Thursday, December 25, 2014

Another Short Story In Progress

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another Step Back - Part 5

Thursday September 18, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota

At the end of the working day Dronning entered the teacher’s lounge for one last break before going home. There he found the boy’s gym teacher, Mr Riker, in a state of almost blind rage.

“What happened?” Said Dronning.

“That new student in the ninth grade--Boatman!”

“What did he do?”

The gym and music classes were held at the same time on alternate days and the students of each grade level were split into two groups depending on which music class they were in. The school choir and band members of the would take their music class one day and then gym class on the next. The students in the general music course would be in their gym and music classes on the opposite days.

Boatman had opted for the general music course.

The boys gym teacher was a middle aged man who was built like a linebacker for an American Rules football team. His office was decorated with memorabilia from the Philadelphia Eagles team of the National Footfall League. And his face, especially the nose, appeared as if it had been rearranged several times on the field.

Boatman was not affirmatively impressed with the man.

“I think I will pass on this nonsense.” He said with his clearly adult voice.

Riker was surprised.


“It’s basically a waste of time and motion.”

Riker now tried to argue his position.

“Look, the gym class is a basic part of this school!”

“No,” Boatman replied, “public education in the United States was designed by the closet communists of the so-called Progressive Movement to indoctrinate Young Americans into becoming drones in their future communist collective. And Physical Education is an essential part of collectivist indoctrination. If the bloody red banner of Communism is ever raised over this great nation its because you had a part in making it happen.”

Riker stared at him before responding in anger. Before he spoke he grabbed Boatman’s shirt with his right hand.

“Listen punk...”

As his right hand came down on the left side on shirt Boatman brought his own right hand down on top of Riker’s. With his left hand he seized Riker’s elbow and pushed forward on the elbow.

Boatman now spoke with the voice of adult political authority.

“Riker, I can break your arm now, which will be bureaucratically inconvenient for me, and very painful for you.”

Riker was shocked. This shouldn’t be happening.

Boatman continued to speak with authority.

“Where I come from students are taught to kill with their bare hands.”

Rifle and pistol marksmanship were also part of citizenship education on Eden and Zion in the Alpha Centauri system.

“But I won’t do that,” Boatman continued, “You have crossed a line and committed the act of assault, that means I will not attend any more classes in this gym ever again. And you can let go now.”

Boatman’s stare was that of an experienced executioner. Riker simply let go of the shirt and backed off.

Boatman then departed the gym.

The subsequent meeting in the Vice Principal’s office was very short.

“You intimidated Riker?” Said Marchuk. “How”

“There’s a book that was published a few years ago, Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer, which was actually an inaccurate title. In it he shows how to win by being confident and not being intimidated by the people you interact with. The thing is that I never read the book until the transit to Alpha Centauri aboard the Eagle.”

“Okay.” Marchuk said. “You know that taking you out of the gym class will be a major pain in the ass?”

“Yes, but it has to be done.”

Dronning had another encounter with Boatman on that day. The subject of the class session was the Prohibition Period in the United States.

Dronning made what in retrospect was the mistake on calling on Boatman again.

“Although there was an longstanding effort to outlaw the sale and consumption of alcohol by those acting on religious grounds, the actual ban was brought about by members of the so-called Progressive Movement during the Wilson Administration. Prohibition was an opportunity to reverse the essential relationship between the People and the Government. Prior to Prohibition the People held primacy over the State. This was established in the first three words of the United States Constitution, ‘We The People.’ But the long term program of the so-called Progressives required the establishment of the Primacy of the State over the People. In this condition the Progressive rulers could impose their will upon the People without constitutional restraint.”

Dronning was struck speechless where he stood. This was nothing like the course material.

Boatman continued.

“Under the Primacy of the State the Federal Government was turned from the main defender of the Rights of the People to the primary violator of those rights. Although Prohibition was perpetrated by the Progressives under Wilson it was enforced by the Republicans under Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, without the understanding of the true purpose. With establishment of the soft socialism under the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt the prohibition of alcohol was no longer necessary as a part of the progressive program and was subsequently repealed.”

Dronning could only look at Boatman in stunned silence. The other students in the class began to applaud Boatman as he sat down.

Both Allen Keller and Victoria Grant were firmly impressed by Boatman and each had decided to try to speak to him privately after school was out.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Step Back - Part 4

Wednesday September 17, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Upon returning to the family residence in the Northeast section of Minneapolis Boatman fired up the computer workstation in the combined office/den and updated the mission log with his discovery of Stephanie Cook and the initiation of contact with her. He didn’t mention any of the kisses or other aspects of the contact.

How the Hell am I going to explain this to Alice? He thought.

Alice had been born aboard the Integral, the last sublight starship to be launched from the Solar System to Alpha Centauri. She was twelve standard years old when the vessel arrived in the system. At the time of arrival the ship had degenerated into a virtual gulag and Alice, under the alphanumeric designation that was tattooed onto her left forearm at birth had been assigned to sexually gratify the leader of the collective. But the leader would eventually be arrested and put to death for his crimes.

Alice would eventually be adopted by the third incarnation of Evelyn Boatman and his wife Doctor Cheryl Boatman. She would grow up to become a surgeon and as an adult she would strongly resemble the pre-reformation actress Halle Berry.

Any form of deception was clearly adversarial behavior and therefore was not an option in their relationship.

Just tell her the truth–all of it.

He did.

Upon returning to the residence from her teaching position at the University of Minnesota Medical School Alice sat down and listened calmly as her adoptive father described the events of the day. She thought for a moment before calmly responding.

“Dad,” she said, “you’re certainly a mensch but are clearly not a knight in shining armor, and you are certainly not a paladin class character from Dungeons And Dragons.”

He nodded, she continued.

“And your habit of virtually screaming and leaping at problems like a Kzinti may work for technical problems but it can and will lead to serious failures on the Human level.”

“So what should I do?” He asked.

Again she responded calmly.

“You should continue to do what you have normally done, once you become involved with a problem you rationally work on it to the full solution. The thing is that this version of Stephanie will not grow up to be the same person she was on the original timeline. And she certainly won’t shtup the boy who impregnated her on the first timeline either.”

“Of course not.”

“We will show her the better way to live--we have to.”

Boatman blinked.

“We will?” He said.

Alice replied.

“She’s practically a member of the family now, assuming of course that she doesn’t scream and run away when you tell her the truth. Practically all the two of you have to do now is set the wedding date. And if Stephanie is going to become a member of our family then I certainly will do everything I can to see that she properly learns to live as a fully rational person.”

“Of course.” He replied.

He now asked his own question to her.

“So how was your day?”

The answer had a clearly sarcastic tone.

“It was fun.”

“In what way?”

“I had an encounter with a campus commie in the faculty lounge. It was Thomas Archer of the English Department and he apparently believed that I was an actual native American Black woman and would seriously fall for his Progressive dreck.”

“Of course not.” Evelyn replied.

“So after the idiot had generated his noise about the wonderful things he was doing for the black people I replied to him: ‘So what, we’re all human.’

“That had to have twisted his knickers.” He said.

“Oh yes, it certainly did.” Said Alice. “There was even applause from some of the other faculty members present.”

Evelyn now mentioned the next event of the school day.

“So I also got sent to the office, apparently I severely annoyed an indoctrinator when I explained the actual difference between Democracy and the American concept of a Constitutional Republic.”

“Well it was part of basic citizenship education back home on Zion and Eden.” Said Alice.

“And back on Ganymede and the rest of the Outer System when I was growing up.”

