Cool! And I haven't brought this up yet, but the Restorationists don't use cars or planes, because of the maintenance, lack of availability, and lack of an ability to easily conceal them, they really only use motorbikes and static tanks. Less fuel usage and less spare parts. So, I don't know if this would quite work out, but General Rembrandt would probably show up on a bike with a company of motor-dragoons.
The burly man picked the gritty, concrete rubble that had been San Francisco. He knew it was a dangerous business, since the Japs had taken the west coast, patrols of the tan coated mooks were everywhere, making sure no one was scavenging supplies that would improve their lives.
Apparently, the Japanese weren’t here, which eased the scavenger a little bit. With this more positive mindset, he kept digging, knowing his find wouldn’t be too valuable, as the Japanese always had men near the places like red cross buildings and fallout shelters. They made sure everyone was a living skeleton, totally dependant on the Japs, even needing a permit to farm on “Japanese” land.
Eventually, he got through the rubble, and was very pleased with his small find, four cans of beans, a cartridge box chock full of the rare .44 ball rounds he needed for his no. 2 Dragoon pistol, and a heated blanket. “Jethro” he told himself “you’ve hit the jackpot”! The beans would feed him for four whole days, the bullets, which were almost impossible to find, would come in handy, and the electric blanket would fetch a pretty price from an Arizona bound trader. Jethro let a genuine grin escape.
“Lucky find, dog?” a harsh voice questioned from behind. The grin on Jethro’s face disappeared as fast as it appeared. Jethro spun around to see a Japanese lieutenant, SNLF at that.
“Why, yes my good friend. Care for a smoke?” Jethro said mockingly as he held out a cigarette.
The paratrooper was not amused, he drew his katana and sliced the cigarette in two, watching it roll to the ground and said “slaves have no business insulting their masters”.
“You may be a master, but sure as Hades I ain’t no slave”! By this point, Jethro was teeming with anger. He loose an uppercut that connected with the Jap’s nose, quite literally beating the snot out of the SNLF lieutenant.
“You shall pay for dis, you insoldent andimal!” screamed the paratrooper, his words quite disrupted by his nose, which he was attempting to bandage with a silk handkerchief he had procured.
“No” muttered Jethro, disgustedly “You will, Dog”. Before the bleeding Jap could utter another word, Jethro whipped his old Colt no.2 out of his leather jacket and shot the Jap in the left eye.
“Nice sword, buddy” Jethro whispered to the corpse, taking the katana from it’s deceased owner. Swords were rare, trade items, very popular Miwok Indians. Of course, there’s a chance that the Miwok you sell that sword to kills you in an ambush the next day, but that’s a chance that’s worth the profit it would bring.
His work done, Jethro made his way back to his beaten, Harley-Davidson, loot in hand. Gunning the motor, Jethro headed Northeast, in the direction of Reno.
*********A few days later, in Reno, Nevada*************
Jethro pulled up into the shanty-town called Reno, Nevada. Reno was built from scrap metal, on the ruins of once glorious hotels and casinos the Japs had bombed decades ago. However, as the years passed, Imperial Japan had left Reno, and people began to repopulate it.
Small, beady eyed children dressed in flour sacks stared at the massive scavenger. He chuckled and tossed one of the cans he had found their way before he continued cycling through the desolate town. On his way to the center of town, Jethro could hear cries of loss. The loss of a gambler, down on his luck. The loss of a mother, her child found dead. All theses cries made him more determined to get where he was going.
Eventually, Jethro reached a cluster of tents on the other side of town. Traders were all about the camp, playing games like blackjack, running to their calling wives, and hawking their wares to curios visitors. Jethro made his way over to an old, green, army tent and yelled in “Yo, Danny, ya in there?”.
A short fat man, who was obviously Scottish in descent peeped out. “Where are your manners, laddy?” he piped up, not amused.
“Relax Danny, it’s me, Jethro”.
