General Fiction posted March 26, 2014 Chapters:  ...28 29 -30- 31... 


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Organization on the inside is discussed.

A chapter in the book Yosemite

Fort Yosemite & The Inner Circle

by michaelcahill




Background
Campers struggle for survival as the world falls apart. Yosemite seems to be one of the few desirable places left on earth. Our campers happen to be there.
Previously, the camp keeps expanding. Information keeps coming in and it is all unreliable. Nothing is really known as a fact at the end of the day. The people in the camp have one thing in common, their common need to survive. The enemy is out there and remains unknown. The enemy has resources and is interested in the land that the campers occupy. We continue as Christine and Johnny converse in private about who should be in the inner circle of people they can fully trust.  


"Christine, we need to gather the people we trust together. Every day brings a new twist. It all looks good until you start thinking about it. Trained soldiers are fine when they're on your side. What if they get ideas? We're not in their heads. Look at that jackass, Joe. He comes out of the blue with that crap about wanting to lead. I trust you. Who else can we trust?"
 
"Linda. She has never swayed from day one. Annie stepped up big time helping us recover our camp. Nikolai has to be in. He comes with Linda. I want to say Jen, but Carlos has that soldier thing going on. I see Jen with him regardless, and I don't know if he goes with us against the American Troops if it comes down to it. You saw him with that Sgt. Tom. He fell right into soldier mode. I like Carlos, don't get me wrong. But, I don't tell him my inner most thoughts. Ma and her boys, without a doubt. I don't want to make a move without hearing Ma's take. I don't have any other names coming to mind. You?"
 
"I think we see it the same way. I don't know about Jen. I see her as one of us. I always saw her as ambivalent towards the potential father of her child. It didn't seem all that important. Now I see her with Carlos and I wonder if that has changed, or if it is simply convenient. But, we can't take the chance. That we agree on. You and I keep everything to ourselves. This is our show. We decide what we tell to who. We delegate what needs to be delegated. But, this is a powder keg. We don't know a damn thing when it comes down to it, and neither does anybody else out there. Linda, Nikolai, Annie and especially Ma will be the first level of trust. Then Jen, Carlos and to a lesser degree Lacci and Turner. All the others need to think that they are included. They need to think they are in the inner circle."
 
Later that evening the true power of Yosemite met in private, far away from prying eyes. As the leader, the tone of the meeting needed to be established. Humor would be set aside for the moment.
 
"I don't trust anyone that isn't sitting around this campfire. I know that some of our friends aren't here and I know that I may be out of line by saying that. So be it. My thinking is that there are no countries out there. No one is coming to our rescue. There is nothing out there but enemies. They want what we have. For all we know, this is the garden spot of the earth. Trust or no trust, we need the people down at that camp. We need them together as a force. How do we do that? That's one question. The enemy is coming. We don't know who it is. How do we defend ourselves? That is the other question. Let's talk."
 
I was always pleased to hear Ma speak. She could get to the heart of things in a hurry. "One thing we's all gots here Johnny is incentive. No sense in rockin the boat. Most of the folks here ain't goin fer what that fool was a tryin. They sees you as bein fair. Lets em keep a seein that. If'n ya need bad guys, y'all gets one a us. Y'all gots the right folk right here too. It's not as bad here as ya might think. Soldiers need leaders. Theys loyal. Twasn't soldiers took down Rome, twas pol'ticians. Gets em all busy defendin' the castle. Yous gonna need that any who."
 
Nikolai was nodding his head vigorously, "The Russian troops are most anxious to prove themselves. Well, to hell with Russia. The Yosemite troops are ready to prove themselves. We feel rescued. All the men have told me this very thing. We were treated like dogs. The bastard you call Putin's wife, out of respect for Johnny, we let him live. You will see. We back you all the way. These people smile and make jokes. Yosemite is our home now."
 
"Believe him Johnny; you know where my loyalty lies." Linda had earned my trust countless times. There was no doubting her sincerity. She continued, "I can see it in their eyes as they share the campfire and the friendship that we take for granted. It touches them. They value it in a way that we fail to even consider. There is no question that they will fight for it."
 
I wanted something to be clear, "It's obvious that there is a large group that is not represented here. There are no American soldiers. How do you feel about that?"
 
"I'm relieved." Annie answered immediately. "To be honest, they're the ones I fear. I can hear one of those officers just like that idiot senator trying to exert his authority. "Well, I'm the ranking officer so, I'll take charge. This is a military situation." She gave her best mocking-military vocal rendition.
 
Christine laughed, but not hysterical laughter. "Yes. We were talking about that earlier." She motioned to me, sitting by her. "They may still have that, "I'm a United States Soldier", mentality. Carlos acted like he was still in the Marines when he greeted them. That's why he isn't here right now. It isn't that we don't trust him. I'm just afraid of whose orders he'd follow, if it came right down to it."
 
Christine had said it perfectly. I continued, "That is why I want you people here to be in the inner circle and no one else. This is a closed circle. Nothing leaves here and no one else is invited. We meet, we talk, and we hold nothing back. I trust you all with my life."
 
The morning found a renewed industry to the camp. My concern over conflict seemed unfounded (though I harbored it nonetheless). Ma had suggested putting everyone to work. The simplicity and genius of the idea had escaped me. There was no end of things to do. We had both the manpower and the skills available to accomplish almost anything that occurred to us. Our little campsite looked more and more like a wilderness fort every day. Thoughts of the Alamo were pushed quickly out of my mind. "Not amusing", I thought to myself.
 
Nikolai had suggested that stragglers that appeared in camp be put through a quarantine process. They would be questioned and assigned living space. If they were hungry, they would be fed. If they were injured, their wounds would be tended too. It provided information to peruse and an indication of skills and gave the new residents a sense of order. It was a good idea and handled much like a visitor to a foreign country. There were no intense interrogations or grillings. It was quite informal, but served its purpose.
 
I was thinking about my high school prom when Ma came rushing up to me. By rushing in Ma's case that would be something a bit more than a cool stroll.
 
"Johnny, get that purdy gal of yours. I gots sumpin that’s a gonna fry yer chicken with the feathers on."
 
I smiled at Christine and nodded. She joined me. We followed her up to Half-Dome. Lester was standing near the top with a telescope staring through it. I don't recall ever seeing Lester motionless before. It was a strange sight. Lester struck me as the man that inspired the phrase "ants in his pants". I'd never seen him still a moment since I'd first met him. Ma motioned for me to head up there where he was.
 
"Whatcha lookin' at there Lester?"
 
"Well, Johnny, if'n I'd told ya, ya wouldn’t believe me." He handed me the telescope.
 
It wasn't a fancy one, but it had enough power to bring in some detail on the moon, if it was out to look at. I pointed it in the direction Lester had been looking. What came into view had to be the most astonishing sight anyone had ever beheld.
 
"Holy shit, Lester, I don't believe my eyes. How far away do you think it is?"
 
Christine grabbed the telescope from my hand and looked for herself. "Whoa. That can't be more than twenty-five miles away."
 
Linda had seen us leave and tagged along. "What in hell are you looking at for Christ's sake?"
 
I looked at her trying to think of some gentle way to put it. There wasn't any. "The Pacific Ocean."



 


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Well, I have a lot of questions to answer. Hahaha! Now I've added another one. Thank you all so much for all your input. If not for your help I would've fallen off the cliff long age. Thanks to you, I am still standing right on the edge ready to fall. Any input or suggestions? Throw me a rope? No, not for that!!!
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