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Freedom First and others have initiated the Fourth annual "Blog Against Theocracy" event. I am interupting Reunited... this week to participate in this blogswarm. I hope the story I wrote is very fitting for this weekend's event. For more information on other blogs participating click on the logo to the right. Thanks and enjoy! (As always, comments welcome!)




The Tale of the Puritan

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With the efforts of Dr. Daniel C. Hever and his team, several groups learned how to revive long dead individuals. Of course, there were some caveats. The bodies had to be mostly intact. That is, the process would not work on decapitated individuals. Further, there was an issue of shock. If the last thing they remember is bursting into flames, they generally could not take the shock of being revived. These individuals would immediately go into cardiac arrest, and revert to their dead state.

The revival of individuals from historic periods shed light on many events of the past. Sadly, badly decomposed specimens could only be cloned, and these individuals would not retain the memories of the original. Hence, this technique was most useful in learning about more northern cultures where the propensity for freezing was much higher. If the Egyptians did not remove the organs of their dead, ancient mummies could have also been revived. Removing the brain through the nose caused catastrophic damage to the organ. Again, mostly northern peoples benefited from this revival technique.

Roger Chillingworth was a Puritan from the 17th Century England. He briefly settled in the Netherlands, but then took his family aboard a Dutch colony ship headed for the Americas. Sadly for him, but fortunately for others he never made it to the New World. His body was discovered centuries later when the permafrost of Greenland, where he had been entombed, had significantly melted.

The team of scientists followed the Hever Protocol in their revival. Mr. Chillingworth was revived in a nondescript room to allow him to acclimatize to his new environment. All attempts were made to make him believe that he had fallen asleep, and the team simply awakened him a short time later.

The following is a transcript between Mr. Ghillingworth and the noted antropological researcher Dr. David R. MacDonald:

"Good Morning Mr. Chillingworth."

"Prithee, where am I?"

"You are in a New England hospital."

"Egads! Oh! pardon me."

"It is quite all right. What do you remember?"

"A great lot of Spanish Pirates!"

"Yes the La Cazadora."

"If thine purpose to tell me it is true, I will not doubt."

"What do you remember about them?"

"Yon brigands set me a-sail."

"In the boat we found you in..."

"Again, I will not doubt."

"What else do you remember?"

"Thine speach is strange... May I ask who thine art?"

"I am Doctor David MacDonald."

"A Scot of Irish decent - no doubt? I will converse no longer."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Thee have beliefs that I find distasteful. Now, if you please take myself to me wife."

"How do you know what my beliefs are?"

"You deny not that thou art a Scot. Thus, thou must follow liberal Anglican beliefs. None of our people were Scottish. Alternatively, thou could be of Catholic persuasion -- a far lesser belief. Now, if you please...."

"How can you be sure?"

"Prithee ask such questions?"

"If your assertions were true, we would still both be Christians. Thus, our beliefs would not be that different."

"Avast man! Catholics are the lowest form of life -- as that Spanish band of brigands demonstrated by sending me adrift. And Anglicans are scarcely better."

"Your sect is not part of the Church of England?"

"Where hath thou been living?"

"Could you please tell me more about your journey?"

"Egads! Paardon me again. Very well... I verily owe you since thou didth save me."

"Please."

"Thine humble servant left yon barbarity in Amsterdam to find religious freedom in the New World. Great freedoms were promised, as it was a new land. Mine family had felt great oppression from the heathens whom I discussed previously. The new world promised to keep the government and religion separate."

"Pardon?"

"Those Anglican governmental leaders oppressed mine people of faith; hence, our people believe and have always believed that government must be kept separate for those with superior or differing belief systems. Simply put, government cannot be trusted to keep the faith. The twain serve different masters and thus must remain separate."

"But America was founded as a Christian Nation...."

"I know not of this America with which thine have spoken. Nonetheless, when a group of mine people settled at Plymouth Rock they wanted to make sure that Government would not pollute religion and the converse. They wished to escape persecution for our non-mainstream yet more pious beliefs. The only way to accomplish this was to keep everything separate. It is the only way!"

"But what about non-believers -- they do not count right? As long as it is Christian it is okay right?"

"Scotsman you are an odd one. I could not be more plainspoken for thee. In order to ensure that everyone with a belief -- or non-belief -- does not encounter persectution the government must remain free from religious entanglements."

"What about ..."

"Silence! Does thine not have ears? Perhaps your Scottish nature makes you thicker than most. Let me illustrate. Suppose a leader -- perhaps a king or maybe some sort of elected official -- hath some belief -- whether mainstream or not. It can be any belief. Now, those men holding that belief are with the governmental leader. Hence, they can impose said belief on thine that do not hold it, as our people have endured. In this way, persecution for groups that have different beliefs is inevitable. This situation is exactly why we left for the New World."

"So..."

"Unless everyone has exactly the same belief, religion and government are best separated."

"What if where you are now has a theocratic government?"

"Then place me in mine boat, I will put my fate in divine hands."

"You, a religious man, would rather die..."

