Authors: Allie Juliette Mousseau
Allie Juliette Mousseau
2013 by Allie Juliette Michaels.
All Rights Reserved
Published by Dauntless Hawk Ink
ISBN - 978-0-98-92922-8-3
All characters and events in this publication other than those clearly in the public domain are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cover design by Tattoo Custom Cover Designs
Final Production Editor Mike Mousso
This book is dedicated to my sexy husband Michael, who provides endless inspiration.
"That would lead our entire division into a blood bath!" Rachel implored.
division. And it won't be a blood bath if the troops succeed in their mission. You're ridiculous, Lawton. I don't understand the division you transferred from, but here we don't reprimand or correct commanding officers." Commander Adam Webb's voice didn't raise, but Rachel knew it was a threat.
She wouldn't stop herself though. The Resistance was a hard group of fighters, scattered across the regions. Each division ran its own operative, had its own rules and regulations, and hierarchy. Where Rachel was from - the Northwest Territory, or what some Rebels called Old Montana - all fighters participated in preparing, critiquing, and analyzing the operations they undertook. Battling against the Sovereignty wasn't a game. They were fierce destroyers who showed no mercy - even to civilians - and were ruthless to their enemy prisoners. So much was at stake. If the resistance failed in overturning the Sovereignty and their self advanced rule what was left of the Selections would either all be exterminated -wiped off the analogs of civilization - or designated as slaves for generations to come.
As it was, once the Sovereignty came to power, they rounded up the people left from the Great War and forced them into imposed communities called Selections, where they were stripped of all rights and dignities. Communication between the Selections was forbidden and punishable by death, as was trying to escape your own Selection. Executions were carried out as mandatory public viewing. Citizens lived in terror of the Sovereignty's power and one another - you never knew when someone would turn you in falsely for reward or recognition. The Sovereignty even separated families into different Selections so loyalty would be insured. This wasn't just an op; a lot of people's lives hung in the balance.
"I've fought against The
Sovereignty’s Preeminence Alistair Kain and his Sov forces. They'll see this coming from a mile away!" Rachel wasn't tying to be disrespectful, as much as she was urgent. This op was crucial in the recovery of the Midwest Selections and would break the Sov 's strangle hold on the entire region shifting power back to the people. The Midwest was the food mecca of the territories. Most grain farms and meal animals were raised and processed in these Selections. If the resistance failed here, they could be catapulted back four years when they first had started reclaiming the Midwest. Years after the end of the Great War, when the Sovereignty had come to power, they had divided the Old United States into four Territories. Kain had already lost the Northwest and Northeast Territories to the Rebels. He was becoming desperate now as he felt Midwest and Southern slipping from his grasp. He'd do anything to quell that outcome from happening.
"You are an officer
… and I am well aware of the part you played in gaining the Northwest Territories for the Rebellion. So, let me remind you before you go thinking you are more than you really are that
am the Commanding Officer here and
are to follow
orders. Are we clear on that, Lawton?" Webb asked with an edge to his voice.
Rachel didn't appreciate his
tone. “Yes, Sir."
"Good. Now, you need to be readying yourself. I have intel from Headquarters that Noah Connor will be arriving at 0500 hours."
"Agent Noah Connor of the Sovereignty?" Rachel asked incredulous.
"I thought that was only a rumor."
"The rumor has been confirmed and he will be shadowing you."
"Yes, Sir." Rachel's mouth spoke but her thoughts raced. Why was Connor sent to us? Why so close to the op in the Midwest territories?
"Dismissed. And Lawton, remember there are only seven days before the op. Get your head in the game." Webb finished the conversation.
Damn it! Rachel Lawton walked coldly from Webb's office. Son-of-a-bitch. This was perfect. Webb hated Rachel. What better way to demote her or even get rid of her than by placing her in charge of readying Connor for resistance ops. That way she could take the fall with Connor for treason.
With only two hours before 0500, she decided to clear her mind with a run. She was required to take a bot for safety. The clearance bots were bowling ball sized artificial intelligent robots that hovered ahead of troops to scout for traps and explosives. She could have run underground, but she needed the fresh air and sky. She wished for the grass and mountains of her old home, but would have to settle for the concrete rubble of what was left of this section of the inner city of Old Manhattan.
The Rebels had recently won northeast back. Rachel had requested transfer to this post to help them gain steadier footing. Many were still afraid of Kain’s retaliation.
The bots were incredibly useful, but slowed her pace. Still, she angrily turned into Tech Central or what everyone called the Bot Shop. She couldn't very well play Russian
But it had better move its ass,
she thought, because she was going to run all out.
"How are you holding up, Lawton?"
Retired Coronel Ben Smith was a class act in Rachel's book. He was in his mid-sixties and had plenty of stories to tell about the way things used to be and how bad they got. He was also a brilliant technician who invented most of the specialized equipment used by the Rebels.
"I'm pretty rough, Smithy. Doesn't feel like I'm making much progress."
"Stick with it, Lawton. You'll figure it all out." He handed her the bot and turned it on.
She took the bot and headed above ground.
She needed to feel the air on her arms and face. She needed to feel the aches in her muscles, the scrapes on her arms and knees and the false illusion of freedom as she ran like the wind and scaled the concrete rubble that formed into small mountains through the abandoned inner city. It would force her mind to focus on a solution.
She had risen in the ranks and was one of the best at infiltration. She had earned any station she desired after
orchestrating the recovery of the Northwest Territories. She choose Old New York and the Underground - the converted two hundred and forty-files of underground subway tunnels that now served as a secure home for the civilians rescued from the Northeast Selections and the Rebel troops. She had been here less than a month and found herself in a hot bed of competition and jealousy. Commander Webb knew exactly who Lawton was and where she came from and loved to cut her down to size for no real reason except to remind her who was boss. She didn't trust him.
