Somewhere on the East Coast
I grew up in a trailer park. Northern Kentucky. Mum said she shook Tom Massie’s hand when she was six. Keep in mind this was before he got pinged for SecTres by the fuckin first Bundy admin, so this would’ve been back when reps actually met with the public. I think it was a…fundraiser? Not important.
I was trying to make a point just now. Were you keeping track?
[The dark of the room is lit up by the constant blinking strobes of several packed server bays, grifted from a nearby Community College before the building it was housed inside burned down like so many others. The brightest light in this cave simulacrum is a black and white live feed. Endless ocean rolls and lathes some distance below as the drone, piloted by my interviewee, guns it across the Gulf of Mexico. He reclines with one of his fingers set firmly on the control board. He has been doing this for a while now.]
Oh, right, yeah, duh. That was about as close to politics and shit as my parents got. Dad was too busy doin temp work, mum was stuffing brown bags at Food Lion. We grew up at a trailer park. You can’t expect white trash to be as plugged in to the shit as I was.
[“When did your involvement start?”]
With the FAO? Jeez, uh, a while back, man. High school, I guess? I was bored and in the computer lab and watched a bunch of those breadtuber dudes. Old shit, you follow me? This is, like, before 2020, y’know, before the Blues tanked hard. I never got that much. They had Bernie, right? But they went for that guy who got seven years suspended?!
[“So you were radicalized during your teenage years?”]
Who wasn’t?! I wasn’t lucky enough to have those networks reaching out for me, I had to go off and spam them myself. I had to prove I had done my reading, yeah? Some runt who taught himself how to hack the PA system wasn’t on their level. They wanted guys who could backdoor access bank accounts, who could decrypt military files. They wanted another Snowden, or a Yankee, or a Marat. Of course, uh, later it got easier for kids like us.
[“What drew you to the movement?”]
The way I see it is you could’ve done two things. You could have gone high, like Mrs. Obama said, or, you could’ve actually done something. Mum kept using those excuses, too. They both put up with me every time I’d tell them the latest dumb thing the Bundy Bros., we’re doing that particular day of the week, but I drew the line after what they did to Lumumba. That was my line in the sand. I brought my bus tickets the day he got carted off. I think a lot of people did.
[“But why did you feel the need to involve yourself in these extremist groups instead of taking part in the political system?”]
[In the endless rolling grey of the ocean, a small, darker speck shows up on the horizon line. He eases of the board, slowing the craft to a gentle halt.]
Hold that brilliant thought.
[The speck grows and grows in pixelated size until we can clearly make out the fuzzy yet imposing shape of an Aircraft Carrier. The drone hovers over it, waiting. Almost immediately, a marine sticks his head out the door to the Island control tower, scowling directly through the drone’s camera and into the pale face of its pilot.]
You got to hand it to these ants, they know how to keep time.
[Nodding behind him, the marine leads a group of six individuals out on to the flight deck, flanked by two more, heavily armed fellow marines. Each of these individuals has their arms bound by packing twine, and a dirty pillowcase over their heads. As they are forced to kneel on the flight deck, the first marine, clearly the man in charge, rips off the pillowcase of the one closest to him. The footage is grainy, with no audio, but you could practically hear the captor wheezing. This is the first time he’s breathed fresh air in weeks, but he still hasn’t had the source of bleeding soaking his shirt through seen too. If he’s left much longer, odds are he’ll die of infection.]
[There is a pause. The marine looks up at the drone, my interviewee stares back down at him. Neither show any real expression now. Other hacktivists are in this small, dark room, too. Occasionally their faces flicker into view as they, too, watch what we’re watching. They look as distant as the other two. I am surprised – I would have expected more emotion, seeing higher ranking members of the FAO in such debilitating conditions.]
[Not breaking eye contact, the marine draws a pistol from his belt and shoots the unmasked man through the head. The hacker sighs in disappointment.]
Such a shame.
[As the marine doesn’t even bother unmasking the next prisoner before reducing him to a dead heap, the hacker opens a new Terminal window and taps a few keys. It lights up with rows upon rows of automated code. Suddenly, the feed is cut off. My interviewee sits motionless, bathed in the static now on screen. He motions to one of his teammates, and she brings up her own screen. It is alive with emergency news push alerts, chyrons screaming about a US ship being sunk off the East Coast in an apparent explosion. He nods, and returns to his work. The other hacktivists do the same, as if nothing had happened. He shoots me a glance, as if I am somehow now interrupting.]
If you think we can just ‘fix’ things, well, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.
[If you ignore the distant booming of firefights in the nearby Ozarks, and the intermittent trundling of M1117 Guardians through the streets, and maybe even the network of CCTV cameras installed on every other street corner, alleyway, shop entrance and public bathroom, Buckhannon West Virginia seems like the quintessential slice of Americana that appears on any B-roll used by the Department of Press and Popular Culture. Neighbours trim hedges and wave to each other, everyone catches the high school football matches, sweethearts frequent arcades, it's all very idyllic. This sunny disposition is on full display as I walk through Jawbone Park next to Wilbur Lee Moore, regional coordinator for the West Virginia Organization of Homeowners Associations.]
