Thirty-eight year old Col. Tyler Stowell surveyed the dry grass of the springtime Kansas plain in his 50X field glasses. The plain stretched forever but for clumps of still-barren trees visible now and then in the long distance. He could see the tan Fascist tanks and troop trucks two miles away sheltered among the unfinished skeletons of suburban houses in the section outside Wichita. The cease-fire had been arranged through the MSM and local news outlets. The Fascist convoy had arrived this morning.
Stowell and his regiment had arrived yesterday afternoon.
"You see them, Colonel?" asked Stowell’s aid, Captain Munoz.
"Just the same ones; no more."
"You think it’s a trap, sir?" That was the hip phrase ever since the Fascists asked for the truce; everyone held suspect anything the Fascists said.
That’s what they do–hit you with your guard down.
"Of course it’s a trap. If a Socialist’s lips are moving–" Stowell didn’t bother to finish. He’d made the point. Every citizen and soldier knew how it ended.
So far, over thirty-one million people killed. In all the battles and skirmishes and vendettas across the country. Not including the Second Flu Pandemic. Reports said five million died on the Socialist side. The American side barely felt it. The Fascist vendettas were the most violent and bloody. Tommy Evans had gathered up all the millionaires, even the ones that donated to the Party, and murdered them. Taking all their money for himself. It was just like "The Battle for Spain" that all the troops were reading. Whenever the Socialist Fascists declared "peace", or disarmed the public, they went on a murder spree. Rumors and snippets of intel said that it was the old Occupy Wall Street goons doing it. So, the unlucky idiots in the Red States had paid a high price for being duped.
Thirty-one million murdered and the economy wrecked in the Red States.
No wonder they wanted a truce.
The Blue States, the American states, were doing rather well economically, with their tax rates cut well below Singapore levels to attract international business. The Reds could plainly see all that. They had to destroy the comparison. Tyranny never looked good standing next to freedom. Tyler couldn’t help but think that was the driving reason behind them wanting a truce.
To go back to the same old shit they did before. Sending their tentacles into the Blue States and Blue Cities, poisoning the youth all over again.
Just like in the old days when the MSM called the American states the Red States, until the American states said, "No, we’re the Blue States."
The long-range cancer plan.
What would the future hold?
What land would Audrey and Quentin grow up in?
"If all our men are in place, Munoz, call ’em up and let’s get this party started."
"Yes, sir." Munoz dialed the number Command Kans-O-Neb had given them. The Fascists had wanted to set this truce meeting for the Northern Prairie at a location just outside of Chicago, which the Fascists had held fairly well now for all of the past four years of the war. At first, Command had been suspicious. The Blues had learned the history of Socialism-Communism that the MSM and the schools had hidden from the kids for over sixty years, and they had seen over the past decade and the Civil War how the Reds would say any lie that popped into their heads, or was crafted by their top brass, to get you to drop your guard, to relax you, while they went on creeping their war plans and sneak attack. In war, just as in politics and media. They probably didn’t think they had a chance at assassinating Braham or others at Command. But why not roll the dice? The way the Civil War was going at this point, a truce could only help them in their "Revolution". The Chicago call was more likely just intimidation.
"We’re ready to roll, sir."
"Let’s go see what bullcrap they have to say."
Which Tyler just didn’t understand. How was that supposed to work? At this late point in the Civil War? The Fascists weren’t fooling anyone.
Almost an hour later, eight heavy trucks with the canvas tops stripped back drove down the unpaved light dirt road toward the outpost. Their heavy chevron-patterned tires pulled up brown-white dust that glared in the sun. The canvas tops were yanked down on the trucks, as agreed, so no machine weapons could be hidden under them. The Fascists had told Command that they would be the first to arrive at the outpost.
The three lead trucks roared up to the outpost where Stowell, Munoz and Reicherstown waited for them outside the big field tent. Tyler surveyed the people in the cab of each of the three trucks. A guy he picked out as the general for the Fascists was high in the cab of the last truck. He had a civilian with him, besides the driver. The second to last truck had more guys that had the arrogant air of Socialist brass and One Percenters. The lorries rolled up, lifting silt dust into the drought-blue Kansas sky. The general stood up in the open truck door, appraising Tyler as he did so, then climbed down to the ground where his aide-de-camp met him, carrying a satchel maybe filled with papers for the ceasefire. The three Fascist civilians, another officer, and the general approached with a stiff, angry air. After a pause, the general almost made as if to alter his posture to reach forward for a handshake, then thought better of it.

They don’t think we’re human, after all.
Tyler wished he had. The man probably knew better.
"You were supposed to wait until after we got here," the general said sternly.
Tyler shrugged. "I was never much for following Socialist demands."
