illiam was checking out the firearm delivered to him by the Gunny.  He understood a whole lot more when he saw the gun, and a later incident in this book will shed more light on this group.  This firearm was a German luger, and there had only been less than twenty four thousand of them made.  Not only that, but someone exceptionally handy with the proper tools that could create this magnificent piece of art out of an ordinary firearm .

This firearm was taken off one of the "Nine," who fancied themselves mercenaries, and called themselves the Lugers Of Freedom.  William would like to speak to the one that was carrying this firearm to garner some information of their exploits in this area.  But obviously this group had more than one contract going at a time.  That he knew of, they were guarding arms for the Russians.  William couldn't figure out why the Russians would be farming out chores like this when they could easily do this work themselves.  William would soon learn there were many French in the group that had nabbed the General.

Suddenly, it occurred to William that perhaps the ruskies were moving men into another area of the country for some much larger mission.  The thought worried him and he needed to broach the subject with the Four.

Nothing but private contractors available to the highest bidder, the Lugers Of Freedom claimed French Legion status, but they were actually more in line with the every day street thug roaming the streets right this minute.  The only difference: their fancy guns.  They'd been hired by the Russians for delivery and guarding of ordinance.  The authorities in the hierarchy had no qualms about what they did on their own time, and many were conducting raids in the neighboring towns.

With the revolution coming on strong, law and order was nil, and was quickly flying out the window, as was ability to secure food, water, running vehicles, fuel, medical supplies, weapons, ammunition, electricity, safety and ultimately, survival.  People were trampling each other as they purchased anything they could get their hands on in the category of food.  But if they couln't buy it, they would just take it, and looting would ensue.  Many gangs of thugs roamed the streets searching for targets of opportunity they could exploit for what ever they could steal.

Within a couple of weeks, several things happened to throw more troubles and hardships on the nation.  Somehow, the grid "overloaded" and went down.  Before the power failed completely, the news was reporting the chasing of some suspects caught with materials to bomb certain targets of import, one being, several places on the grid.  Then there were sparse reports of rolling blackouts that would be hitting the nation.  The trucks that were the backbone of delivery in America had nearly quit running altogether from lack of fuel and little pay.

And the most devastating; Obama signed the deal with the UN to come into the country to begin the monumental task of gun confiscation.  With the loss of law and order, peoples homes were being looted and burned at will by the thugs.  Food that had been purchased and stored up for just this occasion was high on the hit list, just under firearms.  Soon people were faint from lack of food.

A woman could be bought for a can of beans.  A motorcycle could be bought for a half dozen rounds of .223.  Gasoline was a luxury few could even find and even fewer could afford.  Since the revolution had started a mere two weeks prior, Martial Law had been declared simultaneously, and civility had fallen into the dirt.  Men were murdered for their wives and daughters.  Women were gang raped then murdered.

The Japanese war crimes in the Philippines during the takeover of the 1940's had nothing on what these thugs were doing.  Men's wives and daughters were raped in front of them, then bayoneted.  Fathers forced to have sex with their daughters (for what reason I can't even imagine), then killed by bayonet.

Young women were hoarded and sold like merchandise, then were used for every kind of sexual lust they could imagine, often kept alive to be used as slaves for every kind of chore that needed doing.  Young men were considered good for nothing but slaves and trouble.  Unless there was a special need for the maual labor they could do, they were just shot in the head and left lying where they fell.

Whole neighborhoods were being ravished, houses torn apart in search of hidden treasures like guns, food, medical supplies, gold and monies.  Power tools were left in the dirt, hand tools were valuable.  Walls were stripped of the copper tubing and wiring.  Wood was used for campfires and building of shacks.

Sometimes whole neighborhoods would be leveled as fire, usually started from a firefight would break out and pass from house to house  If the attackers couldn't coerce the inhabitants out, they would just simply burn it.  Whole families lived like rats in lean-to's hastily thrown together.  A person alone was a dead person no matter how many weapons he had because sooner or later, he would have to sleep.

The only exception would be if they had a dog with them.  But, a dog would give their hideout away, and the search would be on.  As soon as the person was located, he would have to fend off the attackers, which could be anywhere from two or three to a dozen or more.

The only way to survive was to join forces with as many as possible to rotate watch shifts.  If you were discovered and they were unable to get close enough to burn the defenders out, they would sit at a distance and pick you off via sniper rifle if you showed yourself.  You had to stay hidden.  If you were discovered and were able to fend off an attack, they would just come again in larger numbers.  Your only chance of survival was to stay hidden and quiet.

