"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose" -- Jim Elliot
Celeste was now national news and as a result, our assignment had changed. CM Station 1 in Alaska was originally assigned to Celeste. She was the best and most trusted to deliver and detonate the device that sat on the table before us. Albert said the risk was too high to take now that Celeste was made, and switched us with Nate’s team to V Station 3, located near the Grand Canyon. This sight was more challenging due to the vast open spaces we needed to travel just to get there. Albert handed us our map, which Celeste and I looked at together. The highlighted route takes us through the Great Salt Lake Desert and down to Mt. Trumbull, where we would find another map outlining the stations air duct system. From there we travel south toward the Canyon where just before the visitor center, about two miles, we’d find a small road traveling back to where we’d locate our marker. Again, the space is open and unprotected, so our efforts would have to be swift and most likely at night.
Albert handed us the keys to a little 1988 Mazda 626 he said was parked two blocks down in a church parking lot. The envelope he handed us with the keys had registration papers under Celeste’s new name, Annabell Stevens, as well as the names of two ‘rebel friendly’ motels. As a special bonus, included was a small mom and pop diner with, and I quote, “The best Salisbury Steak in the country.”
The race war was not as bad as it could get yet and most of the smaller towns still remained unaffected. However, the endless barrage of news reports couldn’t say the same for the bigger cities. Before we all left, Albert had suggested we sit for an hour and watch what’s being reported. He turned on his T.V. and sat in silence with the rest of us. At this time, what was reported was the complete destruction of our smaller cities, cities like Dayton, Ohio, that became the new home to African American enthusiasts hell bent on retaliations against the White Supremacists that successfully burned down the entire East side with pipe bombs and flaming arrows. Chicago was hit hard due to much of the city being occupied with Muslim and Arab citizens. The fatalities being reported there were staggering. The same suicide bombings we’d heard about in the early years in Iraq had progressed to a few a day in our own major cities. They took out the Sears tower, but not before the violence had left the building mostly abandoned.
Businesses both large and small had taken such huge hits with these attacks that people progressed from hate to panic. Many started attacking others for food and supplies, changing the atmosphere of this country to something completely unexpected. I thought back to my days on GLP and how many of our conversations revolved around “safe haven’s” should an event like this occur. Places we had prepared in advance, stocked with food, water, guns and whatever other provisions would be needed to survive independently from society. Most of our reasoning revolved around some form of natural disaster or terrorist attack; something that would instantly effect the entire country. None of us were prepared for an event that would start small, hitting isolated places first, then graduating to the extent that it had.
Up until this point I had remained relatively open minded, and panic never motivated my actions. We all gasped when the announcement was made. They had closed all borders to this country, allowing only foreign visitors to leave, and for one week only, Americans to return. We were now prisoners in a country that was founded on its freedoms.
“This is insane!” commented the young scar-faced man.
“How could this have happened? Why didn’t any of us see this coming?” asked the same woman who didn’t know what an E-Bomb was.
Albert stood up and solemnly faced his audience. “Do you remember in the early years, when it was being reported that famous people were publicly expressing their racism in rants? Do you remember how the news played these events up, exposing this hate to the whole world, exposing them to the whole world as disappointments…yet replaying over and over again the rants in full, unedited detail? This was intentional. First it was directed at the Muslims when 9/11 happened, TV stations showing celebrations and support by these people for the attacks. Then the attention diverted to the Jews, with many of our public figures expressing contempt for these people, even going as far as to repudiate the Holocaust. It wasn’t long before another public figure brought the African Americans into it. These events were the seeds, the idea of hate being planted into the impressionable minds of millions of people. Once the seed is planted, once small events serve as reminders to this growth inside us, the trigger needed to start a war doesn’t need to be some grand event like another 9/11. It just needed to be an event or series of events that target what’s already growing within all of us. As much as I hate the idea of segregation, the idea of separatism has some degree of validity to it; but this country, the USA, has successfully been able to adapt to the vastly different cultures and personalities that share this great land. We had, until now, found a way to live together with only minor incidents. But now, with the stereotyping we’ve been conditioned to accept; with the hate we’ve been forced to feed and with a need to defend ourselves, we are now very much a part of this Race war.” Albert had a sadness to him that we all saw. He looked tired, as if maybe he’d already surrendered to the agenda and was simply going through the motions to appease the rest of us.
The media then began explaining the black out of the internet as an important tool in the efforts to diffuse this volatile situation, stressing how the spread of hate, protected by the 1st amendment, had resulted in these attacks. They blamed the liberal attitudes of the “politically correct” crowd for what was happening now; stressing the need to set very specific ground rules for what’s acceptable and what’s not. The media played sides and we all commented on the hypocrisy expressed. Station after station encouraged interviews with eccentric individuals hell bent on proving they were right. Racists on all levels demanded the need to segregate the blacks and whites, the Hispanics and the Middle Easterners, laying emphasis on a need to “send them back”. What was most shocking was the unprecedented support many of these individuals received. It was argued how great men like Martin Luther King Jr. had made strides in equality for blacks only to have the blacks push for separate schools, separate TV programming, and even forcing a recognition of their own version of the English Language, which was countered by mentioning all the situations where the blacks were stereotyped in schools, TV, and employment, forcing them to unite and establish separate institutes to feel equal. More and more, up to this point, the media played sides, favoring one side above another, encouraging even further that subconscious manipulation of its viewers. It was the exact vicious cycle outlined in the packet we’d all received at that meeting. And humans, like any other creature of habit and instinct, fell prey to these manipulations as predicted.
What was most frightening was seeing how many people were so scared for their own safety that many started encouraging the use of the RFID chip. Many started believing the media, that this chip was the answer, the solution to all the violence around them, that this chip would create the long desired equality among ALL humans. Commercials were even broadcast for these chips, sponsored by Valordian Pharmecuticals, a new company to the public, yet very old in history, whose name had undergone many changes until now.
Every station on the TV discussed the riots and destruction taking place, followed by a commercial advertising the ValorChip, with uncomfortable regularity. Each of these commercials displayed families with children young and old, smiling, playing and enjoying their new-found freedom from such stresses as children being kidnapped or becoming victims of a hate crime. They mentioned the convenience of having your medical records available to any physician at any given time, emphasizing the elimination of misdiagnosis or toxic prescription combinations. Everyone would be on the “same page” when dealing with the health of your family. This advertisement was then followed by more news reports of racial violence. Like a broken record, every station was the same.
I turned to Celeste and held her hand. “You are right,” I said to her, “this chip is the biggest threat to our freedom and nothing is worth getting chipped. I don’t know if this whole ‘dig a hole and find the hatch” plan will work, but if it’s the only one we have right now, then we will find a way.”
Celeste leaned in and gave me the sweetest kiss on the lips, once again melting me into a man completely at her mercy. “Then maybe we should get going,” she whispered.
“Celeste, be warned, where you are going is occupied heavily by the military. As you know, Hill Air Force Base as well as the Wendover Gunnery Range are located there. I would almost guarantee military activity there, so please PLEASE be careful.” Albert stressed.