"Than live under religioius rule? That is unequivocally true."

"Even if it is a Christian Theocracy?"

"As mine people did in England? Thou art thick!"

"So, if I took you in front of a group of people, you would not praise a Christian Nation's Government."

"I cannot be more plain, and thou still have not heard. My people came to this New World to escape religious persecution -- not to inflict it. I do not know what kind of Christianity your people practice -- clearly not a very pious one from what I hear from thou. I grow weary of repeating that religion and government must remain separate. Lest not speak of government again. Taketh me to mine family if thou please."

"I thought for sure you would be on my side on this."

"Studieth thine history closely. No good hath ever come from a mix of religion and government."

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

October 2040

Sheriff Bernie Gracen of Littleton, New Mexico sat in an air-conditioned auditorium. He and around thirty other men and women sat in folding chairs waiting for Fred Wilson, the local leader of the Oath Keepers, to speak. As the presidential race entered its final leg, things were really starting to heat up in the south, especially, in the states that bordered Mexico.

It appeared that Ramirez would easily defeat Newland in the November elections. The prospect of having a Hispanic as their president disturbed many white southerners. Texas was openly threatening to secede if Ramirez won. Although the other Border States were not talking about leaving the United States, they had many citizens who would not mind joining Texas in secession.

Sheriff Gracen removed his cowboy hat and fanned himself as he continued to wait for Wilson to show himself. A quick glance around the room revealed many men and women in camouflage fatigues or western shirts and blue jeans, all were Caucasian. The sheriff knew that most were veterans; there were some members of the National Guard and local law enforcement mixed in to boot. Some of them sat by themselves, like Gracen and others were talking in small groups. There were even a couple of reporters and one local TV news crew with a camera there to report the event.

Finally, a man stepped up to a podium at the end of the auditorium. He held some papers in his hands as he scanned the audience. He blew twice into the tiny microphone positioned in front of him and was greeted with the sound he made that emanated from the speakers on the floor in front of him.

"Gentlemen, will you please take a seat," the man said. "I have a few things to go over tonight."

Gracen replaced his hat upon his head as he sat up straight in his metal chair. This was obviously Fred Wilson at the mike. The assembly quickly came to order before breaking into applause. Wilson smiled and motioned for everyone to quiet down.

"Thank you, please...." Wilson said to the group. "We have a lot to cover tonight."

After a couple of minutes, the sound of clapping hands and whistles finally died down.

"Hello, I am Fred Wilson and I represent the New Mexico branch of the Oath Keepers," Wilson stated only to stop again as the audience again started to applaud him.

"Please, please we have a lot of work tonight," Wilson pleaded with the audience.

"Like stopping a spic from being president!" yelled a voice from the rear of the auditorium.

Wilson took on a stern look before he continued, "I must please ask that everyone be respectful. There are members of the press here."

A few boos broke out before Wilson could regain order. "Now, please let us show our guests some respect."

"That's more than the liberal media will give us," shouted another voice.

"Gentlemen, we will not get far if you keep disrupting my presentation," Wilson smiled.

The audience finally quieted down so that Wilson could give his presentation. In short, he was asking the audience to sign a contract that would state they would not follow orders that they felt violated the Constitution of the United States. They would resist nonviolently and they would consider Ramón Ramirez as a possible enemy of the state.

There were many in the room who believed that Ramirez was born in Mexico and was not eligible to be president. They also believed that if elected president he would return the Border States back to Mexico.

Sometimes the exchanges heated up and Wilson would have to regain control of the situation before he could return to his presentation. However, after two hours the presentation wound itself down. Wilson opened the floor to questions; most of the people gathered just wanted to know when they could sign the documents. However, Wilson took some more serious questions from the news people attending the presentation.

Wilson pointed to a woman in a red blazer with a cameraman accompanying her. "Mr. Wilson," the journalist began. "Is it true that the Oath Keepers organization is nonpartisan?"

Fred Wilson smiled, "Yes, we do not endorse either candidate."

"However, you consider Mr. Ramirez as a possible enemy of the state. Would that not imply you back Mr. Newland?" the woman countered.

"We only follow what is in the Constitution. Ramirez, as a senator, has voted in the past that he will undermine the rights of the people as they are written in the Constitution if he were to win the election.

"To be fair, we would also list Senator Newland as a possible threat if his voting record were the same. But, it is important to remember we are not here to play politics but only to protect and preserve the Constitution of the United States."

"Are you associated with the Sons of the Alamo or the New Texas Tea Party?" the female reporter asked.

"We are not in any way related to SOTA or NTTP. We are our own group here in New Mexico. As for the Texas branch of the Oath Keepers you'll have to ask them."

Wilson pointed to another reporter in the back. A man in a tan suit stood up with a small palm computer with a microphone attached to it in his hand.

"What about the allegations that Ramirez is not a U.S. citizen," the reporter began. "There have been several documents proving that he was born in San Diego to a third generation Latino-American family."