Then there were his own general efforts at self education. The twenty five year transit between the Solar System and Alpha Centauri also provided a very clear and very firm meaning to the concept of boredom. Boatman had not actually performed a complete read through of the shipboard library aboard the Eagle but he came very close to it.

“So you twisted his knickers?” She said.

“Yes, absolutely.” He replied.

Of course there was no point in mentioning that the Social Studies teacher was an obvious flaming queer.

There was tomorrow to prepare for.

At the family home Stephanie and her close friend Vicky Grant were doing some of their homework together. They were also discussing the events of the day.

Vicky had roughly the same height as Stephanie and was at the same level of physical growth as well. She had long dark brown hair and wore a large pair of eyeglasses.

“So you now have a new boyfriend?” Said Vicky.

“Oh yes!” Stephanie replied. “Evelyn is unbelievable! He’s a real gentleman and he’s so mature!”

“I heard about what happened in the lunch room.”

“Yes,” said Stephanie, “I was talking to Evelyn and Joey came up and made a scene. But Evelyn just was a real man through the whole thing and Joey just walked away.”

“And he kissed you.” Said Vicky.

“Oh yes!” Stephanie exclaimed. “He...he...I don’t know how to describe it...he’s so mature!”

Then Vicky spoke again.
“He was in Mr. Dronning’s class today, and he made Dronning scream at him.”


Dronning had a reputation as an easygoing teacher.

Vicky continued.

“Evelyn said something I never heard before, that the United States was a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. And that Democracy was not a form of government. And then he told Mr. Dronning that he was ignorant.”

Stephanie could only stare at this point.

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Another Step back - Part 3

Wednesday September 17, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota


There was still the Ninth Grade Social Studies class in the afternoon. Historically the term “social studies” was a euphemism for the indoctrination in numerous falsehoods concerning history and society. Boatman had fully expected to fail the course as a result of consistently speaking the truth. What he at all didn’t expect was that the indoctrinator was himself an open full blown homosexual.

An actual real live flaming queer.

Mr. Dronning began by calling on Boatman, as his newest victim of the indoctrination process, to define Democratic Government.

“Democratic Government is a contradiction in terms.” Boatman replied.

Dronning blinked. He then quickly responded.

“You apparently don’t understand what a Democratic Government is. In case you haven’t noticed we actually live under one.”

“Actually we don’t.”said Boatman, “The United States of America was established as a Constitutional Republic. This was an actual form of government that was limited to the exercise of explicitly specified powers. A Democracy, on the other hand, is an unlimited state which claims the authority to act on the popular will. The murder of Socrates by a majority vote in the city-state of Athens is a clear case in point. Also the various Communist states are currently claiming to be democracies in order to exercise unrestrained power over their subjects.”

Dronning was clearly angry.

“Do you want to pass this class?”

Boatman stood up to clearly and calmly respond.

“Reality is real and your red pencil will not change any fact of it. Should you actually issue adverse grades to those refuse to submit to the nonsense that you are putting out you will only have demonstrated that you are absolutely unfit to teach any subject in a classroom at all.”

Other victims of the indoctrination process in the classroom sat up and in some cases openly smiled. The counterparts of two of these students in the original timeline would go on to make history. Allen Keller and Victoria Grant would both play a role in The Reformation in the United States and the subsequent Final War on Earth.

Boatman continued.

“But then this shouldn’t be a surprise at all. John Dewey, who laid out the public school system in the United States, was a closet socialist who was working towards the indoctrination of subsequent generations of Americans into accepting the doctrine of Socialism over the rational and free nation that was originally founded and they were born in.”

Dronning shouted at Boatman.

“You are refusing to accept my authority!”

Boatman calmly replied.

“Authority in founded on knowledge, tovarish. As you are demonstrating the absolute opposite, all of the rational minds in this room have no choice but to ignore you and your mouth droppings.”

For Dronning, especially being addressed as a comrade in Russian, this was too much. He ordered Boatman to leave the class and go to the Vice Principal’s office.

Steven Marchuk, the Vice Principal of Sheridan Junior High School, had been read in on Boatman and his mission.

“You are already making enemies here.” Said Marchuk.

“These are clearly irrational times.” Boatman replied. “It’s not surprising that some folks would be outraged at a statement of fact.”

“Dronning also said that you threatened him.”

“Nonsense.” Boatman replied.

Boatman then retrieved a small device from the internal breast pocket of his suit. He pressed a series of virtual buttons on the dynamic display and showed the screen of the device to Marchuk. The device then played a video file of the incident as recorded by the tiny camera on the front of the suit jacket.

“So he lied.” Said Marchuk.

“Yes.” Boatman replied.

With classes for him practically ended for the day Boatman waited for Stephanie at the University Avenue entrance of the school. Stephanie was smiling as she walked up to him. He fully embraced her and gave her another adult kiss.

“So we’re a couple?” She asked.

“Yes.” He replied.

“Um,” she said, “maybe this is too early, but...”

“Sex?” He said.


He replied to her as an adult speaking to an adult..

“Stephanie, are you ready to become a mother?”

She was shocked at the question.

“No!” She replied.

He nodded and spoke again.

“Some problems take time and thought to solve, this is no exception.”

Of course one of the issues he would face was his relationship to his daughter and the crew of the Falcon. There was absolutely no way that they would follow a man that sexually used a teenage girl.

As he walked with Stephanie to her family home Boatman noticed that Joey was distantly following them.

Something may have to be done about him. He thought.

Later in the evening at his current residence L. Ron Hubbard--the founder of the Church of Scientology--was opening a large manila envelope that was addressed to him.

The contents of the envelope were pages containing text and photographs. Hubbard then read the cover letter.

As a practitioner of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism I would not normally care about any aspect of Scientology or Dianetics. However, as a result of our accidental journey backwards in time we have information that does concern you and the COS. After your death on the original timeline in 1986 a young man, David Miscavige, had in a fashion contrary to your instructions taken control of the COS. As the head of COS Miscavige had practiced Black Dianetics and brought the church to the edge of extinction. Normally I would not be concerned about this but his actions would ultimately result in the inflicting of needless suffering on members of the Sea Org and at least one senseless and preventable death. As an Objectivist I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen without an intervention. I fully recommend that Miscavige be permanently disconnected from the COS. As to the question of if process R2-45 should be carried out on him I will leave this to you.

Evelyn Boatman, Mission Commander of Starship Falcon

Scientology process R2-45 was the termination of a life with a M1911A1 pistol. Hubbard himself had personally described it as, “an enormously effective process for exteriorization but its use is frowned upon by this society at this time.”

Some people in the audience at the time had found this statement humorous.

Hubbard now sat back in his chair to examine and contemplate the contents of the package.

The next day in the United Kingdom a girl attending a boarding school for the upper classes opened a parcel that was addressed to her. Diana Spencer read a brief history of what had been her life on the original timeline. The document included a series of photographs that concluded with her adult counterpart laying in the wreckage of a luxury car in Paris.

Diana simply didn’t know what to do.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Another Step Back - Part 2

Wednesday September 17, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Evelyn Boatman was a very old man in a young body. Because of this he was not actually required to attend any American public school in the Standard Year of 1975. But there were two students at Sheridan Junior High School in Minneapolis that would have a positive impact on the American Nation in about four decades and he clearly wanted to meet with them. And now there was another student, a girl whose actions would also have a positive impact on the whole of humanity in the future.

Earlier in the morning he told Stephanie Cook that she could be naturally beautiful if she allowed herself to be so.

And she was.

