Almost Angels, Chapter 14
I had just finished two long weeks of grueling duty covering various wars in 19th century and early 20th century America. The Boer War, The Spanish American, some Chinese conflicts, and lesser squabbles in Eastern Europe. I took my first day with my girl and flew to Switzerland and played for the day. We went to Rome for dinner and were back home in our townhouse overlooking dinner by 12 midnight. After two weeks of the archaic, slow methods of the last two weeks, it just felt good.
I awoke the next morning to the bright Colorado sunrise peeking through the blinds she had so thoughtfully drawn. She had to work today. I stepped out onto the deck and looked down at the air traffic arriving and leaving the huge metropolitan area. A slight zoom flicked by my face. I turned. A ruby breasted humming bird was feeding on a trumpeting flower on the ledge of the deck. Then there was another, and another. I walked back into the house and dug out the feeder and mixed up a sugar water mix and went back and hung it on the hanger above the rail. It took less than 5 minutes until it had a half dozen customers were flitting about, chasing, having dog fights that would impress our very best light fighter aircraft that practiced daily north of Colorado Springs. I smiled and went back inside, making a mental note to refill the feeder later.
As I entered, the holophone buzzed and my boss rose from the floor and formed. He turned to me and spoke.
“Jamie, I realize you are off for a few days, but sometime ago you turned in some records for 2016 and 2017 about some political stuff, right?”
“Yes, I did. Were they alright? No one mentioned them afterwards?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, they were fine. Do you remember anything about the period from being there? A mood or anything?”
“Well, the one in ‘16 was during a big election. It seemed pretty passionate. The other seemed quite tense, if I remember right.”
“Well, ok. Uh, look, go ahead and take your break. You earned it. If you have any spare time, pull up some records on 2018 to 2020. The council has some concerns about a section of history. When you come back, we would like you to explore it.”
“Ok, enjoy your time, see you later.” He spiraled down out of sight.
Hmmm, that was interesting. Wonder why? Oh well, too nice a day to spend it inside. I fixed a bit of breakfast, dressed, grabbed my helmet, and went to the garage. I had just bought the new hoverbike, the Air Bandit. I donned the helmet, dropped the visor, and stepped across the seat and sat down and gripped the handle controls. My thumb found the start button, and as it recognized my thumbprint, it found its voice. “Where to, Jamie?”
“I would like to go to Rocky Mountain National Park today. And take a scenic route.”
“Very well. Stand by until I file a flight plan and set a tracer signal. Ok, we are set. Are you comfortable? Please hold the control handles firmly, but allow me to navigate. Alright, if you are ready.”
“We are off.”
And with that, with a hum, we lifted off the floor. The garage door opened, and we were out and down the road until we intersected US-285. We turned right and somewhere just after Conifer we lifted to about 500 feet and turned due north. Our speed increased to just over 100mph. It seemed no time that we passed over the sprawling resort town of Estes Park. We held our altitude, and turned a bit more northwest, and our speed decreased to about 60mph. We continued up the side of the mountains. Soon we reached timberline, and then the broad expanses of the Park.
“Uh, take me down, and lower the speed. I would like to slowly cruise and see what wild life is about.”
“Ok, Jamie. We are going to sightseeing mode.”
For the next hour we slipped silently over the tops of deer, and elk, and moose. And then below us a big grizzly bear reared on his hind legs and waved at us.
“Uh, record that if you will.”
“We got him.”
Grizzly’s had been reintroduced to Colorado in the mid 21st century, along with wolves. There was a bit of a controversy about it but the objections died out. The population had been kept under control with new ways of teleporting the animals. If one got too familiar with humans, he was whisked away to a more remote area. After a while I had soaked up enough nature for one day.
“Ok, back to Denver to the Federal Archive hub on Larimer Street.”
“Larimer Street it is.”
It was only a half hour ride to my destination. We landed in front of the tall building that contained most of the history records from the past, or at least copies of them.
“Jamie, I took the liberty of linking with your communication device. When you are ready to leave, just call me. I installed an App, you will see it when you open. I will have it up and waiting for you. Enjoy your visit.”
