By Dwayne MacInnes
The popular joke that passed around from city to city was, "What's the best way to stop Global Warming? Answer: A nuclear winter." It seemed that no matter the number of people who had died, or the tragedies witnessed by everyone. Not even the threat of starvation, wasters, or muties could quash man's desire to crack jokes about his predicament. Scott figured as long as people could still joke and laugh they had a fighting chance for survival.
The governor and his advisors sat around a large table in a conference room. Scott Malice was standing in front of the group. He was not much of a public speaker, but he tended to get the job done in his own frank and honest way.
"Gentlemen, St Paul is of utmost importance to the new United States of America. Other than St Louis, no other Midwestern city survived the Big Bang. We desperately need a northern trade route to the east, and St Paul is the key." Scott looked around the room. Until now the men in the room only thought that they needed the U.S. not that the U.S. needed them.
"You have several factors here that make you one of the most important cities not only in the Midwest, but also in the new United States. Obviously, as I said you are one of two surviving cities in the region that will help tie the two coasts of the country together. However, of great importance is the Ford assembling plant you have. We are hoping that the plant and the hydroelectric dam that operate it are still operational." Scott paused to look over at Mr. Mitchell. The plump man nodded his head in an affirmative gesture.
"Good, you also have some factories in the surrounding area that manufactured mid-caliber ammo that we also hope is operational."
"Yes, they are Mr. Malice. In fact, they are being operated now in order to keep our defense forces armed," Mitchell offered.
Scott resumed, "That is excellent. Another major point is the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant and the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. I'm assuming that because you still have power one or both of them are still functioning."
"Yes sir, we have military outposts manning them. The warlords would love to get their hands on them," Lt. Reynolds replied. "Prairie is about fifty miles southeast of us so we have the logistical advantage over Minneapolis. However, they still occasionally make raids.
"Unfortunately, the Monticello plant is 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities so the warlords have the advantage there. Our hold there is tenuous; fortunately the warlords tend to fight more amongst themselves than against us."
"Mr. Reynolds," began the scout "neither of those plants can fall into hostile hands. We'll be able to help you clean up Minneapolis as the trade routes become more secure. However, we cannot allow hostiles to control the power."
"Mr. Malice, I appreciate your admiration of our city," replied Mr. Reynolds sincerely. "However, what you ask cannot happen. We do not have the combat vehicles we need to support both outposts and to secure our borders from the wasters and the warlords."
Scott smiled, "Not yet, but you have the means. You've seen my car. Gentlemen, you have to use your imagination. I know you have several fine engineers in the city let them loose, let them modify some of those cars sitting alongside the road into something formidable.
"Modify that Ford plant so that it can fit armor and weapons onto those vehicles. Make those guns and ammo, and then unleash them onto your opponents."
Governor Trimble jumped up from the table. A laugh broke out from his mouth, "By God, you are right. It won't be easy, but for the first time since the Big Bang, I feel that we can start moving forward."
After the meeting, Scott found a nice room in a local hotel to sleep in. How long was it since he slept in a bed? Scott could not remember. There was even hot water another rare commodity, if only they had some soap. Well, you couldn't have everything, Scott reminded himself.
Although, St Paul did not have any of the new currency consisting of gold Sacagawea dollars or silver Eagle half dollars to give Scott for his services they did offer him food and reloads for his guns and gas for his car. He would soon be heading back toward the west to announce his findings to help secure the new trade route. Scott told the governor that in a few weeks another scout should be heading in from the east to help secure the route that way.
It was only a week after his arrival to St Paul that Scott found himself heading back west. Warlords and wasters would be more alert now. The return trip was always the hardest.