The school lunch, which normally featured an institutional substitute for edible matter, was served in the basement lunchroom. Being fully aware of the nature and history of the school lunch, and of the American public education system in general, Evelyn had packed two self-made peanut butter sandwiches for his own lunch. He was about to wolf them down with whole milk when Stephanie stepped into the lunchroom.

The slut-wear was gone along with the heavy makeup and cheap costume jewelry. Even her hair had been washed and the style had been moderated to a degree. In the place of the slut-wear she was wearing a large long-sleeved white blouse and a long denim skirt.

This was likely what she wore when leaving home this morning, it certainly would have hid the slut-wear from her Mother and the gym class would have been the perfect opportunity to make the change back to it. He thought.

In both his direct and peripheral vision Boatman saw that the attention of most of the other students had turned to her as she walked by. And Stephanie had turned her attention to him. He watched as she went through the lunch line and then directly approached his position in the lunchroom. Stephanie actually smiled as she walked up to the table where he was seated.

As an ancient and proper gentleman Boatman stood up and pulled out a chair for Stephanie to sit upon. Once she was properly seated he resumed his own seat next to her.

“Miss Cook,” he said in his clearly mature voice, “your presence here is clearly welcome.”

Stephanie smiled.

“Thank you.” She replied.

Stephanie looked around the lunchroom and spoke again.

“It's like everyone is staring at me.”

Boatman replied.

“Stephanie, natural beauty is far superior to an artificially made made up appearance. You're now setting a positive example for everyone.”

Stephanie smiled again.

The fact was that if it weren't for the issues with age Boatman would actually be willing to initiate a closer relationship with Stephanie. A very close relationship. The woman that was her counterpart on the original timeline was someone he clearly could have married. If this version of Stephanie could grow up to be a fully rational woman she certainly would be his first choice for a marriage.

And as there was no way for the Falcon and its company to return to the time and place of origin there simply was no other alternative but to live here and now on the Earth.

“Now,” Boatman said to her, “isn't this far more comfortable than what you were wearing before?”

“Yes.” She replied.

“Good.” He said.

Stephanie spoke again.

“I was trying to be more mature.”

Boatman nodded before his reply.

“That is good, but the thing is that maturity is essentially a state of mind and therefore cannot be faked. If there is an actual shortcut to maturity it is to be rational, which is to see things and people as they are and treat them correctly.”

Stephanie stared at him in amazement.

Boatman spoke again.

“Seriously,” he said, “the schools are much better where I come from.”

The original incarnation of Evelyn Boatman had earned a Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Cal Tech in the 22nd Century. And he never bothered to count the number of times he turned down an honorary Doctorate before leaving the Solar System in the last of the starships that he built at the start of his second life.

Boatman then asked her a question.

“If I may be so forward, did you want to start a relationship?”

Stephanie blinked.

Boatman spoke again.

“You know, to go on dates, and such?”

“Yes.” She gently replied.

Then the conversation was rudely interrupted.

“Hey you!”

This was shouted at Boatman by a boy of obvious Mediterranean ancestry with uncut dark hair and who was wearing a fedora type hat.

“Joey...” said Stephanie under her breath.

Boatman stood up, he was clearly taller that the interloper and stared down at him.

“Is there a problem?” He said calmly.

“Yes there is, Asshole!” Joey shouted. “Stephanie is my girl!”

Boatman continued to stare down at him and thought for a moment.

This jerk couldn't possibly be the father of John Cook? If so, it's no wonder that he wouldn't be mentioned in any biography.

Boatman calmly replied.

“Joey, is it? The absolute fact of reality is that Miss Cook is not your possession. Miss Cook can speak to anyone she wishes to. And given your public behavior it's no surprise that she isn't speaking to you.”

Or seeking an alternative. He thought.

“So what are you gonna do about it?” Joey shouted back.

Evelyn looked at Stephanie and spoke.

“Stephanie, could you stand for a moment?”

Stephanie stood up and Evelyn fully embraced and gave her a full adult kiss upon the mouth. Stephanie felt as if she were melting and desperately embraced Evelyn for dear life. Even with their eyes closed Evelyn and Stephanie could hear the cheering of many of the other students in the lunchroom as they held on to each other.

When they finally opened their eyes and looked around it was clear that Joey had departed the scene.

“That was ahead of the schedule.” He said.

“Yes.” She replied.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Step Back

Another alternate history story:

Wednesday September 17, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The new student looked around the second floor classroom before he sat down at an empty desk. For most of the school day the room would be used for science classes at 7th grade level. But at this very moment in the morning it was the home room for a group of 9th grade students at the Sheridan Junior High School in Northeast Minneapolis. The fact was that he and the crew of the Falcon should not be stuck back in the late 20th Century. How they came to be here at this moment was a story in itself. And this was a story that could not be told, at least to any civilian presently on the ground.

The other students in the room stared at him as if he were an alien from another planet. He could only ignore them--so he did.

The home room teacher then stood up and spoke.

"Today we have a new student," he said, "Evelyn Boatman."

Boatman stood up. At this point he only appeared to be a few months past 14 years standard years old. In his haircut and attire he was very conservatively dressed compared to the other boys at the time. The hair was cut within the standards for the United States Air Force or of the NASA Astronaut Corps. His suit was also very conservative compared to what the other boys were wearing in the classroom. For today he chose to wear a dark blue Nehru pattern suit with a plain white shirt.

"Thank you, sir." He replied.

He made no effort to hide the fact that his voice was that of a man with two centuries of life experience. The concept of Recorporation, the technological replication of Reincarnation, was effectively unknown to the common American culture at this time. And frankly he had a difficult time explaining it to President Ford at their initial meeting at Edwards Air Force Base upon their arrival on the Earth.

Perhaps Ford was actually the mental blank slate that most of the historians who covered the period made him out to be.

The teacher spoke again.

"Could you tell us where you are from?"

Boatman had expected this question and he wasn't at all happy to answer it.

"I really couldn't." he replied, "It would be completely beyond belief and for all practical purposes I may as well be from another planet."

The original incarnation of Evelyn Boatman was born on the Jovian satellite of Ganymede in the Standard Year 2112 of the original timeline. But to actually say so would blow his cover as a mere student in an American junior high school.

And--of course--no one on the ground here and now would believe him as well.

Evelyn then sat down. The home room teacher was left speechless for a moment before moving onto the next item of classroom business.

Even though the home room teacher was speaking he was not the center of attention in the room. Boatman could clearly see that the students were now looking at him as if he were in actual fact an alien from another planet.

So what?

But there was one girl who caught his attention with blond hair and blue eyes. In his opinion if she wasn't dressed and made up like a Hennepin Avenue hooker she would actually be pretty.

But then her name suddenly came into his mind like the blow to the head inflicted by John Cleese in the Fish Slapping Dance.

Stephanie Cook.

The mental image that came with the name was not that of the tarted up teenage girl, but of a very conservative white haired matron proudly standing by her very successful son. On the original timeline Stephanie Cook had become pregnant at the age of 14. The event had completely wrecked the original plans for her life. As a result of the pregnancy she dropped the nonsense she had practiced and cleaned up her life. And once her son was born she dedicated herself to raising him to be a fully intelligent and productive man.

On the original timeline John Cook would become the founder of Cook Industries. In the initial generation the firm would build the original chain of solar power satellites that orbited and powered the Earth. By the early 22nd Century the firm, which was still family owned, would be mining the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn for Helium-3 as fuel for fusion reactors.

