the site where Air Force One crashed in the early hours of this morning.  The President, Vice President and at least two dozen aides and security personnel are among the deceased.  No word has been given yet on the source of the crash; hopefully the senator’s press conference will provide us with additional information.
Kyla, let’s go back to you for a moment – wait, I’m getting word the presser is starting now; let’s go to Washington.”
A somber, grandfatherly Senator Engels stood behind the dark stained podium in the Brady Press Room in the West Wing of the White House.  The elder statesman was flanked by American flags, still showing fifty stars, and a pair of white, mock columns beyond the flags; a large emblem of the White House hung behind the senator.  Senator Engels waited for the raucous crowd of reporters to settle before proceeding.
“My fellow Americans, as I am sure most if not all of you are aware, Air Force One crashed early this morning in a dusty field just east of Elgin, Texas.  Among the dead are President Gramsey and Vice President Taylor.  Please join me in a moment of silence for the fallen.”
The melancholy senator bowed his head and closed his eyes for nearly a full minute.  The silence was powerful and he used it to increase the feeling of dread in the room.  After the moment of silence was up, the senator looked up and continued.
“I know this may sound callous after delivering such grievous news to you, but we must work to ensure the continuity of the government and the stability of the nation.  We will mourn the loss of these great men, but we will survive; we will survive for ourselves and our children and also to honor the memory of those we’ve lost. 
The Presidential Succession Act states that if the President and Vice President are unable to serve in the role of commander-in-chief, the Speaker of the House shall be the next in the line of succession.  Speaker Rivera issued a statement to my office earlier today stating that he believes he is better able to serve our great nation in his current role; he has declined to accept the promotion to the office of the President.  It is my understanding that the Speaker will be holding a press conference later today to further elaborate on this matter.  I respect Speaker Rivera’s decision and applaud his humility and dedication to his constituents; we should be grateful to have such men of character and principle in our midst. 
Since the Speaker of the House has declined to accept the office, the burden would fall to the next in the line of succession, the President pro tempore of the Senate, myself.  I will humbly be sworn into office this evening and will strive, like my predecessor, to right the course of this great nation.  I do not take this responsibility lightly and understand the risks that are now associated with positions of leadership in our government all too well.
Our first task is to bring those who committed this vile act of treason to justice.     Independent, preliminary reports confirm that several fourth generation Stinger missiles were likely used by terrorists on the outskirts of Elgin, Texas.  This type of missile can be launched from the ground by either a vehicle or a person.
The likely suspects are members of independent, homegrown terror cells; these individuals are most likely military veterans and probably suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD.  They are prone to extreme perceptions of the history of our nation and its founding documents as well as delusions and paranoia.  If you know of anyone that fits this profile, we ask that you contact your region’s Department of Domestic Protection field office immediately.  Sympathizers found to be harboring or even simply aiding individuals that fit the suspected terror profile will treated as harshly as the terrorists themselves.
Because the terrorists were aware of the President’s itinerary and had access to sophisticated military grade equipment, an internal investigation has been opened by the Secretary of Defense into the source of the leaks from within our own armed forces.  High treason of this order from within our own military will not be tolerated and will be crushed completely and expeditiously.
Furthermore, we believe the seditious state of Texas may be harboring some of these terrorists; Governor Baker, we give your state thirty days to comply with all demands that will be outlined in a letter sent to your office later today.  The time for political wrangling for personal gain is over; everyone will comply, or face dire consequences for their selfish and senseless defiance.  The fate of the nation is at stake and I will not allow it to crumble any more than it already has.
Lastly, Spire Dynamics, Global Robotics and The Gladius Group, corporations that were found to be complicit with other recent terror strikes and were subsequently nationalized, will be leveraged in the coming days and weeks to focus on the growing threats that surround us.  You may begin to notice some of these corporations’ products or personnel deployed to your cities and towns; do not be alarmed, they are acting under the authority of the United States Federal Government and will be focused on maintaining your safety and security.  Your respect for their presence and compliance with their requests will be necessary to reclaim our cities.
In closing, I ask for your continued faith and support, for though we will persevere against those that strive to dismantle us, the days ahead will be difficult ones.  Until we speak again, stay vigilant my friends.”
As the press conference ended Governor Baker sat in silent astonishment in the media room, the power grab that was unfolding in front of his eyes had overwhelmed his senses.  His chest felt hollow and all of his energy had drained from his body; a dark cloud of dread hung over the governor.  The sudden ringing of the phone startled him from his trance like state; he raised an open palm to the control room as he glanced down and recognized the number.  A chilling numbness rushed over him as he picked up the receiver and spoke.
“Baker here.”
“Governor Baker, this is the office of the President; can you hold for one moment.”
The governor did not reply but there was no need, he had already been placed on hold.  After several moments, he heard a voice on the other end of the line.
“Scott, President Engels-”
“You’re not the President yet, Frederick.  Are you that anxious for the title?”
“I don’t have time for your nonsense, governor.  President Gramsey may have treated you with kid gloves but I will not; this rebellion of yours stops now.
“I watched your presser; I have thirty days Mr. President.”
“Don’t keep me waiting.”
“I know.”
The governor growled into the phone, “I said, I know.  I know who was really responsible for the terror strikes and I have a damn good idea who was responsible for downing that jet.  Gramsey’s policies were despicable, but at least he was willing to seek the truth; you sir, are trying to bury the truth and an entire nation along with it.”
“You are in so very far over your head, governor; you have absolutely no idea.  Thirty days; don’t keep me waiting.”
Governor Baker was hot with rage; he shouted to the staff in the control room, “Get me Governor Langston on the phone, now!”
The governor lunged from his seat and jerked the door open before slamming it behind him.  The confines of the media room had become too constrictive and overbearing; he cursed loudly and indiscriminately at an imaginary Senator Engels and paced the long hall.  Doors along the wide, barren hallway began to crack open and eyes peered outward to see the source of the commotion; the doors quickly shut again, the occupants fearful of eliciting the wrath of the normally reserved governor.
After what seemed like an eternity, an aide peeked out of the media room and shouted down the hall to the distant governor, “Sir, I’m sorry it took so long; Governor Langston is on the phone now.”
“Okay, thank you; I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright sir, we understand.  We feel the same way.”
The governor took the long walk back down the hall to regain his composure and collect his thoughts.  Every choice he made, every action he took seemed to weigh upon him exponentially more than the last.  Maybe you are in over your head, Scott.  He stopped before entering the room again and closed his eyes for several moments, his lips silently moving as he mouthed a prayer for guidance and discernment.  Upon finishing, he breathed deeply before entering the room and taking the phone from his aide.
“Dylan, I’m sorry to bother you again.”
“It’s alright, Scott; I’m sorry I couldn’t take your call sooner, I was in a meeting regarding our new President’s speech.”
“He’s out of control.”
“Oh, without a doubt; completely out of control.”
“Dylan, more than ever, more than anything, I need your support.  God help me, I need an ally in this.”
“The Commonwealth of the Free West has just decided, based on the senator’s speech, to accelerate their timetable for secession.  Representatives from all member states and territories will be meeting in seven days’ time to ratify our Constitution; upon ratification, we will formally announce our secession and support for the Republic of Texas.  By week’s end, Washington will think twice about threatening you again.”
“Thank you Dylan, you’re an answered prayer.”

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