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Operation SERF, Part 4   (Chris Sullins, December 22, 2008)

“Why were you off mission?” asked the man sitting at the kitchen table in a farmhouse on the south side of the Ohio River. “What were you doing 30 miles inside of Indiana yesterday?”

“I lost three of my men,” replied John who was seated across from the man. They were the only two men in the room. “I needed to retrieve their complete remains and give some payback.”

“John, I regret you’ve lost some men, but there are going to be losses in this war,” began the bald man with a face wrinkled by a life of hard weather in the outdoors. “We have you on a critical mission and there isn’t time for personal vendettas. We’ll have a lot of time later to exact appropriate justice.”

“Scott,” began John,"I don’t think you understand. They took my men’s heads. I want them back. This isn’t just about retribution; it’s also the morale of my men over the long-run…”

“Stop right there,” Scott said sternly. “The long-term is not your problem, it’s mine. And, don’t think for a second that I haven’t had my share of severed heads. Been there, done that, played the tit-for-tat when you were still on your momma’s. I’m sorry about your men, but you don’t see the big picture. This intel has Mond somewhere in our area and we need you looking for him and not getting side-tracked.”

“Intel? Really?” John said in an incredulous tone. “What kind of so-called intel begins with ‘it is highly likely Mond is in a secure location in Kentucky probably in an area next to a boundary where three states meet.’ Has someone looked at a map?”

“Yes,” replied Scott in a cool unflappable way before leaning forward and putting his elbows on the table and laying his hands down crossed. “I have been where you are sitting right now and I understand your anger. It is the only reason why I am tolerating your attitude right now. But, you need to understand, and I mean clearly understand, that my tolerance has its limits. I want you back out there on mission making your way toward Ohio.”

“Great,” said John still somewhat angry, “only four more corners to go. Do you really think Mond is going to sit still and wait for me –especially inside unfriendly territory? He could be in a high-rise in Chicago or Indianapolis one floor beneath the President right now for all we know.”

“That’s not how Mond works,” explained Scott. “Mond might be a civilian fobbit –he was when I met him 20 years ago-- but he will still operate inside enemy territory wreaking havoc as long as he can. He can handle enemies fighting each other all around him. He won’t stop until he’s forced to move. When we cut his link, he’ll be helpless. We have another problem now, too.”

“And what’s that?” asked John as his anger deflated.

“The fat man knows Mond is somewhere in our territory,” answered Scott. “He’s going to send in his own teams. This is why I said you don’t see the big picture yet, John. Right now the factions are mostly concerned with internally suppressing their own populations and positioning themselves. We’re not at full war yet. It’s going to be hard playing hide and go seek with Mond and fighting the brown shirts sneaking into our own backyard without going off to the next block looking for some reds to fight.”

“So Mond indirectly uses us as a protective hedge against the fat man,” said John. “What’s the military doing?”

“For the most part the military hasn’t even reacted yet,” stated Scott. “Other than securing the borders, picking up the pieces on the East Coast, and protecting their own bases, they’re still waiting for orders. Right now they’re either getting no orders, conflicting orders, or suspect orders. As the news comes out about the attacks and they see how the chips are falling, they’re going to be forced to take sides.”

“And that news is?”

“First it will be home-grown domestic terrorists,” replied Scott without hesitation. “No foreigners on this one. The factions are all in agreement on how their game starts at least. But it will get hairy fast when the talking heads in different media outlets around the country begin pointing fingers at other public figures. Parties and feds followed by the states will be split. It has already happened out of the public eye. But as the curtain fully opens for the public’s view over the next few days, this is not going to be the usual so-n-so’s failure to do his job or an entire department’s lapse of security followed by firings and resignations, we’re talking about open accusations of multiple public figure’s involvement in terrorist acts followed by actual firing squads and scenes of fighting in the streets. Think break-up of Yugoslavia rather than C-SPAN hearings and LA riots.”

“So it’s really going all the way this time?” John said after a few moments of silence.