And John's descendants in the 22nd Century were Ed and Dave Cook, who were the best friends of Boatman's original incarnation. They would personally fund the fleet of sublight starships that would take Humans to Alpha Centauri.

The fact that Stephanie Cook would be present was not a factor in Boatman's decision to attend this institution. There were two other students in attendance at Sheridan Junior High. And those students would become two of the founders of the political entity that emerged from the wreckage of the United States after The Reformation and The Final War.

The Federation was the polity that would politically unite and rebuild the Earth. It would then go on to colonize Mars along with the rest of the Solar System.

The fact was that having accepted the notion of hiding in plain sight Boatman could have chosen any place in the United States to conceal himself from hostile prying minds. But it was in this school that the history of Humanity was being made. And he wanted to be certain that it would still be made right.

Once the daily business was completed the students were released to go to their first class of the morning. As he stepped out of the classroom into the hall Boatman heard a girl speak to him.

"Uh, Evelyn?"

He turned around, it was Stephanie.

"Yes?" He said.

"I was wondering if we could..."

"I'm sorry Miss," he said politely, "but I didn't get your name."

She was a bit stunned. But she did respond.

"Stephanie...Stephanie Cook."

He nodded before replying, and then made no effort to hide the fact that his voice was that of an adult guardian speaking to a child.

"Stephanie, if you want to get together later on there is something you will need to understand--and I don't know how to put this in a nice way--but you look like a common prostitute."

She was shocked.


"I'm sorry to have to say this, but while you may be trying to appear mature you are in fact strongly resembling a Hennepin Avenue hooker, or worse, one of those working down on Lake Street."

Before moving in Boatman had done his research on the areas of the city to be avoided.

Stephanie was beginning to appear deflated but Boatman continued.

"Stephanie, you are a naturally beautiful young woman and you simply don't need to tart up. The boys who are impressed by it are losers and simply not worth the pain you will experience with them. Just be yourself, then the good men--the truly intelligent young men--will naturally come to you."

Stephanie then broke the deflation of her face with a slight smile.

"Stephanie, there is much more that I can say on this, but it will have to wait until later, okay?"


With that it was time for the first class of the new day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Step Forward - Part 4

The aircraft was a Gulfstream business jet in civil colors with a British civil registration, it was flown by a Federation Air Forces flight crew.

The flight attendant gave Al bottle of Coke Zero and something to read. It was the report on the interrogation on the prisoner.

The Gulfstream landed at Lawson Army Airfield, near the Main Post area of Fort Benning. The aircraft was met by a group of men in civilian clothes. Even though the men were dressed as civilians it was obvious to any experienced and intelligent observer that all of them were veteran soldiers.

Al stepped off of the plane and walked over to the group. No one the group saluted him as he walked up. There was a standing rule in the Special Unit prohibiting that.

Uri, the leader of the group spoke.

“We are ready, sir.”

“Fine,” said Al, “let’s do it.”

Apart from a white Ford Econoline van the motorcade consisted of standard issue Ford sedans. Al was led to the second car in the line, where he sat on right side of the back seat.

The motorcade began the drive north out of the Main Post area.

During the flight down to Fort Benning, Al had only read the interrogation report. Now on the final ride did he begin to think about what he would say to the captive.

Mom was worried about you. My Mom, but she was still worried.

You know, I thought it was really bad when Sergeant Steve Barry, I’m sure that you remember him, had renounced Objectivism and completely destroyed the credibility of The Resister and the Special Forces Underground, and that we had no choice but to go on without him. But that wasn’t far enough, you just had to go further.

You didn’t just renounce reason and reality, you had to go all the way and completely dehumanize yourself.

You were there at West Point when Ayn Rand gave the commencement address. I followed you into The Objectivist Movement and The United States Army.

I had looked up to you.

I had looked up to you!

There was no excuse. There was absolutely no possibility of an excuse for what you did.

If you had just only returned to the worship of Jesus Christ, that would merely be a cause for disappointment, from my point of view, but you had to convert to the worst religion ever invented by a predatory con-artist.

You had to just degrade yourself in the most utterly disgusting way to the most utterly fake deity ever conceived by the mind of a mere mortal. And you had to degrade yourself to a figment of a pedophile criminal’s imagination.

Perhaps I may be incorrect, but I do recall that a German Marxist intellectual once wrote that each of us perceives of a divine being as a reflection of our own values. To a productive person who wanted to worship a god it would feel right to follow a working guy like Jesus Christ. But a serial predator like the Big Mo had to invent and promote a deity that was a power tripping and destructive monster like himself.

Actually, the Big Mo didn’t invent a deity, he just stole and recycled an old old Arab pagan deity for his own use.

The motorcade had reached the Buena Vista Road and had taken a right turn.

Seriously, God is supposed to be, by definition, an omnipotent being. If he wants something to happen, it happens. If he doesn’t want something to happen, it simply will not happen. And an omnipotent being simply can have no needs that go unfulfilled.

God did not need to create us to in order to serve Him.

We were not created by God as fully human, we had to evolve to become rational and intelligent beings through a natural process. In short, WE had to do it THE HARD WAY!

So why does an alleged deity need to create a bunch of mere mortals like us to worship Him and to serve Him?”

And let’s for a take moment to a look at what the religions of our world are offering to us. Most of the religions of the world are calling to us to morally and spiritually grow up and to become members of the divine community. Basically to move in and eternally live with God, or with their gods if they’re a bunch of Pagans. But in Islam, those who submit to the obviously false god Allah, and obey the obviously false prophet Big Mo, and who in their supposedly holy names go out and conquer and abuse the unbelievers, will get to eternally rape a bunch of eternal victims as if they were a bunch of eternal animals in Allah’s eternal whorehouse.

And speaking on the subject of murder, you were a Special Forces sniping instructor. Was it too much trouble to just train the moron you sent out to murder me to just simply shoot me and not harm anyone else? Why harm any innocent bystanders?

Oh, that’s right, as far as Allah and the Big Mo was concerned there are no innocent bystanders. There is only the property of Allah, or there are those who refuse to be the property of Allah, who, as far as the Livestock of Allah should be concerned, are just vermin fit only for extermination. And if the Livestock of Allah want to go out and rape, rob, and murder some infidels? Well Allah and The Big Mo says, go ahead.

And have fun doing it.

The Motorcade passed the northern end of the Malone Complex, a series of infantry weapons ranges. They now entered a disused section of the Fort Benning Military Reservation. The section of road they were entering looked like it had not been maintained in forty years.

The rearmost vehicle in the motorcade stopped and turned to block any further traffic from using the road.

So why are we taking care of this instead of letting the courts deal with you?

Why not? Why shouldn’t we?

The doctrine of Islam claims that the entire body of laws made by men, thousands of years of effort by mankind to create a just society, thousands of years of effort by of good men, who wrote legal charters and laws, including our original Constitution and our Bill Of Rights, are simply nullified by the mouth droppings of the Big Mo.

On what grounds can those who deny The Rights of Man can claim protection the under those very same rights?

The answer is none whatsoever.

So what we are doing to you is basically covered under the Saigon Rules.

Perhaps, thought Allen, it would be best to just not say anything at all.

When he enlisted in The Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Allen had seen a full terrain map of the post. Out of curiosity, he drove around to look at things.

On the map he had noticed a dirt airstrip. When he went to look at it he found that it had been converted to a training area, with old tanks and other armored vehicles, some dating from the Second World War, parked on the strip.

Now in the time since Al was discharged from the Army the forest had grown back onto the strip and the old vehicles had completely rusted over. The training area appeared to be completely abandoned.