"I am not here to discuss whether the senator from California was born in the U.S. or in Mexico," Wilson answered. "However, I will point out that there are many documents pointing to his birth in Tecate, Mexico or even in Venezuela and that he was brought to a hospital in San Diego later."

"But, those documents have all been proven false," the reporter continued.

"Maybe and maybe not," Wilson replied. "The fact of the matter is that we are not here to stop an election, but to prevent a possible hostile government from treading on the rights of its citizens."

Wilson took a few more questions from the press before he called the meeting adjourned. Sheriff Gracen was impressed with how Wilson was able to maintain his composure and control his audience. The sheriff was standing up to leave when he noticed that Fred Wilson himself was next to him.

"Sheriff Gracen?" Wilson asked with his hand already extended.

"Yes," Gracen said gripping the man's hand. "How can I help you?"

"Well, as you know," Fred Wilson began, "that the local sheriff will be our first line of defense against a hostile government."

Gracen nodded his head in agreement; the sheriff would have to prevent any federal hostility.

"Well, sheriff if you would not mind I would like you to be my second in command," Wilson said with a smile. "That is if your time will permit."

The usually stoic lawman slapped Wilson on the shoulder, "Hell yes! I'd be honored to help you with running things here."

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Reunited...

Chapter Twenty-Four

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With Prince William ailing, Princess Angelina could not broach the subject of the treaty land or the prophecy's fulfillment with King Thorbjorn. Thus, she simply enjoyed the feast. Any discussions could wait until morning. Unlike the Prince in her kingdom, she did not feel there were any threats to herself or the Prince.

The party had gone on for some time when the Princess asked to be shown to her room. With all of the excitement, a room had not been prepared for her. The King assured her that it was a simple oversight. The King dispatched a servant to ready a room. The King assured the Princess that the room would be ready shortly, and that she should enjoy the party for a bit longer.

Prince William continued to sleep in the provided hospital bed. The Princess was envious, as she had spent several days driving and camping. The thought of a real bed was welcoming. However, there was nothing she could do about the situation. She considered having more wine, but decided against that idea. She could already feel the effects of the small amount she had already consumed. More would just aggravate her sleepiness.

She was having a conversation with one of the guests when the servant told her that her room was ready. She excused herself from the conversation and went to the room. It was a smallish room with a queen-sized bed in the center. It had four posts and a canopy over the top. It had a royal blue feather comforter folded down on one corner. It invited her in.

She did not bother to undress; she just slipped off her shoes. She entered the bed and the warmth surrounded her. She was asleep immediately. The apparent warmth and security washed over her. The long journey and hard work instantly evaporated and she was back in the luxury that she had long gotten used to.

She did not know how long she had been asleep when she noticed that she had left the lights in the room on. She slipped out of the bed, and suddenly felt that something was wrong. She was not sure what it was, but something strange was happening. She looked around the room, but she did not notice anything out of place. However, she only saw the bed when she first entered.

"Come out!" she shouted.

There was no answer.

"I am Angelina, Princess of Calmondak, Heiress to the Queen Marcellina! Now, step out or there will be dire consequences."

"I know who you are Princess," spoke a deep dark voice as a man stepped out of the shadows.

"Who are you?" asked the Princess. "And, what do you want?"

"I am Captain Arieux and I am here to protect you."

"Protect me from what?"

"Whatever may be lurking in the castle."

"How long have you been there?"

"I beg your pardon, but I just arrived. Please forgive me for waking you."

"It is all right."

"It was wise of you to leave the light on. It surely kept any unwanted guests out of your room."

"Yes... That was my intent," lied the Princess. "However, it was preventing me from experiencing a satisfying sleep. After I use the toilet, I plan to turn it off. Is that okay with you?"

"By all means."

Captain Arieux returned to his spot in the shadows and the Princess took care of her needs. She turned off the light and returned to the comfort of the bed. However, sleep did not come as easily this time. The thought of a bodyguard weighed heavily on her mind. Thus, she tossed and turned a bit.

Am I in danger? the Princess thought to herself. Did I do something to warrant the danger?

The thoughts raced through her mind. She did not mention the prophecy, but perhaps it was on the minds of a great number of people. The power of fulfilling the prophecy could put people on edge. However, who believed those types of things? Further, different people could interpret the results in various ways. It would not result in anyone losing liberty, or would it?

Suddenly, the Princess bolted upright in her bed. She heard a floorboard squeak followed by the sound of scuffling. After a few moments of struggle, she heard the sound of something heavy falling upon the floor.

"Who is there?" the Princess shouted.

"It is nothing," replied the dark voice.

"Is that you Captain?"

"Yes Princess," replied the guard. "Someone entered your room. It was most likely an accident."

"Are they all right?"

"They will be a little sore, but they will be fine in the morning. Please, go back to sleep."

"After that?"

"I am sorry. I tried to take care of the situation as quietly as I could."

"The way of the ninja is not what it used to be."

"You know of ninjas?"

"In my youth, I had a thing for the ninja arts. I even thought about studying ninjitsu."

"What? Five years ago?"

"That sounds about right, but I lost interest."

"I would be interested to learn what you know."

