An Invasion of Coloureds

Even though she is twice Aurie’s age, Colour is not a professional soldier and like many has a hard time making a distinction between “war” and “killing.” I do not think she regrets what her mother and country did to protect themselves, but I’m sure she wishes there had been another way. General Hartmann? She’s probably gaming in her head how she could have done it better.

I think I’m finished with exposition. If not politics, it’s time for Aurie to start killing people and breaking things. I mean, what else is an army for?

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Behind what used to be a strip mall, in the weeds and brambles, they broke out their tents in their typical total silence.  Jansen was getting more concerned about their level of discipline and what it implied for larger operations.  Not having a tent, she wondered who she would be with tonight…

“Me, of course,” Hartmann continued with her mind-reading.  “Making it to East Boston and seeing what I want to would be easy if this was a combat mission.  But it’s not; exactly.  You and your country really did a trick on these parts, didn’t you?”

“It,” Jansen paused and began again, “it was not just poisoning the water supply.  Do you know the story of what happened here?”

“Assume I know nothing,” General Hartmann said, dropping to the ground with her legs crossed.  “Make me older.  And here, start putting some of this bug repellent cream on.”

“In the early parts of the Breakup,” Colour said, taking the tube and seating herself close enough their knees touched, “the mayor of Boston, a communist Black woman, not only declared her loyalty to DC but also called upon international aid to ‘stabilize’ wayward States like New Hampshire and Maine.”

“Several expressed support, I’ve read,” Aurelia said, “but did any?”

“South Africa sent a division.”

Aurelia sat up.

“We’d not heard that.  I must tell my family once back in signal.” Her eyes flared gold.  “Do go on.”

“In the name of the United States,” Colour continued what was childhood history to her, “gangs seized control of everything within fifty miles of this city.  Even with the rioting in New York, a Federal Army brigade made their way here just as the Africans landed.”

Colour realized the only thing she could hear was her voice.  It was as if the thousand men just faded into the dusk.

“Is it a problem for me to be talking?” she asked.

“Just don’t raise your voice.  You’re fine,” the general said.

Jansen also noted there were no campfires.  She recalled the old definition of “meekness:” power under control.

“Maine, New Hampshire, and many other counties were done with the Federals by this point,” she said in a softer voice, matching the coming darkness.  “A declaration would have been stupid so we kept quiet.  Even so, we heard that a Terror had begun in Boston.  Mostly against Whites, but fairly random; hundreds shot every day.  Our National Guard troops were mobilized but there was no way… against nearly two divisions…”

“Your mother.”

“Yes.” Colour dipped her head.  “That’s when my mother came before the State House and suggested poison.  Dad was a Marine, did I tell you that?  Maybe he helped push that thought; I don’t know.”

Colour fell silent.  Aurelia waited.

“Their water treatment plants are, were, to the west.  A blocking force was established about where your fort is now.” She looked back up.  “That may have spooked my countrymen, friend.”

“We’ll move.”

“It… it’s funny, in a way,” Colour bit her lower lip to stay quiet.  “What you imperials did in days took them weeks.  Utter chaos in their ranks.  By the time they were ready to move against us my mom’s poison was already in the water.”

“It acted like cholera,” she whispered into the dark.  “But worse.  She… Mom never told us what she did, what she used, but something like fifteen thousand soldiers just melted away.  And the city was worse.  I wasn’t there but when our men moved south, they said the smell was indescribable.”

“Some wanted to burn the city,” Colour was near tears.  “They just came home, instead.”

“Anything else I must know?” Hartmann asked in a clinical tone.

“I don’t think so.  I’ll tell you if something comes to mind,” Colour sighed.

“Then let’s bed down,” Aurelia said, “unless you fancy sentry duty?”

Colour crawled into the small tent but looked back when her friend did not follow her.

“I’m going to walk around a little,” Hartmann mouthed.  “I’ll be back later.”

Annoyed by the drone of the bugs but soothed by the sounds from the frogs, Jansen drifted off.

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