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ST.

LOUIS POST DISPATCH


Friday

St. Charles County


PRESIDENT ON IMPEACHMENT: NOTHING TO HIDE
With the formal hearing underway, the President continues to hold to his argument that he was acting in the best interest of the country. Although many have cried that the Presidents actions radically, and violently opposed the right to civil protest. Today the defense, Attorney Howard Bliss, will call the first of many high profile witnesses to support the Presidents, inescapable call to arms.* The first to take the stand will be former CIA Director and current Secretary of Defense, Ron Kane. Mr. Kane, in a previous interview(Contd A-2)

June 24th, 2001

Governor says Local Terrorist Scare Contained


During this mornings press conference to discuss railway repair, when asked about a supposed terrorist plot on St. Louis, Governor Holden jested that, ultra conservatives want the public to think [terrorists] are hiding in our refrigerators. Confident that local authorities were well aware of(Contd A-5)

MO. TRANSIT AUTHORITIES: RAILWAY REPAIRS EXTENDED


Affecting everything from food costs to local manufactures, what began two weeks ago by commissioner Browning as, routine maintenance, scheduled in advance to avoid further delays and inconvenience has been extended into its third week. Commissioner Browning was unable to be reached for comment, however an aid assured us that the delay was(Contd on B-5)

Chapter 19 June 25th, 2001 They came at Midnight, pounding on the doors. Hounds barking. Men shouting. Lying flat on their stomachs, freezing metal grate underneath them and heavy duvet draped over their backs, Allison and Marshal remained motionless. Theyre gonna shoot us in the neck, Allison said frighteningly matter of fact. Just stay calm. I am calm. I just really dont want to get shot. They wont shoot us. I dont want to get taken either. Quiet. You be quiet. Im trying to listen Over the howling wind, barking dogs, and claps of thunder, it would have been impossible to hear the voices of whoever was outside the barn, but Marshal could still feel them. They were circling, like sharks, sniffing for blood, hungry, ravenous. After what must have been hours, the sharks grew tired. The barking subsided, and the banging ceased. The wind continued to beat against the tin walls, substituted with rain that poured down in buckets: thick releases like a gigantic broken, pulsing faucet. Marshal crawled out from the blanket, but something warm with a tight grip held him back. Looking down at Allisons hand, the Scout gently offered; Im just going to look out the window. Then youll come back? Then Ill come back.

There were subtle hints at best that men and dogs had recently, and hurriedly left the barn. Peering through all the boarded windows, in all directions, the coast seemed deceptively clear. Keeping his promise, he walked back to the lump underneath the blanket. Peeking out from under the comforter, Allison opened one eye; are they gone? For now. Fishing in his backpack, Marshal pulled out a plastic tarp and unrolled it beside Allison. He took the remains of broken, and flattened cardboard boxes left behind from whomever was there before and stuffed them under the tarp for cushioning. What are you doing? This should feel slightly more comfortable than metal. Shifting herself and the blanket over to the weak mattress, Allison looked back up to Marshal heading down the stairs; where are you going? Work. No. Marshal stopped, and turned with a smile both amused and irritated; whatd ya mean no? Just not right now. Okay? Her eyes were heavy. There wouldnt be a fight if Marshal ignored her request. He knew that they hadnt any time to waste, but also knew they had to take time for themselves. They had to stay strong, had to stay sharp, and that meant getting at least an hour or two of sleep. Allison unfolded a corner of the blanket. Marshal sat on the open corner and removed his shoes, socks, and his soaked cargo pants. Laying down with his head on the tarp, The Scout gazed up at the rusted ceiling. He listened to the rain that kept sloshing down in waves as Allison refolded the blanket.

