Second Civil War - Chapter 11 - Washington
Chapter One can be found here: The Second Civil War : America Broken
Week Two September
Jaylene Silver paused a moment before she hit the keyboard. As a member of Anonymous, she was accustomed to hacking, broadcasting, providing leadership behind the scenes by looking out for those who could not speak for themselves. Still she paused. With a doctorate in computer science, she had no doubt that the months (and years) of work she had put into the software she was about to upload into the world’s financial systems, would redefine the world.
Any account with more than a million in cash would begin to distribute its excess into those accounts with under $1000. The world’s very poor were about to get a massive injection of funds, and even though the dollar was worth only ten cents of what it had been a month previously, it was still going to ease their situation. She asked herself if she was stealing from the rich, and if stealing was okay.
Should she press the button? She hesitated.
It was a bitterly cold night but still the people came. The events of the past month had changed the parameters of many people’s lives. Some, never having had to worry about a month without a good income, suddenly found themselves unable to pay monthly debts, and worse - unable to buy necessities. With the extreme devaluation of the American dollar, many of those who had previously thought that it was all their hard work that had gained them their rewards, now discovered that the environment and infrastructure of their environment profoundly and inexorably affected their ability to earn.
Others, drained from the years of struggle, dressed in blue jeans and warm coats which had seen better days, still spoke with the traces of an education they once had but now diminished by endless struggle. They were prone to anger and inclined to hurl things at people and buildings because they were tired of talking. Guy Standing had measured them well when he called them the precariat.
And although Washington had become a militarized city, there was a measure about the marching people which said very clearly, “We have had enough.”And, perhaps, because the politicians were wise enough to know when to leave well enough alone, the people were allowed to make their way to the Washington monument. There some of them joined others who had been encamped there since the previous afternoon while others set up their own camps. Still others wrapped themselves in sleeping bags as they prepared to sleep the remaining few hours before dawn.
When the alarm sounded, Bett and Jon, Bett’s older brother, quickly woke the rest of the household. They activated booby traps which they had designed several years previously when they had anticipated attacks on their smallholding. Now it was real.
Lance Clark and Anna, Bett’s mother, took an underground passage to the shed where they were in a better position to cover the rear end of the farm. Andy, Bett’s younger brother, made his way to the kitchen where he had his rifle set up next to the window aimed at the back porch of the house. Bett covered the front door. She hadn’t been happy about that because she liked the action, but none of the men in her family would let her do the outside scouting. So she worked with them as a team, and thought, ‘There will come a time…”
Jon went through the trapdoor hidden under the dining room table and came up in a cluster of trees, some thirty or forty yards from the house. There he made himself comfortable in the pre-dug foxhoe lay in wait. On his arm, he had a small gadget to pick up heat signatures. He felt the instrument vibrate and saw that there were ten of them. They were outnumbered – two to one. Jon was surprised. It has to be serious for that number to come.
Jon knew that the rest of his family would pick up the heat signature as well as all the instruments were in sync so that wherever they were, they all had access to information that might save their lives. The Clark family had prepared themselves well for this moment.
The group moved quietly towards the house, and when he had a clear shot, Jon shot to kill, and he shot them in the back. War takes no prisoners he thought. Four of them dropped before they had time to scatter, and then they lay flat, obviously well trained. Jon figured out the logistics. He was south west of the group; the house was north of the group, and his parents were in the shed, slightly to the rear, in the north east. That left Bett, himself, and Andy to deal with the six remaining men.
Jon wished they had dogs, and made a mental note to go find some in the morning. He felt the instrument on his arm vibrate again, and looked down. “Oh shit,” he thought. There were four men heading towards the backdoor. Where had they come from. He hoped Andy could handle them. Their training had been tough, and the family had often played war games where they had been severely outnumbered. Nothing like the fact resembling fiction, he thought.