“That explains quite a bit, ya never had any ta start. What have ye got fer me todey, I’m certain yer not here fer me lively conversation?”
“Well my good friend, that depends, are you headed for Arizona, or perhaps another region where the nights are most chilling?”
“Of course, cain’t conduct me own business, with the Japs all over the bloody place. Arizona’s relatively free, Tuscon’s where I be headin’”
“Then I’m most certain I may interest you in this fine electric blanket, and unused too”
The trader’s face lit up with delight. “Ow much do ye want fer that fine article?”
Jethro replied, “well, I could use about ten cans of soup and four canteens.”
“Are ye mad, laddy, that heated blanket will fetch me a pretty penny, but I’ve only 27 cans o’ soup, and they’d be quite valuable. The canteens on the other hand, are quite easy ta come across, make it seven cans o’ soup and six canteens, and ye’ll ave’ a done deal.”
“You win this time Danny, your still as charismatic as 13 years ago” said Jethro, in mock defeat. The two men exchanged articles, Jethro filled his canteens, and the friends repacked their supplies.
“Jethro” Danny casually said “I’m just as charismatic, but my eyes ain’t as keen as they once were, If I were ta pay ya, would ye serve as guard fer the caravan?”
“Sure Danny, but I can’t go as far as Tuscon, it’s still prime scavenging season, I can take you as far as Vegas.”
***********Two days later, West Nevada Badlands**********
Nevada had been wiped out, nothing was left from Carson city to Tonopah, and those two cities had been completely destroyed, as if they had never been there. The Japanese carpet bombing had been extremely thorough, as far as Jethro knew, Carson City was about as real as El Dorado. But he didn’t care, right now, his only concern was getting the long line of wagons and pack animals through the badlands safely.
“Well, we should be to Las Vegas in a few days” Jethro let out, looking across the wastes with his binoculars from his motorcycle. “Although that won’t matter if we die in this Hades hole, I head talk that the savages have taken to prowling this area lately.”
“Well Laddy, ain’t that why we hired ya?” piped up Danny, trying to take control of his horse. “We sure didn’t bring ya along teh yap about dyin’.”
“Well, Danny, I’m just saying that there’s a chance.”
At the front of the caravan, a trader called out “SAVAGES, GET THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN HIDDEN, THE SAVAGESARE COMING”
Jethro pulled out his binoculars and looked again, all he could see was a dust-cloud, it could have been a storm, but loud chants could be heard in the distance. The savages were there, and they were looking for a fight.
A gunshot rang across the expanse, and a trader dropped dead. Another shot, another trader bit the dust. Several more traders fell to gunshots, until the ambushers quit firing and charged forward.
The traders returned fire, dropping quite a few of the cold blooded killers, but not enough to make it easy when they got in close. Danny and the other traders went for their swords, but Jethro didn’t carry a sword.
He drew his old dragoon pistol from his leather jacket, and time seemed to slow down. Every second was a year to Jethro. Slowly, Jethro took a bead. BANG! A savage dropped dead. BANG! Another one kicked that proverbial bucket. BANG! The last of the raider dropped dead.
“Ow did ye do that so fast, laddy?” inquired a bloodstained, dusty, and tired Danny.
“What do you mean fast, that took years!”
“More like five seconds, me laddy.”
“You’re pretty old Danny, I’d tell you to ask God in a few years, but God won’t be there to answer questions where you’re probably going.”
“Hey, tain’t fair ta go there”
More buildings crushed like toys, another shattered shell of another city. This was how Las Vegas appeared to the convoy of traders. Jethro knew the drill. Traders would enter a city and sell what they could. Hopefully, a few families would take them in for the night, if not, the traders would camp on the outskirts of town. It was a harsh, monotonous life, but it was better than the life of the ruin dwellers the caravans sold to.