--One cant fully value sleep until one has been so deprived of not having to run, not having to lie, and not having to hide as much as Allison has. At least, that was her honest belief. She kept her eyes shut, forcing them closed and trying to ignore everything that kept gnawing at her senses; pouring rain, pounding metal, and the hiss of steam released as Marshal plunged whatever just came out of the forge into the water basin. Allison lost the battle with her eyes as they flew open to the sound of hammer against steal. Standing up on the makeshift mattress and slipping into her Blondie T-shirt, drier, but still damp from the night before, the girl dragged her exhausted body downstairs. For a moment she stood behind Marshal, expecting him to sense her standing there, watching him. I thought you were going to sleep, finally came out in a huff. I did sleep, Marshal replied still hammering. Yeah, but we just went to sleep. That was six hours ago. Six hours? That head aimed at the ground, doesnt feel long enough. You can go back to sleep if you need to. No, I cant. Marshal set his hammer on the ground; do want to work then? I want to sleep. Then go to sleep. You working is keeping me from sleeping. You kicking me under the blanket is keeping me from sleeping.

Another stalemate. As much as Allison didnt want to loose this round, she was also not awake enough to fight back. Fine, Ill work. Here, Im on page fourteen, Marshal said handing Allison his journal. These two ribs have to hold the undercarriage and the weight of the turbine, make sure you measure- What turbine? I have to rebuild the engine, but Ill do that checking his watch, in an hour from now. Marshal returned Allisons sleepless stare, then headed for the stairs to the loft. Allison looked down at the book, then back up to Marshal. I thought we were working? We are working. Then where are you going? Im sleeping. If youre sleeping, how are we working? Marshal stopped, turned, and sighed with a forced but sincere smile; he was trying. They are going to come back. They will probably keep coming back until they find us. The faster we build the Swordfish, the better the odds of escape, and the fastest way to do that is to work non-stop; one of us works while the other sleeps. Allison looked at the journal, step-by-step instructions and bullet points all written out. She looked back up at Marshal, and sighed, fine. Wake me up when you get to page sixteen. ---

Marshals plan of sleeping in shifts was great in theory if not immediately applicable in practice. The pounding, and drilling, and clamoring of Allison dropping the hammer didnt do much for sleep, regardless of how deprived of rest he was. Traditionally overloading his brain with information tended to knock him out, but all his books were downstairs. Rummaging in the bags from their latest and probably last grocery run, Marshal would read the nutritional value of the mixed nuts if it meant hed get a few minutes rest. His fingers instead came across a moderately wet newspaper. The St. Louis Post Dispatch was an honest paper as far as Marshal was concerned. He didnt hold his breath for news about Southern California: anything to make him feel like there was somewhere outside, or anywhere other than here. Headlines in the Post, including something about the President on trial made Marshal consider there might not be anywhere to run to. Every story seemed to suggest that whoever They were, were constructing an invisible wall around this forsaken state. Fridays local theme was apparently how local residents were better off remaining in their homes... Security delays at the airport. Insufficient funds to fix highways. Construction shuts down the railways. Marshal read that last one again, and again, and suddenly his brain was more wide-awake than it had been a few minutes ago. Why wasnt the director of transportation available for comment? Why would they even need to spend billions of dollars on repairing the railway? Why, if the tracks were under construction, did the same train still run by their barn for the last few days?

He pulled his nearly dry T-shirt back on, and called down to his partner; Allison? No response. Allison, he called again, but the girl kept working. Roxy! With a wide grin plastered across her face, she turned; Yes? Marshal jogged down the stairs and met the girl by the forge with paper in hand; have you ever heard of Executive Order 9066? Have I heard of what? Allison asked, but kept motioning with her head back to the punctured metal cone freshly sculpted and sitting on the workbench. Executive order 9066 is I thought you were going to stop at page sixteen? You mean, I cant believe you were able to build the Allison glanced down at Marshals journal, flame holder? Yeah, I mean, wow, that looks nearly perfect too. Thats really incredible. That how did you do that in an hour? I did that in six hours; you slept like a rock, Allison smirked at the floor. Marshal ran his fingers over the perforated holes, all evenly spaced out according to his initial design. To his left, the bike too looked significantly less like a motorcycle and more like something that wanted to swim through the sky. So what exactly is Executive order 1956? Allison asked still blushing. Executive order 9-0-6-6, had to do with the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War Two, and sending them elsewhere. Whats so important about Japan? It wasnt Japan, it was here.