I moved here in ’27. I was born and raised in Queens, so naturally it took a bit of adjusting. Here is a lot more…green. Mountains, too. You get so used to high-rises that when you see something organic it kinda blows your mind.
[What caused you to move from New York?]
You’re kidding, right? Half of my block was under water. Most of it still is, last time I checked. I was sick to death of all these communal apartment blocks they had us holed up in. The family we got lumped with was this real mess, you know, unplanned kid and all. You could see it in his eyes. He was one of those sullen types the Department of Education keeps warning you about. Was probably hooked on Ogentys. I never saw it but I’m betting you $20 that creep had a red shovel tattooed above his ankle. He fit the profile, for sure.
[So you were eligible for living placement in upper class dwellings, I assume?]
If that’s what you call it, sure. Those places had crap water pressure. Felt like a baby was dribbling on you.
[It sounds a lot better than the shantytowns out in Prospect Park.]
Those things? You really believe all that shit? Those things weren’t shanty towns. I never heard anyone complaining about it. It was practically glamping!
[And you never read the UN reports?]
I was far too busy to skim through another one of those alarmist spreadsheets. Those things were coming out every day about some new horrible thing that America was doing. First it was Iraq, then it was Gitmo, then Mighican’s water, then Nicaragua. Who even cares about Nicaragua?I was a good worker who kept his nose down and just kept working.
[You were in New York for the Presidents visit in 2026, correct?]
[His face darkens.]
Yeah, I was. I’m guessing you want details?
[It’s okay if you don’t want to —]
No no, don’t be giving me that spiel about respecting peoples rights, I’ve seen more than enough of that from your side. You really wanna know what went down?
[Yes, if you’d be okay with it.]
[He breaths out.]
I was there on the ground. A lot of us were, locals. I saw him, man. He was…I dunno, young? That’s what everyone says, I know, but, fuck, he was like a Kennedy. He was *our* Kennedy. All those other guys were practically in the ground, he was fresh, people saw him and felt it was cool for young people to be conservative again. At least, that's how it felt to me. He was giving a speech, I can't really remember, but it was inspiring as usual. He was letting everyone know that the government wouldn't forget about the working men, the people who'd pulled themselves up by the boot straps and actually earned where they were.
[Were you present for the actual shooting?]
No, I wasn't. I was there for the rioting tho. You should've seen it. There were 3 percenters out on the streets in a heart beat. We had armed escorts getting us out of the office in a single file. It was nuts.
[Did you witness any of the politically motivated violence? The DSA workers who were hanged from overpasses?]
(chuckles) friend, those were people in mourning. People do crazy things while in mourning. I don't necessarily agree with things some people did, but, I gotta say again, I wasn't really looking for it. I kept my head down and just tried my best to keep moving.
[We pause as an armoured personnel carrier rolls by on the street in front of us. A soldier sits up top, hands resting on a turret gun. He looks at us. We look at him. The vehicle and the soldier roll on by, down the street and up to the mountains.]
These days, keeping your head down and moving forward is all you can really do.
[The American Civil Conflict created massive shortages of gasoline in addition to the rabid militia disputes in remaining central metropolitan areas. Members of the Horsemen, one of the many decentralised enforcement groups operating in the United States, usually engage in acts of vigilantism against any and all forces that seek to invade their neighbourhoods. Whilst this usually puts them at odds with the Federal Government, there have been documented spats between further extremist groups on either sides of the spectrum.
My guest, Tariq Mobley, tends to his horse, a gentle saddlebred with the name “Petey” during our meeting. As he runs a brush through Petey’s mane, soliciting a gracious huff, Mobley elaborates that Petey is not his first horse — that honour went to a chestnut mare he called “Afeni”. I asked what happened to Afeni. He looks at me with a blank expression. "What do you think happened, man? Their ain't no farms here."]
Police didn’t come to the streets, even before this shitshow. They wanted nothing to do with these parts. All that shit you heard on the news, it was worse. Before Fletcher Street started expanding out west, you didn’t have a lotta vigilantes willing to put their necks out for the neighbourhood. But then you put what little do-gooders you had on the back of horses, and fuck man, it was like their balls dropped for the first time. It was like the old west out here when they set up shop in McClurg Court, all the kids in school suddenly stopped wanting to be like Chance or Yeezy and wanted to be a cowboy.