“Yes,” Scott said as he continued his explanation. “Over the last 72 hours each faction has already attempted to use the old law enforcement apparatus in attempts to detain or arrest other factions’ high-level members and there has been resistance. Again, we’re not talking about people negotiating on a location to meet followed by the old backroom deal that maintained the nation’s balance of power between the factions for decades; we’re talking about shoot-outs with bodyguards and even between agencies as loyalties are tested. This has been mostly at the federal level, but it is also starting in key states. Outside of what happened in DC and New York, there have been scores of assassinations across the country. Even the average person on the street knows that something on a far larger scale is being orchestrated right now. They can’t do much about it. Between the old security state and the factions’ private armies the sheep are being kept under control. Mostly. But, this game is already going beyond internal repression of the herd. There are too many players and they each want to control the board.”

John was silent again before asking, “Where are the physical lines being drawn nationwide –besides just between us and the others across the Ohio River?”

“We’re good on the South side of the Ohio River from all the way east of the Mississippi River straight across to the Atlantic and back down to the tip of Florida. The gray faction you’ve met holds everything north of the Ohio River and across Pennsylvania. They’re trying to get others west of the Mississippi to throw in with them. Between us and them on the East Coast there is a large area of FUBAR even outside of the cities that went toxic. On the positive side, the West is mostly out of play right now. That won’t be for long, though, and they’re going to have to make a decision,” said Scott. “I would love to talk with you further, but I have a meeting with Fort Knox and you need to resupply and get back out there.”

“Thanks, Scott.”

*         *         *

“Let’s call the committee to order,” said the first man. “Do we have a volunteer for secretary for this meeting? OK, thanks. All matters are open here for discussion, so let’s get started.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, if I may begin first,” said a lady who appeared to be the youngest member of the group seated with forty other people at a number of tables which had been set up in a large box shape in a conference center room.

“By all means, Stacey, please start us off,” said the Chairman.

“Wood shipments have arrived on-time from Michigan and Wisconsin and will be distributed for sale in the city as soon as the public control order is lifted. I need to note that we’re getting reports in the city about households and independent shops running out of firewood as they wait out the control order. I’m concerned this could lead to outbreaks of civil unrest –outbreaks which could be avoided if we eased things now. When can we lift the control order?”

“Well, let’s have internal security answer that one for us,” said the Chairman as he looked to the man seated at his right.

“We had some rioting in cities which didn’t get as much snow, but it looks like state assets have kept most of it under control,” said the other man. “The weather shut down all the cities and large towns further north which we were initially concerned about going into this. There were also isolated incidents across our entire area where people resisted the control order and still went to a place of worship sometime over the weekend beginning Friday night through yesterday. Behavior modification worked successfully with that in most locations. However, we did lose some teams in the wild areas of southern Indiana and northern Michigan. But, I’ll have the word go out to lift the control order tomorrow at dawn.”

“How many men did we lose?” asked another man with a crew-cut who sat across the open square of tables.

“Not many,” replied the man. “We lost about twenty of ours and fifty auxiliaries between the mod operations and attempts to take down other factions in flight. About three times that number of public service personnel from across the states was also killed during the riots. I’d say we’ve fared well. Better than expected. When can we start enforcing the internal no-go areas?”

“As soon as I have complete control of the air,” said the man with the crew-cut.

“And, when is that?” said another woman.

“I can’t give you a time-line yet,” replied the man. “I don’t know what kind of assets we or the other factions are going to end up with just yet.”

“What does that mean for us right now then?” she asked.

“It means we can’t risk the air we do have right now. It’s very limited. We can’t blow our air force in year zero,” he replied. “By the way, how’d you manage getting me some nukes for what I do have?”

“Not well, I’m afraid,” the woman answered. “I was told I couldn’t have any of the cruise missiles from out west.”

“Who told you this? What did they say to you?” asked the Chairman quickly back to back.

“It was an Air Force general –I can’t remember his name,” she began.

“Cass, what exactly did he say to you?” reiterated the Chairmen.

“He told me I was nuts –he used that word-- before he signed off,” Cass said.

The Chairmen let out a chuckle. “You’ve got love those military types who will still play it by the old book. We’ll need to send him the new edition. Find out where he has family, but also keep an eye on him. Let’s see who comes to Bastogne’s aid.”

“I’m sure it wasn’t a General Bastogne,” said Cass.

“Who’s General Bastogne?” asked the man sitting to the right of the Chairman.

“It’s not a person, it’s a place,” began the man with the crew-cut as murmurs and side conversations began, “back during World War II…”

“Enough, people, enough” said the Chairman and the talking ceased. “Let’s stay on topic, please. Bullet points only. Next.”

