Previously, all the plans had been made. The signal had been sent, but still the armada approached. There was some cause for joy when the Canadian Navy arrived with submarines, but it was short lived as the signal to suggest rescue seemed to be ineffective as the armada's citizens closed rank with their military. We had hoped they would break and head to shore. We awaited the arrival of troops followed by thousands of possibly armed citizens. No friendly aircraft in sight yet. It didn't look good. We join the story now as the Yosemite forces wait to engage the enemy.
I stood with Jen and Linda my two closest friends, besides Christine. An overwhelming concern for their safety came over me. "You two should go back. This isn't looking good. I can't watch you die here. I'd rather you went back, grabbed Christine and went north. There could be safety up there. There's a lot of blue area."
Linda smiled. "Someone has to save your ass. No offense, Jen, but your boy, Carlos is just as likely to shoot him as the enemy."
Jen smiled and let a little laugh out. "Yep, you damn men. Like little boys. This is a job for women. You just step back and watch what a couple of pissed off chicks can do."
"Yep. I can't argue with that logic. You tell Christine what a hero the old man was, right?"
Linda feigned exasperation. "You know we always lie for you, Johnny."
We put our battle faces on, and went to face the enemy. They were in for a fight.
Ricky was shouting out orders. "Don't let them out of the water. Pass it on. No mercy. They put there weapons down, we stop shooting. As long as they're shooting, we're shooting. Pass it on. Keep em in the water. Ducks on a pond. Right out of the boat. Let em have it. County fair. Ducks in a row."
He made it sound easy. To tell the truth. I believed him. Ducks on a pond. County fair. Damn, though. Hundreds of troops were one thing. There were thousands of citizens in that armada. Even unarmed, how could we hold them off? This was the first wave. Maybe we could beat that back. An endless human wave? I didn't know. I sure as hell didn't relish the idea of slaughtering hundreds and hundreds of people.
I remembered back to that attack on camp. All those people attacking with no hope of victory. We slaughtered them. It was senseless and ugly. It haunted me. This would be worse. Where is the freedom when we are slaves to our own nature? Our dream to spend a moment living as we were meant to live looked almost silly to me now. I thought about Christine hooked up to that equipment sending out a message of faith and love. Damn! You damn people would rather fight when you don't even have to fight. You are willing to kill or be killed for something that is there for the taking. So be it. Reap it!
The enemy troops began to hit the water. Ricky hesitated to give the go ahead to fire. The troops were anything but organized. Some fired on our position, others were unarmed, and still others attempted to disarm those that had opened fire. Ricky just stood there with his arm in the air. He gave the order to retreat! Retreat and take cover.
I rushed over to Ricky to get a feel for what he had in mind.
He was looking through binoculars. "You have to see this. You have got to see this. As I live and breath. You have got to damn well see this." He handed the binoculars over to me.
The scene was chaotic. It couldn't be. The citizens were boarding the military vessels. They were being repelled, but they kept on coming. It looked like ants swarming an anthill. They were attempting to take over the battleships!
My astonishment was interrupted by gunfire. The planes were strafing our position. The redwoods provided protection, but we were suffering casualties. There were a lot of aircraft. Lester manned one of our anti-aircraft guns and Tom the other. But, two guns were nowhere near enough.
They were doing a hell of a job though! Enemy aircraft began to drop out of the sky in flames. It looked amazing against our reddish sky. No! It wasn't them. As silent as a barn owl, a dozen or more stealth bombers flew overhead. I saw their shadows first. The enemy had no answer, but would not disengage.
Troops continued to advance, despite resistance from their own and Ricky passed along his orders. Single shots, and be accurate. Aim for armed soldiers that fired on us. Don't fire at anyone not showing aggression. Be careful. Pinpoint accuracy. There are friendlies out there. There are people seeking asylum. The rescue had begun, even as the war had commenced.
Rain began to fall. It started so slowly that It went unnoticed at first. At first ,the cool drops felt welcome. Within minutes, it became a downpour. The ground had already become soggy from the advancing ocean. Now, it felt like a swamp, not that I had ever been in one, but I imagined one would feel like this. The rumbling of the ground made sense with all of the explosions and exploding submarines and enemy aircraft. This was more than rumbling. I could barely keep my footing!
"Linda, are you feeling that?" I shouted above the roar of the ensuing battle.
Linda had her arms out to her side as if trying to maintain balance. Jen hugged the ground and looked to be trying to steady it with her downward palms. Linda cried out, "Earthquake!"
The sky filled with every kind of lighting I had ever heard of. A mad scientist had taken over the sky. When I say mad, I mean pissed not crazy! Parachutes and burning aircraft plunged towards the ocean and land. Fire engulfed our vision everywhere we looked.
"Johnny, look!" Ricky staggered over with the binoculars. The armada looked like toys in a bathtub full of spoiled children. Civilians had overrun the military vessels. Flags were ripped from their mastheads and replaced by white flags of surrender.
Ricky screamed out, "Cease fire, cease fire." But, no one had thought about firing on either side for some time now. War of a completely different and unexpected nature had broken out, waged by the very earth that we all coveted. The ground shook us like a dog shakes fleas. Everything the earth had to offer was being thrown at us, the ground shook and the sky exploded. The seas churned and tossed everything upon it around like twigs in the rapids.
I hit the ground hard, as though struck, but no one threw a blow. It felt like the ground gave way beneath me. Wave after wave of briny water crashed over my prone body. The message of rescue still coursed through my being.
I screamed out, "Rescue, rescue!" I could hear my cry echoed by others.
Ricky, Linda, Jen and many others advanced towards the shore, staggering under the shaking earth, while the sky continued its deadly light show. Earth is simply damn tired of us.
"They're coming! They're coming! Mercy, they're driving those boats right to shore. Bodies in the water. Let's get them." I could see the rag-tag ships from the north moving to intercept and attempt rescue. Lifeboats and small craft were launched and bobbing like tops on the ocean. Waves appeared out of nowhere and catapulted them forward without regard. Boats of all shapes and sizes began to sink and screaming hordes threw themselves into an ocean that would just as soon drown them on the spot.
Ships began to sink one after the other on both sides. Was there such a thing as sides anymore? I grabbed hold of a man and helped him to shore. Had he been my enemy twenty minutes earlier? What did it matter? He was not my enemy now.
I reentered the water and looked for anyone else that needed help. I felt something strike the side of my head. "Johnny!" I heard Christine's voice. I was too groggy to answer. I struggled to swim. The shore looked suddenly distant too me. I knew I must have been losing consciousness. I began to sink. It felt as though a hand reached under me and pushed me towards the shore.
I knew these had to be my final moments. It felt so peaceful gliding along. I felt like I was flying through the water. Others joined me. We were all gliding blissfully towards the shore. If this was death, it wasn't so bad. They seemed at peace. I assumed they were dying too. I smiled at them. It looked as if we were going to the same place.
Goodbye Christine. Until we meet…