The motorcade pulled into the remnant of a driveway and onto the abandoned airstrip.

Roughly half the men in the group brought out their M24A1 bullpup configuration and optically sighted assault rifles from their cars and took up positions around the spot where they parked. The other half of the group brought out some shovels from the cars.

“Right,” said Allen, “let’s finish it.”

A man-sized hole was dug. The sod and the dirt from beneath it were placed in two separate piles.

When the hole was completed the men who were in the van brought out their prisoner.

Gabriel Keller was brought to the edge of the hole.

Gabriel had adopted a Muslim name when he converted to Islam and became a mullah. Allen and just could not be bothered to remember it.

And then he did, Gabriel had adopted the Muslim form of his given name.

How convenient, Allen thought.

Gabriel had been bound and gagged with duct tape. His head and facial hair were almost as white as his stepmother’s. If his eyes were showing any emotion at all, it was a state of rage at being found, being arrested, and being in the custody of his Atheist stepbrother and the group of Jews under his command.

He was dressed in the ragged remains of the clothes he was arrested in and showed signs of having been physically interrogated. He gave off the scent of urine and feces.

Allen looked down at Gabriel.

At this point he didn’t really have anything to say. He just brought out the pistol from the holster, grabbed the slide and pulled it back to chamber the round.

And then he thought of something. It just popped into his head. It was Biblical, but at this point he didn’t care.

Allen quoted from the English Translation of the Catholic Edition of The Bible, from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 10, Verse 21.

“The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death...”

Allen aimed his pistol at Gabriel’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

The report of the weapon was deafening.

Gabriel’s brains sprayed out of the back of his head.

Gabriel fell backwards to the ground.

Allen holstered his weapon and spoke.

“Gentlemen, you may finish the job.”

As the group began the task of burial, Al saw where the bullet casing had fallen. He picked it up, looked at it, and then tossed it in the hole.

Allen heard one of the men say a prayer for the immortal soul of his deceased stepbrother. He did not even think of berating or interrupting him.


The ship that was taking the first group of colonists to Mars had completed the burn that placed her into the transfer orbit. The captain said that it was now possible to unbuckle and take a look out the porthole.

Allen had waited for everyone to look out before he floated over in free fall with Anson and Sonya.

Out of the porthole they could see both the Earth and the Moon. From their position in space both worlds appeared in be in a half phase. Equally dark and illuminated by the Sun.

Anson had a question.

“Will we ever go back?”

Allen was surprised by the question. He quickly responded.

“Why would we have to?”

Step Forward - Part 3

Al sat on his side of the bed he once shared with Susan. He was reading another report on the hunt for the Hidden Mullah by the light of the lamp on the night stand.

Sonya came into the master bedroom. She was wearing a robe. And as far as Al could tell, nothing else. Not even the wig and makeup she used to cover her burn scars.

Sonya and her production team had been standing outside of the city of Jerusalem when the attack on the State of Israel began. She had provided a literal play by play account on the air as the Israeli anti-ballistic missile system tried to intercept the in incoming warheads.

One got through.

Even though she was outside of the city and there was something solid between her and the point of ground zero, she still received serious burns in the attack.

“I put Anson to bed.” She said.

“Okay.” Al replied.

When she was rescued from the smoking ruins of Israel, Sonya was allowed to stay at Allen and Susan’s home. She effectively knew it like the back of her scarred hands.

Sonya climbed onto the bed and knelt beside Al.

“Why are you on my bed?” Said Al.

“I don’t like to sleep alone.” Said Sonya.

“Neither do I.” Said Al.

This is too soon. He thought.

Al set aside the report and brought the remains of his left hand to the back of Sonya’s neck. He gently pulled her head down and he kissed her. They continued to kiss. And then they went beyond kissing.

When they were finished, Al turned off the lamp.

It was, even by the standards of the present day, an indecently short interval had passed between the funeral of Susan and Alice, and the wedding of Allen and Sonya.

Allen married Sonya in a civil ceremony, which was performed by a Federal Judge and in the Presidential Residence in Omaha. John and his wife were present, of course. But neither Al’s Mother nor members of Sonya’s family were present. Al’s Mother had responded to the invitation by writing that she was too ill to travel. And Sonya’s immediate family, her parents, brother and sister, had died with the city of Jerusalem.

Allen, Anson, and Sonya went on the honeymoon together.

Al decided, for obvious security reasons, to stick to the English speaking part of the world. Even though London had been effectively erased during The Final War, the remainder of the old United Kingdom was open to tourists.

Al got to go into the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles once played. Al also had to explain to his son who The Beatles were.

They also got to see the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank.

“What are they listening to?” Anson asked.

“Everything.” Al replied. “Stars, planets, galaxies, black holes, lots of things.”

Then Al remembered something.

“But the big mystery is, where is everyone else?”

“Everyone else?” Said Anson.

“Yes, everyone else.” Said Al. “It is generally expected that there should be other worlds like our Earth in the universe, and on these other Earths there should be people very much like ourselves.”

While Anson was listening intently, Al continued to speak.

“And these people should have a civilization very much like what we have here on Earth, and a civilization like ours should give off all sorts of radio noise.”

Sonya jumped into the discussion.

“There should be radio and television stations, communication satellites...”

Then Sonya thought of something.

“The electrical power grid!” She exclaimed.

“Yes.” Said Al. “If someone were to listen to Earth on their radio telescope they would hear the hum from our power grid at sixty cycles a second.”

“Except here in England,” said Sonya, “where their system runs at fifty cycles a second.

Anson had another question.

“Why do the English use a”

“Frequency.” Said Sonya.

“Why do the English use a different frequency?” Said Anson.

Al was a bit embarrassed to answer.

“Why do the English insist on driving on the left side of the road?” Said Al. “As far as I can tell they insist on being different, really different, and they’ve been bloody militant about it ever since they were brought into The Federation.”

Eventually Allen, Anson, and Sonya returned to Minneapolis, to begin to prepare for their journey to Mars.


It was another morning, and with it, another day of preparations for the journey to Mars.

On the previous day Al and Sonya were going through their personal libraries and choosing the books that they would would physically take to Mars, and those which would be electronically scanned and copied.

From his own personal collection Al chose to bring along hardcover copies of the complete works works of Ayn Rand, and her successor as the Leader of the Objectivist Movement, Leonard Peikoff, and rest of the official Objectivist Canon. He also chose a work by Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers.

Al also chose to bring along a a really old and beat up copy of a paperback novel.

Galaxy 666 by Pel Torro?” Said Sonya as she picked it up.

“Yes.” Said Al. “It is, by reputation, the worst science fiction novel ever published in the English language. It took a great amount of time and trouble for me to acquire a copy.”

“Surely, you can’t be serious?” Said Sonya.

Al avoided the obvious response but still answered anyway. He took the copy from her hands, opened it to a bookmarked page, and pointed to a paragraph.

“Read that.” He said.

The paragraph was an example of purple prose which illuminated the absurdity of using the word “terrain” to describe the exogeological features of the alien planet that the characters were walking on.

She read the paragraph.

Having become acclimatized to the pink-tinged light, which gave everywhere a strangely roseate appearance, and which had the effect of lulling their senses into a rather dreamy false security, the four explorers looked down at the ground beneath their feet. The ground beneath their feet was a very odd sort of terrain - - though “terrain” is not, strictly speaking, the kind of word that ought to be used to describe the ground of a planet that was not earth. Like so many of the old earth words, it has crept into the vocabulary of the empire. So they examined the terrain.

