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Authors: Glen Tate

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BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
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Voluntary Limas, however, were a different story. These were the people who weren’t just “doing their job.” They sought out the power and money and abused it. And they loved it. They were the Commissioner Winters of the world, the Nancy Ringmans. They did horrible things and ordered the involuntary Limas to do them, too.

The FCorps kept coming up in the reports Grant was reading. People who just joined it to get some extra FCard credits, like Ron Spencer who volunteered to do accounting for the FCorps, were not the problem. It was the people who joined the FCorps and actively went out and hurt people. All the sex offenders and other criminals who joined up because they were now immune from the law. Grant read reports about the “bumfucks” the FCorps did. Grant ordered hundreds of those people to be prosecuted, which meant they would probably be hung. It was literally a box to check on a form and then initial. It was easy to order the probable death of these people. Technically, Grant did not order their deaths. By checking the box, he was recommending against the governor granting a pardon. They would then be given a jury trial and almost certainly convicted. It was impossible to be in the FCorps for months and not leave behind proof of it. Most of them bragged about all the things they’d done. They loved bragging about how they weren’t subject to the laws. And they loved telling people how important they were, which meant gloating about all their crimes. That hubris ended up being the death of them, literally.

Grant would pray that he was doing the right thing. He essentially had the power of life and death in his hands which was an enormous responsibility. He prayed that he exercised it wisely. He would stop doing what he was doing and just close his eyes and listen for the outside thought to guide him. The outside thought never told him he was making a mistake. The only thing he heard from it, and he heard it often, was
. It was hard to forgive, especially after hours of reading those reports. But then he would hear it again.

Grant wondered if Lisa was forgiving him. He was so busy with life and death matters that, he hated to admit, he didn’t think about her that often. Why do it, though? He’d just get more depressed. Then he’d feel sorry for himself. It did no good for Grant to constantly think about how doing what he was supposed to do during the Collapse, war, and Restoration, as they were calling it, had cost him his marriage. No good whatsoever.

“Lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” he kept telling himself. That put his sacrifice in context and helped him get through it.

But still, he wondered. He would tell himself that she was missing him, which was probably true, but would she be able to admit that? Would the fact that Grant and the 17th Irregulars were now almost legends in New Washington sway her? Would she realize that if thousands of people thought what he did was awesome, that maybe she should think so, too?

Would Manda and Cole sway her? The kids certainly missed their dad. Manda would understand why Grant was doing what he was doing. On some level, Cole understood, too; he knew that his dad was putting the bad people in jail. Funny, an autistic kid had a better understanding of the situation than a grown-up doctor.

Grant tried to call the kids, though the phones were a complete mess. The Limas took them down on their way out. The internet was spotty and Grant didn’t want to use it even when it worked because, for all he knew, he would be giving away his position to someone in Seattle who could get a Lima hit team out to his location.

No, Grant would just sit there and wonder about his family from afar. Whether they loved him or hated him, or a combination of both. All he could do was write letters and give them to people who were going in the direction of Pierce Point. Since he was well known, and, although he hated to admit, because he had the power of life and death as the chair of the ReconComm, he could get letters through that others couldn’t.

Grant wrote letters to his family describing all the good things that he was doing. He constantly downplayed the danger and aimed the letters primarily at the kids. He would tell Lisa that he loved her and missed her. He wondered if that just made her angrier.

“Oh, if you love me so much,” he could hear her saying, “then why did you leave? And why haven’t you come home?”

Every time he wrote a letter back home, he felt terrible. Those letters reminded him how he had left, how letters were necessary because he wasn’t there to say the things he was writing.

He never got a letter back from them. Never, though he kept waiting for one.

He would start to feel alone, like he was totally alone, the only person in the world. Then the Team would be there and would remind him that he wasn’t alone. He had the best friends in the world around him. He had dozens of people a day tell him how much good he was doing with the ReconComm. He would meet a few people each day for whom he had obtained pardons and they thanked him for literally saving their lives. It was powerful.

And empty. He didn’t want strangers telling him how awesome he was. He wanted to be a dad again. He really wanted to be a husband again. He wanted the appreciation coming from his family.

Lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. It all kept coming back to that. Grant was making a sacrifice. It was the price he was paying to do the things he needed to do.

As the Team was taking a break at a rest stop on the way to Yakima and standing around Mark’s truck, a soldier came up to Pow.

“This is a letter for Lt. Matson,” the soldier said.

“It’s Commissioner Matson, but I’ll get it to him,” Pow said. “Thanks.” He looked and saw the letter was from Lisa. It was likely the most important piece of mail Grant would ever receive.


Chapter 324


(January 17)



Nancy Ringman heard someone coming down the hall. She perked up. She had only been in prison for two weeks – two long, agonizing weeks – and already missed human contact. That was because she was segregated in the old High School building in Olympia, which now served as a makeshift prison for high-value prisoners. It was directly across the street from the Olympia State Guard Armory, formerly the National Guard Armory. It was extremely secure.

She was segregated from other prisoners because word got out that she was the Clover Park Butcher. Most of the other prisoners were hardcore Limas, but some were Patriots who had committed war crimes. Nancy couldn’t be anywhere near them or they would kill her with their bare hands. And, as much as the guards and warden hated her for what she’d done, they wanted to her to stay alive for the trial. Televising that trial would be very important for the Patriots to win the hearts and minds of any remaining Undecideds. Nancy had confessed on video so the trial would be short and the outcome certain. But having her confess again on the stand was extremely important to the Patriots. The Governor personally called the warden and reminded him of this.

