Happy Memorial Day from Iridescence Studios! As you celebrate the start of summer I implore you to take a moment to remember and thank those who have entered military service and put their lives on hold to protect and defend the rights we all too often take for granted. I've never served in the military, though my mother's father served in the Navy. I never met him, but she still has the picture in his uniform.
While it's something I think I would be ill equipped to do, I've always had a profound respect and appreciation for the military. That said, I would like to aim to release my post apocalyptic novel one year from today, on Memorial Day. I haven't said novel a lot on here because I'm a bit of a business newbie and I'll be hoping some of you can give my partner Megan and I some advice on related topics sometime soon.
Back to the matter at hand. I thought about posting a chapter today maybe but the ones I have ready, I wasn't sure if any really fit what I was looking for... However, I found this excerpt from chapter 4 that I think really highlights what our armed forces sacrificed so much to defend.
The scene below is part of a scene when the main protagonists, Sierra Walker and Colonel Avery Wells meet the current leader of the Air Force, who has determined the only way to prevent further collapse of the world is absolute control. Having the opposite viewpoint, Colonel Wells makes his point known.
To all of those who have, will, and especially those who have died for our country, thank you. Your sacrifice is appreciate with the utmost respect.
“Yes, well, I’ve been keeping tabs on your recent activities and I thought it was time you and I met.” The cormorant stepped around the desk to face the bear. When his beak was less than a foot away from the ursine he turned to Sierra. “Avery and I go back quite a ways, you see. Back before the war.”
“When you weren’t insane,” the bear said.
“On the contrary, Colonel Wells. I am one of the few people in this world who still has the ability to think clearly. Unlike you I understand what needs to be done in order to ensure the survival of life as we know it.”
Avery laughed. “I’d say that ship has sailed.”
“Because you lack the clarity to understand the world we find ourselves in after the mess the old world left us.” The cormorant took a few steps away from the pair. “After the bombs fell, everything descended into chaos. The cities collapsed, people were murdering each other in the streets for a can of soup. Without the order of law and someone to enforce it people lost all civility. The air force stepped in and stabilized the central part of the country. It cost lives, but I dare say it was a price worth paying.”
Avery shook his head. “I’ve heard about how you maintain order. Your criminal justice system is brutal and your men are bullies, General. It’s why the army stood against you.”
“That was your mistake.” The bird scowled and turned away from him.
Sierra raised her head. “What is he talking about, Avery?”
“Your friend here and those like him decided it was more important to protect the rights of the individual over the country as a whole. It seems like a nice idea, until you realize that without order the rights of the individual are irrelevant. Unlike you I was willing to do whatever it took in order to protect what is left of this nation. You swore an oath to defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That includes opportunistic raiders and idiots who think they can secede from this union with a few of their drinking buddies. I will die before I allow this country to fall apart because of people too stupid to know what I do is for their own good.”
“That is dangerously arrogant, General Parker,” Avery said.
“No. What is dangerous is you spreading the idea of freedom in a world which is not ready for it and cannot handle it. Since the collapse of civilization as we know it we have had more people die from their own hesitation when confronted by someone with a hostile intent than any other cause. They are not ready to survive in a world without someone to watch over them. While I can not prevent crime any more than anyone else at least in my territory there are consequences.” The cormorant stepped towards his desk.
“As long as you don’t mind summary judgment,” Avery said.
General Parker whirled around. “You still cling to the ideas of the old world even though it is what led us to this.”
“The systems didn’t do this, people did.” Avery took a step closer. “If you throw away things like freedom and a fair trial then what are you actually preserving other than the shell of a once great nation? You cannot tell me that this is what you intend to defend as the right thing to do.”
“Not forever. When we’ve recovered and are pulled back from the edge we can change that. Until then this is how it has to be,” the cormorant said.
Sierra balled her paws into fists. “According to who?”
“Who are you?” he asked.
“She doesn’t look like a soldier,” he said.
Avery folded his arms. “She knows how to handle herself.”
“I’d imagine so, given she’s survived this long. So how did you end up following Avery across the country, anyway?” the cormorant asked.
Sierra looked towards the bear and then sighed. “I answered a distress call. When he needed help I was there.”
General Parker chuckled to himself. “I assume you realize how fortunate you were. Most people would have taken their freedom to leave you to die.”
“Other people’s behavior does not justify yours, sir.” Sierra stood as tall as she could as the bird once again turned his attention away from Avery.
“Perhaps not, but I and my soldiers are the only thing keeping half of this country from falling in an oblivion from which it might never recover. My methods are harsh and justice swift under my authority, but I am the lesser of two evils. If we are not there to control the more radical elements what do you think will happen?” he asked. “Power does not tolerate a vacuum.”
Avery hesitated and lowered his muzzle. “I don’t know.”
The cormorant waggled a finger at him. “Let’s say you do manage to start your revolution. What if you manage to defeat or even destroy my regime? If we should fall, the Academy, the Initiative, or the Navy will rush to fill the void. I wonder if you would find dealing with any of them to be as pleasant.” He whirled around to lean against the front of the desk. “Somehow I doubt they would do you the courtesy I am providing you now, which is an opportunity to reconsider your agenda.”
Sierra shook her head. “I think you’re afraid.”
“What?” The bird straightened his posture. “Afraid of what, you?”
“Losing control.” Sierra stared up at him. “You’re so terrified of the possibility of losing what little tenuous authority you have over this part of the country you’re willing to do almost anything to prevent the possibility we might take you down. My father fought against people like you his whole life. People who thought they knew better than the rest of us. They would tell him he’s wasting his time or he wasn’t good enough. The truth is they just didn’t want the competition. You think you control this part of the country but the truth is you are holding on to the illusion of righteousness because you think what you do is for the good of the people. I’ve seen the way your citizens act outside and it’s not the way people who feel safe behave. They’re afraid of you. The only radical elements your army controls are its general population. You say you think you’re the only thing holding people away from oblivion. I wonder if it isn’t you who fears oblivion if they discover they don’t need you. We are here to protect and defend those who cannot do it themselves. It isn’t always easy, but it is what we are here to do. You talk about protecting the country against all enemies foreign and domestic. If my father were here he would say you are one of those enemies.”
General Parker screeched and spread his only wing in a display of fury. “I am trying to keep you from throwing your life away on some foolish crusade. If you wish to subscribe to your idealistic fantasy of what the world has become then the next time we meet I will deal with you.”
Avery placed a paw on Sierra’s arm to guide her towards the door. “Then I think we have nothing further to discuss.”
“Avery!” The cormorant’s voice resounded through the office.
The bear held his position. Sierra did the same as the guards moved their bodies to block their departure. “Yes, General?”
“If you decide to continue your insurrection it will end with all of your deaths. This is your only warning,” he said.
“I’ll be coming back for your other wing,” Avery said as the guards moved to allow them to leave.
Sierra glanced at him. “You did that?”
“I’ll tell you about it sometime,” he said. “We’d better get back to the others. Something tells me we aren’t going to want to stay here for much longer.” The bear followed their escorts as they were taken back the way they came. Sierra could not help but marvel at the impressive technology the air force commanded and wondered what the army had to match it. Either way, the air force was not going down without a fight.