“Speaking of nukes,” said a frail man with a laptop, cell-phones, and satellite phones scattered over his portion of the table in front of him. “The UN and EU are wondering about ours. They keep calling me all hours. The Chinese even called me once over the weekend. I had to turn off all my phones before I even came in here. It’s been hard to get any real work done today.”

“What about the Russians? Did they call?” Asked Cass.

“No,” replied the frail man. “Nothing from them yet. Not a phone call or an email.”

“Did you check your fax machine?” asked another man in jest which was followed by some chuckles among the group.

“We’ve made it clear far in advance that we’d pose no threat to them,” said the Chairman. “Let’s move on to other business.”

“The President asked again today to see you,” said another man. “He’s been asking all weekend.”

“By the way,” began the Chairman, “how did he get dropped on our doorstep? Any answers yet? Gilbert, can you tell us anything?”

“I really think that was just a death spasm from the machine moving on its own,” answered the man with the crew-cut.

“When the head was removed from the machine and the eyes were put out,” the Chairman said as he looked at each of the people sitting around the outside of the box, “we weren’t suppose to end up with an old mouthpiece floating around. When the new machine is put together, there is not going to be a part labeled president on it. We might have worked him in yesterday for that nice fireside chat to comfort the flock, but everyone needs to bear in mind that his position isn’t part of the new model.”

“What about using him to get some nukes?” asked Gilbert.

“No,” answered the Chairman quickly. “That’s just going to confuse the new people that we’re trying to work into this program who are still on the outside. Again, it’s not part of our model. Not in year zero and not in year one thousand. Anything else?”

“Mr. Chairman, the President had asked to see you.”

“Oh, that again, yes,” said the Chairman. “Hasn’t someone shown him the secret Kennedy takes a drive in Dallas tape or dangled him over an open elevator shaft yet?”

The room went completely silent not only from a lack of human speech but from the holding of breath and the purposeful stiffness that kept clothing from even rustling. The frail man who had been typing lightly as everyone spoke kept his fingers lifted without movement above his keyboard.

“Oh, that was bad,” said Cass.

“Yeah, not even funny,” added Stacey.

“Ok, ok, so I’m not much of a comedian,” said the Chairman. “But, you guys have no humor and are way too serious today. David, how’s the training with the new volunteers going?”

“Very well,” said the man seated to the Chairman’s right. “Some had asked over the weekend to assist in the cities on the East Coast, but we leaked those minor incidents from the wild areas I mentioned earlier and it kept their attention focused on our problems closer to home. I’m glad we didn’t have to agitate them ourselves to give them a sense of purpose.”

“I need to be clear about this again,” began Gilbert, “that when David’s new people get issued the gray uniforms they all get red tabs. That includes their political leadership.”

“Gilbert,” said David, “I heard you the first time when we talked about this last year. I remember it and don’t need to be told twice.”

“Chill, guys,” said the Chairman. “Right, we still remember. Red is for David and black is for Gilbert. Speaking of Gilbert’s guys running around on the hinterlands, how are things going with the other factions?”

“We’ve run into the nationalists all along the Ohio River. They still hold both sides of every bridge and were able to enlist many federal and state forces without any delay. So far we’re unhindered as we begin movement across the northern plains…” explained Gilbert before he was interrupted.

“No one’s out there to be an obstacle,” said David loudly without looking up as he wrote some notes.

“The area southwest of Illinois from across the Mississippi River,” began Gilbert again as he looked down at his own notes, “to the east border of Texas is unaligned right now. We’re not sure who’s in control from Texas through the Southwest and to the West Coast. There was a lot of air movement over the weekend between Dallas, Sante Fe, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and LA. We’re still working the patterns for those. Also, some regional air movement between Boulder and Salt Lake City as well. It’s been silent in the Pacific Northwest with no pressure toward Alberta we can see.”

“As it should be,” stated the Chairman. “Anything else? No? Ok, then this meeting is adjourned until tomorrow.”

*         *         *

“Governor,” said the man from within the room as he looked at the fat man standing out on the balcony. “I have the transcript from the committee’s last meeting ready for you.”