So, of course, we was out on election night. Everybody was out. The police, the gangs, the fuckin’ national guard, those boog militias the Prez said he didn't know about. We’d seen 'em, but they were sticking to the Fortune 500 side of town. Fuckin cowards, the world was burning and all the Governor could give a shit about was if Andy Jassy could keep his warehouses open. They never learned anything. A lot of us were out that night in the Loop, evacuating the residents and trying to contain the blaze. You couldn’t see shit from River North, which was our block. It was me and my partner out there. That's how we moved -- you had a vet, me, and a rookie. You taught your rookie, you minded 'em. Thats what I was doing. We were moving after this buncha thugs that'd beaten a bodega owner to death for, I dunno, being Jorean? I threw my Bola* and one caught him on the legs. His buddies zoomed, tho. So much for WGA, huh?
This guy, he was just spitting out all this shit. He’d spent a lot of his time on them parts of the internet, because he was using some, uh, colourful verbage. It’s not like I wasn’t used to it by now — as a black man, you learn to ignore it. My partner tho? She was still young, and was a lot more quick to anger. That was a major difference between older recruits and the newbies. We’d joined up to protect our streets, while a lot of the new kids joined up so they could beat the shit out of the skinheads. They got shitty when they started dealing with the folks they used to run with. We went hard for the skinheads just like we went hard for the gangs pushing Gentys and Jitters and Pinkos on to schoolkids. We even busted up one of those Red Spade cells this one time, they were planing to blow the drydock.
[Mobley, done with his brushing, hits the horse on the rump, and it trots off. He leans against the fence, taking in the somehow picturesque remains of the Lincoln Park Zoo, where he and the rest of the Horsemen have made their new base of operations.]
So we hogtie this fucker and load him up on the horse, we kept goin. This skinhead, he didn't shut the fuck up. He started getting personal. He started focusing on my rookie and getting real personal. He talked all sorts of shit, about rapin' her mom and slitting her brothers throat. I could see that look in her eyes -- you know the one. We've all seen it now, thanks to the war. I told her, 'Frosty, rookie, we need to be frosty tonight.' She didn't even look at me. She was a good rider, she was always listening and bucked up when she needed to. She was trying so hard.
Then it happened. Boom. This fuckin fireball, it ate up this whole block across from us. I told my rookie, 'stay here', and went in. I was trained for this, she wasn't. You gotta believe me, man, that's why I had to go. I wasn't gonna let her burn her horse. I was looking for anything, anyone. No luck. That shit must have been a petrol bomb, 'cos the street was an oven. If anyone was still standing, they weren't gonna do it on both feet. I tried going further in, but the punks must've laced their petrol bomb with glass or some shit, because it was everywhere. So it was a lost cause. I'm sorry, but it is what it is. You had to know when to back out. We're rough riders, not supermen.
But when I came back, I couldn't find my rookie, or her horse. The guy we'd tied was laying face down in a heap twenty meters away. He’d wrestled free of his restraints, or someone had cut it for him. I couldn’t tell, it was too dark. He was out, tho. Nobody loses that much blood and has their heads facing that direction and just trip.
[Did you locate your partner?]
No, never did. She ghosted, took the horse with her, too. Maybe she finally got fed up. We all have that breaking point, yeah? Don't know where she went. We put the word out, nothing.
[So you believe she killed him?]
I don't want to, but what other option do you have? And don't look at me like that. I envy her, y'know? I wanted to do that and worse, but I didn't. In a way she's lucky. I just hope she's surviving out there. Maybe she hooked up with the FAO, I dunno.
Will The Last One Out Please Turn Out The Lights was kickass, one of my top 5 from the old place definitely. if i recall correctly that was the last major project u had before the two of us got kickedSalvaged this from the old place. Still very rough but I feel like there's something in there that isn't just a World War Z ripoff.
is dick lamm a good candidate for american boris yeltsinhonestly if the TL has developed in such a way to allow DICKKKKKKKKKKK LAMMMMM to become the Democratic nominee, dennis the menace would probably still be a race baiting ethnic populist with a local base in Cleveland
I actually didn't take McGeachin into account at all.>McGeachin lauches a coup against Governor Little.
>Shea carpetbags to become her man in the House.
>Becomes her designated successor, and eventually becomes VP after some persuading.
>2040: Uses the hung election to become Acting President, then pulls a coup to cover his ass.
>Governor Kander (Dem candidate) evacuated to Hawaii as the nation falls to chaos.
Russia is getting what wants, why would it invest any more time in bringing down the West?yo where's the Russian military intervention at
also how are the cartels doing
Not at all.I assume Mexico and Texas have shared administration of the border states? Northern Mexico is better integrated into San Antonio than Mexico City after all.
one hundred percent. if Oswald had taken out edwin walker and they found some other poor fucker to pin JFK on you'd see people walking around wearing lee harvey oswald hoodiesYou know if Lee Harvey Oswald actually shot Edwin Walker odds are he'd be reviled as a leftist icon.
right up until they drop the articles proving he was problematic because he bet his wifeone hundred percent. if Oswald had taken out edwin walker and they found some other poor fucker to pin JFK on you'd see people walking around wearing lee harvey oswald hoodies