Here? United States here? About 100,000 people taken from their homes, sent to camps; many shipped out by train. Marshal threw the newspaper down on the workbench in contempt. --Allison didnt mind crawling through mud, in the cold, or in misting rain. What raised the hair up on the back of her neck was the proximity she and Marshal were to the train tracks. True, they were in no danger of being run over. They were in no danger of the train suddenly derailing and careening fifty yards into the field where they lay. Neither of those facts extinguished the fear that they would always be at risk of being caught, and taken elsewhere. The whistle of the freight train howled from the west down the track. She could feel the vibration of a hundred or so steal elephants stampeding towards her and Marshal. Allison watched the train cars pass by, quickly at first, but gradually slowing down. Can you see whats on the side of the boxcars? Marshal whispered. No, looks like its just a bunch of random numbers. They continued to lie and wait as the last of the train cars passed by. So what now? Allison said keeping her head down. Do you know where the tracks lead? Probably to the airport, right? Thats about seven miles away from here. Why they slowing down now? You think theres somewhere between here and the airport, like someplace theyd ship train cars full of people to? Some kind of camp?

Only now when Marshal heard it out loud did his theory seem, at the very least, ludicrous. After all, that happened years ago, forever ago. Even if his dad worked for some census company, or security company, whatever, you cant just round up a dozen or so train cars worth of people without someone taking notice. Still, his curiosity was starving. It felt like weeks since Marshal had last seen the sun. Between the earth and the storm clouds lingering in the sky, the horizon was a wall of bright burnt umber. Everything was draped in orange as far as either of them could see as they followed the tracks through the field. In the distance, Marshal could see departing TWA Airliners taking off into the clouds. If only it were that easy. Looking to his partner, Marshal also considered that easy was maybe not the most important thing. Six and a half miles later, where the woods got thicker, and the freeway ran further to the left of the train tracks, Marshal and Allison paused. What is that? Allison whispered pointing to a massive black tent ahead of them about the size of a football field. The train tracks ran right through the tunnel in the center of the tent, but there were two chain link fences between them and the entrance. About a hundred yards away from the first fence, Allison and Marshal slinked from tree to tree, inching closer to the first barbed wire fence that wrapped around the perimeter. I cant see anything, whined Allison. I think thats the idea. Well how are we supposed to know if thats where theyre keeping my mom? Marshal put a finger to his lips and motioned to an approaching jeep. Lying flat in the mud and the leaves, Allison and Marshal waited for the sound of the jeep to pass.

When the silence returned, Marshal motioned for them to continue around the side of the next tree. There were no windows, no signs, and the second jeep that passed along the perimeter contained two men in non-descript khaki pants and black dress shirts; everything about the structure before them screamed anonymity in a deafening and disturbing silence. Creamsicle sunlight faded. Rainclouds moved on. Hopelessness was knocking at their mental doorsteps. Finally, the two stopped at the sight of a one-lane gravel road ahead of them. There, thats probably the main entrance- Marshal was cut short as Allison pulled him over her into the dirt. A featureless black sedan approached the fence from the road. At the same time, two more men in khaki pants and black shirts came jogging out from a flap of the black tent. The men and car both approached in perfect synchronicity; the men opened and closed the gate, the sedan pulled through a bigger flap in the tent. Your dad drives a black car doesnt he? So do the other guys I saw him with. So what do we do? Marshal despised lacking a plan. He needed more information. He needed an army. He needed to not be twelve and in the dark to what the bigger picture was. Taking Allisons hand in his, they swiftly made their way from their current tree to the next. Surely there was a clue about what this place was. Allison needed to not be lead around like a puppy. She needed answers. She needed to be treated like she wasnt eleven and a half, and stop thinking about everything under the sun. After circling the giant black tent twice, Allison let go of Marshal hand and sat down behind a tree. Clearly there was no way to get into this tent.

