Crisis In The Ashes [Ashes: 29] [MultiFormat]
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by William W. Johnstone
Category: Historical Fiction
Description: Ben Raines and his patriot army have defeated all comers, from mutant night people to the blackshirted forces of Jesus Mendoza Hoffman and the enemy axis in the Great War. But now the socialist dictators of the USA, smarting from their defeat at the hands of the Southern United States of America, have unleashed their fury against Raines. As wave after wave of missiles is launched at the free state, the SUSA command retaliates in kind--giving better than it gets. With the North American continent suddenly turned into a landscape of horror and destruction, Raines's rebel warriors charge into the USA to topple its tyrants and return to a subjected people their long-lost holy grail; the Constitution of the United States of America...
eBook Publisher: E-Reads/E-Reads, 2000
EPIC eBookstore Release Date: August 2007
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: eReader (PDB) [289 KB], ePub (EPUB) [306 KB], Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [250 KB], Portable Document Format (PDF) [840 KB], Palm Doc (PDB) [281 KB], Microsoft Reader (LIT) [314 KB], Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [286 KB], hiebook (KML) [667 KB], Sony Reader (LRF) [347 KB], iSilo (PDB) [230 KB], Mobipocket (PRC) [288 KB], Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [367 KB], OEBFF Format (IMP) [379 KB]
Reading time: 247-345 min.
Microsoft Reader (LIT) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
Portable Document Format (PDF) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud DISABLED
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
* * * * ONE
Ben Raines was awakened by the ringing of his telephone. He fumbled for the receiver and swung his legs out of bed, almost stepping on the Malamute he'd adopted--rather, who'd adopted him--last week.
"Yeah?" Ben said, glancing at the clock on the night-stand. 0200 hours.
"Ben?" Cecil Jeffreys said, sounding tired. "Get down to the command center's war room. We've got a building situation."
"On my way." Ben didn't waste time asking what the situation was. That would be explained when he got to the war room.
Ben took a quick shower and dressed in BDUs. Fifteen minutes after Cecil's call, he was pulling out of his driveway. Mal sat in the front seat of the Hummer beside him, looking out at the night.
"Something big is brewing, Mal," Ben said. "Osterman has pulled something. You can bet on that."
The Malamute woowoowooed her deep-voiced reply.
"I'm still working on a name for you, girl," Ben told the big dog. "Don't worry. I'll come up with something."
"Right. I know we're being followed. Better get used to it." There were several Rebel security vehicles trailing Ben through the quiet early morning hours.
Ben's team met him in the parking lot of the command center. Ben handed Mal's leash to Anna. "Take care of her, kiddo."
"Will do, Pops. Come on, Jodie."
Ben stopped and turned around. "What'd you call her?"
"Jodie. You like it?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. OK. Jodie it is."
Ben passed through several checkpoints, then was admitted to the elevator that would take him down to the war room of the presidential command center. There he passed through another checkpoint and was admitted to the war room.
Cecil smiled at him. "I just hung up the phone after speaking with Madame President Osterman, Ben. She has given us an ultimatum."
Ben poured a mug of coffee. He glanced up at the Defense Posture Board. The top light was slowly blinking a dull red--the next to highest defense alert. When it changed to a constant bright red, the SUSA would be on a full alert and on a war status for possible missiles coming at them.
"What is the ultimatum, Cec?"
"And if we don't comply, which of course we won't?"
"She will order the launch of missiles against us."
"She didn't say."
"I doubt they'll be nukes. Probably germ warheads. Kill all the nasty ole conservatives and keep the buildings for use by the occupying troops." Ben laughed. "Socialist carpetbaggers. Now that's funny, Cec."
"I truly wish I could find something amusing about this situation."
"What's her deadline for launch?"
"0600. I have our air defenses on alert."
Ben walked over to a red telephone and picked it up. "This is General Raines. All air defenses are to go on full alert nationwide ... immediately. We're going to have missiles to intercept, and we don't want any to strike SUSA soil. OK. Good shooting."
Ben slowly hung up the phone just as Cec was opening his mouth to object. He managed a, "Ben--"
Ben shook his head. "My show now, Cec. You know our constitution better than I."
"You're right, of course. Do we warn our citizens about the possibility of a strike?"
"Not just yet. An hour's time is all many will need. A few minutes' time is all most will need."
"I've told Osterman that her demands are ridiculous."
"I would've told her a lot more than that," Ben replied very seriously.
"Oh?" Cec managed a smile.