A pagoda rose in the middle of the ruins, a sign of Japanese control over the city, even though the Japs didn’t do anything except make sure there were no overt signs of rebellion. That, and occasionally making brutal displays of force in the spirit of the rape of Nanking. Beating women and flipping babies on bayonets were the mildest of offenses.
Jethro and Dan led the convoy into this pit of despair, trying not to stare at the pale people, their eyes sunken in. As they reached an intersection, the civilians cleared, and several men in sleeveless leather jackets and dark sunglasses walked out in front of the traders.
“What’s yer business in Rembrandt turf?” growled one, who appeared to have a higher status signified by his copper ring, which was worn and beaten, but gold was virtually impossible to get, copper was the new gold.
“Rembrandt” remarked Jethro “I thought the only artists in Vegas were con artists.”
“Very funny wise guy.”
*******Las Vegas, an hour later******
The wagon train had to wait outside town, but Danny and Jethro followed the thugs through the winding streets, eventually reaching a casino that wasn’t quite as bombed out as the rest. Inside, there were several games of poker going on, the players never looking up at the sight of the outsiders and the leather-jacketed thugs.
As they walked through the room, Jethro peered at one table, having noticed the chips were an odd color. On closer examination, Jethro realized they weren’t betting with poker chips, but much more valuable small pieces of bread. One of the thugs was annoyed by Jethro stopping, and pushed Jethro along to the back room, where a man sat in a suit that was once a high-quality piece, of clothing, but now was so torn that the barrel of the revolver that the man had attempted to conceal could be seen clearly be seen.
“I assume you’re Rembrandt”, Jethro let out.
“Why, yes, yes I am” the man replied with a slick accent.
“Well, Mr. Rembrandt, as you may have heard, our convoy has stopped in you town to sell our wares”.
“Man has tae make a livin’”, Danny piped in.
“Well, that is true”, Rembrandt quietly stated. “You best move on, the Japs charge all leaving traders a nintey percent marketplace tariff.”
“We cannae efford another dey o’ travel, laddy”, Danny burst.
“Well, we can always smuggle some goods in and out through the tunnels. We’ve been tunneling for years, as part of a passive revolt” Rembrandt remarked.
While the conversation continued, Jethro went to the back of the room and opened the liquor cabinet. Noticing some lines in the back, he moved the few bottles of whiskey and found what appeared to be a ring, he pulled, and a hidden compartment opened, making a crashing noise.
Rembrandt was very surprised when Jethro pulled out a flamethrower. He managed to sputter “When did that get there?”
Jethro replied, “I don’t know, but it’s time to kick your little revolution into overdrive.”
******Las Vegas, that evening*****
A group of civilians and traders had assembled outside the Japanese pagoda, unarmed, for the most part. They were lead by Rembrandt and a saber wielding Danny. Three Japanese soldiers, lead by a warrant officer strode out in their khaki uniforms, their pencil this mustaches covered in dust.
“What do you dogs want?!” the warrant officer barked.
“We be here tae discuss tae tariff” Danny said flatly.
“The Emperor's tariff is not up for discussion, go home.”
As the warrant officer said that, a gout of flame spewed from a gap in the mob, setting the Japanese soldiers on fire, causing the pistols on their hips to explode resultig in much screaming, then silence as the Japs died. “Wrong answer” said Jethro, stepping out of the crowd, flamethrower in hand, gas tanks strapped to his back over the long, dusty, trench coat he always wore.
The mob rushed into the base of the pagoda, which turned out to be the guardroom and armoury. It was a good idea if one needed to get out patrols, quickly, but it was very bad to have loaded Arisaka rifles on loose gun racks against the wall when an angry mob stormed your HQ.
“Anyone here know how to use a gun?” Jethro inquired. Before a trader could speak up, he put in “who lives in Vegas?”
Four men stepped forward, with one of them ahead of the rest. “We were a fireteam in the National Guard, before the Japs forced us to disband.” the man a their head said.