"I have not thought about ninjas in quite a while. I would not know where to begin."

"Not now!" Captain Arieux stated firmly. "You need your rest. I will gather my thoughts and give you a list of questions -- if that is okay with you."

"I would like that."

"Now, get some sleep."

The thought of a ninja lurking in her room brought back many fond memories for the Princess. She felt the warmth wash over her again, and she surprised herself. She fell asleep quite quickly.

When she awoke in the morning, the Captain and the body were nowhere to be found. The Princess washed up and put on some clean clothes. With the mood she was in, she practiced her ninja moves as she made her way through the castle.

She suprised King Thorbjorn at the breakfast table. The King roared with anger, and then with laughter. The pair shared a nice breakfast without talking business.

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 4

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Now look here," a man said to Senator Ramirez as he was preparing for the final debate of the election. "Just stick to you main speaking points as we rehearsed."

"Todd, relax," Ramirez smiled to his campaign director as he sat in his chair. A woman powdered his face so that the studio lights would not glare off his skin while the event was being broadcast over the web.

"You know that Senator Newland may try to derail you by bringing up those false claims running around the internet. You know the ones about you being smuggled into the Untied States," Todd Schneider continued.

"Oh, I don't think he will. The press has been pounding him pretty good for trying to make those claims stick. Not to mention that every time he does so, his credibility drops. Look at his latest poll numbers," Ramirez stated as the woman finished touching up his face.

"How about the claims that you have close ties to Venezuela. You know you did visit it when you were a youth. Tthey have not been exactly cozy with the United States for the last half a century."

"You mean when I was on a youth mission with my church? Only the conservative's fringe element believe I was there learning to be a terrorist. I doubt if Newland would risk losing the majority Republican vote by trying such a tactic."

"He's desperate, Ramón," Todd pressed. "He has nothing to lose...."

"Except the election." Ramirez interrupted with a smirk as he held up a finger.

"Seriously, if he can get you on uncertain ground he could make you look like you don't know what you are talking about. Like the whole Texas issue."

"Five minutes," a man in a ball cap said as he ducked his head into the dressing room. Ramirez nodded towards the man that he was ready. The senator stood up and grabbed his dress coat. "Really, Todd," Ramirez said as he put his arms through his coat, "I did win at least one election."

"But not one this important," Todd shot back before Ramirez winked and exited the dressing room.

Northrup F-20 Tigershark

Buck Dubois watched the live-stream of the internet webcast of the last debate on his compu-phone. The holographic images of the two candidates seemed oddly out of place among the vintage aircraft Buck had restored over the years in his old hangar. There was a World War II B-17 bomber, two B-25s and his prize, a newly restored B-29 Super Fortress.

Buck also restored some fighters that included a few World War II P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts. He also had some jet fighters like his three F-86 Sabers from the Korean War, an F-4 Phantom from the Vietnam War and a long lost prototype F-20 Tigershark that never went into production. His Texas Rangers Air show was the envy of many in the nation.

Like many in the Texas heartland Buck was really hoping that Senator Newland would be able to pull off an upset and put Ramirez in his place. Many people in the west and northern part of the state showed that they favored Ramirez. However, when you got to the center and the east the opinions of the voters were radically different.

Buck watched horror struck as Newland fumbled his rebuttals and failed to land a telling point upon the younger Latino. Newland may not be the best candidate ever to run in the race, but Buck felt that anybody would be a better candidate than Ramirez would. The old airplane restorer was a member of the Sons of the Alamo and he felt that Ramirez was a threat to his state and his nation.

"Gawd dammit!!!" cursed Buck grabbing his greasy ball cap off his head and tossing it upon the concrete floor of the hangar as Ramirez easily countered another assault from Newland.

"I do not believe that the election process should be hijacked by one state or even a part of a state," the voice of Ramirez echoed from the speakers in the compu-phone.

Before Ramirez had even finished his rebuttal, Buck had the small compu-phone in his hand and the number to SOTA headquarters ordered up.

"Yeah, Jerry," Buck said as Jerry Byrd answered and his image displayed on the small LCD screen. "We need to call an emergency meeting."

"It's already in the works," Jerry replied. "I've been getting calls all through the debate. Looks like tomorrow night at my place. I'll see if any of the New Tea Party people are interested."

"We need to do something big," Buck said. "I have an idea, but I need every trustworthy pilot we can get."

Jerry was silent for a while before he replied, "It must be big. I don't suppose you would tell me over the phone."

"Hell no!" Buck exclaimed. "The Feds are probably listening in on this transmission."

"In that case we'll meet at our alternate meeting site," Jerry said flatly. "Phone conversation is to be kept at a minimum. No internet and no talking to anyone outside the group."

"Got it," Buck said as his punched the disconnect button on his compu-phone. An evil grin broke out over the man's face. Ramirez may just find Texas is more than he can handle.