"Yeah. Like where to shove her demands. Sideways and with great force."
"They would probably fit," Cec replied, equally drily.
The men drank coffee and chatted for a half hour until Ben told Cecil to go take a nap, get some rest. He would man the command center until Cec woke up.
Ben told the security people to get his team into the war room. While that was going on, he got Ike on the horn.
"I think you should be here, Ike."
"I'll stay with my troops," the former Navy SEAL said.
"I thought you'd say that, Ike, but I wanted to try. Intel says they're ninety-nine percent certain the warheads are germ, BW of some sort. But they aren't sure what type of bugs they contain."
"We have the vaccines for every type of bug we know Osterman has," Ike replied. "The troops are ready."
"You know that some of the missiles are going to get through."
"I know, Ben."
"We're probably going to lose several hundred thousand civilians."
"If only they'd taken the vaccines we offered," Ike said, his voice full of frustration. He was referring to the fact that only about fifty percent of the citizens of SUSA had complied with Jeffreys' recommendation to take the free vaccines their scientists had cooked up against BW, Biological Warfare.
"That's the problem with having a populace that believes in individual freedom, Ike, and with having a constitution that prohibits us from forcing them to do something we think is in their best interests. They made their choice, after being informed of our best guesses about the consequences. Now, those who decided not to take the vaccines will have to live, or die, with their decisions."
"I know, but if that rotten bitch uncorks those missiles, Ben..." Ike let that trail off.
"There will be precious little left of the USA. That is a promise."
"Will you use our missiles, Ben?"
"Will I have a choice?"
Another long moment of silence. "No, I reckon not. God help us all."
"Osterman and her followers don't believe in God, Ike."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. They're too intelligent to believe in God. Then God help SUSA."
"That's more like it."
"Keep your head down and your ass covered, Ben."
"I will, Ike. Luck to you, ole buddy."
Ben spent the next few minutes in a conference hookup, talking with all his brigade commanders. They were as ready as they could possibly be. Cecil had ordered additional vaccines flown in to all Rebel locations as soon as Osterman had issued her threat. But, as General Georgi Striginov pointed out, if the missiles carried nuclear warheads there was very little the Rebels could do except ask for heavenly intervention.
Ben sat at a desk in the war room, talking with his team and petting Jodie.
Corrie was handling the communications now. Every so often Ben looked over at her and she shook her head.
At 0500 hours Corrie stiffened in her chair. Ben heard her say, "Are you sure?"
Ben smiled knowingly. "Goddamn Socialist Democrats. I knew it. You can't trust those two-faced bastards."
"Birds are in the air!" Corrie said. "Just launched."
"Cooper, get President Jeffreys, please."
But Cec had awakened a few minutes before, and had been washing his face in cold water. He walked in the door just as Ben was speaking to Coop.
"It's only 0500," Cecil said, glancing at the clock on the wall. "President Osterman gave us until 0600. What the hell happened?"
"I warned you about trusting that bitch, Cec. She jumped the gun on us."
"Our missiles have intercepted most of the first wave, Corrie said. "Two got through. First one carried a germ warhead and struck in North Texas."
"Goddamnit!" Cecil flared.
"Right on the border with New Mexico, just north of Interstate Twenty."
"Very lightly populated," Cecil said. "Thank God."
"Second bird struck in Eastern Tennessee. In the mountains."
"Ready all silos and surface-based facilities," Ben said quietly. "Prepare to launch on my orders. Repeat--on my orders!"
"Miserable no-good lying bunch of assholes!" Ben said.
"I will certainly agree with that," Cecil said, pouring himself a mug of coffee.
"Second wave of federal missiles launched and on the way," Corrie said.
"Any ground troops taking part in this so far?" Ben asked.
Anna had filled a container with water and was sitting on the floor beside Jodie while the dog drank. Big Malamutes are not the most delicate animals when they drink, and Anna got water all over her.
"I should have warned you about that," Ben said with a smile.
"Shit!" Ben's daughter muttered, wiping her pants leg with a handkerchief.
"One got through, Boss," Corrie called. "It struck in Central Arkansas."
"Damn! Which way are the winds blowing?" Cecil asked.
"West to east," Beth told him. She was handling secondary communications.
Ben walked over to Corrie and motioned for her to give him the mic.
"This is General Raines speaking from the war room of Base Camp One. Launch the first wave of our missiles. Wait ten minutes and launch the second wave. Ten minutes later, launch the third wave."
He paused for a few seconds. "And may God look with mercy on our souls."