“Great!” replied Jethro. “You four will help me and Rembrandt storm the higher levels, while Danny organizes the traders into blocks of 4 and supervises construction of proper fortifications by the townsfolk. Those gates keep out savages and mutants, but they won’t stop a Japanese heavy platoon.”
The group let out a chant of “U.S.A!” and went off to see to their duties, except the four who remained with Jethro and Rembrandt.
Jethro grabbed a grenade fro the corner, pulled the pin and threw it upstairs, resulting in several ghoulish but satisfying screams.
the small group ran up the stairs, to find that SNLF troops were pouring down the stairs, one of the ex-guardsmen let loose a shot, causing the trooper at the head of the line to drop dead. The Japaneses returned fire, killing the guardsman just as Jethro let loose a stream of crackling, orange fire, burning up the wave of Japanese troops. One of the other ex guardsmen, their leader, bent over the dead man and whispered in his left ear “Godspeed.”
“You three, secure this floor” burst Rembrandt, just before charging up the corpse strewn stairs, a red hot katana taken off one of the SNLF troopers in hand.
Upstairs, yelling could be heard, Japanese and English curses filled the air, metal clashed, and eventually, Rembrandt let out a scream. Jethro sped up the stairs, dreading what he might find. What he found was Rembrandt sprawled on the floor, not dead but with serious leg wounds, a Japanese officer, of decent rank looming over him, holding an elegant katana that probably exceeded the Japanese military’s length regulations.
“Maybe we can talk this over” said Jethro, a hint of concern in his voice.
The officer said something in Japanese, and Jethro remembered higher ranking officers didn’t deal with American “dogs”, so they didn’t learn English. Realizing this, Jethro whipped his omnipresent Colt Dragoon revolver out and shot the officer in the chest.
He got down on one knee next to Rembandt. “Are you O.K?”
“I live, but those swords hurt worse than tommy guns” Rembrandt groaned.
Jethro helped Rembrandt to his feet and supported him. “You’re free now, all of Vegas is free, and no one can take that away. Now let’s patch you up.“
*******Las Vegas, the next morning****
As Jethro said his farewells to Danny and Rembrandt, the sun rose bringing light over the horizon as the townfolf raised a Confederate Naval Jack over the town.
“It was the only flag we had” said Rembrandt, who was on crutches.
“It’ll work great” said Jethro.
“Where will ya be headin’, laddie?” asked Danny
“Out to Texas, maybe, you know me, I’m a drifter, a restless soul” said Jethro. With that, he revved his motorcycle and headed East, leaving a trail of dust.
*******Oregon, New USA Territory*******
The 50 men of the 7th Motor Dragoons had assembled in the ancient, bombed out farmhouse. They stood at attention in their ragged, green and brown “uniforms”, listening to the the CO brief them.
“Now before I tell you about your mission, I’ll remind you of our proud history. The Revolution was started by a salvager known only as Jethro, who had seen the cruelty of the Japs first hand, and decided to do something about it. He incited a rebellion in Las Vegas, where he lead a strike on the local Japanese command center, killing the SNLF troops occupying the city and winning freedom for the city. He went out to San Antonio, Texas afterwords, where he fell defending the refortified Alamo against a company of Nazi Grenze Räubers. But he inspired thousands of people, he showed them that the Japs aren’t invincible. Which we’re about to prove again today” the briefer said with almost religious fervor.
He continued “Today you will mount your motorcycles for the usual business, you will shoot the wheels out from underneath Japanese armoured cars, what’s unusual is the remainder of the mission. Tanks won’t shell the armoured cars. Instead, you will be issued explosives and extra matches, with witch you will blast open the cars, searching for a letter and a store of high quality weapons that the Japanese have elected to send to a certain Harry Robertson, a clan leader on the east coast who seems to hold a position of power in the ongoing “clan wars”. This would normally not matter to us, but if a power on the east coast grew enough, it would pose a threat to the resurgence of the United States. You are to capture the convoy at almost all costs possible, you are not to retreat until the objective has been achieved or your numbers have been reduced to twenty or less.”