The general didn’t smile. Tyler didn’t expect him to. Tyler had held his tongue from saying more than he did, after thirty million dead. Most of them had no sense of humor when you challenged their superiority. He had heard rumors that that was starting to change, recently, with the course of the war.
"I am General William Allard, United States Army. This is Director Clark Santos from the Central States Bureau of Homeland Security. This is Deputy Director Martin Chabitz of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is Director Dekembi Duubo of the Kansas Division of the Internal Revenue Service. And this is our Political Director Mr. Shirley Folk, from Washington."
"I’ve already paid my taxes to the Blue States, being from Wyoming," Tyler said. "I’m not about to pay you Reds anything."
"We’re not Reds. We are American, just like you."
"Americans wouldn’t have murdered thirty million people over ideology." Tyler felt a lump of hate tighten in his chest over how blase this guy Allard was. Everyone knew who Shirley Folk was, longtime guy in Washington in media and the White House. "I’m Col. Tyler Stowell, United States Marines and American Militia. This is Col. Shelton Reicherstown, and my aid, Capt. Archie Munos."
"We are here to discuss terms of a truce the government of the United States and the American people would like to offer you rebels."
"Funny. We’re here to listen to the offer on behalf of the same people."
A hint of grin plied upon Allard’s mouth. "You actually think you’re representing the United States of America?"
Tyler eased his weight onto his right leg. "You really want to get into this?"
Allard lifted his hands as if to keep his hands from getting dirtied by whatever ideological snarl might lean from the moment. He chuckled. "No, no, I don’t. I really don’t want to get into your delusions." He laughed again pityingly.
The three directors with him shared a little laugh.
The way they always do.
"You know," Tyler said flatly, "I don’t want to be here. None of my men or my superiors want a truce with you. Not really. This is a MacArthur moment for us, where just after the war he wanted to roll on from Germany and wipe out Stalin and Marxism once and for all from the planet." He thought fleetingly of Khashi and the kids. "So–you want to go on playing your little word games? Your little snide one-up-manship?"
Allard tipped his arrogant gesture a little higher. "No. Okay. Let’s not go there. We came to talk peace, so let’s try and stick to the game plan. Okay?" He would hold his tongue, though he could slice this guy to ribbons.
Tyler turned to stride into the large tent. He let the enemies follow him, though they could have shot him in the back. But it was sort of a MacArthur moment, when the general landed on Japan for that armistice without even a pistol in his belt. Tyler knew, besides, what his regiment would do to these men and their unit a mile downrange. Their heads would be on spikes. Literally.
It had been done. On both sides.
This is what they asked for.
Inside waited a big folding camp table with pads in case anybody needed them. Tyler took the seat at the head of the table. Munoz, Reicherstown and his guard detail fanned out to his left and right side. The Fascists didn’t like the gamesmanship, but Tyler didn’t care how stiff and surly they got.
Nation-killers can’t be choosers.
Allard leaned forward on his elbows. "So–we come to talk peace."
"So–how come we’re talking peace? I thought this whole Socialist thing you were bringing to America was supposed to be so different from what you guys did with your Communism shit in other countries? What happened?"
"What do you mean?" Allard asked, smiling uncomprehendingly.
"’What do I mean?’ I mean, you guys always told us you weren’t the same Socialist genocidal monsters we saw in Russia and China and Southeast Asia. So, what the hell happened? Were you lying to us, or what? What happened?"
"I’m not sure what you’re looking for here," Allard grinned.
Folk couldn’t believe this blunt talk from Stowell. On their side, no one dared speak so bluntly, speak their mind. Allard stared ahead.
"Why’d you murder thirty million Americans?"
"Who did what? Nothing like that happened."
"There’s thirty million dead people out there that you murdered!"
"No. No. No. We dispute your figures. Where did they come from? Who told you thirty million, this figure?"
Tyler stared, glaring. How were the other six regional ceasefire negotiations going right now? Same as this one? "You saying you didn’t murder thirty million Americans for ideological reasons?"
"Well, what can be done about it now? Let’s move ahead."
"That’s a lot of people to just pretend never existed."
"Well, we’re trying to let bygones be bygones. Forgive. Forget."
"Well, we’re not sure about forgiving and forgetting so easily. You murdered friends of mine. Friends of friends. Innocent people."
Allard smiled and spread his hands indicating his helplessness. "I’m sure it was all accidental. The ‘fog of war’. Truly."
Again, Shirley Folk was shocked. He couldn’t believe this line of questioning! But at least Allard stood his ground and was saying all the right things.
"You mean the fog of Class War." Tyler stared at the animal in front of him, unbelieving. Ideological genocide, and they’re fine with it. Just didn’t give a shit. Again. For the umpteenth time. Just walking away from it like you’ve got the problem.
There really is no fix but to fight.
"And also, what about all the lost prosperity? The crashed economies? All the poor people you made poorer and with no generational prospects, probably?"