“Oh, my God!” Exclaimed Sonya.

“You could say that.” Said Al.

“Somebody actually wrote this?” Said Sonya.

“Yes. Under a pen name” Al replied. “His actual name is Robert Lionel Fanthorpe, he’s about five years older than my Mom, he managed to not get vaporized along with the City of London, and he’s still at it.”

“At what?” Said Sonya.

“Writing.” Al replied.

Sonya was stunned into silence.

Al had to say something.

“If I learned anything from reading it,” he said, “It’s to avoid science fiction novels written by bikers, martial arts instructors, and members of the Anglican clergy who are a bit short on cash.”

“And you’re going to take it to Mars?” Sonya said.

“Yes.” Said Al. “I’m bringing along the best works ever written, I may as well bring an example of the worst fiction ever published. It should take up no more payload mass than a good pair of socks.”

“Well, as long as they’re your socks.” She replied.

That was yesterday.

Today, in the office and library in Al’s home the telephone rang.

A diode in an unmarked button on the primary part of the phone emitted a red light. This indicated the the encryption system built into the phone had been activated. One other person in the world had a telephone that could do that to his phone.

Al picked up the receiver and spoke.

“Yes, John.” He said.

“We got the son of a bitch.” Said The President. “He’s being held in the Fort Benning Stockade. Everything else that you asked for is being arranged. A car is on the way to your house to pick you up.”

“Thank you, John.” Said Al.

The line went dead.

The first thing that Al did was to take a shower. He expected this trip to be a long one. The second thing he did was to pick out and put on a suit. He chose one that was basic and comfortable. He also decided to wear a shoulder holster under the jacket.

The last thing was to pick out a firearm.

He chose a M1911A1. It was a commercial copy of the weapon made by the Springfield Armory. And just because he thought it would be cool, he had three words in ancient Latin engraved on the top of the slide.


The ultimate resort of citizens.

He inserted a full magazine into the pistol grip. But he did not pull the slide back to chamber a round.

He placed the weapon in the shoulder holster.

Sonya came up the stairs.

“There’s a car waiting for you downstairs.” She said. “What’s going on?”

Al answered her.

“One last ride with the Special Unit.” He said. “Then it’s over, it will be all over.”

Al kissed his new wife and went downstairs.

Anson was waiting by the door. He had seen the car waiting in front of the house and reached the correct conclusion. That his father was going somewhere.

“Where are you going, Daddy?” Asked Anson.

Even though it would hurt like Hell to get up again, Al knelt on his knees on the floor to answer his son.

“I’m doing one last thing for the government, and when I’m finished with it, then we can go to Mars.”

He managed to tell most of the truth without mentioning any of the nasty parts.

His knees hurt when he stood up again.

The vehicle was a plain government issue Ford sedan. The ride to the airport was relatively short. The driver took the Hiawatha Avenue exit from Minnesota Highway 62 and drove onto the Minnesota Air National Guard Base.

Step Forward - Part 2

Al was eventually moved to a private room. The two PPS agents and the fire team of Paras went with him. He received a visit on the subject of security from the medical center administrator. The PPS agents stood in the background.

“I want those thugs removed from this facility!” Said the Administrator.

“What thugs?” Said Al.

“Your security detail!” Shouted the Administrator.

The Lead PPS Agent spoke up. He had dark brown hair, was constructed like a bodybuilder, and spoke with an obvious Scottish accent.

“There have two attempts on your life sir, since you were admitted to this facility.”

“Only two?” Said Al.

“Yes, sir.” Said the Lead Agent. “Only two, so far, by supporters of the late President Null.”

Well that’s no surprise, thought Al, some people are bound to be a bit upset when you apprehend and summarily execute their Glorious Leader.

And, of course, the latest manifestation of the
Ubermensch mentality really doesn’t like to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us and to be legally compelled to treat us mere mortals as fully Human.

A proper chewing out of the Administrator would require the services of a Marine Corps drill instructor. Al would just have to make the best response that he could from the hospital bed.

“First,” said Al, “there have been attempts to take my life, that means that the security detail stays, regardless of how you feel about it.”

“Second,” he continued, “these gentlemen are not thugs, and I will not tolerate them being spoken of as such that in my presence.”

“Third,” Al said as he pointed his right index finger at the Administrator, “we are now living in a proper Capitalist Civilization, and if you don’t like your present working conditions, you are free to go find a job somewhere else.”

The Administrator was stunned into silence.

Al gave the Administrator a chance to speak up, he remained silent.

“Well,” said Al, “If you have nothing else to say, then this meeting is over.”

The Administrator quietly walked out of the room.

“Good one, sir.” Said the Lead PPS Agent.

“I try.” Said Al.

Eventually Al was released from the hospital.

The event was what in some respects could be called a cluster of fun.

A mixed motorcade of Federation Army Humvees with Minneapolis Police and civilian Ford sedans was parked on Seventh Street under a section of the HCMC. A mixed group of British Paras, PPS Agents, and uniformed Minneapolis Police officers had blocked off the street. Reporters and camera teams from the remaining local stations and national networks had placed themselves at the ends of the block. Present at the time of his discharge were Sonya, his mother and son, and a man who was dressed in casual civilian clothes.

Al sat the back seat with the civilian gentleman.

Uri was the field commander of the Special Unit. He gave Al a large manila envelope.

Al began to read the contents. The top sheet was a copy of a syndicated comic strip. The award winning leftist comic strip had begun publication in 1970 and its author had gone into exile as a result of The Reformation. Most of the characters in his newspaper and now online comic strip had been executed or forced into exile as a result of The Reformation. One character, a former Viet Cong terrorist, had to witness the return of Vietnam to being a proper Capitalist society.

The sheet that Al held in his hand was a Sunday strip that celebrated the assassination attempt on himself and the murder of his wife and daughter.

Al thought for a moment.

If I was the kind of monster that this idiot insists on worshiping, I could have him terminated with one phone call.

But no.
Al thought. I’ll do something worse. Far worse.

I will just let him live. I’ll let him witness the intellectual dismantling of his holy socialist doctrine. I’ll just let him see as the truth about the death and destruction brought about by those that he worshiped comes to light.

And I’ll just outlive the son of a bitch.

The rest of the document was a progress report on the search for the Hidden Mullah.

Uri spoke.

“Sir, I have a request.”

“The ancient tradition?” Said Al.

“Yes, sir.” Said Uri.

“Go ahead.” Said Al.

The motorcade departed from the section of HCMC that was built over Seventh Street. The motorcade turned right on Third Avenue and crossed the Third Avenue Bridge onto Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

Susan had been raised in the Catholic Church. She and her daughter were buried in the Catholic cemetery on Central Avenue just north of Twenty Seventh Avenue. The Minneapolis Police blocked off the entrance of the cemetery.

The motorcade turned left into the cemetery and parked as close to the grave site as possible.

Roughly half of the security detail took up positions around the parked vehicles. The other part surrounded Al and the other visitors to the burial site.

As Al and his other family members stopped before the graves. Uri stepped behind the headstones, took two pebbles from his coat pocket, and placed one on each headstone.

“What is he doing?” Mother asked.

“It’s an ancient tradition.” Said Al. “I believe that it goes back to the Book of Judges of the Old Testament.”

Mother started to ask a question.

“Is he a...”

Al softly but abruptly cut her off.

“Stop!” Said Al. “I will not have you embarrassing me here in front of everyone.”

Al brought his tone of voice down before finishing his answer.

“I will explain later.”

