This is a what?

A co-worker who started reading “Defiant,” asked.  “A love story,”  I replied.

“How is this a love story?!”

Good question. It’s complicated.  But then, what real love story isn’t?  So, here’s a transition with the local captains.  They’ve no more clue than I do as to what’s going on!

“Defiant” – Episode 24

Muller and Blaine trotted next to one another. They’d just turned to the southwest. The dam was about a half mile ahead. The cart of their dead was pulled by the mounts of Reilly and Schmidt. Blaine had said something about monks at the Goodle complex. They’d arrange for a proper burial as soon as they could.

“’I am the bone – ‘” Blaine began.

“I’ve no idea!” Muller shot back.

There was silence again. For a bit.

“The Mayor sent her.” Blaine stated. “Why?”

Where to start, Muller thought?

 

He stood at attention before the desk, trying to ignore the presence of the young woman to his right. The Mayor was talking.

            “… a personal representative of the Empress of Japan, who, as I know you know, did so much to assist us with the… troubles from the north. Not that I want you telling anyone this, but if she’s attached to your command, I thought you should be familiar with the situation.”

            He’d two immediate questions.

            “Attached to…? For the patrol to The Dalles? Why…?”

            “If we cannot defend our power sources, then we’re of no use as trading partners.” The Mayor picked up another piece of paper and signed it. “Between Canada and Mexico, we’re it as far as a port city in the former US.”

            He coughed slightly and looked up at Muller.

            “Forgive me. I meant the current US.”

            Did he really think that all was lost? Already?

            “Mayor Johnson, I realize things are bad,” Muller retorted, “But there’s reason to hope that – ”

            “Cannibals to our north; Huns, effectively, to our east. Thank God for the mountains between us and California or they’d have been thirty million locusts coming up the Willamette River valley. Oh!”

            He looked about his desk and held up what looked like an old-fashioned telegram.

            “There’s a rumor that Mexico has retaken San Diego and established martial law. So that port might be open, too.”

            He dropped the paper and stared at Muller.

            “Would you rather the Empire of Japan ally itself with San Diego, or us?”

            That was beyond Muller’s paygrade.

            “Sir! So I’m to take this civilian… this girl,” he glanced right, “out into the marches?”

            “Yes.”

            “I refuse. Respectfully, sir.”

 

Muller finished with what happened just afterwards. Blaine was silent. They came to a halt where the path led up the hill to the south to the new fort.

“Where you headed?” Blaine asked.

“My men are in your fort; there, obviously.”

“The girl said she had to get to the dam.” Blaine looked over at him. “Any idea why?”

Muller shook his head.

“No clue. But there’s something between her and that militiaman.” He held up a hand as Blaine opened his mouth. “No, not like that. But something. I’ll send a squad to collect them before nightfall. Which….”

He looked west. The sun was just touching the top of the hills.

“… will be as soon as we’re in.”

Blaine waved for everyone else to start up the hill. He and his mount didn’t move, so neither did Muller.

“Satellites, nukes from orbit… was she just bullshitting, John?”

“I… I don’t know. I don’t think so. The Mayor likes her, and…” Muller waited until everyone had passed on up the hill. “Rumor is she’s tight, very tight, with the Japs.”

“Huh.” Blaine stared off at the river. “I guess we’ll be at full alert for the next few days, just in case. He started his horse up the hill. Muller followed.

“John?”

“Mitch?”

“Who were you more afraid of? The horseman or that girl?”

Muller said nothing. Blaine nodded to himself.

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