User:ShadowWolf/Death and Rebirth
Death and Rebirth
|Pig and Whistle story universe|
|Author's Notes: New additions will start with a few words of green text.|
|This story is a work in progress.|
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|Work on this story is on hiatus.|
Life was simpler before blowtorch fever and TFOR came into the picture. There were no "talking animals", "anthro's" or any of the other strange forms that teefers take. Nope, just humans. But then, there wasn't the NAR, the Republic of Texas was just another political division within a country called the "United States of America". But technology was booming, people were everywhere and the Internet just worked.
But you aren't here to listen to an old wolf ramble on about how things were before the collapse. Not you, kid–other kids in your class might find it fun to hear about those stories, but you want to hear about the collapse and the Unification War. So, why'd you pick me? No–don't answer. The reason you picked me out is because you've done your homework and figured out that I'm Captain Scott Summers Jameson of "Havoks Hounds". Well, kid, don't let it get around. Do you know how hard it was to find a place where I wouldn't be hounded by people that wanted to treat me like some sort of celebrity just because I did my job?
Anyway, I can't have a kid fail their Republic History class because of me. Well, kid, I can't just tell you about the battles—that wouldn't be fair to you and knowing the laws of this country it'd probably get me in trouble for "corrupting a minor" or some stupid shit. Hrm... Ever been in love, kid? Again–don't answer. You're to young to have experienced true love. So I'll frame this as a love-story—about the only woman I've ever loved.
January 10, 2010
It was cold, but with fatigues over my fur I was warm. The camp was located high in the Appalachians, overlooking what had been the border between Pennsylvania and New York. Prime Skiing country, as evidenced by the ski-lodge that had been turned into the company headquarters for the first special operations command. On New Years Eve there had been a guerilla attack on a nearby town, the forces coming out of New York and crossing back over the border. We'd lost important food and fuel supplies–and the town had lost it's doctor.
"Damned idiots! American Pride my Ass! The second something happened that weakened Washingtons grip the country shattered." The words came out more venomous and a lot harder to understand than they should have. Six months ago I'd left my job with PP&L, college and my pacifist ideals behind when a gang of looters had hit the dorms and killed everyone that they even suspected of trying to attack them. Including the ones that had walked out under a white flag to tell them that they could take what they wanted with no violence. One month ago I got hit with the Torch and "Went Teefer" – winding up the coal-black anthro-wolf I am today.
"Cool it, Scott. We all feel the same way, but the US is gone. CO wants you out at the range working on the accuracy of those fireballs for tonights raid. We're gonna hit the guerillas and get some information at the same time." Jackson Jeffries, another recent teefer and probably my best friend at the time chided. His scent didn't match the emotion in his voice, but he's an arctic fox and his nose would tell him the same thing about me. Sure I was a little pissed about the Guerillas, but I was happy that the US had collapsed. In the years before the collapse it had gotten so corrupt it was pitiful—invading countries over suspicions that they possessed powerful weapons and bullshit like that.
Not wanting to spoil my mood I didn't reply–if I had Jack would have been trying to get me to calm down even more than I had already. Instead I turned and started a ground-eating lope that would have been impossible before teefers had twisted my body. About ten minutes later I was in a concrete and steel room that had been hastily put up to give me and other teefers that had superpowers a place to practice. Twenty yards away were five targets roughly the size of a human head arranged in patterns representing the position of various weak spots in enemy vehicles. But before I could reach inside and call forth the flames that would let me destroy them there was a cough behind me.
I spun, snapped to attention and saluted, recognizing the scent of my commanding officer before he even spoke.
"As you were, corporal. I wanted to see this myself–you've always been careful to only practice when you're alone." The words hit me hard, but I held position, training dictating that I hold the salute until it was returned. Finally noticing the predicament Capt. James Strunk returned the salute and waited for me to begin. Turning back to the targets I stepped on the button to start the timer and delivered five fast-ball style pitches—when I started my hand was empty, but as I finished a ball of roiling plasma leaped to life and sped from my hand at supersonic speeds.
The targets, each made of carbon-fiber and armored steel flared brightly as my projectiles impacted. A few seconds later I followed up with a second round, these delivered side-arm style and with more power behind them. Again they were deadly accurate, but this time the targets exploded into hot, metallic vapor. Behind me the Captain was silent, but the scents of his emotions rolled over me and told me he was really impressed. But it was time to clear out–gaseous carbon and steel is not something you want to breath, so I grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room.
