General Fiction posted March 24, 2014 Chapters:  ...26 27 -28- 29... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Power needs to be established right away. Soldiers sighted.

A chapter in the book Yosemite

Taking Control & More Soldiers

by michaelcahill

The world in chaos. Survivors in Yosemite try to forge a workable way of life together.
Johnny has called a meeting to discuss leadership and the future of the people assembled. As dissention seems to grow, it is becoming apparent to him that he may have to be more forceful and simply state the way it is and the way it is going to be. We pick up the story after one of the camp members has tried to make a case for himself as leader. Johnny is addressing the assemblage. 

"Who else wishes to speak? I don't mean to just take over anything. Nobody has to fear speaking up. That has to be the first law. If you have something to say, stand up and say it." What other approach could I take? Joe was right. Or, was he? What were we going to do, have elections? No, we had to do something now. The more the issue rolled through my mind, the more clear it became. Call it whatever it needed to be called, I needed to be in complete charge. It needed to be right now. Democracy could come later. There was no other way. Speeches and opinions could be stated, that was the smart thing, to allow it. But, in the end, Yosemite already had it's leader, me.
A voice from the crowd shouted out, a female voice. I motioned for the crowd to quiet down. "I'll speak. I've no problem at all throwing my two cents in. Two cents is about all I have after voting for that jackass. I lived in his district in Nevada. He don't give a rat's ass about people. He just wants the power and the damn money. He wiped out Main Street in our city to put in an auto row. I had a business there for twenty three years and my momma for thirty before that. This bastard thought it would make the city money selling Toyotas there instead. Yeah! It made money all right. It made him and the other bastards in government money. It didn't make me a dime."
Joe was no stranger to the stage. "That row of auto dealers put our city on the map. It brought in millions of dollars to Sparks, Nevada. You got top dollar for your business. You could've moved your business or done anything you wanted with that money. But, you're too busy looking for a free ride…"
"Free ride? Move it to where? Inside the Walmart you moved in rent free? That wiped out the other side of town. What did you get out of that? I know the business owners that got kicked out on their asses there didn't get anything."
Christine looked at me. "Stop this, before it gets out of hand. You know the answer to this. We either leave right now or step up and take charge. Carlos is right. It has to be organized. Someone has to be in charge. That's you, Johnny. That's how the circumstances have played out. Now's the time. I'm with you. You know that. Do it."
Standing up, my hands were raised in a gesture of silence. Eye contact alerted my people. A nod prompted each of them to join me including Turner, Nikolai and a few others considered part of our camp. Ma was already on her way over with her boys.
I paused for quite a while, making it a point to get eye contact with Joe, excluding him from the group. He looked pensive and unhappy. Good. These people needed to look at our camp. They needed to recall where they had first encountered us. The group that took over our camp, remember us taking it back? The Russian soldiers, recall what eight of us did to your troops?
"Welcome to our camp. Welcome to Yosemite. I am in charge here. That is the wishes of these people. This is my family. They are my priority. You are welcome to join us here. We are trying to protect ourselves from unknown enemies that are liable to show up anytime. We have no knowledge of the outside world. We know this world. In this world, we help each other and watch each other's backs. If you wish to leave, leave. You may want to take your chances with Joe here. That is fine with us. Make no mistake, we tolerate no threat to the safety of this camp. A threat to one is a threat to all. The future is of no consequence. We know less about it than ever. We have to be ready for now. That is all." We all resumed what we had been doing.
None of us gave any acknowledgement to anyone. We left them standing there as though there was nothing for them to say. In truth, there wasn't. It was the way it was. There would be no discussion. Without looking directly at them we could get a sense of the reaction nonetheless. Joe faded into the crowd. He was no longer one of us and not really one of them. Everyone else returned to whatever they were doing.
Lacci spoke first, "If there is one asshole, it's like cockroaches, there is probably more."
Linda nodded her head in agreement, "She's right. Everyone has some kind of undercurrent going on. I'm sure that even among us there are ideas that don't always mesh 100%. We can't be too democratic. We just saw that. I'm not saying this needs to be the Roman Empire, but it needs to be pretty damn firm if you ask me. You should start with that jabbering jackass right there." She pointed to the Russian commander that never seemed to shut-up.
According to Nikolai, his own men hated him. But, there was something about taking an oath and going through training and being a soldier. Carlos had described it to me. We'd been talking and the Stockholm Syndrome came up. Hostages, over time, coming to identify with their abductors. His eyes lit up at that. He'd laughed and said that it sounded like marines at the end of basic training. So, my eyes were always surveying those Russian troops for a reaction to the commanders ramblings.
The signal for attack got us to our feet and into action. Lester rushed up to me, "Don't recken I knows what it is. Jonesy gave the signal. He's too far away to talk to. I's on my way to see what he's a talkin' 'bout."
Not everyone was acquainted with procedure. Half of us were on the ball and the other half were running around frantically. "Listen, Nikolai, get your men under some kind of control. Annie, see if you can at least get some of those people to get to their tents. They're sitting ducks milling around there. Carlos, you know what to do with that jabbering asshole there. I didn't see a thing." I heard a heavy thud and a low moan. I couldn't imagine what it might be.
Lester was back, "They's American, Johnny, but they don’t look good. They's a mess. Limpin along. I don't think they's attackin'. They's a lookin to be rescued."
"Look. Someone must have did that to them. Where are they? That's what we need to know. Jonesy hasn't seen anything?"
"No sir. Just them American boys all beat to hell."
"Okay. Okay. Let them get closer to camp. Spread the word. Nobody fires. In fact, everybody stands down. How many are there?"
"There's a good thirty or more. They's armed too. But, they don't look much for scrappin."
"Okay, get Carlos and Louis and those other soldiers over here."
I explained the situation to Carlos, Louis and the other soldiers. There were three other veterans that I trusted as well. "Look, they are probably ready to fight. I would be. They're at the ready to defend themselves. You are American soldiers. You should be able to greet other American soldiers. We want to help these people not get into a costly battle with them. The rest of us just don't fit the bill. It's up to you guys to greet them and get them into camp without getting them killed and without getting yourself killed. We're gonna cover you. I'm not taking any chances. Like Ma says, kin are number one. Okay, go for it."
Christine, Linda, Nikolai and myself were up behind a tree and some bushes as the encounter was about to take place. Carlos shouted out, "Friendlies coming up, boys. Friendlies." Then he called out his platoon number and a couple other numbers that I couldn't make out. The advancing troops could hear him, but weren't sure of which action to take. The commander who was not looking all that commanding signaled for them to hit the side of the road. It looked like an ambush. We tightened the grip on our weapons.



Always looking for input and suggestions. Some excellent input that has had great influence on the story. Most appreciated. In a blind piece all ideas are considered, nothing is set in stone. So, feel free. Your help has been the difference. Thank you, mikey
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