Without turning or speaking the Governor lifted one hand from the rail and motioned the speaker forward. The other man came out on the balcony of the high-rise building looking out over the city. Straight down from the top floor where they stood was a semi-circle drive lined with palm trees which went under an overhang to the entrance of the building. Past some of the downtown buildings was one of many golf-courses within the city. Looking far off in the distance were a few bare stony short mountains which seemed to get progressively smaller as they backed up to the vanishing point on the horizon where flat tan earth met a clear blue sky.

“Sir,” said the man as he handed the papers forward.

The Governor turned took the cigar out of his mouth with one hand and took the papers with the other. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sir.”

“Let’s see what we have,” said the Governor as he started reading the first page and a smile came to his face a minute later. “Excellent. Go ahead and funnel part of this intercept back to them. You can leak any part of this except the part about the Russians. Do not mention the Russians. But, cut as closely to that part as possible.”

“Sir?” replied the man in a confused tone.

“Don’t worry,” assured the Governor before he took a puff on his cigar. “I’m completely sober.”

*         *         *

“Jim!” The young woman yelled to her husband as she looked out the window next to the woodstove. “The truck is here.”

Jim rushed over to his outdoor clothing hanging on the brass hooks on the wall and began dressing. He put on his boots and picked up his backpack which had contained the family’s food the day before. He put a bottle of water in the backpack. His daughter Lilly and his mother in law Beth came over and gave him hugs.

“Daddy I wish I could go with you,” said Lilly still hanging onto her father.

“Well, maybe you can,” said Jim before looking at his wife. “Judy, this morning is just a trip for supplies into town. We’ll have to pass back by here again on the way to work, so we could just drop her back off.”

“Mommy, can I?”

“Sure, why not,” replied Judy.

“Do you think there could be room for another?” asked Beth. “I haven’t been to town for a while. Maybe I can trade something for batteries.”

“I only see Frank sitting in it,” said Judy as she looked through the window at the truck.

“Well, I guess so,” Jim said. “We just can’t bring back a lot of stuff.”

“Double A’s don’t take any more room than my pocket,” said Beth as she put on her winter coat and hat and started dressing Lilly boots first.

“What do you have worth trading?” asked Judy.

“I still have a couple DVDs stashed away,” Beth said as she took them out of a drawer and put them in her coat pocket.

“Those?” said Judy with some skepticism. “They’re not exactly hot titles.”

“It’s worth a try,” said Beth before she and Lilly waved at Judy.

“Bye, mommy.”

“Bye, sweetie,” Judy said from her spot standing next to the window as the three walked out and closed the door behind them.

The four occupants of the extended cab truck drove away from the house in half-tire deep snow between two lines of bare trees and bushes. Even when there wasn’t snow on the ground it was little more than a two track dirt path through grass and weeds. The truck exited the private drive onto a county road that was equally unplowed. The only tracks visible were the ones made by the same truck that had just gone in.

In fair weather this county road would be seen to be reverting from hard-top road back to gravel. It had not seen new asphalt, let alone an official taxpayer-funded patch, in at least ten years. A few more miles down this county road led to a state route that would now go unplowed for the rest of the winter season. Even this road had only seen a couple more sets of tires through it earlier in the day.

The state route was the last road in the county to have seen repairs by a professional crew and that was completed four years ago. Since then not only had some stretches become so pot-holed to look like a long slice of Swiss-cheese, but other areas were regularly impassable due to conditions exacerbated by the weather. If the road wasn’t flooded in places a couple feet deep for a week or more in the Spring due to clogged ditches, broken tiles, or an otherwise unmaintained and deteriorating drainage system; it was snowed closed for possibly weeks at a time. In between some natural thaws the only times the road really opened during winter was when private contractors plowed ahead of loggers moving large loads of wood. That lasted only until the next big snowstorm. The best time for travel from June through November still required four wheel drive and a heavy suspension just to handle crossing some of the broken spots.

“There’s a cop ahead,” said Frank. “Coming towards us.”

“How do you know it’s a cop?” asked Jim as he looked down the road at the unmarked SUV with headlights on. “Because he has his lights on?”

“Because he even has headlights,” replied the driver. “I haven’t seen that SUV out here before either. D-mn it.”

“What? What’s wrong?” asked Beth. “You’re not carrying something illegal are you?”

“No,” said Frank as the two vehicles approached each other and were still more than a few seconds apart due to their slow speed to cope with the road. “There’s still a control order. We’re not supposed to be out here at all.”

“Jesus, Frank!” said Jim. “Why didn’t you say something? My kid and my mother in law are with us.”