"Sergeant, that was... amazing. I've seen a lot of these "powers" demonstrated but you've got a unique delivery. There's a pair of operations going on tonight–one to take out the guerilla group thats been raiding the nearby towns for supplies and the other to get rid of an armored company that the New York Army is moving into the area. I'd like you to lead the attack on the armored company."
"Sir, I'd rather..." finally it hit me that he'd just promoted me on the spot. Before I could have done what I wanted in regards to the mission, but now... Sergeants both give and take orders–most importantly, though, they are expected to accept any mission given to them. "Capture or Destroy, Sir?"
"Capture if possible. Destroy what you can't bring back. And no one-man crew in those tanks."
Two days later I had a hand-picked group setup around the guerillas camp. Then it was time to wait, because we'd made good time and it was still daylight. So we hunkered down in our hidden holes and waited for nightfall, when the guerillas — all human and with the terrible night-site that brings — would be at their most vulnerable.
Three hours later the sun set came and we began moving. And once another hour had passed it was dark enough to move. Using the darkness to our advantage we moved in. But we aren't machines moving with perfect precision, and neither were our enemies. As I moved into the ammo dump where my first objective was I tripped over a guard sleeping on duty and wasn't able to kill him before the alarm started to be raised. I managed to get my knife into his femoral artery and out again without having any of the other New York Irregulars becoming a problem. Knowing how little time we had now that Murphy had struck I got to ammo dump and dropped the three pounds of C4 and detonator that would serve as the distraction for our escape - with seven of their tanks.
Not that I managed to get to my second task unassailed. Nope, not this "hero" – Murphy loves screwing with me and tonight he was really getting in his licks. I came around the corner and into the walkway between the ammo dump and the fuel dump and 7.62mm machine-gun rounds started whistling through the air around me. That gave me two choices, and one was pointless. As the bullets got more and more on target I remembered the planning we'd done, spun around and threw a fireball as hard and fast as I could at the place where I knew that M60 machine gun was mounted then took off running for the fuel dump. There was another pound of C4 in the bag on my back and it was needed in that fuel dump.
But my nose brought me other news, and I skidded to a halt, dropped to the ground and pulled the bomb from my pack. The bomb didn't have to be precisely placed — gasoline being the volatile fuel it is all I need to do was get it in close enough to the a set of barrels for the explosive charge to cause the barrels to split and vaporize – the heat of the explosion would ignite the vapors and the fuel dump would go up in a ball of flame. But guarding the only entrance to the fuel dump were three heavily armored troopers and I couldn't risk firing on them. That could, and probably would, cause the fuel dump to detonate early.
With my mind made up I slowly got to my feet, then jumped as high as I could and threw the C4 at a nearby collection of fuel barrels. Then I took off back towards the ammo dump at full speed, since there was one last place for me to be – at the tanks. Those were at the camp motor pool, on the other side of the fuel dump, but there was at least one other way to get there, and one was through the guardhouse that I'd toasted a few minutes before. When I hurdled the remains the wood was still smoking and the air still smelled faintly of the atomized iron from the gun and from the blood of the soldiers that had been caught in the blast.
Murphy left me alone for the duration of my mad dash for the motor-pool, but struck again just as I get through the gates. The bomb on the ammo-dump went off early—most likely because someone tried screwing with it, but that doesn't matter. What does is that the distraction that was supposed to buy my team time to finish the sabotage job on the tanks we weren't going to "commandeer". I howled the alert sound and ran for the tank closest to me when a familiar head popped out of the commanders hatch.
"Start 'er up and let's go. Murphy showed up early and we need to get out of here."
Private Johnson slid into the M1's drivers seat and started the engine. I stuck my head out of the hatch and looked, five other tanks had started their engine, but one in the formation wasn't going. Great, it was the one right behind mine. "Johnson, the tank behind us isn't running. Did you bomb it?"
"Not a chance, Sarge. But Theo's in that one and you know how fussy he is about that tail of his."