When Al was finished with the visit to the graves of Susan and Alice he returned to the car. The motorcade crossed the Mississippi River at the Hennepin Avenue bridge. They continued southwest down Hennepin Avenue to the Uptown Neighborhood and turned right at Twenty Fourth Street to the house where Al and Susan lived.

When the family entered the house, Al spoke.

“Sonya,” he said, “Please take Anson upstairs, I need to speak to Mom alone.”

Sonya took Anson upstairs. Al pointed to the sofa in the sitting room and said one word to his mother.


His mother sat down on the sofa. She spoke up.

“That was a Kike? Wasn’t it?”

Al cupped his right hand and brought it up to his right ear as if were hard of hearing and replied.

“I’m sorry Mother, I didn’t hear what you said.”

“You know damned well what I said!” She replied.

Al stared at his mother for a moment. And then he replied.

“Uri is a Jew. He is the head of a group of former Israeli soldiers who work for President March under my direction.”

“What do they do?” His mother asked.

“Wet work.” Al replied. “It’s a euphemism. Look it up yourself.”

Al had something else to say to his mother.

“Shut up and listen,” he said, “I have a story to tell.”

Al remained standing as he spoke.

“When Governor March was elected President, his predecessor, President Null, decided to not to surrender the office to him as required by the Constitution. Null ordered the Secret Service detail that was guarding Governor March to place him under arrest.”

Al decided not to mention the firefight that occurred in the State Capital Building between the Secret Service detail and members of both the Minnesota State Patrol and the National Guard. Or to mention the two Secret Service agents that he was credited with killing with the semi-automatic rebuild of the Austrian SA-58 battle rifle that he usually kept in the trunk of his own car.

“Needless to say, our armed forces stuck with the Constitution, and accepted John as their Commander In Chief. We set up our headquarters at the Strategic Command base outside of Omaha.”

“The what?” Said his mother.

“It used to be called the Strategic Air Command. A bunch of movies were made about it, including one starring Jimmy Stewart. He flew bombers during the Second World War and was also a General in the Air Force Reserve. And he also got to fly a B-52 on a mission over North Vietnam.”

Lucky bastard. Thought Al.

Al continued to lecture his mother.

“John and I both got offices in the old SAC command bunker. And we were working the late shift when the Final War started.”

Mother was left speechless.

“So what happened?” Said Al. “The president of we now call Frogistan had a problem. There were a mob of Muslim immigrants rioting in the streets of Paris. He could have called out the army and machine-gunned the rioters. After all, their first emperor had put down a riot by essentially doing the same thing with cannons.”

“And, of course,” said Al, “Islam is an ideology that calls for the enslavement and murder of nonbelievers. Killing a Muslim would be no more an act of murder than killing a National Socialist or a Communist.”

“A what?” Said his mother.

“Otherwise known as the Nazis and the Reds, the motherfuckers who wrote the history of the last century in human blood.”

Al continued the lecture.

“But their president decided to act like a typical present day Froggish leader and appease the mob. He did this by nuking the State of Israel.”

“John and I were in the office when the alarm went off.” Al said. “I made the call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to notify him of the attack, and I made the promise that his people would have a sanctuary here in the United States.”

Mother’s eyes widened.

“If you want to know why we had the sudden intake of Jews, that was my doing.” Said Al. “And President March put me in charge of the project.”

Al decided to skip the part about the nuclear retaliatory strike on the French.

“But the remaining Muslim states were actively interfering with the evacuation effort, they just wanted to serve Allah, never mind the real world consequences, so I called John and asked him to nuke the other Muslims.” Al said. “With that one phone call I managed to rack up a body count greater than that of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined.”

“Stalin and who?” Said Mother.

“Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, they were Communist leaders, and they also loved children.”

Mother was openly shocked.

“You did all that to save a bunch of Jews.?” She said.

“Yes Mother, I did.” He said. “And I’m not ashamed of it at all.”

His mother was stunned into silence.

Al spoke again.

“I think it would be best if you went home, go pack your things.” He said. “I’ll have the PPS detail drive you to your home.”

Mother lived in an old farmhouse in central Minnesota, outside the town of Alexandria.

He would never see her again.

Step Forward - Part 1

He dreamed of fire.

The cities of his Nation, and of his Civilization, were on fire.

Someone, a group of hostile men, had set those fires.

He dreamed that the soldiers who were under his direction had entered the cities. To hunt down and kill those who set the cities on fire.

And when the soldiers under his command were done with the killing, the People of his Nation and his Civilization could begin to rebuild.

He dreamed that he had a life, again.

He dreamed that he had a wife, a son, and a daughter.

And he dreamed that there was an explosion.

And that there was blood. There was blood, all over, everywhere.

He regained consciousness.

Once, on one of his more cynical days, Evelyn Allen Keller said to his older half brother that the history of the Early Twenty First Century would be written in human blood. When he originally said that he did not imagine for a moment that the blood would that of himself, and his wife and daughter.

The glare of the overhead lights came through his remaining eyelid.

He opened his remaining eye.

Even though he wasn’t wearing his eyeglasses, it was very readily apparent that he was laying on a hospital bed in an intensive care ward. It was also apparent that only his right eye was functioning.

He raised his hands into what was left of his field of view. Apart from stitches and some bandaging it appeared that his right hand was completely intact. The left hand was completely bandaged over and it appeared that the little and ring fingers were missing.

Keller began to look around the room.

The room of the intensive care ward was walled in glass and that four paratroopers wearing their full British pattern uniforms, combat load, maroon berets, and holding their L85A1 assault rifles, were standing outside the door. The maroon beret was still worn by the paratroopers of the American 82nd Airborne Division and the British Parachute Regiment of the Federation Armies.

There were also two Presidential Protective Service agents visible outside the room.

Someone was sitting inside of the room. Even with the disposable isolation garments over her civilian clothes, and her eyeglasses she could still be reasonably described as attractive.

It also helped that the wig and makeup covered her burn scars.

She was also Sonya Newman, she was once a reporter for Fox News, then she became the press secretary for President March. Allen and his wife Susan had met her during the presidential campaign eight years ago. And they became good friends.

And she was here and alone.

She stood up and walked over to the side of the bed.

“Hello Evelyn.” She said. She was one of the few persons who could address him by his given name. And now she was only one who could do that. Even the President and his own Mother did not do that.

“Hello Sunny.” He replied.

He thought for a moment, and then spoke again.

“What happened and where am I?”

Sonya answered.

“There was a suicide bombing, roughly a week ago.” She said. “Apparently the bomber was a Caucasian American convert to Islam. You’re now in the ICU of HCMC.”

The Intensive Care Unit of the Hennepin County Medical Center in the city of Minneapolis.

Keller had to ask a question about his wife, son, and daughter.

“Susan, Anson, and Alice?”

“Anson was in the school building when it happened, he’s safe and with your Mother now.” She said. “We buried Susan and Alice yesterday. And John was there for the funeral.”

John Andrew March was one of Keller’s oldest friends. He was also the last President of the United States and the first President of the Federation.

“Where is John now?” He asked.

“He’s checked into the Presidential Suite at the downtown Radisson Hotel.” She replied.

The downtown Radisson was on the south side of Seventh Street between Nicollet and Hennepin Avenues. The hotel shared a parking ramp with the Macy’s department store on Nicollet Avenue, and the ramp exited on Eighth Street. It would be a straight drive from the hotel ramp to the HCMC.

Sonya had something else to say.

“Oh, and Rush Limbaugh is still complaining about Affirmative Action.”

“Really?” Said Keller. “I thought we banned it.”