With that my Air Bandit lifted and turned to the parking garage. I went inside, found a table with a holomonitor and asked for records from 2018 thru 2020. I slipped my ear-buds in and clicked on remote speakers. As holographic pictures starting in 2018 started unfolding, I listen to various news broadcasters relating their versions of the events. The first thing I determined was that the individual elected President, a Donald Trump, was the center of a large controversy. The two factions, a right and a left, held very different views of the same events. That concerned me. How could the same people, all citizens of same country, from the same schools, the same general environments, have such different ideas? It was perplexing. There were basically two different media systems. CNN and MSNBC and even CBS and ABC were mostly left, with different degrees of zeal. Fox News was totally right, and quite fanatic about it. Still, you couldn’t use that imbalance to determine right or wrong. The President did have some odd habits, such as in wee morning hours he would broadcast his thoughts from his communications device rather than through press briefings as other leaders had done through the years. A strange habit, at a strange time of day. I listened to some of his talks. He had a habit of praising himself, something I had not seen other Presidents do from flashing back on their talks.
I pulled up some speeches from 2016 and 2017. He seemed obsessed with building a huge expensive wall across the entire southern border of the United States, and he was ridiculed for it by some and praised by others. Interesting.
Almost from the first, the social media platforms were alive and on fire with warfare between citizens. Oftimes friends becoming enemies, and it even reached into family circles, causing unrest and huge stress on relationships.
2017 and 2018 saw huge catastrophic natural disasters in America. Floods, fires, storms, hurricanes – all costing lives and billions of dollars. Violent shootings in schools and public places became common. In 2017 I had witnessed the man crashing his car into protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Huge hate groups began to surface and to publicly display themselves. And it just all seemed to grow like a cancer. As the midterm elections approached, both sides prepared for battle, using whatever media and tools they had to defeat the other side. The left – the blue side – predicted a blue wave of successes that would take the House of Representatives and Senate back from the controlling right. At the same time, there were right wing donors and politicians refusing to run for a next term. It looked like the blue could be right, but the right were running strong TV ads, berating the left and stirring the right conservative base to vote and fight back. This looked interesting.
I popped my earplugs back in my pocket and went outside I opened the app for my sled and pressed return. When I approached the curb, it landed about ten feet in front of me.
“Ready to go Jamie?”
“Yes, I am. Let’s go home.”
Thirty minutes later, we arrived home. My ride parked itself in the garage, and settled down to earth.
“Have a good evening, Jamie.”
I took a long shower on the deck, and filled a bowl with some good Colorado sativa, and took a hit.
“Music,” I said, “Play list three.”
The room filled with a digitized techno orchestra number that took me away. I lay on my air chair for an hour or two listening to music, thinking about what I had read earlier. It was a time in history that seemed to be blank in our records. It seemed that the media and the newspapers quit reporting for a time. No one spoke of it. I would read more tomorrow. My three more days off looked good ahead. Besides, I was very stoned. I had not been able to do that in a while.
“Jamie, you awake? I mean, you look lovely there all naked and delicious on your little anti-grav, but I am starved.”
By the time she had finished her sentence I had returned from sheer bliss.
“Hi Misha. You could always get naked and join me. There is room for two, if you stack us right.“ I giggled.
“Oh you bum! You have been stoned! I thought I smelled it. Nope, you will have to wait till later. What do you say to Tex-Mex?”
“Oh, yeah. Where?”
“Why, Austin, of course. You silly.”
I dressed in a hurry. Misha undressed showered and redressed in about the same time. 30 minutes later we were walking into Trudy’s off the strip in downtown Austin. After fajitas and frijoles, tortillas and queso, with a couple of margaritas each, we were still home in time to catch the ten o’clock news. After all that food, sex was out of the question. We drifted off to sleep with the sounds of a Mexican love ballad filling our house.
“Misha, the boss wants me to do some recording in America between 2016 and 2020. Have you heard anything about that?”
“Hmmmmm. Only that someone said there was some policy disagreements with the council, and someone said they didn’t want a repeat of 2019. Didn’t understand the implication.”
She was brushing her teeth and telling me all this, but I did get it.
“Wow. I read a bit yesterday afternoon, there was a real contested election in 2016. Ok, I will read some more today.”