“I’ve been the only one out here,” said Frank. “We’ll just be cool, maybe it’s not even a cop. Maybe one of the poachers has a new car.”

“Poachers are armed,” Jim said.

“Grandma?” Lilly said behind the two men as she sat with Beth.

“It’s ok, sweetie,” said Beth in her best reassuring voice.

“Do you have your pistol?” asked Frank.

“It’s at home,” Jim said. “Do you have your rifle?”

“It’s behind the backseat,” Frank replied. “But it’s unloaded anyway.”

“Wait,” said Jim. “He’s stopped. We need to stop.”

Frank brought his truck to a complete stop. The two vehicles were a little more than fifty yards apart. A few heads were visible occupying the front and back seats of the SUV. One of the back row heads was completely outlined as that person looked between the two others seated in the front. Although the front windshield wasn’t tinted, the side windows were and when combined with the overcast early winter sky and distance it still made it difficult to see any more than human silhouettes.

“What are you doing?” asked Jim as Frank made a U-turn and pulled away at a higher speed.

“I’m going back.”

“I don’t know who these guys are,” said Jim. “Don’t lead them back to my house.”

“Jim,” said Frank as he looked in the rear view mirror and saw the other vehicle resume course, “the only tracks out here are mine and they go to both of our houses and the worksite. I’m going to take us all to work and we’ll sort it out there if they want to follow us.”

“He’s flashing his head-lights at us,” said Beth as she looked over her shoulder.

“OK,” said Frank as he quickly did another U-turn. “They’re definitely not cops. Screw ‘em, we’re going into town like we all planned.”

“Oh, sh-t!” Jim said as the two vehicles passed each other and he could see the men in the front seat were wearing helmets followed by the large black fore-end and folded bipod of a weapon sticking out from the passenger’s open window behind the diver. “Did you see that?”

“Maybe we should pull over,” stated Beth. “We’ll just say we didn’t know we couldn’t be out.”

“I’m not pulling over without a siren and red flashing light,” stated Frank. “These could be some guys out to rob us. Ok, they just turned around and now they’re following us. I’m going faster.”

*         *         *

“Stay with him,” said the man in the seat next to the driver of the SUV. “Now get up close and give him a tap.”

“Sh-t, he about lost it there,” said the driver as he stepped on the brakes and backed away. “I don’t want us to crash into him.”

*         *         *

“Grandma!” the little girl screamed in a high pitch as the truck nearly went sideways and fish-tailed as Frank retained the vehicle on the road and kept going.

“I’ll hold you, sweetie,” Beth said as she scooted past the center of the back seat and wrapped herself around the child seated behind Frank.

Frank kept the truck going as fast as possible without losing control on the snow, but the truck was still swimming back and forth on it. Every so often he would hit a pothole which made control difficult, yet he still managed to keep going.

*         *         *

“No more cat and mouse,” said the man next to the driver of the SUV. “Stay behind him, but move off to his right.

He looked to the man seated behind him to the left who held a belt-felt machine gun pointed out the window. “Put a short burst into his left rear tire.”

“Roger that,” yelled the man over the air coming through the window as he pointed the weapon more out the window and re-shouldered the stock from right to left as he tried to get a better angle on the truck. He squinted over the cold air and the immediate watering in his eyes it caused and pulled the trigger. A line of automatic fire start past the left corner of the truck before it went back down toward the rear left tire, looped back up into the driver’s side of the vehicle breaking part of the left rear glass and then diagonally across the bed of the truck before ending on the right side of the open tail gate.

“I said a short burst on the tire!”

The SUV driver stomped down and held on the brakes causing the anti-locks to kick in. As they came to a controlled stop on the road they watched the truck slow before sailing sideways across the other side of the road. It turned 180 and came to stop facing them from the white open field. The driver’s head was leaning on the glass on his door, but the front-seat passenger quickly emerged from the truck’s right side and ran around the front of the truck to the door behind the driver.

The SUV passenger next to the driver jumped out of the vehicle and pointed a bull-pup assault rifle toward the truck and yelled “Stop right there! Move back from the vehicle!”

The man with the belt-fed and another man to his right also armed with a bull-pup exited from the SUV with their weapons raised as well. All three advanced forward as their own driver remained seated. They could hear sounds of panic, but not clear words, from the man who had just ran around the truck and opened the other door. The first man out raised his weapon into the air and let out a three round burst.