What are you doing? Marshal huffed out hiding behind another tree. What are we doing? Are we going to go in there, or what? Or what? What could we possibly do? We could we could not just sit here thats what! So we go running in there against who knows how many of them, no guns, no plan, no way out? I want my mom back! I know! They pause, the futility of the situation pressing down on both of them. Marshal looked back to Allison, I know you do, and I want to help. We need to have something whoever they are, theyre ten steps ahead of us right now. Well, what steps do we need to take? Marshal sighs, draws a breath, speaks slowly, resolute and focused; we are going to finish the jet, we are going to find your mom, and now we know where to look. Allison tried to take deeper breaths. She tried to make believe that the plan was going to work. She tried, but it was getting easier not too. Her concentration broke as a long deafening metallic moan erupted from the tent. Come on, Marshal shouted as he motioned for her to follow. As they ran through the trees, the alarm, the shouts, the footsteps began their pursuit behind them. It felt like the tidal wave of all their fears was finally going to break on top of them. Loud pops hiccupped not to far behind them. At first, Marshal didnt recognize the sound, but as pieces of bark began to fly off from the trees beside them, The Scout immediately found himself pulling Allison down to the ground with him.

More gunfire erupted in quick, muffled bursts behind them as they crawled to a twelve-year-old sized bush. Marshals leg felt like it was on fire, but he ignored the sensation, focusing on the immediate annoyance of prickly leaves scrapping across his face. Both the Scout and Wild Girl covered their mouths, forgetting about having to breathe, wanting to scream, or needing to run farther away. Their eyes watched dozens of pairs of khaki pants wade across the field, and past their bush. Eventually, the burning sensation on Marshals thigh was too much to ignore. His eyes began to water as he looked down at his blood soaked jeans. He took deep breaths and remembered his First Aid Merit Badge; dont panic, apply pressure to the wound, seek immediate medical attention. The first thing was doable in that if he did start to panic, the men with guns would come back and Step two, made him want to scream, which would also end the same way as step one. Step three unfortunately seemed highly unlikely to happen at this point. Looking up into Allisons eyes, he unfocused to watch her lips mouth, hospital. Marshal shook his head, held his breath, and grit his teeth together. The wave of khaki pants returned, although they were not as easy to see as the sun only left a few fingers of light cling onto horizon. He almost acted out in alarm, which not to stress enough would have got him shot, when Allison placed a box cutter next to his thigh. Reaching out to grasp Allisons wrist sent another tinge of pain to his leg. His prone position was conducive to hiding, not moving. She relaxed her hand and raised her eyebrows at him starting another silent argument; what?

Furrowing his brow and showing his teeth translated to, since when do you have a box cutter? Her eyes rolling to the back of her head; since always, relax. You cant dig the bullet out with a box cutter. Marshals eye movement and panicked expression was apparently to advanced in silent speak for Allison. In lieu of translating, she slapped his hand out of the way, and continued to cut away his jean pant leg. As the sea of Khaki Pant Persons receded back to their questionably inconspicuous black tent, Allison had successfully tied a tourniquet around Marshals upper thigh. The wound was only a graze. Still, a graze with nine-millimeter ammunition across the skin of a prepubescent boy was equivalent to surviving Normandy. Only here, the added pain and frustration of not making it off the preverbal beachhead cut deeper than the bullet managed to. Allison Even with armed men in the near vicinity of their foxhole, the girl made that face one makes when they pretend to be deaf. Taking her by the shoulder, Marshal pulled on his serious face; Roxy, she could now suddenly hear, go. Go back to the barn, get the money from my pack, buy a bus ticket, and get out of here. No. Now, stand up. Im serious. I cant make it back. Even if I can, Ill only slow you down. Allison flicked Marshal on the forehead, something her mother had done once, but successfully stopped her from throwing a tantrum in the grocery store; you cant talk about all this were a team crap if youre the one doing everything. Now youre going to let me help you walk, and were going to get back to the barn. Got it?