As soon as she had breakfasted and vanished out the door, I opened my viewer and called up fall of 2018. The first thing that popped up was a headline that the left had not taken the House or Senate, and the country was in an uproar. People were screaming about a fixed election, threats were being levered to both sides from both sides. Then, strangely enough, news seemed to quit being reported. CNN was embroiled in several lawsuits. Its anchors almost in house arrest for fear of their lives. A bomb went off at Fox News Headquarters, taking them down for a few days. Wow, no wonder no one spoke of this. Now I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I went to DC the next day and went to the Archives. Still seemed to be quit. Then I found this letter from a lady in California, in 2021, addressed to a sister back east.
A friend is carrying this letter to you. He has kin near where you live. He has been given permission to visit his brother in a re-education camp near there. He won’t be able to stay, as he feels he will be watched the whole time. I just wanted you to know that we are well. It is hard, with all the embargos and tariffs on goods. We can’t sell any of our almonds and we can’t seem to be able to buy very much food. We raise what we can. I can’t tell you when we last ate meat. Oh, well, yes I can. Jason trapped a big old scrawny jack rabbit and we made a stew out of him. Barely was enough for the four of us. I miss you, my sister. I hope this country can get fixed again. But I don’t know if it ever will. Be careful, my sister. Don’t trust anyone, not even those who were friends of yours before.
I love you.
OMG, what has happened?
Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful on the front range of Colorado. I was sitting patiently waiting for my boss when he walked into the room.
“Good Morning Jamie.”
“Good morning. I am ready to go on this one. I did some research. This period is almost as dark as the Dark Ages. I think I want to go to election day 2018. That seems to be a key point.”
“Ok, run the mission the way you want. You know we trust your judgement.”
An hour later, I was sitting in Houston, Texas in one of the outlying burbs. It was November 6, 2018. It was plain to see dissention in the air. Lots of people at the polls. Some being turned away for various reasons. That I didn’t understand. I bounced from city to city around the country, seeing mostly the same scene. Hard to tell who was voting for whom. People mostly silent, tight-lipped even.
I skipped forward until the next morning to view the results. The research was right. California and Colorado, Vermont, and other states won their seats, but it was not enough. The Senate and House of Representatives still held the majority. Little changed. The pundits and media hosts like Chuck Todd and comedians like Bill Maher were furious. The left had just expected everyone else to turn out and vote and had stayed home.
Skipping through time, I watched the President gaining more power. Two more ultra conservative judges were placed on the Supreme Court. The country was at odds with Germany, England, France, Canada, Mexico, China, and even Russia, like an island in an angry sea. Embargos had been thrown up against us. America’s GNP fell like snowballs rolling off Mount Reiner, gaining momentum every day in it’s downward plunge. Huge amounts of funding was going to the military, yet the military seemed to not get any stronger. But the ones who won the contracts got richer. If you were black or Hispanic, it became dangerous to leave your home at night. Hordes of young white men roamed the streets en mass, maiming, even killing the unlucky one who fell in their path. True, gangs of blacks and Hispanics, even Asians, tried to organize, but when they did the police joined against them or the National Guard was sent out to suppress them.
By the fall of 2020, it was a country basically under military law. The press was for the most part silenced. Only some pirate radio’s, and in a couple of cases webcast television news tried to fight back.
Trump and his followers had done what no one else had been able to do. They stopped the wheel of progress. Most leftist Congressmen and Senators were forced into resignation. America was a third world country. Men in white shirts and red caps roamed the streets armed accosting citizens, requesting identification. If they resisted, they were beaten.
Farmers were shut down almost coast to coast. They couldn’t sell their goods on a world market anymore. The President had raised the tariffs so high that other countries would not buy their goods. The factories were silent. Starvation raised its ugly head. Public schools were empty all across America by the end of 2021. The elite sent their offspring to charter schools and programmed their little interior computers the way they wanted them to think. Now the average children would not be educated, and that would spell America’s doom.
The highways and bridges all across America were in great dis-repair. As I watched this tableau unfold, I was in total disbelief.
Trump had died early in ‘21 before he could take his second oath of office. He had a massive heart attack, and died sitting on his pot at 4 o’clock in the morning while texting.
Pence was made President in his place. He changed nothing, but he gave the churches permission to delve into politics. Roe vs. Wade was revoked, and abortion was considered a Level 1 Felony.
