Stealing Stuff

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jul 24

Excerpt from Quantum Entity | The Successors, book 3 in Bruce M Firestone’s trilogy. Chuck Wong and Commonwealth of the United States officers steal urgently needed construction equipment from under the noses of Cartesian overlords.

[Play this while you read this post, Keep on rockin’ in the free world!]


Now one might be forgiven for wondering how the Commonwealth manages to import enormous Russian-made dozers, Aussie-assembled semis and Alberta lowboys during a War when nearly every aspect of international trade is tightly controlled by Cartesian forces. Well Damien uses a Pops ruse—he has one of Yao’s paper General’s (in charge of Central America, the term Cartesia stupidly uses for what was formerly called Central United States, one of the three regions they continue to use as administrative zones as they solidify their hold over the continental U.S.) recalled to Washington. He is brought there to report to President-For-Life General Yao on the slow progress being made on the reconstruction of Nocal. Before leaving for Washington, one of his aides, a Commonwealth spy, brings him a P.O. (purchase order) for a massive order for additional construction equipment which he is only too eager to sign. This will allow him to show General Yao that he is in fact taking steps to remedy the situation. It helps that the guy is dumber than a box of cat hair.

When he gets to D.C., it takes a while before he is brought before the great man. In fact, he never gets there. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and Party Loyalty, citing long delays and huge overspending in his administrative zone, gives him a taste of shuanggui. He will survive only three days something that Jagad Durai endured for years. Meanwhile an airship (a twin of the Princesa Agnes) delivers far more than the Commonwealth needs not to northern California but to Dallas/Fort Worth International Aerodrome where more than a third of the cargo is stolen by Commonwealth agents with portable quantum shields who then drive the stuff 653 miles north west to Los Alamos.

Dr. Wong is part of the group who spirits the stuff out of Cartesian hands and it’s the most fun he’s had in years. After thinking about it for a few days after they get back (safely), he realizes it was the most fun he’s ever had. He understands that their chances of actually getting caught were pretty low because even if a Cartesian government worker saw a sheep, he wouldn’t know that you could shear it, extract lanolin from its greasy wool, get dairy and cheese from it, eat it or make a sheepskin rug out of it, without first being told that it was OK to label it a sheep. Taking initiative and bringing bad news to mandarins or Germanian Generals is hazardous to your continued good health.

He was in the lead crawler as they left Dallas. They covered the 675 miles to the Lab in just over three and a half days. They averaged 11 mph and drove 17 hours daily. Actually it was longer than that since they had to pull off from time to time to avoid occasional Cartesian military traffic who couldn’t see them but could certainly notice them if they happened to crash into impenetrable barriers.

They camped on roadsides and slept fitfully. Chuck has never been a man of action but being with these young, motivated military men and women has brought home to him the addictive nature of service to a higher calling can be whether it’s the Army or a religion. They make the impossible look possible and have an easy, no bullshit way of communicating with each other that makes his years in academia look like a vacuum of meaningless conversations that are pitiful to recall since the stakes involved in most of them were so small.

About halfway home, Chuck asks their company commander (a Captain just turned 25) if he can play a tune for the troops and civilian contractors over their VE Com system. He nods his agreement. One of the good things about being in the army for the last few years is that there is lots of room for career growth via battlefield promotion. These only come during combat for extraordinary performance of duty. The bad news is that it’s usually because almost all of the senior officers around are dead.

Their Captain got a jump-step promotion from Second Lieutenant to Captain two years ago during the retreat from CMAFS (Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station) near Colorado Springs. This was practically the last set-piece battle in the War (when Central United States fell under near-complete control of Cartesian forces) and the first time the Captain saw up close what Cartesia’s concussion weapon could do. Germanian-designed, it went into NORAD’s nuclear bunker and killed everyone. There wasn’t a corner you could hide in that the damned thing wouldn’t find you and explode your body from the inside-out. Sets of 25-ton blast doors were micro punctured in picoseconds. What’s fiendish about Germania’s concussion weapon is that the tiniest fissures are like superhighways are to something the size of ants plus the weapon gains speed and punching power as it goes collecting energy like a hurricane moving across warm Gulf of Mexico water. The soon-to-be Captain and his company were outside on patrol during this action.

Unlike the attacks on other NORAD installations around the same time such as when Tyndall AFB 12 miles east of Panama City (Florida) was overrun, the Captain and the remnants of his company were able to disappear into the wilds of Colorado and eventually escape to the Free State. Armed forces personnel in flatland FLA have no shot to hide or escape; they end up dead or captured by stormtroopers and Sinofighters and, if they are captured, they wish they had ended up dead. To be an effective officer in what’s left of the Commonwealth’s Army these days means you have to be a preternatural optimist.

Anywho, Chuck plays this—

… I see a woman in the night

With a baby in her hand

Under an old street light

Near a garbage can…

There’s one more kid

that will never go to school

Never get to fall in love,

never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world

Keep on rockin’ in the free world

Keep on rockin’ in the free world

Pretty soon everyone in their caravan is singing the chorus, KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD, KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD, KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD.

Nothing escapes to the world outside. But inside is a cocoon full of light, comradeship and a feeling that somehow this song captures what they are fighting for and may yet all die for. The young men and women create a nice harmony that resonates in Chuck’s chest but even more so in his heart.

They get to Los Alamos around 4:15 am. Chuck asks permission to play his Neil Young tune again but this time on their quantum speakers near top volume. ”Let’s wake everyone up!” Chuck says. If the noise and vibration of their convoy (now de-cloaked) doesn’t do it, an ancient Canadian rocker certainly will.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world

Keep on rockin’ in the free world

Keep on rockin’ in the free world!

“Now that we’ve brought home the bacon, Captain,” Chuck says, “I reckon, it’s time to start fueling the Death Star and kick some butt.” He smiles at the company’s commander who says, “Hooah, Dr. Wong.” Then they both get out and climb down from the crawler’s cab. They’ve woken up their whole town of 90,000 and folks are starting to marvel at the larger-than-life equipment they’ve brought with them. Some are climbing on the stuff and having pictures taken of themselves pretending, for example, to drive massive dumpers. In the pre-dawn light scattered by a thin layer of freshly fallen snow, anything looks possible.

Chuck is thinking that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for this band of brothers and sisters, his band of brothers and sisters.



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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.