We couldn't take anymore time, so I was up and out of the tank in a hurry, leaving Johnson to close and dog the hatch. My training hadn't included much in the way of instruction on tank operation–none, in fact. Not bothering to even think about that lack in my training I was up and in the other tank fast. Specialist Theodore Schumacher was sitting in the gunners position looking at the drivers seat. "Theo, if I have to drive this thing I will, but we've got to go NOW." I fairly roared the last word and he backed out of the way, letting me slide into the reclined seat. My tail gave a sharp report of pain that I ignored, because the seat hadn't been designed with teefers in mind, and I flicked the switches and pushed the button, causing the 1500hp gas turbine that powered this beast to roar to life.
I revved the engine and left the transmission in neutral for a moment before pushing the button that'd start the timers on all the bombs that hadn't gone off yet. "Theo, give the signal. Let's get out of here."
We made it clear of the base when the fuel-dump bomb went up. It made a pretty light-show, but I didn't get to see it. Two minutes later the bombs on the tanks we left behind had detonated. Thermite in the engine compartment, barrel and turret mounts and C4 in the armored ammo-storage area should make them impossible to use, for anything.
The tanks were almost out of fuel when we reached our base. Not that I cared – my tail was numb and I was severely cramped from the hours in the drivers seat. But the base went nuts and we were hailed as Hero's. All we wanted was showers, chow and rack-time – the last more important than the other two.
I was headed for the barracks when the CO who'd given me this mission walked up. "Sergeant, we're going to ground. Canadians are moving in–they claim it's to "Pacify the Region" but… The brass don't like the idea of the Canuck's moving in any more than they liked the idea of them "New York Irregulars" having tanks. Take your pick of the men, grab what gear you need… Look, just get your crew, load up for an extended guerilla campaign and get out here. But do it in the morning. Oh, and there is some talk of making you an officer. Don't let them do it—it'll ruin you, having to worry about all that fucking paperwork."
As tired as I was his little speech got me thinking. I spotted Johnson leaving the mess tent and walked over to him, knowing he'd have a good idea of who would be comfortable "Living off the Land" with me. "Johnson, new orders. Bunk tonight, tomorrow we're out on an extended mission–seems the Canucks are moving in and the brass wants the best of us out there working like the punks we kicked around the other day."
"Gotcha Boss. Hunter-Killer or pure hit-and-run ?"
Always thinking about the fun. It was time for me to get to my rack if he was able to get ahead of me that far. "We'll be doing a mix-and-match. So make sure we've got two medics and lots of things that go boom. And make sure the weapons are ammunition compatible with whatever the Canuck's are using. I'm going to get in my rack."
We'd been running guerilla for a month. Latest news was that all the Baronies and other countries New York had fragmented into were all now Canadian territories. Worse was that the Irregulars were now an "Independant Unit" in the Canadian Army and had gotten bolder in their attacks. Unlike the Canadian Army, though, they were still doing the same things, including taking over towns by force – often by killing the towns leadership. Last three we'd been through had been the worst, though. Every woman in the town – nearly every female, actually – had been raped. And there was a bounty on my head — another one — raising the count to almost one hundred bounties and nearly a billion dollars. Though none carried my name—the latest was for "The Leader of the Group Responsible for the Destruction of the 'C' Company, Fourth Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment".
We'd done that a month before, defending our border. That Canadian unit had crossed the border outside of Polyton County...
"Yes. That's correct. 27 miles south-southeast of here. Yep, the park around the Peace Monument."
The kid was bright, but that battle wasn't one of the publicized ones. A guerilla team of only ten men had wiped out half of an infantry company in less than two hours, forcing the rest to withdraw. In my mind I could see the bodies flying from the mortar hits and hear the screams of the wounded. I downed the rest of my beer and held the bottle up. Gordy would understand. He always did.
"My camp was almost out of supplies, including the chemicals – most commonly household cleaners – that we could turn into explosives with some simple chemistry. While Corporal Long and Specialist Stephens – both decently powerful teefers – talked the people of a nearby city into supplying us in exchange for remnants of US money and some of the strange bills printed in Philadelphia I was looking for a truck that I could hotwire to get the food back to the camp...
"Backs empty, tanks are full. Lets see if I can get this thing going." I muttered to myself after finishing a quick check of the small moving van I'd found on the road. The driver had been in the seat until I'd given him as good a burial as I was able to. His mummified, skeletal remains had shown massive signs of mutation – a sign that TFOR had gotten him.
"Hound Base, Hound Lead. Vehicle found, driver buried. Looking good." I radioed a message back to the camp.