“Move away now or I will shoot you!” their leader yelled and the man backed away from the truck.

“Oh my God,” cried the man who stood before them as they came past the front of the truck. “You’ve killed all of them.”

“Don’t move,” ordered the lead man in the gray uniform before he glanced at the other one with the belt-fed. “Cover him.”

As the third gray man with the bull-pup covered the truck from the front, the gray leader moved toward the driver’s side. Through the open back door he could see two motionless heads laid over in the back seat, but also some blood running down the inside of the window where the driver’s head leaned against the glass on the closed door.

He swung open the driver’s door and the driver’s head quickly tipped to gravity but the body remained in with the seatbelt. Blood was evident across the back of the driver’s head through his yellow stocking cap and his front left cheekbone looked severely deformed under freshly swollen but un-punctured skin.

The gray leader stepped back and looked again through the open back door at the woman and child slumped over together on one side in the back seat. He brush aside the long hair on each and checked for the pulse on both necks and found them fully lifeless. He pushed the adult’s body back a bit from the child’s and reached his un-gloved hand between the two of them and felt around before removing his now bloodied hand and looking at the back of the driver’s seat.

“That five-five-six is always unpredictable,” the gray leader said over the sobs of the man who was standing only ten feet away. “One couldn’t even penetrate all the way through this guy’s head after it broke the back window, but it looks like we had another one go through the sheet metal, this woman, this kid, and still plant itself in the back seat.”

“Maybe it’s in the driver’s –ss,” said the other man in gray with the bull-pup who had lowered it and moved around the side between the leader and the other man still holding the belt-fed on their prisoner. “If you want to check that, too, I could get you a single latex glove.”

“No, but I was just a little curious about what this one did,” said the leader before he looked over at his follower with the belt-fed and the man who was still sobbing, but now standing with both his arms raised at right angles in the air. “Don’t you know what a short burst is? Here let me show you.”

The leader let his bull-pup hang down by its sling, walked over and took the other man’s belt-fed weapon before pointing it at the surrendered man and tugging the trigger once. Approximately half a dozen rounds slammed into the chest of the man and he fell backwards into the snow. “Now that’s a short burst. This is not a video game with unlimited ammo. We only have two more belts for this thing so I don’t want you to waste it.”

“What do we do about this?” asked the other man with the bull-pup.

“See if they have any weapons in the truck,” said the gray leader as he handed the belt-fed back to its original carrier. “If there is one, make sure you put it with this guy in the snow. Come to think of it, go ahead and grab that revolver we confiscated yesterday and put it next to the driver. That should muddy things up a bit for the locals for the time being. Now call them in to clean this sh-t up.”

“Hey!” yelled the driver who just stepped out of the SUV. “Chicago says the curfew is going to be lifted.”

“That isn’t going to make this look good,” said the gray man with the belt-fed as he looked at a few wisps of steam rising from the open wounds on the body in front of him.

“Don’t worry about that,” said the leader. “That isn’t going to make any difference out here. I’ve heard from higher this is going to be a no-go zone. So it was either we shoot this guy now or he’d be shooting at us from an overpass next month anyway. Trust me; this one would’ve been a problem after he pulled himself together.”

End of Part 4

Operation SERF, Part 3
(December 15, 2008)

Operation SERF, Part 2
(December 8, 2008)

Operation SERF, Part 1
(December 1, 2008)

Special note from Chris Sullins: If you’ve enjoyed reading this story, please consider making a donation to the website. Charles Hugh Smith has graciously provided space for it on his website for your reading enjoyment. Although it’s from a genre outside the commentary and other essays which usually appear on OTM, I thank Mr. Smith in presenting this to a far wider audience than I would have been able to do on my own. He has done this in the spirit of the First Amendment and in the fine tradition of experienced writers supporting new writers. I give similar thanks to those people who’ve also linked from their websites and/or emailed friends and family.

This story has been written “on the fly” with each part appearing as time permits. The number of parts and when it will “end” has not been determined. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons or events in the past, present, or future are either out of sheer coincidence or due to the cyclical nature of history. Please bear with me on minor technical errors as we continue to follow the unfolding situation along with some symbolism in what I would like to call a “Strategic Action Thriller”.

*         *         *

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