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Wednesday, March 31st, 2004
6:18p
AN AUDITORIUM IN A SMALL COMMUNITY ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--

"Brothers and sisters! Our democracy has been high jacked! This "Caesar" is nothing but a dictator of a corrupt government! Using fear and intimidation to get what he wants! There is substantial information that many of the Caesar's "rebel encounters" were nothing but law-abiding citizens who got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. This has to stop! Brothers and sisters, we are not going to let our streets be taken over by the Absolutes!"

[Several people stand up and applaud, cheering. In the back of the auditorium where the speech has taken place, a man sits quiet, observing the people. This man doesn't applaud or cheer. He stands and exits the auditorium feeling flustered.]

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK--

[General James Meier sat at the desk in his office among piles of folders. His office was situated in the very center of the largest military compound in the world, and the one of the most advanced, second only to the Caesar's palace. The compound was roughly the size of the Pentagon, which was now non-existent, and the compound, dubbed "The Castle," went a dozen floors underground. Under the surface of the earth that covered the lower levels there was over a meter of titanium-alloy armor, and beneath that, many meters of steel reinforced concrete. The compound could take a direct hit from an 80-megaton nuclear weapon and the first lower level still be in working order. Around the base were dozens of SAM sites, over a hundred gun turrets, a half-mile landmine field. When General Meier had been given command of the base, they had given him an office on the lowest level of the base, constantly being reassured, "Nothing's getting down here sir." Once the General had taken a look around the room, that was supposed to be his office and living quarters, he turned back to the officer that had escorted him down and said:]

"This won't due."

"Excuse me sir?" The Captain replied.

"A window. I need a window.” said the General.

The Captain seemed puzzled for a moment.

"You can't have a window underground Captain, were going to need to build something on the surface." said General Meier as he walked out briskly.

The office they had built him had a view of a large field that was used as a training ground, as well as their obstacle course, and some of the external barracks. Engineers a spent a month figuring out how to make the General's window resistant to an assault and still be transparent. The had come up with a new kind of safety glass which was extremely durable, yet extremely expensive. It was virtually impervious to small arms fire, and could take thousands of rounds from a mounted turret. But the quality that was most appealing was that it was that is wasn't completely "hard." For certain types of ordinance it would give like a net, which was useful against rocket propelled grenades, or any other kind of impact explosive. A special Missile Defense System, nicknamed "HawkEye" had been designed specially for the office that used an advanced targeting system and a laser defense system to shoot down incoming missiles from miles away. The office, which was more like a medium sized house, was surrounded by several automated mini-gun turrets, as well as several highly trained armed guards. Not that anyone would ever be crazy enough to send in an assault team to take the base, but General Meier liked security. General Meier had been there for 8 years, and it was one of the few places he felt 100% safe, or as close to 100% he could get.

"General Meier, one of our men has returned from Los Angeles--"

[General exhales loudly after being interrupted from his work.]

"So debrief him."

"He's already been to debriefing. He has some information I think you would like to hear.”

“Information? I am not a General of an intelligence organization, I'm the General of an army. [General pauses, seeing the apprehension on his Corporal's face] So this better be good Corporal."

[Corporal leaves, knowing he had dodged a bullet, and shows in Staff Sergeant Adams]

“Staff Sergeant Adams reporting Sir!”

“At ease Sergeant, sit down.”

[Adams sits.]

“Now what is so damn important that you couldn’t tell me in a report.”

“Well sir, I thought you’d like to hear this in person, and right away of course.”

“Proceed Sergeant.”

[Sergeant recounts what he saw and heard to the General]

“Sir, I believe that this community will soon be in coalition with rebel forces, if they aren’t already, and that the man who leads this movement, Thomas DeFlores, could provide substantial evidence towards—“

“Towards what Sergeant? You better watch what you say in here.”

“Well General sir, he…he knows how to motivate the people.”

“Whom have you told this information to son?” said General Meier looking out his window upon a group of Marines training on the obstacle course.

“Just debriefing and yourself.”

“Keep it that way. We’ve heard of possible rebel activities in rural parts of the Empire, but nothing this close to a major city. We can’t let these idea’s spread into Los Angeles, it could start an organized rebellion. And an organized rebellion means the people will start to lose faith, that isn't acceptable.”

“I understand sir.”

“Good work Sergeant. You will be promoted to Sergeant First Class for your efforts, and your information will go straight to the Caesar himself.”

“Thank you sir.” [Sergeant stands and salutes. General returns his salute.]

“Dismissed.”

[Sergeant Adams walks out, and the General presses a button to connect him to his secretary.]

“Get me the Caesar immediately.”

[Conversation between General Meier and the Caesar after the General had recounted the information to him.]

“Would you like me to contact Special Forces and have them plan an op? We can have DeFlores in custody within an hour.”

“No General. I will be planning the op. I will forward it to you later this day, just have a team in Los Angeles by tomorrow night.”

“Yes Caesar.”

[General James Meier hangs up his phone and sits back in his chair running his hands through his hair. He stands up and walks over to a cabinet in the corner of his office and pulls out a 47-year-old bottle of scotch his father gave him before he died. He poured himself a few fingers and sat back down. He rarely drank, but he was feeling stressed. The Caesar himself was planning an op. Whenever the Caesar personally planned an op, they always turned out...messy.]

TRANSMISSION 48-6158131-B7
PRIORITY: ALPHA
ENCRYPTION: RED
DIVISION: SPECIAL OPERATION
OPERATION: The neutralization of all targets in the Los Angeles community led by the civilian Thomas DeFlores, as well as the destruction of all structures within the community’s borders.
OPERATION PARAMETERS:
1) Thomas DeFlores and any relatives are the main targets and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be taken alive.
2) All subjects are to be neutralized even if they are not openly a threat. All subjects within the community are to be neutralized, and not to be taken alive.
3) All structures within the community are to be demolished and the remains of said structures, destroyed.

Failure to comply with any of these operational parameters is a direct violation of the Allegiance Protocol and is punishable by death.

Newspaper a week later:

The Department of the Environment has been ordered to make a small area on the outskirts of Los Angeles into a National Reserve. The order came from the Caesar himself, saying that “We need more places where the city hasn’t taken over, and where we can preserve what nature we have left.” Before the DOE had started its work to preserve the area, it had been threatened by the expansion of Los Angeles, and by other artificial factors. The Preserve is said to be 50% completed and is to open within the month.

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