* * * * *

Governor Lester Tucker sat in his office watching the debate on his conference screen dominating the wall behind his desk. He puffed on a cigar in an agitated manner allowing blue smoke to rise slowly into the air. Even though it was illegal to smoke inside any public buildings in the country, the governor liked to stay after everyone went home. He would sit there and relax with a good old fashion cigar like the ones his predecessors smoked in the previous century.

Everyone knew Governor Tucker did this, but everyone ignored it for the main reason that many did not agree with the federal anti-smoking laws and the governor did it after hours. Tucker was always careful to clean up after himself so there were no telltale remains.

However, tonight the governor was not able to relax. The debate was going horribly wrong for Senator Newland. This was his last chance to score some major points against Ramirez, and the senator from Louisiana was blowing it and blowing it in a big way. The governor twirled his chair around towards his large mahogany desk and proceeded to open a lower drawer.

Tucker reached into the drawer and pulled out a half-emptied bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. As the governor turned back to the conference screen, he took a long pull at the bottle feeling the amber liquid warm his throat and stomach.

He knew that it was a good bet that Ramirez would win the election. However, it now looked like it was going to be a landslide. The governor took another slug from the bottle before he hit the phone button on his desktop. The receiver built in the desk came to life as the automated voice said, "Please, state the name of the person or party you want dialed.

Tucker frowned before saying, "New Texas Tea Party."

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Reunited...

Chapter Twenty-Five

By Douglas E. Gogerty

At breakfast, King Thorbjorn told Princess Angelina about the founding of Lakeland Kingdom:

It was a time of great conflict. A once great nation was tearing itself apart. It was partially due to a struggle over water; however, Lakeland had its lakes. Thus, water was not much of an issue here. It was other parts of the nation.

Nonetheless, many economic difficulties resulted in the upheaval. Difficulties that were both real and imaginary. There were riots and violence in the streets of the cities throughout the country. The citizens could not get any help from the structures designed to prevent these problems from getting out of hand. Hence, the effects of the water wars hit everyone. The great nation was doomed.

When the rest of his fellow citizens were rioting for justice and the rule of law, the First King, as we call him, was gathering up resources. He collected enough food and water for several years, and he stored them in what became our castle complex.

The city in which he lived had a university. This university had met with hard times because of the disinterest of the state and federal government. This was the case of several government-supported institutions. Thus, many university buildings nationwide were greatly underused (or abandoned.) Hence, the First King stored his supplies in the upper levels of a tall university building, and no one noticed.

This gave him several advantages. Of course, there was limited access. There were two stairwells and an elevator. In times of trouble, or when there was no electricity, the elevator was disabled. Hence, attackers would have to climb several flights of stairs. Blocking off one stairwell meant that a single person could defend upper floors. This is what the King did.

Hence, while the citizens were rioting because of the shortage of food and other services, the First King was building the defenses for his acquired stronghold. He built a reinforced concrete wall on the tenth floor of one of the stairwells. Thus, no one could go any further than ten floors in that stairwell.

On the eleventh floor, he built his defenses for the other stairwell. If you made it past him, you could finish going up to his storehouse. However, he made his defenses quite formidable. He electrified the steel door and greatly increased its strength. Further, he co-opted the sprinkler system for a fire attack.

He also built his barricade in the stairway in such a way that he could fire projectile weapons through it without taking fire himself. He had a few crossbows, but his main weapon for use was a pneumatic nail-gun. He cranked up the pressure so the nails could penetrate most armor. They were seldom lethal, but they were painful. With the electrified door and the flamethrowers, he could single-handedly defend his castle.

Thus, when the riots for control of land and buildings hit, the First King was fully prepared. He had his defenses in place, and he had a great supply of food and water. He was fully ready for whatever came his way.

The First King's stronghold had a connecting tunnel to other university buildings. Thus, when he had an opportunity, he would reinforce or block off other entrances. In this way, he could improve the security of his stronghold, and increase the size of his castle complex.

When winter fell, it fell hard on Lakeland. It was cold and the city's infrastructure had collapsed. The First King had no electricity. He had some batteries to provide emergency power for his defenses. They were not to be wasted on heat.

It was a bitter cold winter. The great King had overlooked heat, but he quickly rectified the situation by building a fireplace in the university building. However, he had to go out and gather firewood on a regular basis. Further, he had to carry the gathered wood up the stairs. Hence, it was exhausting work. Many times he just stayed under copious blankets.

The King could use the nearby river for power and irrigation, as there was a large stretch of land next it. There was enough land for him to grow a large array of crops. He had it all planned out for when spring arrived. He just needed to survive the harsh winter. While he struggled, he managed to make it.

Many did not survive the harsh Lakeland winter. Rioters and looters destroyed the crops of the farms. These same groups took or killed much of the livestock. Thus, there was little food being raised in the turmoil of the collapsing nation. Starvation was common. Thus, any store of food was greatly valuable.

Next to the river, the First King planted a small garden. He tilled all of the land by hand, and planted some vegetables. It snowed well into spring, and he hoped he would get a crop. He did not need to grow food yet, but it would supplement his stores. Further, he craved fresh food. There would not be enough to share, but it would be a good start.