“Well he isn’t really,” replied Sonya, “but I felt like I had to say something humorous.”

“Okay.” He nodded and replied.

From his bed Keller could see a PPS agent pull out a cell phone out of a pocket, dial a number, and start talking.

Keller lifted his right hand and pointed at the paratroopers just outside of the door.

“We have Paras here?” He said, using the common name for the British Parachute Regiment.

Sonya responded.

“Bravo Company of the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment has secured the hospital. John has brought the entire Federation Airborne Corps up to the Twin Cities. He’s using them to turn the area over looking for the Hidden Mosque and the Hidden Mullah.”

“If it’s who The Unit thinks it is,” said Keller, “I don’t believe that we’ll find him up here at all.”

Roughly ten minutes After the PPS agent made his call, Keller had two visitors, his Mother, and his son.

Keller’s Mother was eighty years old and her hair was completely white now. She was was barely able to walk by herself and had to use a wheelchair or a cane to move around most of the time. Anson was barely seven years old, and apart from his red hair, greatly reminded Keller of himself when he was that age.

The ICU staff helped them put on isolation garments and gloves. And an ICU nurse pushed his Mother’s wheelchair into the room.

“Hello Allen.” His Mother said.

“Hi Mom.” Al replied.

Al looked at his son and spoke.

“Hello Anson.”

“Hi Daddy,” Anson smiled and replied.

Mother spoke.

“We buried Susan and Alice yesterday.” She said.

“I know.” Al replied.

Mother continued to speak.

“We haven’t heard from Gabriel yet.” She said.

Allan thought that he to reply to his Mother with more gravity in his voice.

“I’m not at all surprised. Mother, you better face it, Gabriel is no longer your stepson, and as a result of what he chose to become, and what he has chosen to do, he is no longer a member of our family.” Allen said. “And anything else I have to say on the subject is covered by a security clearance.”

“You can’t say that!” Mother replied.

“I have to.” Said Allen. “For all practical purposes Gabriel is already dead, and you may as well morn for him right now.”

Mother could not believe what she just heard.

From his position in bed Allen could see a dozen more PPS agents and The President of The Federation enter the ICU. John March began to put on the isolation garments that were provided to him.. Allen looked back to his son and spoke.

“I have to talk to The President now,” he said, “I’ll try to get out of here as soon as possible. Okay?”

“Okay, Daddy.” Anson replied.

With his right hand Allen patted his son on the head. Sonya pushed Al’s Mother and her wheelchair out of the room. Anson followed them.

And then The President entered the room alone. Al spoke first.

“Hey, John.”

“Hey, Al.” He replied.

John March had attended Oxford to obtain his Doctorate in History. He picked up a wife and a slight British accent in the process.

Now he was the one who was making history.

John spoke again.

“You’re angry?”

“I’m sedated.” Said Al. “I’ll be really angry when this crap I’m on wears off.”

Al then spoke with a clear degree of seriousness.

“You know that the Airborne Corps are not going to find the Hidden Mullah.”

“I know.” Said John. “The Paras are being used to secure this hospital, your home in the Uptown area, and the hotel. The rest of the Airborne Corps is up here to perform some political theater. To give the impression that we are actually doing something. And who knows, they may actually catch some Muslims in hiding.”

John leaned down to say something else in a whisper.

“I also have Uri and the Special Unit doing the real work on catching the bastard.”

Uri, and the other members of the Special Unit were Israeli soldiers who survived the Second Holocaust. The Special Unit operated under Keller’s control and were tasked with hunting down and killing those who were responsible for the annihilation of Israel. And also with eliminating the other confirmed enemies of Rational Civilization.

John spoke again.

“Uri says that he has a lead on catching the bastard.”

“Good.” Said Al. “I want to be kept up to speed on this.”

John nodded.

“John,” said Al, “I have another request.”

“Yes?” Said John.

“I haven’t had long to think about this.” Al said. “But I think it’s time to move on.”

“What?” Said John.

“I understand that the position of Governor of the Mars Colony is still open.” Said Al. “I want it.”

“Al...” said John, “Al, you are fifty nine years old, and you were not in the best state of health to begin with. And I still need you here on Earth.”

Al waited a bit before answering John.

“If you will pardon me for being selfish,” said Al, “but I would be doing poor job of being a father if either I or my son were to be murdered by a Jihadist. I would think that about thirty five million miles of hard vacuum should be an effective barrier to that.”

John was stunned into silence. Al continued to speak.

“We just discovered the hard way that the Quarantine is not perfect. There will continue to be leakage and individuals outside who covert to Islam.”

Al continued to speak.

“And even if our successors in government were able to maintain the Quarantine, someone else may very well cook up another toxic ideology and start another global war. Given that most of the easily accessed resources on this planet have already been used up, that means that a technological collapse would condemn any of the remaining people to being stuck on the Earth and condemn them to eventual extinction.”

“You know,” said John, “You used to be an optimist.”

John and Allen had met during the first year of the Reagan Administration at The Little Tin Soldier Shop on Lake Street in Minneapolis. John was a spoiled rich kid who was into Dungeons And Dragons. Allen had introduced him to hard science fiction and a role playing game called Traveller. And in spite of efforts by his politically Leftist parent’s to dissuade him, John had also followed Allen in enlisting in The United States Army on the same day.

“We are now, for all practical purposes, in charge of the most powerful government on the planet.” Said Al. “If we didn’t think up worst case scenarios and work out plans for dealing with them, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs.”

“Yes.” Said John.

Al continued.

“And we have to move on.” He said. “We, The Human Race, have to move out into the Universe. And I always wanted to take a part in that.”

“Yes,” said John, “you always did.”

John had something else to say.

“Okay, I’ll push your appointment.” He said. “You do know that this will be a bitch to push through?”

“I wouldn’t think so.” Said Al. “There are so many people who hate or fear me that you should be able to get a simple majority just from the folks who want me off off the planet.”

That thought surprised John.

“In a strange way,” said John, “you are still an optimist.”

“And there’s another issue.” Said Al.

“Which is?” Said John.

“The Special Unit.” Said Al. “The members of the unit and their families will need a place of sanctuary after this ... this incident ... is properly dealt with.”

“Mars?” Said John.

“Yes.” Said Al.

“Why?” Said John.

“After all that has happened, you’re asking why?” Said Al.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t.” Said John.

Al nodded.

“Of course not.” He said.

Al thought for a moment before answering.

“I gave the orders.” He said. “The Special Unit carried them out.”

“Al.” said John. “you shot my predecessor, yourself.”

“Okay,” Al replied, “I did provide him with a round in the head in the old Soviet style. Apart from that, the Special Unit did most of the wet work. And they will get most of the blame in the histories written of our conflicts.”

John nodded, and Al continued to speak.

“In the Internet era, The winners, or more accurately, those who are politically dominant, can no longer control the general historical narrative.”

“If it were not for the net, we would already be dead.” Said John. “And anyone still alive would be under the boot of the Big Zero and compelled to sing the praises of his supreme leadership, or learning to speak Arabic, the hard way.”

Al nodded. And then spoke again.

“What was done, what we did, will be remembered, in an adverse fashion. And those who did it, and their families will need a place of sanctuary, too.”

John again nodded. And then he answered.

“Okay then,” he said, “they will have a ticket to Mars too.”

“Is there anything else?” Said John.

“Yes, I want to be kept up to speed on the Hidden Mullah case.” Said Al. “And if I think of anything else, you’ll get a fax or an e-mail.”

“Of course.” Said John.

That was all they had to say.