Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

Opening clip: a heavily-built man sits on the tailgate of blue pickup truck. He’s smiling and unshaven, taking tiny sips from a red and white can of beer so quickly it doesn’t interrupt his speech.
“Well, it’s been difficult, that’s for sure. Never thought them libtards could fight worth a damn, but Lord, they proved us all wrong about that. Digging them out of the sanctuary cities hereabouts took weeks. Can’t say I held with the burnings and suchlike, but I do hold with our founders proclamation that we have to be forthright in heart and deed, even if a few of those deeds sit badly with some folk’s interpretation of the good book.”
A band starts playing somewhere beyond his truck. He glances back, then his attention returns.
“We’re not monsters or fanatics. The Free States of America are about individual rights and freedoms under the auspices of God. Can’t say or be fairer than that.”

Next clip: a thin woman leans against the wide shoulders of a bearded man in a torn T-shirt. She starts, then the sentences go back and forth between them.
“After our warnings were ignored,”
“we discussed online,”
“before the nets went down,”
“and decided to become the haven for those who wanted to evade the lies,”
“the surveillance,”
“and the manipulation.”
“Nobody tells us who lives,
“who dies,”
“what goes in our bodies,”
“or our minds.”
They smile.
“We’re part of the Independent States of America.”
“If you want a chance to live free of the enslaved dystopia the rest of the world has fallen into,”
“come fight alongside us.”

Followed by: an elderly woman gestures to the trees about them.
“When my son married a Lakota woman, we fought. Then he challenged me. I went to their reservation to prove him wrong. Instead I had an epiphany: realised what I was lacking. Never had much time for technology as it was presented, liked how it was used even less. Didn’t take long to find out a lot of folk felt the same way.
“When things started to unravel, we gathered ourselves, chose our ground, and stood for what the spirits wanted. If you hear the call of the wolf, the eagle, or the crow, come find the Tribal Nations of America. Fight with us to save the land.”

Then: a middle-aged man straightens his tie before pointing at the camera, his expression stern.
“You’ve got to understand that in trying to drain the swamp, he made himself a target. That he’s still with us is a sign. The Evangelical States of America will be his legacy. The corporations he permits to trade here are all certified by the Robertson Committee to be abiding by the Lord’s tenets. But we need soldiers for the Staunch Defenders. If you can’t fight, you can donate. We must always stand ready to protect our way of life.”

The screen shows a prairie sunset. A voiceover starts.
“These represent the major extremist factions in what was the USA. There are dozens more. Most are militant, some aggressively so. As I record this, overseas aid has once again been stopped, as having what is deemed to be unacceptable pigmentation, ornamentation, or clothing has caused aid workers to be attacked and, in some cases, killed.
“The people are still united. They still pledge allegiance. But only to those who hold the same views. All others are considered fools or enemies. In many cases, extermination of any who differ is seen as an acceptable solution.”
The sun sets.
The screen goes black.
A minute passes before closing credits appear.