However, this garden did not go unnoticed. A group of raiders spied him working the land. He was weeding his plot when they struck. A dozen men rushed him. He jumped into the frigid river to avoid capture. He swam downstream and got out when he could not take much more.

As fast as he could run, he made a dash towards his stronghold. The raiders were on his heals as he entered his building. He attempted to seal the door, but they broke through. He rushed through the tunnels towards his barricaded station. The many trips up and down the stairs worked to his advantage. He managed to make it to his position well ahead of the group of attackers.

He enabled the electrified door and readied his defenses before they climbed the eleven flights to his position. The first man got full brunt from the nail-gun. The second man in his attempt to avoid the flying nails tried the door. The electricity froze him and he shivered at the door. It took several tries from his comrades to free the man from the trap.

Five of the raiders died at the hands of the great king before they left the barricaded position. They left the bodies of their dead comrades at the barricade, and they had already begun to smell. Hence, the great King threw them out the 11th floor window. Naturally, this upset the raiders and they resumed their assault.

They attacked for several days, but they could not overcome the well-planned defenses. All twelve ended up losing their lives in their assault. Some of the local survivors took note of this feat. After that incident, the First King and many area survivors allied themselves. They helped with the garden. They helped build the power station. They established the kingdom of Lakeland.

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 5

By Dwayne MacInnes

November 2040

"Mr. President," a voice broke into the oval office. President Roberts sat at his desk watching the election results from the screen on the wall in front of him. Since he took office eight years ago, the president appeared to have aged a good twenty years. His jet-black hair was now gray and his youthful face was haggard, sorrowful, and creased with wrinkles.

"Yes," Roberts replied never taking his eyes off the screen.

"Would you like something to eat?" the voice asked.

"No, Sam," Roberts said in a sad voice to his good friend and top advisor Samuel Dent.

"Doesn't look very good, does it?" Sam said to the president.

"No Sam, it does not," Roberts said finally looking up to his advisor. "Ramirez won with 62% of the vote, a complete landslide. Plus, it looks like the Democrats will have a majority in the House and Senate."

"Well, we could make things a little interesting here for your replacement by the time January 20th arrives," Sam gave an evil smile.

Roberts chuckled, "No, we won't do as some outgoing presidents have done in the past. I may only have an 18% approval rating but I always do things above the table."

"What do you think we should do?"

"I think we should do everything we can to help Ramirez until he takes office," Roberts replied.

"You know the Vice President is not going to like it?"

"Kimberly Watson has an even lower approval rating than I do. Her animosity towards minorities and backroom deals has plagued this administration with scandals," Roberts replied sadly. He never wanted her on his ticket but the party boys insisted and he played along only to have one of the biggest liabilities any president ever had to endure.

"You know she's almost asking the country to revolt against Ramirez," Sam reminded Roberts.

"I have taken measures to have her silenced until she can return to North Dakota. The last thing our party needs is any more embarrassments and scandals," the president said. "I believe that the party has made that abundantly clear to her."

Sam looked around sheepishly for a few minute before he finally cleared his throat. "Ah, sir...." Sam began. Roberts knew that when Sam called him "sir" he was walking into uncomfortable territory.

"Yes, Sam. What is it?"

"It's the whole Texas thing. Governor Tucker has sworn he'll secede before he sees Ramirez as his president."

Roberts looked up at Dent and smiled. "Sam, my boy. I believe I may have taken care of that as well."

* * * * *

George Murdock went to bed early. He did not care to watch the election results like everyone else. He knew what the results were going to be. Furthermore, he knew that the new administration was going to crack down and reinstate some regulations on many corporations. It was just part of business. Sometimes things are easy and sometimes they get hard. The sign of a good strong company was one that could work through the harder times.

Unfortunately, some of the younger business people did not see that. They did not have the experience of years behind them like George did, nor did they see far enough into the future to realize that politics was a big pendulum. Sometimes it swung right and sometimes left. Sometimes it swung way to the right and sometimes way to the left.

So, it was from a sound and restful sleep that George Murdock was awakened. His head swam and his senses reeled before he realized that there was someone else in the darkened bedroom with him. He at first felt the presence, and then he could make out the dark outline of a man in the shadows near his bedroom window.

"Mr. Murdock?" the man said in a low gruff voice.

"Yes, I am George Murdock," the tycoon said as he sat up in bed.

"Do not be alarmed," the man replied as he turned on a lamp on the side table.

George Murdock held up his hand to block the glare of the lamp's light until his eyes could adjust. He blinked rapidly several times, as he said, "Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?"

"Please, keep your voice down," the man said. "I am here to protect your assets"

"What do you mean....?"

The man stepped into the light cutting short any further questions. The intruder was wearing a black uniform with a combat harness. In his hands, he held a small submachine gun and on his head sat a black stocking watch cap.

"I am here to let you know that we are going to make sure that your company and its assets -- including your oil fields, pipelines, and refineries -- will be under our protection. In that way, they will not fall into unfriendly hands in the case Texas decides to leave the union."