Nancy had been having nightmares. In them, she saw the faces of the prisoners from Clover Park. They would ask her, “Nancy, why did you do this?” They would say, “Tell my daughter her daddy won’t be coming home, Nancy.” Sometimes they would ask, “Nancy, do you want another glass of wine?” Other times they said, “You were a coward for not shooting yourself.”

Nancy’s mind had essentially shut down. She couldn’t cope with what was happening. She couldn’t eat or sleep. She knew she’d be hung soon. but she wanted to have her trial and the opportunity to publicly tell everyone how sorry she was. She had radically transformed from a month ago when she hated teabaggers and actually enjoyed killing them. A switch had gone off in her head. She didn’t hate anymore; she just felt guilty.

“More letters for you, Ringman,” the female guard said. She pitched them under the locked classroom door that held Nancy inside, except for the three times a day she was handcuffed and let out to use the bathroom and eat.

At first, Nancy tore open the letters and read them intently. But they were from victims of Clover Park and told her they hoped she died a painful death. She couldn’t read the letters anymore. She just stared at the envelopes on the floor of the classroom. She knew what they said. They said the same things in her nightmares.

Once again, she looked throughout the classroom for a way to kill herself. Some rope, something sharp. Nothing. They had removed all of those things, of course. But it eased her mind for her to spend hours thinking of ways she could kill herself. It made the nightmares go away. For a while.


Chapter 325

The Aftermath

(January 17)



Pow was running to Grant full speed to get him the letter from Lisa. As he came up on Grant, Pow got the code word in his earpiece, “Tillamook!” It was the name of the Team’s favorite local brand of cheese and also the code for an immediate attack.

“Tillamook!” Pow yelled as he grabbed Grant’s arm. “Now! Move!”

Grant knew he was serious. They had practiced this. The Team instantly formed a small perimeter around the truck. As soon as Grant was in the truck, they jumped in, too. Bobby was already in the truck idling it, of course. The State Guard escort vehicles were scrambling around too, getting ready for a firefight or to take off.

Dying at a crappy rest stop, Grant thought. What a shitty way to go. Not very glamorous, especially after all he’d been through.

Grant had his AR, which he kept in the truck since a peace loving and forgiving public figure like the chair of the ReconComm shouldn’t be seen slinging a rifle. Grant was ready to fight it out.


More silence.

The radio crackled. “False alarm,” the familiar voice of the dispatcher said excitedly. “False alarm.”

No one relaxed. The dispatcher could be wrong or, conceivably, could be in on a hit.

“Marco Polo,” another voice said on the radio, and everyone relaxed. That was a code word for a true false alarm.

In the all the excitement of the possible ambush, and because he hadn’t slept more than three hours in a row in the past few weeks, Pow shoved the letter in his pocket and forgot to give it to Grant.

Grant went back to work. He was so used to reading reports when he was in the rear cab of the truck that he just went back to doing that.

Grant had been saving a batch of reports for a time when he could really concentrate on them because they were reports about people he knew. This meant he couldn’t approve or disapprove the suggested action on their cases because he had a conflict of interest. His assistant, John Bollinger, did that. Regardless, he was really curious about what had happened to the people he knew. Now was the time he had to read them, so he dove right in.

The first report was on Jeanie Thompson. Grant had always liked her. He felt sorry for her because she had compromised her beliefs to be a big shot in politics. It turned out she had been at Camp Murray all along with the old governor and then the new governor, Rick Menlow. He was the governor of Seattle now. How sad. Grant knew he was trouble when Menlow swept into power as a “reformer” and then wouldn’t fire any of the old people who were doing bad things. Whatever. That was typical.

Jeanie had made it out of Camp Murray to a Patriot unit on the bridge on I-5 south of JBLM and north of Olympia. She brought some friends with her.

The report detailed how she had been taken out of any position of power because she was a Facebook friend with a POI, Grant Matson. She was relegated to menial jobs. Right before the attack on Olympia, all the important people fled Camp Murray and only people like Jeanie were left. She described in the report how she was approached by numerous people similarly left behind at Camp Murray and got them out to the Patriot lines.

The people Jeanie brought with her were a treasure trove of intelligence nuggets. Code phrases, frequencies, locations of equipment and key communications facilities. And the defectors Jeanie led also confirmed several rumors about an impending counter attack. They also had information on Patriot prisoners the Limas had and described the crimes some of them had allegedly committed.

Grant looked down at the recommendation box on the report. He knew what it would say. “Full Pardon” was checked and initialed by John Bollinger. Good.

The next name that caught Grant’s eye was Nancy Ringman. Given that she had beaten Grant’s son back in Olympia, attacked his wife, and trashed his house, Grant was definitely not going to judge her case. He wanted to, though. He had assumed she was just a low-level Lima who probably wouldn’t be punished. He was relieved to read the report on her. It was sickening, but at least he knew she would be dealt with.

The report detailed the Clover Park massacre and how she had admitted she ordered it. Grant knew she was a horrible person, but the football field incident was more than he imagined she was capable of. Then again, she always had the ability to insist that she was 100% correct and hate anyone who disagreed with her or questioned her. That mindset was necessary to follow orders like that, to never question them. The report said she was in the old Olympia High School prison awaiting trial and execution. Good, Grant thought.

The next report he read was that of another person he knew, Eric Benson, a former WAB staff member, who was also, strangely enough, in custody in the old Olympia High School prison. Grant had to know what had happened to Eric and why he was in custody. Eric was a Patriot, Grant remembered, so why was he being held in the same prison with Nancy Ringman?

BOOK: 299 Days IX: The Restoration
4.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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