The rich got richer for a while. Then, sometime in 2022 late in the fall, the rich became divided. The politically rich became obsessed with the business rich, and started finding ways to take from them. It was about that time some rightwing leaders started appearing. They started movements all over the country to reform the Republican Party. Oh yeah, they caught flack. And lots of it. A few met with the same type of assassinations that some Russian defectors suffered in 2016 and 2017. It was a slow movement, but the fire was kindled all over Europe, and then in America. They were men of vision, much the same kind of men that had inspired America in the 18th century. They organized, they conspired. And, when the election in 2024 was a landslide to the right, with none opposed, revolution was born. Congressional leaders, professors from colleges, journalists, had been tucked away in re-education centers in Dallas, Atlanta, Springfield and Nevada started losing prisoners. They started disappearing and re-appearing in Mexico and Canada. The old people that had parents who had told their children how bad the starvation was in 1929 remembered. People on the right who had voted Trump in to start with and who had been tea-partiers finally saw the error of their ways. They finally saw how bad they had been lied to. I think they become more angry than the left who had fought against Trump in the first place. It is hard to admit you were wrong.
America was uniting. But how to overthrow a country that was living under martial law? A beaten working class, a middle class stripped of its tools.
It was in summer of 2025 when the governor of Texas, an ex US Senator, was the first to fall. He met the displeasure of the ruling class. It was a secret thing. Then, two members of the Senate met a similar fate. It was told it was treason. The men who took their places were unknown.
President Pence was involved in a case where he was accused of adultery with a 17 year old girl, daughter of a single mother employee at the White House. It took a while to take him down, but it happened. Mind you, all this happened behind closed doors. Pence had never taken a Vice President. He termed the office useless. The office fell on the new Speaker of the House, Dan Reynolds. He had run on a republican ticket from Colorado, a fairly newcomer to politics.
Other leaders fell during the next few years. Still, it remained a Republican leadership. Sometime in 2031, new faces sprung up all across America. In some places they were red, in others, Democrats were voted back for the first since 2018. People had started being released from the re-edu……. concentration camps.
After the Election of 2032, Congress convened and the President addressed it. The long banished press was invited to televise it.
When President Reynolds rose to speak, the crowd listened.
“Fellow Americans. This is going to be a long evening. And it will be an interesting one, you can count on it. First of all, as of this moment, all laws passed and signed, all Presidential Decrees put into effect, and all tariffs on our products produced in America after 2016, are null and void. This is the point where America went astray. It is past time to undo the wrongs, and it should be delayed no longer!”
There was a thunderous clamor from the Congressional Hall.
“I would like all of you in our lawmaking body, who are with me, please stand.”
Over ¾ of the legislative body rose to their feet and cheered. Those of the old body looked around in dismay.
“Fellow Americans, to borrow a phrase, we start today to take our country back. Sanctions against countries that were once our friends are now relived. There are going to be great changes made. Term limits for Congress, for the Supreme Court. Stringent tests for anyone seeking public office. We seek to reorganize, away from a presidential office to a council of three, with the two houses of congress as a balance. No longer will either the left or the right be allowed to dominate the offices of power. They must be balanced. Restrictions will not be placed on business as to how much a citizen can earn, but at intervals they will be called on to be of service to their country. So many new idea, are in the making. Education; business is going to take on the responsibility of education, to train the generations for what they will need to move forward. Educators will be chosen from the highest levels of our leadership. Strict separations of church and state. Strict separation of state and business. No more will a corporation be considered an entity with the rights of the individual. It will take time to come back. We are on our way forward, and we WILL LOOK BACK. For history is what shows us the right path!”
Another thunderous ovation erupted; even those seated the last time were on their feet. That night, for the first time in 14 years, there was peace in America. The concentration camps were opened and the guards sent home. Strangely enough, that night was a full moon. America was reborn.
This tour of duty had taken me 3 days to watch. But I went home that evening to Misha and we sat on our deck and watched a full moon rise over the Great Plains and I told her the story of what had happened in those terrible years early in the 21st Century.
My studies over the next weeks revealed atrocities to rival Nazi Germany, Red Russia during the Cold War, and other dark times in history. Even comedians such as Bill Maher, Jimmy Kimmel, Alex Baldwin, and others were brought to court and sent to concentration camps and in some cases never survived. Experts believe that America was set back 50 to 75 years. And it wasn’t just America. Progress worldwide suffered comparatively. I gained a new faith in people though. Regardless how bad it gets, things can be changed, when people find cause and unite for it.