"Roger, Hound Lead. Hounds 7 and 10 say that the townsfolk are offering the food for free. They're waiting for you."
Chuckling I arranged my tail and turned the keys in the ignition. "Copy, Hound Base. Vehicle started. Hound Lead out."
The engine didn't argue like so many others had, and that had me worried. But I pushed it aside – even though the driver had shown at least a years worth of aging and the interior didn't stink of rotting flesh anymore the engine turning over like that might just have been a fluke. With an outstretched hand I patted the dash, then shifted the transmission into Drive. That caused a dull thunk to sound from both doors and suddenly I knew why the engine had turned over so easy – I'd been set up. No moving van had ever come with automatic locks, but this one had just locked the doors.
Instinct took over and I blasted the lock mechanism out of existence, jumped from the cab and started running. Seconds later the truck exploded and I was flying, the blast powerful enough to lift me from my feet. "Must've packed every free space with C4." I thought as I contacted the ground, my arm exploding into a blinding mass of pain. Staggering to my feet I tapped the status button on my radio and smiled as it beeped at me. The Japanese really did know how to build things to survive.
"Hound Base, Hound Lead. Truck was an ambush IED. Set to repel ambush and attack — placement of the truck has me thinking that we're in a lot of trouble."
"Copy Hound Lead. Seven and Ten have not met the half hour check-in."
"Roger. I'll go see what happened. Out."
My hand hooked in rock crevice I gave a hard yank on my arm, setting the bones and nearly causing myself to pass out from the pain. Then I started walking for where I'd stashed my bag before starting the look for the truck. Within ten minutes the pain in my arm was gone, my body moving to repair itself at such a rate that my arm would be usable again in a few days. In the meantime my body had apparently decided that the pain message was serving no purpose.
I'd made the five miles to the town in record time, moving cross country so I could approach from a direction they wouldn't be expecting. Not because I was afraid of the NYI, but because the skill with which the trap had been sprung spoke against it being the NYI. The bomb was NYI, no doubt there, but that bomb hadn't been part of the plan – the capture of the bartering party was the plan. And that plan included capturing the person bringing the collection vehicle.
With that being the plan, at least the most obvious reason that they'd have captured Jen and Michael. Don't think that I was leaping to a conclusion there – if they'd been in a firefight there would have been an emergency report on the radio. So I was approaching from a field that didn't have any of the main approach roads near it, and had shed my pack in favor of a rifle, pistol and some grenades. The pack would have just kept me from movign fast enough and quietly enough to take out the enemy and save my troops.
"What? How could I be sure that the people in the village hadn't captured my people?" The kid hit me with a good one. I didn't know if I should just drop it on the kid that I thought the village had done it or if I should answer with some platitude about how I knew the villagers wouldn't act on their own against the Hounds. In lieu of a good answer for that I took another sip of my beer and smiled.
"How much do you know about what the world was like during the collapse?" Rather than answering outright, I'd decided to see if this kid knew enough of the truth – the real truth, that is. Depending on his reply, I'd be able to decide how to answer his question. While he thought about it and answered I finished another bottle and set it on the table.
"Well, kid, to tell you the truth, I figured that it had been the villagers. The amount of money that was offered for the capture of the Hounds was enough that the town could have purchased supplies enough to last for a year." And that seals it. The look on his face tells me that whatever hero-worship he had for me was gone. Now he saw me for what I was — a beast capable of killing anyone that gets in the way of his objective. I held the bottle up and motioned for Gordy to bring another.
"I moved into the first building and was on my way up to the roof when I ran into the towns Mayor...
The stairs were rushing beneath my feet two and three at a time. I'd just made the third floor landing when the door popped open. My pistol snapped up and the figure coming through the door fell onto his ass in surprise.
"Havok? My God, man, I was just going for the emergency transmitter you gave us. There's a group of Canadians down there, and they've caught your people." I almost couldn't follow him, he was speaking so fast.
"Where are they, exactly, Mayor?" I holstered my pistol and helped him to his feet. I'd known Mayor Thomas since I'd joined the Army – he'd been in training then, but had broken his ankle on an obstacle course.
"They've taken over the old police station. Came in with some BS about how they were trying to "Pacify" the area." He started laughing, and I knew what he was laughing about. The Pennsylvania Army hadn't attacked anyone before our borders came under fire.
