Author : Michael Shreeves

The call had gone out, and they came. Across land, sea, air, hundreds of miles, they came, three million all told. No one in United Dissent could afford to miss an opportunity like this. Still, especially with a pig like Beauregard being sworn in, we should’ve expected this.

If looks could kill, F.O.S.-Zone 841 would’ve been a massacre. Sierra Clubbers were glaring at fresh-cut stumps and fence posts, EFF lawbies at the suits running the multiphasic sight/sound anti-media ECM blanket, and polibloggers and libertarians at the 30ft live feed of the inauguration speech. Us neoComs and anarchists kept busy, thrashing to some third-rate spall band on a packing-crate stage.

Yet another white-button-shirt paced in my direction, his green peace-brassard hanging loose. His plaque didn’t say if he was latter-day or witness, but to us and the IRS it didn’t really matter anymore.

“This is an absolute outrage! They bleed our church dry, and we aren’t even heard! Where is the media?”

“Well, CNN’s barred on threat of monopoly prosecution, MSNBC’s at the great temple for the Patch Vigil, and Fox, well…” I glanced at the holo projector fanfare. “You hear about Phoenix?”

The white shirt cringed. “No one prosecuted, but four-hundred hospitalized… Still, I’ve had the training. If they come, we’ll take it as martyrs, and the people will hear us.”

“They will, eh? What people exactly? The Supporters who hate us here, or the outsiders who hate us all anyway? What network’ll tell ’em?”

“But…. but…” Boy Scout stuttered. Deputy Directors in the UD weren’t supposed to talk like me. “There are three million of us here, they HAVE to hear us!”

“Three million in a thousand camps hacked last-minute out of the swamps. But don’t worry, I’m sure the suits are listening to every word we say.” I looked at Boy Scout and shrugged. “Look, its very simple. Non-violence has a lot of things to depend on. The bravery of its adherents and the brutality of its enemies are the ones we learn about. But the enemies have to care about their image. They have to want to look good for allies and voters and history. Reporters showed Ghandi and King beaten and won the hearts of the people. But the world already fears us, and the people, well, all they’ll ever hear about is how THEIR candidate’s inauguration went off without a hitch. They won’t even know we were here.”

“But… what then?”

We watched the commandeered metro buses pull up to the gates with some straggling dissenters. This batch preferred white hoods to peace brassards, though. Some of them didn’t even bother hiding their shotguns and bats as the suits processed them through the gates.

“Beauregard’s buddies are here. Excuse me.”

Boy Scout straightened up, ready to stand proud and take his licks. I walked over to the rapidly disintegrating stage, kicked the top off a crate, and grabbed an AK.

“Thank god we lost on gun control. Hasta la victoria!”

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