The bot struggled to keep ahead of her as it swept the area for explosives. Rachel jumped from a tall concrete slab, tucked and rolled. She laughed at the bloody scrapes that cleared her mind and sharpened her senses. Her pulse hammered. She couldn't call out Webb - he'd been a commander in the Northeast division for fifteen years. Alliances were already made and fortified. And Rachel was on the outside. She barked a sarcastic laugh - Now, she would get Noah Connor.
What was Noah Connor's true mission?
Was it the demise of the Midwest?
To retrieve Intel on Northeast and it's safe facilities?
To kill her? Kain didn't like Rebel heroes to be left breathing.
On her last mile, she pushed herself to top speed. She loved the feeling of being fully in control of her body, out of breath, heart pounding and pulse racing. The wind streamed through her hair and over her skin. She was lit with energy.
She would get through this. She would find a way.
When she finally had to stop she bent over and rested her hands on her knees in attempts to recover her breath.
What choice did she have?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What choice did he have?
They were going to kill him. He wondered which side would complete the deed first. What did it matter, he was already dead inside anyway.
He had spent the past eight years simultaneously taking and saving lives in a grotesque pick and chose game he had zero control over. He was ready to die. The Rebels would tear him apart - probably call it friendly fire, that way the plug would be done under the radar. He had thought about taking his own life but she depended on him completely. If he took himself out, it would seal her fate. Maybe it was better this way. He had held on eight long years for her. But the hope of ever getting out or of getting free somehow had been gone for a long time.
Everything stayed the same. The fighting continued and no one actually won. Things never got better - they only went from bad to fuck worse.
He hadn't been able to get word to her for the past three years. They wouldn't let him. He supposed he should have been grateful - at least pictures had been provided and updated. She was alive.
The Rebel bus he was now riding in had been one of the Sovereignty’s transporters. It pulled to a stop and his escort removed the black strip of cloth from over Connor's eyes. He had been blindfolded so he couldn't see where they were taking him. But Connor was able to map the route in his mind. The Rebels still called the area Old New York - they were sentimental that way. The specific area had once been a metropolis - the largest most thriving city on the North American Continent - Manhattan. Turning off emotionally didn't even require thought — he had spent so much time perfecting the art - it was now automatic. He had nothing with him - the Sovereignty had made sure of that - except for the GPS transmitter they had imbedded into his right calf, and the Rebels found that and dug it out immediately.
This was no pity party. Noah Connor didn't pity himself or his circumstances - everyone was trapped in a life or death fight ever since the nations of the world incinerated one
another all those years ago in the Great War.
Before the Great War, the world thought it was safe. The nations had disarmed the nukes and made peace with one another. Their philosophy had been from what they had called the Bible, "God will judge between the nations. They will beat their swords into plowshares."
It had been a motto for peace, a promise of no more war. Alistair Kain distorted it into a slogan for his Hitler-esque dominion. "The Sovereignty will judge between Its Territories and Selections. They will beat the disloyal with the sword and burn their plowshares to ashes." In fact, all Sovereignty military Defenders were required to have the words tattooed on their upper arm so they would never forget.
Alistair Kain rose after the Great War of the Nations and
implemented the Sovereignty modeled on his own hero worship of Nazi Germany, with a few alterations. He established the Selections - communities composed of specialized work forces: food growers, animal raisers, military service, clothing manufacturers, material builders, automotive workers, medical, technology and computer technicians, the list went on… all for the good of the Sovereignty.
Each Selection was given all of the food it needed, medical care, schools, and Sovereignty Worship Palaces. Each Selection was bordered and contained by
barbed wire fencing with razor edges, armed guards and angry dogs. They kept individuals in obedience by supplying them with all of their needs and by removing children from their parents and distributing them into separate Selections, sometimes with relatives. Most children were permitted to visit parents for three days each month, as long as those parents didn't act out of line. No one knew where their children were and the only way they could keep them safe was to comply. Military families were different. At age fourteen, boys were given aptitude tests. If the results showed strong potential for military capabilities, the entire family was split up for "service incentive." They were lucky if they got to see one another for their allotted two weeks per year at Christmas.
When a Selection did rise up and revolt, the entire Selection's supp
ly of food, clean water, and life necessities would cease. The people of that Selection would slowly die as an example for the others. It would be covered daily on the Sovereignty's broadcast news. If individuals got out of line, they or their loved ones would be publically executed on a live broadcast. The Sovereignty would have a cleaning Selection wipe up the mess, and simply replace the dead workers from other Selections.
Then there was the Rebellion. Kain had tried to squash them and their influence early on, but no matter how he tried, he hadn't succeeded. Small pockets of Rebels somehow managed to survive outside of the Selections - and not just survive, but thrive. They grew into a massive counterforce. Only the
Rebellion had Kain fighting for control. They had obtained secrets, weapon arsenals, state of the art computer systems and armor. The whispers through the Sovereignty military were that the Rebels were gaining ground and might someday even overthrow the Sovereignty.
That was what caused Connor to be sent here now. His mission was simple - to find
Lieutenant Rachel Lawton and end her life. She had wreaked havoc for the Sovereignty in the Northwest and they didn't want her to continue her streak. To obtain the coveted knowledge of the Rebels classified main headquarters - MRH, and to send intel on the underground facilities of Northeast. He knew what would happen if he didn't succeed - they would kill
. For Noah Connor, failure was not an option.