Thanking him I turned and ran back down the stairs. If they were, indeed, holed up in the old police station I'd be able to take them out and rescue my troops easily. But for that I'd need the C4 I left in my pack, so it was back across the field to where I'd stashed it. Time wasn't going to be a problem, and it would be Dusk before I could attack anyway.
Night fell and I worked my way back into town, staying deep in the shadows. Just before the collapse a brit had developed a device for focusing the blast of detcord with the aim at opening holes in walls, but I didn't have one. So I was going to improvise, using the C4 and a few garbage bags filled with water.
On the roof.
And not as a diversion. That wasn't my way. Instead I was going to drop through the hole and open fire. Done right I'd come out inside the holding area and have the time to hit the locks on the cells with blasts of plasma. The escape would be easy enough–no military force expected people to do what we were going to do. We were going to walk right out the front door, up to their vehicles and take them all. There would be enough supplies there to make up for what the Canadians had cost us.
Not that our seizing of supplies would damage diplomatic relations. They'd invaded—an act of war—and taken my men hostage. I had my orders, and they covered situations like this with a blanket statement—remove all invaders at any cost. When I'd been given that order it had also included a message from the Colonel. "Anyone who dares try to take our land from us, son, is an enemy and deserves to die. So do what you do best and teach them a lesson they'll never forget."
I smiled as I filled the bags and positioned them on top the thin strip of C4 and detcord I was using to cut a hole in the concrete roof of the police station. These Canadians would learn their lesson, and they'd never forget it. There would be a few left alive to carry the message back to their superiors. Someone had to live so the lesson wouldn't be forgotten.
I stepped back from the improvised ring of explosives that I'd tamped with water and smiled. In thirty seconds I'd release the safety on the M57 "clacker" detonator I'd borrowed from a claymore kit and a three foot wide hole would open in the roof. But first I checked the load on my weapons and made sure that my grenades were secure in their pouches. A spotlight swung up and I dove for the deck, flattening myself against the roof to keep from being spotted. When it moved from the rooftop I flicked the little wire safety on the detonator out of position and made a fist around the clacker. The electrical circuit completed and a blasting cap fired, followed a few microseconds later by the C4 and detcord blowing.
As soon as the explosion roared in the night I was on my feet and moving, dropping through the opening and going prone as I landed. Two guards spun towards the noise and I fired, my M16 popping and causing little holes to appear in their foreheads. As I stood I could hear my men all around me, waking up and wondering what was happening.
"Time for a jailbreak, people. On your feet. Lets teach these Canuck bastards what happens when you fuck with the Hounds!" I yelled as I started lobbing plasma balls at the locks. I tossed my M16 to one of my men and the MP5 strapped to my back went to another. Two more grabbed the guards guns and we were moving for the police stations front door. All I needed to do was pull my pistol—a lovingly cared for M1911A1 ACP—and we'd have a good chance of making it free of the station. That, of course, also depended on this being a regular infantry unit and not special forces.
"Johnson, Paulson! Overwatch positions. The rest of you, there is a truck around the corner. We're going to walk out these doors and get in the truck."
The two soldiers took positions at the windows, Johnson making sure a grenade was loaded into the 203 slung under the barrel of the '16 I'd handed him and Paulson making sure to pull the charging handle of the AR-15 he'd found in the stations armory. Then they positioned themselves in the windows and I smiled. With luck we wouldn't fire a single shot - or have to use our TFOR granted abilities. But first there was the matter of the two sentries guarding the buildings entrance—the charge I'd used to breach the roof had been very loud and had definitely alerted the Canadians I'd been warned about.
So I checked the safety on my 1911 and made sure it was secure in it's holster, then pulled my wickedly sharp Bowie and motioned to Jeffries. His power involved the creation and manipulation of ice - it'd come in handy in getting past the sentries. I waited for about a minute then opened the front door and grabbed the sentry as he passed by, my bowie entering at his hips and given a twist while my other hand grabbed his weapon. With a severed femoral artery the sentry was dead by the time his partner was skewered by a pair of ice-daggers thrown by Jeffries. Then I motioned and the men started moving out the doors, heading for the truck.
Paulson pulled back from the window and stepped out the doors, MP5 at the ready - leaving the police their weapon. Suddenly he and I were framed in a circle of light as several massive spotlights kicked on. A voice boomed over a loudspeaker, "Soldiers of the so-called 'Free State of Pennsylvania' surrender or be killed."