At the front entrance of the home, Bett opened the flap on the front door and inched her rifle through. She wished she could see better but the night was dark. There was no moon. Like Jon, she wished that they had dogs, and she, too, made a mental note to go dog hunting in the morning. It never occurred to either her or Jon that they might be dead in the morning.
Jon didn’t think long. In fact, he didn’t think. He removed a grenade from his pocket and hurled it at the place where he thought the men had dropped into a huddle. A moment before it exploded, he heard a yell, but then it exploded and shrapnel went in all directions. Fortunately, the trees provided some degree of protection. He looked through the night glasses that he had brought and saw that he had scored a direct hit. It seemed that they were all either wounded or dead. He stood up slowly, and as he did so, he heard a shot from the back of the house. Then he heard Andy yell. He couldn’t make out the words, but it wasn’t good. His instinct was to run for the house, but he quelled it, and it was just as well he did, for someone shot at him, and he dived for cover again.
Once more he looked at the huddle of stalkers that had come to their home. He saw that one had a rifle pointed in his direction. Jon took aim, fired, and killed the man. Then, once more looking at the group, this time sure that they were all dead, he got up and ran softly and carefully towards the shed. He knew that his parents would be able to see the rear of the house, and he needed to know what was happening before he went in to help Bett and Andy.
When he arrived at the shed, he couldn’t see his parents. Then he saw why. Someone had left luggage on top of the trap door. Bett! He grinned, picked it up, and let his mother and father out. “They’re in the house. Haven’t heard a shot yet, so they’re not here to kill. We have to get Bett and Andy out.”
Jaylene Silver had grown up in an upper middle class family. Both her parents had been doctors. In fact, they were the third generation of doctors in her family, and it had been expected that she follow in the family tradition. Instead she had found herself in love with cyber space at an early age, and while she did obtain a doctorate, it wasn’t a medical one. She was sure her parents had been disappointed, but she also knew that they understood that this was her life.
Her introduction to Anonymous had been a gradual thing. At college she met, for the first time in her life, those of lesser fortune. One girl, in particular, Sandy, had impressed her. Bright and beautiful, but clearly from an impoverished environment, whatever Sandy lacked in polish, she made up for in brains and determination.
It was early in their second year of university that Jaylene discovered that Sandy had been diagnosed with leukemia and that treatment for her had been sketchy. Sandy’s parents’ simply hadn’t been able to provide and there were no medical facilities that were willing to attend to her healing without it costing hundreds of thousands.
Sandy had become increasingly militant and said to Jaylene that her life was going to count, no matter how short it was. Sandy began to focus on exposing the callousness of medical insurance companies, hacking into their data bases, and exposing the fact that medical insurance companies were only interested in insuring the healthy, and the moment there was illness, benefits began to evaporate. Initially, she had contributed her findings to Wikileaks, but then as that door closed, she started maing efforts to contact Anonymous members.
Jaylene never knew if her friend was responsible for any of the broadcasts, but when Sandy passed on towards towards the end of her second year, she stepped into Sandy’s shoes and became a revolutionary of sorts. Now in her tenth year as an Anonymous contributor, she looked back at her upper middle class background, and thought to herself that she had, indeed, left it behind a very long time ago.
Lance Clark scrounged in a box hidden in a hidey-hole, removed three items, gave one to Anna, one to Jon, and kept one for himself. “Bett’s not going to be happy” said Jon.
“We want them alive,” said her father. “Happiness comes afterwards.”
As they were about to move out of the shed, Anna stopped them. There’s someone just inside the door she said. “Best that we put them to sleep through the ventilation pipes.”
They inched forward in the darkness, moving away from the back entrance. Lance Clark snaked around the front, while Jon and Anna crawled on all fours towards the east side of their home.
It was late. The actor and Tom Grey had each arrived past midnight at their meeting place. They had arrived within five minutes of each other, and so it was that they spoke privately for the first time in a few days. Each sipped a rich brandy from a snifter.
“What was so important?” the actor asked the senator.