"You mean you are here to take over my company? Did the country suddenly decide to nationalize the oil industry?" Murdock asked his mind racing to catch-up.

"No," the man said. "We are here to keep your company running and to ensure that some of your assets do not accidentally fall into unfriendly hands. That includes any funds that may be at your discretion."

The stranger smiled, "We have even provided you with our own accountants on loan from the IRS."

Murdock swung his legs around and stuck his feet into his slippers. As he stood up in his silk pajamas, he walked over to the man in black.

"I believe I should at least know who my business partner is."

"I am Staff Sergeant William Murphy, Delta Force," Murphy saluted. "Oh, and sir, this conversation never happened."

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Thanks to Ken Kitterman, I did not have to sing this in HS

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Reunited...

Chapter Twenty-Six

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"You are not telling her that boring story of the First King are you?" asked Prince William as he slowly hobbled into the dining hall.

"It is a good story," replied King Thorbjorn.

"Did you tell her why he is called the First King rather than great great great great grandfather?" begged Prince William.

"It is not essential to the story," responded the King.

"If he is not related to us, then what is the point of the story?" asked the Prince as he slumped into a seat at the table.

"It is our heritage..." added the King.

"How are you feeling?" interrupted Princess Angelina.

"Like I just traveled from Calmondak in a covered wagon," replied the Prince.

"I think you are improving," the Princess said. "That is an excellent description of how I feel."

"As long as we are on the same page," the Prince added. "Did you bring up The Prophecy?"

"No," replied the King. "There has been no discussions of the future while you were out. We only spoke of the past."

"Besides," glared the Princess. "If you did not make it, all discussions would be moot."

"When did that ever stop you two in anything?" asked the Prince.

"You are in a mood," the Princess acquiesced. "You should eat something. You will feel better."

"The Princess is right," added the King. "Here try some of this. It is fabulous."

The Prince was going to keep going, but the Princess gave him a look that froze him in his tracks. He immediately accepted the food and began eating. The food did make him feel better.

The trio sat in silence for a while as the Prince ate. Many thoughts went through his head, but he decided it was best not to bring them up. He just sat and ate in silence. In any event, he did not want to get the evil eye from the Princess again.

"So, I guess we should make plans for the wedding," the King said finally breaking the long silence.

"What!!?!!?" replied the Prince nearly choking on some food.

"If you are to fulfill The Prophecy," began King Thorbjorn. "You will need to be wed."

"It says no such thing," replied the Princess in a panic. "The return of the distressed is all that is required."

"I suppose you are right," mused the King.

"A bit of land for a small kingdom is needed," added the Prince.

"I suppose you want the land from the treaty," responded the King.

"Sire," Princess Angelina said in a measured tone. "About that..."

"Now is not the time," interrupted the Prince as he slumped in his seat.

King Thorbjorn jumped up and swept the Prince into his arms. He showed his great strength as he swiftly carried the Prince into the infirmary. He gently placed him in a bed and ran off to fetch a doctor.

"What was that about?" asked the Princess when the King was gone.

"The timing was off," replied the Prince meekly.

"I suppose you are right," responded the Princess, "But, you just delayed the inevitable."

"Is that a problem?" whispered the Prince.

"It is just that he will not wish to discuss it until you are fully well," answered Princess Angelina. "It could be days before the subject could be broached again."

"At least the wedding is off," winked the Prince.

"I would not be so sure," the Princess said as she patted his hand while the King walked in with the doctor.

"I am not as strong as I thought," the Prince said as the doctor began his examination. "I just need a bit more rest."

The doctor asked the King and the Princess to leave while he examined the Prince. The prescription for more rest was exactly what the doctor suggested. However, he was allowed visitors, so after a bit more rest, the Princess came to visit him.

"Because of your little stunt," stated the Princess coldly. "They are not going to let you out of this bed."

"I know," replied the Prince. "I had to talk the doctor out of strapping me down like they did in Calmondak."

"I am not sure," added the Princess with a wink. "Are you this way because your head is too hard or too soft?"

"Do not make me call the doctor and have him take you away!"

"If you do not keep it down, you will not have to call him."

"Are you sure you do not wish to marry me?"

"Where did that come from?"

"It is just that my father would be pleased, and we have known each other for a long time. I think we would be good together."

"You are delirious!"

"I am serious."

"Here is the thing. I have plans. I cannot follow through with these plans if I am forced to be someone's wife."

"Is being a wife and mother so bad?"

"Of course not, but that is not the only options out there."

"What are you talking about?"

"If I am married to you, everyone will expect certain things from me. Things that I cannot follow through on."

"Where did you get these ideas?"

"That is not important. What is important is that I keep my options open. It is important for both me and you."

"How so?"

"If you were married to me and I ran the kingdom, how would that reflect on you?"

"I would never let you do that."

"You would do as I say. Thus, you may think you run things, but everyone else would know who did. It would reflect poorly upon you, and that is why we can never wed."

"What?"

"If I cannot do things my way, I would rather die."

"You cannot be serious."