David McDowes filed out with the rest of the troops, to mount his cycle and carry out the mission. After driving their cycles through an abandoned field, past what looked like a wrecked irrigation device, the group reached a grove of dead trees , and stopped. Dust could be seen down the road in the distance, from what was presumably the Japanese convoy
“No tanks a clankin’, this’ll be a duck shoot!” one of the soldiers muttered, noting that the iconic sound produced by Typhoon tanks’ solid metal treads was not present.
“Don’t get too confident Joe, the Germans have started sharing tech with the Japs, so you can’t be sure they don’t have better guns” David replied.
“Shut op thae both o’ ya! Ye’ll scere off them cowards bafore thae can get within a mile!” the Colonel piped in. The Colonel, Danny MacBoone, had personally known Jethro, and had been a merchant, often trading with Jethro before the revolt.
“Yes Colonel MacBoone, sir!” the two men replied softly.
Just as the short live conversation ended, the Japanese convoy, consisting of several armored cars and a vault car began to pull through the bombed out woods, on their way too an air station. The dragoons pulled out of the trees, their engines humming to life as they began letting out rebel yells! The air was filled with whooping, screaming, and gunshots as the Americans pulled up along side the armored cars, whipped out M1911s and other pistols, and began shooting out the Japanese tires.
A burst of machine gun fire hit Joe, who fell to the ground with a grunt and a thud, but continued to fight, emptying his magazine into a gunner, and then pulling out his knife, making a gory attempt to remove the bullet.
All the cars, except one of the armored cars had been stopped, their crews killed. Several men set up a guard detail, while a few others prepared to blow open the cars. A loud bang was made as all the charges went off simultaneously.
The armored cars contained nothing but the bodies of several Japanese soldiers. That was what they expected of course, but when they entered the vault car, they had another thing coming.
“What’s in thae car?” Danny asked.
“Not a blessed thing, sir, not a blessed thing” a corporal answered dissapointedly.
“Not at all? Send thaet thare trooper to chase down thae last car!” Danny ordered, pointing to David.
It was times like these that David felt most alive. The wind whipping against his face, his olive drab Harley-Davidson motorcycle roaring with hunger for the road beneath him. As he passed dead, dry, trees, David gunned the engine, his bike letting loose a war whoop that would make the Sioux nation jealous.
McDowes caught up with his target, the armored car, and began to glide up to the vehicle’s side. He raised his pistol, and drilled the Japanese gunner in the face, not even giving the man time to realize he had died. The gunner’s body went limp, slumping into the car.
Time seemed to slow down as David aimed for the tires, and before he knew it, he wasn’t aiming at the wheels of a car.
A much younger David was in a meadow, holding a Colt single action Navy revolver, his father supporting the 10 year old McDowe’s arms from behind, helping to steady his aim. The man let loose a proud laugh as his son pulled the trigger. The gun let loose a bang, another bang, and third one, and David was back to the present.
The armored car had hit a tree, three of it’s tires flat from David’s gunshots. David pulled over, turned off his bike, and dismounted. He retrieved a satchel charge from the motorbike, took a moment to wipe the sweat from his brow, and placed the charge on the rear of the car.
The back of the vehicle was now a smoldering pile of scrap metal. David gingerly stepped through the slag, eager to see what was inside. At first his eyes were pulled to gold coins strewn across the floor. Then he looked around, noticing several machine guns that appeared to be based on an MG-42 platform, many small, brass, bullets, and what looked like a compact printing press. But remembering that none of these were what he was here for, the trooper looked around, and he noticed a small, wax sealed, letter, it’s edges slightly scorched from the explosion. David picked up the letter, and shoved it in his old, oil stained satchel.
Posted by the request of l'emperor
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good-Rom12:21
You'll never find a cup of tea deep enough or a book long enough to suit me-CS Lewis