Johnson opened up on the lights, the extra kinetic oomph he could give to his shots making the 5.56mm rounds have the same impact as a 120mm shell. Three shattered and the soldiers lined up against us started returning fire.
"Paulson, get out of here! Johnson, give me some cover."
I was running for the nearest enemies before I'd finished speaking. Sparks jumped through my fur followed by a barrage of plasma balls leaping from my hands towards enemy lines. Almost as a unit they ducked. I drew my pistol and fired. The massive .45 caliber bullet scalped a canuck stupid enough to not be wearing his helmet.
One, two, three more times my finger twitched. One, two, three more times enemies dropped.
The next time I pulled the trigger the bullet ricocheted off a helmet. An irritated growl tore from my throat and I fired again, this bullet hitting him in the face as he fell.
Down to only three rounds my hands started flying through the reloading process when the low rumble of a Bradley's engine caught my attention.
Reflexes took over and I dove behind a Hummer. The coax machine gun of the Bradley opened at the same time and I felt a searing hot knife cut across my shoulders. Seconds later another round took the tip off my left ear. As soon as it had started, the gun stopped. It's chattering roar was replaced with a familiar electric whine. The Bradley's turret had traversed, putting it's 25mm main gun in line with where I'd left Johnson.
"Johnson, get the fuck out of there!" I bellowed. It felt as though the universe was purifying itself and I was the filter as I stood and gathered energy. Eyes glowing and electricity sheeting down my fur, I unleashed a boiling hellstorm of plasma on the IFV and whatever was around it. Ammunition and fuel detonated, the sounds lost as the ball of plasma exploded, turning the once proud vehicle into an unrecognizable mass.
I remained standing and awake by sheer force of will. Using an old stage-actors trick I spoke, clearly and calmly. "All members of the invading armed forces, this is Sergeant Scott Summers Jameson of the Free Pennsylvania Special Forces unit 'Havoks Hounds'. Your presence and actions here constitute an implicit declaration of war against a sovereign nation. Surrender now and I promise that you will be treated as close to the standards of the Geneva Conventions as can be managed."
Soldiers turned to run and I let them. Others laid down arms and laid down themselves. Members of the town guard that had hidden their affiliation because of the overwhelming force showed up and began taking prisoners. The truck that I'd sent my men to roared up next to me and Kowalski grabbed my harness and pulled me into the back before my will gave out and I collapsed.
"Damn, Scott! You stirred up a hell of a hornets nest. But the brass is happy about that. The men you chased out were not Canadian Regulars, but from the New York Militia. Apparently they asked to become part of Canada rather than just becoming passive. And they have been feeding the Canadians false information, claiming that we are being violent and invasive of their borders." It was Colonel Michaelson—he'd been a Captain the last time I'd spoken to him—had visited the camp and was talking to me.
"Just doing what I had to. Same as always."
"Then keep it up, Scott. And congratulations." He tossed a box to me. "Brass decided to give you a field commission. As a Captain." He turned to leave.
"Sir… I'll do my best." For the first time in ages I was truly stunned. I'd done a lot and seen more than enough to harden me against almost all situations.
"Oh, and Scott… They've heard about that nickname of yours. Your little unit here is being officially named 'Havoks Hounds'."
"What? You don't believe that they would hand out a promotion like that?"
The look on the kids face was precious. Like all kids growing up in the NAR he'd been taught about the military and how it worked as part of the classes on government. Among the facts that they taught the kids was that nobody was just handed a promotion like that—but that was how a military worked when it had more people than it needed.
"Gordy, mind if I use your WAN link? And…" I downed the rest of the beer in front of me. "I'm going to need another beer here."
He smiled and nodded, then brought over the beer. Like most people I had a decent netbook with me at all times and that was what I pulled out. My fingers flew across the keys and up came my biography on Wikipedia. Because of my fame and status as a 'Hero of the NAR' they had locked my article to all edits not by a fully vetted professional and the encyclopedic language of the article reflected that state.
"Here, kid, take a look. It really happened." I turned the netbook to him as Gordy set the beer down next to me.
"Never seen you so talkative, Captain." The basso rumble rolled over me like a wave.
I took a drink from the bottle and looked at him, startled by hearing him actually speak. "Kids need to know the truth, Gordy. 'He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it' and all that."