“The game plan didn’t anticipate George Stoves being president. We have to move ahead with stage four.”
“We can’t. We’ve got a president.”
“We have to take the president down.”
“I think the president is behind the EMP bombs and the biological warfare. And I think it’s about prime real estate.”
The actor said nothing for a moment, then “You being serious?”
“The CDC identified the biological weapon. It was developed at DARPA and was used previously in black ops by George Stoves when he was a humble Colonel. He also has access to EMP bombs.”
“And that makes him guilty?”
The senator didn’t answer. He allowed the lengthening silence to do its work and eventually the actor said, “So what’s our next step?”
Jaylene pressed down on the keyboard. Throughout the United States, banks initiated transfers of money. As the transfers took place, all previous records were eradicated so that nothing could be rectified. When she was sure it was done, she broadcast a message and then she ended with the ubiquitous, “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive and we do not forget. Expect us.”
Washington had an influx of close to 100,000 people and Washington had never seen anything like the mood of these 100,000 before. Then again, Washington had never seen anything like the events of the previous month. Now the politicians prepared themselves to face the wrath of the people. And still there were those in Washington who thought that a few charismatic words, or a sop thrown to a desperate demographic, would calm the waters and things could go on being just the way they normally were.
Bett Clark saw the two men before they saw her. They pushed Andy in front to prevent any shots from being fired into them. She withdrew quietly into the shadow of the curtain, glad that she had had the foresight to remove a fuse and prevent the lights from going on unexpectedly. When they walked into the sitting room Bett took two shots. The first was aimed to kill; the second was aimed to maim. She succeeded both times. Andy was pinning the maimed individual down to the floor because he could recover. At the same moment, Jon, Lance, and Anna came in. It was all over before it started. The Clark family had prepared themselves well for threats to their survival.
Washington dawned grey. Shortly after dawn, a man stood up and spoke. Nobody knew him particularly. The movement didn’t have any designated leaders. They worked together as groups, decided what needed to be done, where they were going next, and when there was general consensus, they acted on that. Now the man stood up and spoke. His words carried power and conviction, the result of years of frustration, anger, and sheer determination that things had to change.
“We, the people of the United States of America, demand that the events of the past few months be accounted for and those guilty brought to justice. We demand that if that cannot be done, our leaders be removed from office. We demand that anyone making money out of government be removed from government.”
The passionate voice of the speaker carried over the throngs. And a little way down the road, the president listened. “We don’t’ want these rabble rousers around. Have them removed.”
“That’s a tall order,” said Colonel Andrews.
“The press is in our pocket – very few will hear about it” replied the president. “And I’m declaring a state of emergency this evening, with all future elections canceled. The USA will be under marshall law for the foreseeable future.”
“Still planning on becoming the first king of the USA?” the colonel asked half facetiously. “That’s a fascist position, you know.”
“I won’t call myself a king,” the president said. “Just the people’s leader. The people need a strong leader. Most people cannot made decisions. They need someone to tell them what to do.”
The colonel did not respond. His not to question why. His just to do and die.
Politicians let people down?
In Washington, the military came with guns. When the people did not move, they shot them. Some 20,000 were slaughtered. The rest ran. Later as photos began to be uploaded to the Internet, servers were shut down throughout the United States, and although some word of the events got out, for the most part, nobody could verify anything. The president did not like the press.
The Clark family had taken it in turns to guard their one living prisoner. Anna Clark had applied first aid to the wound inflicted by Bett and then, equally efficiently, had tied the man to a chair, and told him to catch as much sleep as he could because he would be questioned in the morning. He had given her a look of contempt, but Anna had just smiled.
Now the family had breakfasted and were ready to ask the man questions. Bett prepared the instruments the family would use for questioning. She set up a binaural beat to regulate the brain rhythm of their captive. Then she used the equipment specially designed to provide a match between flashing lights and the beat of the music. She set the rhythm to ten minutes of beta brain rhythm, then two hours of alpha rhythm, and then to fade into a theta rhythm.
