|Perusing through the bundle, he began to see a pattern developing. It was scant, but it was certainly there. Purchases of books about the old constitution, accounts of anti-government speech, and visitations of renegade websites. A history of outspoken behavior throughout school and early employment, including notes from several school counselors, and most importantly, documented contact with 3 major anarchist groups. It was obvious she was a thought criminal, possibly with contacts reaching deep into the so-called resistance movement. Someone high up in the Department must like me. This was a case that could make a career. This was the chance to smash the last vestiges of the old, inefficient America. As the thoughts raced through his head, Roger at last realized he was finally going to take on the terrorists. He couldn’t wait. It was time to defend the Homeland.
The cool mid-afternoon breeze brushing over her face brought back memories of happier times. Times of childhood and adolescence, when the biggest worries hardly ever outlasted the setting sun, and when all fears were conquered after a good night kiss. The simpler times. The times before the war.
Brushing aside her long, flowing blond hair, Andrea finished packing the month’s ration of food and supplies from the rural cabin to the hidden shelving underneath her truck. Pausing for a moment to rest, she laughed bitterly at how the place where her family summered would now be viewed as a “terrorist compound” by the Security Department… if they knew of it’s real use. From weekend getaway to terror headquarters in less than 10 years. Such was the insanity that had enveloped the land formerly known as the United States, and, from what she had heard, the entire world. It was amazing how many things had changed in ten years.
Her reflection in the side window of the truck reinforced the changes that a decade could make. The beautiful face that stared back at Andrea was beginning to show signs of wear and tear, especially as she squinted into the piercing sunlight. “When was the last time I had a chance to rest?” She stared and stared, but the answer wouldn’t come. In fact, she couldn’t think of the last time she had really taken time to do any of the things most people do to enjoy themselves. There was simply not enough time. Finally snapping out of momentary introspection, the woman who had recently caught the attention of the local SD brass began to plot her course into the city.
As she got in her truck and began driving down the dirt road leading to the highway, the young woman continued to muse about the past. Five years ago, visiting downtown would have been an easy journey for even the most simple-minded person. Presently it would take a small miracle to maneuver through the various checkpoints that were peppered throughout the city. The basic set up began with a circular pattern 25 miles from downtown, and each freeway was fitted with what would appear to the uninitiated to be enormous tollbooths. In reality, this was, according to the mayor, the “first line of homeland defense” for the metro area. Spanning across the entire twelve lanes of highway, each lane passed by a booth that was manned by two officers of the Security Department. One would ask you for your citizen ID card to scan through the national database, while the other would point an assault rifle at you.
These types of checkpoints had started off as small security stations around government buildings and monuments a few years back, when nobody was paying attention. When “anti-terror” legislation (passed shortly after the first attacks) was made permanent law, security stops like the ones on the outskirts were soon commonplace in every major urban center of America. It was when this began happening that a great many citizens began to question the real purpose of such hindrances to free travel. A couple of terrorist acts later, and all such dissent was wiped out.
Snapping back into reality, Andrea heeded the first of many warning signs to come. ATTENTION: CHECKPOINT AHEAD. HAVE ID READY. She quickly readied her fake ID card, and gave a quick glance to the floorboard and seats to make sure no contraband was visible. Everything appeared in order, and she began slowing to meet the speed limit of the security checkpoint complex. In the near distance, she could make out six of the urban assault vehicles that occasionally were put to use by the officers of the station to “deal” with any potential runners. Even to her, it was an ominous sign of the powers of the state.
Pulling into the middle lane, she came to a quiet and cautious stop in front of the two SD officers to her left. “Good afternoon ma’am. May I see your identification please?” The man couldn’t have been over thirty, and was definitely not without self-confidence. Andrea had seen this posturing a million times from the officers and countless other government bureaucrats she had encountered over the past few years, and smiled while handing over her phony citizen card. “Sure thing officer. How has your day been?” She understood how a simple smile could ease tensions in a number of situations, and almost never failed to use this basic tactic. The smiling man in the blue uniform answered as he leaned into the booth to swipe her ID, “Oh…you know, new day, same job.” As she waited through the customary pause while her citizen card was being processed and compared with the global database, Andrea noticed the man holding the assault rifle pointed at her head. He was as still and quiet as a wax figure, with a face as emotionless as a snake. He glanced over her vehicle, checking the back of the truck with his eyes. Seeing nothing in it, he turned his glance back to her. It was men like these that seemed to be in favor with the modern state…
As if sensing her displeasure, the man with the assault rifle cracked a small smile. Almost simultaneously, the polite officer handed her the ID and waved her through the check station. She breathed a quick sigh of relief, and cruised past the half-dozen machine gunners stationed on the right side of the freeway. WELCOME TO HOUSTON. ALL DRIVERS SUBJECT TO STOPS. The sign was simple enough, but never failed to give her goose bumps. It was never the written statement, but the implied meaning that truly frightened her. Being “subject to stops” meant that the SD could pull you over whenever and wherever they wanted, for any or no reason at all. It was what the regional governors called “blanket coverage” of all metro areas. Of course merely stopping someone was just one power the department had in the city zones. It wasn’t unheard of for people to be detained for hours and days at a time, sometimes tortured, sometimes released…sometimes not.
As she neared her apartment outside the downtown zone, she noticed a black sedan approaching the truck rapidly, and immediately her heart began racing. The only people allowed to drive such cars were SD persons of high rank. Praying he (or was it she?) would pass her by, Andrea maintained speed and stayed within the lines. To no avail, the black SD sedan began flashing the blue lights and signaling for the young woman to pull over.
As the truck rolled to a stop on the right shoulder, the black sedan followed. Almost immediately, a tall detective exited from the vehicle and began the slow approach to Andrea. She had never been more frightened in her life. The man in the black and gray uniform gave a reassuring tap to his weapon, mumbled something into the radio attached to his collar, and walked past her rear bumper. She slowly brushed her hand over the right side of her jeans, felt the 9mm pistol she placed there while packing, and prayed to God she wouldn’t have to use it.
|Roger Andrews: The New American Hero - Part III
By Kevin Newsom
She was gorgeous. The high-resolution digital snaps proved this, showing her at the grocery store, mall, and various other innocuous spots in the city. Roger recognized her from the community exercise facility near his complex. He began tearing through the stack of information. The files said it all. Height, weight, date of birth, credit card purchases, library and phone records, bank statements, voting/education records…it was her life story right in front of him.
The author may be contacted at Dvinyard1999@aol.com.
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