"That happens in war. Are we to blame for that, too?"
"As a matter of fact, you are."
Allard scoffed. "Well, that’s ridiculous. Don’t you want peace?"
Folk, the "Political Officer", stared with reptile eyes.
"What if ‘peace’ is just you getting a respite in order to regroup, re-align some more help, and then slam more murder and genocide at us all over again?"
"Well, that’s the risk you have to take. Isn’t it?"
Every time the rhetorical ball bounced back into Tyler’s court, he had to pause to take stock. It was almost faintly traumatic to his system to face this man, to be near him, this man who had no shred of guilt or shame or anguish or conscience if it jarred up against the mysterious and creepy boundaries of his ‘politics.’ To see it and feel it with your own soft flesh made your innards worm.
"Not when we don’t trust you as far as we can throw you. You didn’t like us before. You said you didn’t want to murder us or hurt us. Just wanted us to be less racist and more like you. Then, when you had power, you started blaming us for more stuff, lengthening the list of stuff we did wrong, stealing from us to make it all right, killing us when even that went wrong. But the giant slowly woke up. And we were armed. And thanks to history–some of us knew you were coming. And we had Octavian Arms, that wouldn’t sell their high-tech weapons to you. And we had the Israelis, that you were willing to throw overboard to the Muslims. And between the Americans and the Israelis, no soldiers have ever been better."
"That’s your side of the story. And we have ours. It’s just the indomitable allure of capitalism that needs to be crushed."
"Yeah, we know. We watch your news. Unlike you, who don’t watch ours."
"You watch our news?"
The idea seemed completely alien to the man, Tyler saw.
"Yeah. Run it unedited every night. It’s our comedy channel. But we don’t run a laugh track along with it! We just let you say what you say."
Allard wondered about all this, not knowing what to say. "Then, how– You let your children watch us?" This seemed incredible to him.
It dawned on Tyler what the General meant. Why he couldn’t believe that the American side allowed their kids to see the other side unobstructed, unfiltered. On the Left, they would never allow this. Like the Soviet redistributionists doubting American grocery stores. "We educate our kids in moral and civic fundamentals. Holistic ideals. Once exposed to those–they are untouchable by you."
Allard didn’t react.

They truly have no concept of who or what we are! They don’t care.
"Well," Allard chuckled, "that’s a bit of Red Scare baiting."
"Then what about the thirty million you murdered?"
"Come on. We’ve killed on both sides."
"I’m sorry. Don’t put your garbage on us. We Americans don’t do genocide. Never have. You Socialist-Commies, wealth redistributionists, you always do. Every time you win–your Commies come out and start wiping out great sweeps of innocent people."
Allard had a look on his face like a frozen pad screen.
"That’s just ridiculous."
"Really?! . . . Really? Ridiculous. You don’t even bat an eye?"
"I dispute your sources."
Again; the arrogance. An arrogance of political privilege.
"Like you once did with our complaints about the national debt? You disputed those numbers too, way back when, didn’t you?"
Allard stewed into light red; he dipped his bland face and fumed, loathing that he stood on more or less equal terms with this opponent, and had to be civil to him because he needed something from him. Needed time; needed more preparation. They thought they had had this won, now they needed to step back again. Go back to lulling the enemy, undermining, softening. But, shit, it would take so long this time. Control had seemed so close, this time. His eyes glared, just wishing he had this smug Nazi racist in a re-education camp so he could teach him who was boss.
Crack open his head every time he made one of those smart remarks.
Allard made a slight recovery. "Are we going to talk peace, or not?"
Tyler leaned far back, teetering onto the back legs of his folding chair. "Alright. We can talk peace. As long as we have War Crimes Tribunals to impose justice on all the murdering raping scumbags on your side."
"That’s ridiculous. Who are such people? Name them!"
"Tommy Evans!"
"That’s ridiculous! He’s a politician! The deputy whip!"
"He came out to California, rounded up the millionaires, murdered them all and took their money! He murdered Bill and Melinda Gates!"
"That’s ridiculous. Bill Gates died in a plane crash. We dispute your numbers. They’re all exaggerated. Nothing like that happened."
"Yeah. Stalin and Mao said the same thing. Then, after they were gone, people learned the ugly truth, right? But your ‘friends’ in the American news media didn’t even bother to tell the story, did they? No. Wasn’t ‘important’. Bill Duranty, New York Times. Pulitzers for covering up the f-ing story!"
"Why do you keep bringing this up, Stowell? Do you really think this tack is profitable to our reaching a peace agreement?"
"I keep bringing it up because it’s genocide! And you Socialist-Commies keep doing it and getting away with it! Stalin! Mao! Pol-Pot. Ho Chi Minh." He ticked off all the Left-wing annihilators on his fingers. "You obviously have no conscience! But we Americans aren’t that way!"
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