Copyright 2017, Steven M. Moore
Regional Governor Ricardo Sandoval kept one eye on the protests in the NADA capital of Atlanta as he answered his videophone, the red one he generally kept under lock and key. It needed a thumbprint and voiced password.
His counterpart, Regional Governor Desmonda Bailey, appeared on the screen.
“Yeah, I’m watching. NADA’s propaganda machine is whipping them into a frenzy. I’m more worried about the massing of troops on our borders. Our only recourse might be the battlefield nukes.”
“A last recourse, but I agree,” said Bailey. “Our small forces would be run over by those fanatics.”
“At least NADA’s generals have two fronts to divide their forces, but you’re at a geographical disadvantage, Desmonda. They can roll across the Adirondack chain a lot easier than the Sierras and our other western mountains. Maybe the sanctions weren’t such a good idea.”
“Nonsense. Their Great Leader started paying attention when we voted them in. They were a logical first step for trying to make him come to his senses. I don’t know what our next steps should be, but I’m not about to let him and his hordes overrun our Region.”
“I’m with you on that. But my security team warns that they might take out our satcom. We have to be prepared to act unilaterally unless we can agree on something now.”
“Let’s define some plans, old friend. My people warn me this could escalate fast.”
The two leaders worked for an hour and a half, coming up with plans that both the Eastern and Western legislatures would pass given the emergency. They worked from scenarios already prepared and studied, originating in the collaborative defense departments.
When they finished, Sandoval told his aid to call for his limo. The trip to the capital was walkable, but the limo was used to keep his security detail happy.
During the trip, which took more time loading and unloading of security personnel on each end than travel time, he went through some historical antecedents he might include in his speech.
Things had gone to hell fast beginning in 2017. That contentious election for president had unleashed pent-up hatreds that had smoldered for years, even decades. Perhaps inevitable, he thought. Reasoned discourse went the way of the dinosaurs.
One thing led to another. The country had already been divided between the East and West Coasts and the rest of the country, the so-called red and blue states, except in that election some blue ones had turned red and then became purple as they oscillated back and forth in future elections creating tremendous instability. People no longer wanted to discuss their politics and dedicated all their energies to hating the opposition. Eventually the Eastern and Western Civil Rights Regions were formed to reflect and protect the East and West Coast views while the rest of the country became the North American Democratic Alliance, or NADA, the use of the word “Democratic” having a déjà vue with the official name of East Germany used so many decades earlier.
The wall on the southern border was extended to several places on the Regions’ borders to complement the geographical barriers. NADA’s armed border patrols killed anyone trying to cross in any direction, another parallel with East Germany. The Eastern capital, New York City, was connected to the Western, Sacramento, only by plane. No diplomatic relations existed between the Regions and NADA. That was more a parallel with North and South Korea, which was ironic because Korea was now unified and one of the few countries in Asia that was a strong trading power with both the Regions and NADA.
How much the world has changed since I was a boy in East LA, thought Sandoval. Conflict in the Middle East had ended when the oil ran out there. Russia had become more peaceful and more of a partner with countries in Europe, including Ukraine. China was even busier pouring money into combatting the damage to its climate created by its run-away industrialization; they had little time to make trouble, although their greedy capitalism held sway in all of Asia except Korea.
Sandoval wasn’t sure what the prelude to Bailey’s and his plan should be. He ended up keeping it simple.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Western Civil Rights Union’s Legislature, we have a problem. At this moment NADA’s forces are massing on our borders, readying for invasion. NADA’s self-proclaimed leader is whipping his followers into a frenzy. Governor Bailey and I have come up with the following plan.” He outlined the plan’s important points. “Each member has a copy of the full legislation we propose. It’s a reactive plan, not a pro-active one. As commanders-in-chief of our joint forces, we have taken a cautionary approach. That hasn’t worked so far, of course. The sanctions against NADA were only used by their Great Leader to urge his people to fight. If you approve our plan, though, history will be with us and relegate him to historical insignificance. I ask for your votes.”
The vote was unanimous for the first time in the Western Region’s history after the constitution created the two Regions and how they were governed.
“It’s starting,” said General Wilson, nodding to the split screen where satellite feeds showed the troop movement on the two Regions’ borders.
“It’s time for a decision,” said his counterpart in the East. “Governors?”
Bailey looked as bad as Sandoval felt. Their claustrophobic bunkers didn’t add to their comfort. “They will release their missiles from Atlanta,” he said.
“They aren’t very reliable,” said Wilson. “Some of us will survive.”
“I’d much rather be in New Zealand right now,” said Bailey.
“They’ll eventually receive the radiation too,” said Wilson’s counterpart. “Your decision?”
“Take out the advancing troops all along the border,” said Sandoval.
“Agreed,” said Bailey.
And thus begins World War Three, thought Sandoval, on the North American continent this time.
Coming soon! Gaia and the Goliaths has environmental issues as a theme, but Chen and Castilblanco still have to solve a crime. #7 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series” starts out with the murder of an environmental activist on a street in Manhattan. As the detectives pursue the investigation, they discover that the activist’s boyfriend is also a target. His activity overseas leads to the conclusion that there is a conspiracy involving an American energy company, a Putin surrogate, and an old nemesis. This new novel will be available in all ebook formats.
In libris libertas!