Chapter 31

Submitted by Zombieman on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 01:01

“I’ve been away too long.” Max complained to Draper as they visited the third address on a list of names the man had.

“I appreciate your help tonight, Max. I know I can handle the rest of this clean up without out. I…just don’t want to do this alone.”

“I never pictured you as a patriotic supporter of the civilian government.”

Drapers eye grew wide and his voice was raised as he answered, “That is all I have ever been. There is an order to things. A way things are meant to be and if we don’t follow the rules, then what the hell is the point?”

“You seem to bend the rules enough, as far as I can remember.” Max said.

“I had a lot of discretion in how I handled my orders and I have learned that giving too much information to subordinates is never productive. I have never taken actions…of this magnitude…without direction before.”

“So why are you off the rails now? We killed eighteen people at the staff meeting and four more, including that man’s wife in the two houses we’ve stopped by. Tell me I’m not just participating in a mass murder scheme.”

“Traitors. Coup supporters that I cannot afford to leave alive or they would weasel out of the charges, obscure their involvement and then work against the new order by becoming a part of it. It has to be a clean sweep.”

“Yeah, we’d hate for there to be anyone left alive to tell their side of things. How many people are on your list?”

“About three hundred.”

“You want me to go with you to the houses of three hundred people and help you murder them?”

“Murder? What are you talking about? Those first people we took out, they were all the higher ranks and I had clear evidence of their intentions. With them out of the picture, I am the highest ranking active military leader left. According to the power placed in me by the United States Government, as amended by the local authorities based in Des Moines, I can purge all threats internal and external to the civilian authorities on my own authority.”

“So, you can just kill anyone out of hand and say they were a threat to the government. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like it could lead to any problems. This is exactly why I didn’t come back here.”

Draper shook his head, “No, it’s not like that, there will be inquiries and chances are I will lose my job and be charged with abusing my power. It’s a price I am willing to pay for the greater good. Now is not the time for a coup; the Californians would destroy us.”

“Don’t you see, Draper? What you’re doing isn’t called the same thing, but it is the same thing. Call it ‘cleaning house’ if you want, but in the end this shakeup will be just as devastating to Iowa as if the generals had gone through with their plans. The military alone will take years to replace the leadership you’ve already destroyed.”

“I destroyed active military personnel, but even in this mess, we’ve had a lot of people retire; some good men and women who feel as strongly as I do and they will come back and guide us until a new group of loyal officers has come up the ranks.”

“How are these retired officers going to judge you?”

Draper looked out the window, to the east there was a band of pale blue light heralding the coming sunrise. “I suspect they will be the ones bringing charges against me.”

“I hope for your sake the people we killed weren’t getting advice from their retired mentors or you’re just fucked.”

“I see a way where I am not fucked, Max. Are you going to stick with me or not?”

“Local politics.” Max muttered, why do I feel like I owe him anything? Still he nodded and said, “Unless I get called back, I’ll help you see these three hundred dead.”