And then they sat outside the questioning room, and very purposely started speaking about the situation, purposely seeding the captive’s brain with language that would trigger responses. After they had been doing this for two hours, all of them stepped into the questioning room. Each was extremely polite to the man, asking after his injury. He complained of pain.
“Oh that will go away in time. You’ll live. Now we have a few questions.”
The man looked at the family. Strangely, he did not say anything, but then the Clark family understood the power of binaural brain entrainment and after a little more than three hours exposure, their prisoner was completely hypnotized.
“What is your name?” asked Bett
“What was your mission last night?”
“To kill you all.”
“Who sent you?”
None of them knew who Colonel Andrews was, but they reckoned that Alasdair would be able to find out. Their bit was done.
Jaylene Silver picked up the phone.
“Operation Flame is live.”
President George Stoves was brief. “People of the United States, it grieves me to say to you that we have people within our midst who aspire to communist theology. This afternoon, in Washington, the military was forced to defend itself from a rioting mob that stoned businesses and harmed innocent citizens. We still do not have a firm count of how many injured or dead, but along with all the other woes that have recently befallen the United States, Congress has voted that the military take charge of the United States. The election as well as the 2020 elections have been canceled. We are also facing a barrage of propaganda, fake news, and misinformation from Anonymous, wikileaks, and other enemy groups, and have, therefore, been forced to immediately implement a law forcing all citizens to apply for a license to use the web.”
Jaylene went into hiding the moment she heard about the shooting. They had been expecting it. They had foreseen that there would be a day when the people would be not be permitted a free press and that, because the Internet posed a threat, it would be locked down.
She had spent some years preparing for this eventuality. Along the way it had meant burying routers, rewiring with cable, and it was as well that they had a communications company in their fold. Jaylene had no doubt that a class war was going to be fought, and while many aspects of it would be global, the worst of it was going to be in the United States. She wondered how many would die.
It was dark when she arrived at the compound in Atlanta.
After she had a bath, she logged on to her account and uploaded a video which she had prepared in advance.
Jaylene started speaking into the mic. Her voice was distorted by the synthesizer. “We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive and we do not forget. Expect us. People of the United States, this day you have become a military dictatorship. You have become a military dictatorship because those who love to wield power cannot do so if people will not obey them freely, and so they have found a way to enslave you with guns.”
“Despite nearly a year of protest and marches - with 80% national support - our government has not listened. Now they have taken away our last freedom. We say to you. Do not forget that your forefathers fought for your freedom. Do not forget that you left the old world because you did not want the extremes of wealth and you did not want to be ruled by people who thought they had a right to tell other people what to do. Do not forget. The coming months will be difficult. We now have a military dictatorship that has canceled our democracy. There are rumors that President George Stoves is the head of a secret society that wishes to convert the Republic to a Monarchy. This needs to be prevented at all costs.”
“When you wake up in the morning, you will wake to a very different world. Our first task will be to dismantle the military of the United States. It will not be an easy task, but it is a necessary task. And when that is done, we will take back every inch of this land, inch by inch, rock by rock, and mile by mile. We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive and we do not forget.”
When she was done, Jaylene thought once more of Sandy, her long dead friend. “Sandy,” she whispered, “We’re striking a blow for all those that died because they couldn’t get medical care, and we’re striking a blow for all those who couldn’t work even when they wanted to, and we’re striking a blow for all those who starved because they couldn’t find enough to eat. But mostly, Sandy, I’m striking a blow because you died, because you couldn’t get medical insurance, and tomorrow, I’m going to take down every single one of those medical insurance companies.”
And then Jaylene went to bed, a smile on her face.
Aladair arrived at Bett’s place in the morning. He took the prisoner with him, and they never heard from him for two days. When he came back he said, “We are going to attack the army and the marines. We will use guerilla tactics. Are you in?”
© 2017 Tessa Schlesinger