"What you do not understand is that you have options. You can do and be just about anything. Women can only be wives and mothers. I want -- no demand -- to also have options. If we marry, I lose those options."

"We could work something out."

"I suppose you are right. Like I could kill you! Right here and right now!"

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Texas Wildfire

Chapter 6

By Dwayne MacInnes

T.J. sat in the private boardroom of the Texas Hold 'Em gentlemen's club. He was surprised to get a call from Mr. Vargas the day before asking to meet privately. Mr. Vargas wanted to discuss an important business deal between the two of them. T.J. of course, recommended his favorite establishment.

The room was large with wood paneled walls. One wall had a giant rack of horns from a Texas Longhorn mounted on it. In the center was a long boardroom table and plenty of privacy. The best assets however, were the well stocked bar and the six hostesses wearing nothing save white cowboy hats, matching boots, gloves, and gun belts that doubled as a place to stash any tips.

One of the women stood behind the bar and acted as the bartender. The other five stationed themselves around the room. They would wait as discretely as a naked woman can, waiting for one of the clients to make a demand. The demands could take any shape. However anything that required more than just serving drinks or a simple lap dance, would cost significantly more.

T.J. had already helped himself to a scotch before Mr. Vargas entered the room. The small Hispanic man strolled over to the table without even looking towards the women.

"Damn," thought T.J. "the man must be gay."

Vargas took a chair across from T.J. and placed a briefcase upon the table. Vargas then looked over towards one of the hostesses and ordered a tequila. As the woman walked towards the bar Vargas asked, "Can we trust that nothing that is said here gets out?"

"Absolutely," T.J. smiled. "I practically run the place. Many a business deal has gone down here without any leaks. Hell, it would be bad for business."

"Bueno," Vargas noticeably relaxed. "What I have to talk about is of utmost importance and therefore secrecy."

The hostess soon returned with a shot glass full of tequila for Mr. Vargas. The Latino took the shot glass and downed the drink in one fast go.

"So what business do you wish to talk about?" T.J. asked.

Vargas now relaxed smiled at T.J. "It looks like Texas may secede after all, no?"

T.J. studied the smaller man closely. He did not know how to answer. The governor was talking about secession, and many people were in favor of it. Even T.J. would rather live in the Republic of Texas than a United States of America run by Ramirez.

"Please, Mr. Murdock," Vargas said. "I know more about you than you think. I also know the risks to your company if Texas remains in the United States."

Even though there were a half-dozen beautiful naked women in the room T.J. only noticed Vargas. It was quite evident that Vargas was more than a fellow oilman. However, T.J. still could not guess his game.

"I'm afraid you are losing me Mr. Vargas."

"I hope not. But please hear me out first," Vargas continued. "Texicorp oil is only one of many oil companies in Texas, no?"

T.J. nodded his head in affirmation.

"Now if Texas were to secede from the United States what do you think will happen?"

"Governor Tucker doesn't think that Ramirez has the cojones to attack us if we secede."

Vargas motioned to a hostess for another drink before smiling at T.J. "But what do you think will happen."

"We'll be invaded and will more than likely lose."

"Why do you think that, Mr. Murdock?"

T.J. was so engrossed in Mr. Vargas's conversation that he had not corrected Vargas about calling him Mr. Murdock twice now. "We don't have the weapons the U.S. army has. Even if we call up our National Guard units, they only have some old M-1 Abrams tanks. They would not last long against those new M-3 Schwarzkopfs with the gauss guns."

Vargas smiled to the lovely woman who brought him his tequila. He slipped the woman a fifty-dollar bill. He then turned towards T.J. and opened his briefcase. "What if we could level the playing field?"

T.J. looked at Vargas in disbelief, "Let's say I was interested, how would you do that?"

"Your company deals in billions of dollars every year. So it would not be hard for you to purchase some top-grade weaponry," Vargas said as he slid some papers over to T.J.

T.J. studied the pages in front of him. If Vargas was playing him straight, he could get his hands on some top of the line weapons. Certainly, there were not any Schwarzkoprfs but there were some very nice antitank and infantry weapons laid out before him. Finally, T.J. slid the pages back to Vargas.

"Three questions, Mr. Vargas if you will," T.J. finally said.

Vargas smiled and nodded his head before downing his shot glass.

"First, what makes you think I would be interested in your proposal?"

"As I said before, there are many oil companies out there. If Texas wins its independence and Texicorp was the main backer., who do you think will get those rich oil fields that used to belong to U.S. companies? I think that would be worth the risk, no?"

T.J. nodded his head, "Okay, that one makes sense. Second question: how do I know your claims about getting these weapons are legit?"

"Easy. The first order you place will be on credit. After you receive and test your shipment you can pay us and then proceed to make further orders."

T.J. leaned closer to Vargas across the table and lowered his voice. "Thirdly, why are the Mexicans interested in arming Texas?"

Vargas smiled before he broke into a big laugh; he then motioned for one of the hostesses to prepare him another shot of tequila. "Easy. I do not represent Mexico. I am from Venezuela."

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Because every now and then you step into a big pile of Shat!

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