William was amazed at how fast America was reduced to shambles.  He and Sharon, his wife, and Sung Wu were forced to move to the bunker within two weeks of Sung Wu joining them.  The rest of the four and their families were there as well.  Everything there was underground, and there were several levels.  Someone had been thinking ahead.  Blast doors were placed between each section, and levels as well.  Air intakes, exhausts all hidden in the trees well above any flood danger, low lying gases, animal access and even human access.

Air purity monitors stood constant vigil against any known impurity or foreign substance, would instantly close the vents if alerted.  Automatic cleaners, scrubbers, purifiers and recirculators would switch on scrubbing interior air until the fresh air vents opened once again.

If a power loss lasted for more than twenty minutes, gens would start, coming on line and dropping off as needed to supply the load.  The whole system was powered by a huge bank of huge batteries which would last for an hour, well before the standby batteries were depleted.  Enough diesel fuel was stored to run the place on full generator for five years.  Solar, wind, water powered gens would aid in the need to keep the batteries charged and the place in electricity.

The place had its own hospital, kitchen, ammunition creation, black powder manufacturing sections as well as gym and workout stations.  There was even a bowling alley consisting of three lanes and a small swimming pool.  William had explored the place and he'd not seen it all as of yet.  Who ever the head dude in this party was, he was smart, and to have afforded something of this magnitude, had spent many millions of dollars and had been in the making for years.

William had some kind of black cloud of thought which he could not bring to the surface concerning this whole system.  Questions were forming in his head.  By becoming part of and partaking of this system, to whom was he vowing his allegiance?  Who owned it?  Who had built it?  How had it been paid for?  Who had access to it?  Who were the forces who ran it?  Who was meant to populate it?

He often took walks in the evening to clear his head, and one evening he ventured into the woods alone with nothing but his 45 and his thoughts.  He was usually very cautious, but the dark cloud of the ownership of the complex was weighing exceptionally heavy on his mind.  He had been unable to talk to General Randolph as he was still in ICU, and twice his condition bettered and then worsened.  The last day or so he was in decline.

During his stay at the local Hanoi Hilton, a term used for a torture prison Hanoi where many of the pilots captured in the Vietnam police action were kept, tortured, maimed, and many, killed, he had gained an infection the Doc was battling fiercely.  The term Hanoi Hilton would be used for many other places, but the definition was always the same.  A prison of torture.

In Vietnam, restroom facilities were almost non existent.  Most used chamber pots and threw the contents in the street where people simply walked through it.  Large masses of people, like in a military base, used open ditches for their latrine.  Military prisoners placed into POW camps deep in the jungles were sometimes tortured by being placed in holes dug near the latrine ditches.  After being secured in the hole, fill ditches connected the latrine ditches which would fill contents of the sewer.  They were secured into place against bamboo posts driven into the ditches, their mouths barely above the level of liquid.

They would be left for days like this.  If they nodded off in sleep, they would wake up gulping sewage.  Many died from the poisons leeching into their bodies perhaps through a wound or scratch or just drowned in it.  A person who died there stayed there.  The stench of the rotting body was masked by the stench of the sewer, which to them, was merely an everyday experience that was to be endured.  Period.  No one ever seemed to want to better themselves, like, dig a hole and cover it.

In the complex where General Randolph was incarcerated, he had suffered many variations of torture.  It was not known what they were able to extract out of him, but he had gotten some gruesome and serious infections from the place for lack of cleanliness.  It was these which after a short time of incubation were coming to life.  And the good General was fighting.  He was known as a fighter.

One day William inquired as to his condition from Doc Wilson.  Doc Wilson attempted to describe his situation in civilian terms, the best he knew how since he really wasn't sure what he was fighting.  Sung Wu had appeared like a ghost and asked to see him.  Doc looked at William, who shook his head to the affirmative, and turned and lead Sung Wu into the Generals room.

Sung Wu asked for a flashlight which he covered with a green film, and opened the Generals eyelids one by one, and shining the light so that it skipped across the eye, not directly into it.  Sung Wu handed the light back to the Dr. and said "I'll have him on his feet in two days."  Doc Wilson just shook his head at William and Sung Wu disappeared.

While William was out in the woods more or less lost in his own thoughts, he was suddenly aware that he was not alone.  He turned halfway around and reached for his 45.  "You won't need that, and if you had, you would have already been dead.  William, you must be more careful.  A tank could have come up on you," scolded Sung Wu.  "I have roots and plants to make medicine for General Randolph.  He should be walking in two days."

He fell in step with William then asked "I sense you have dark clouds floating through your mind.  Can I be of assistance?"

William stopped for a second and just looked at Sung Wu.  Sung Wu waited for a few moments then continued "I feel some dark clouds of my own as well."  He paused then asked "is it to do with the ownership of the bunker complex?"

William nodded yes, resuming his stroll.  "I feel there is a dark entity connected with either the ownership of the bunker complex, or, in relation to the owner.  I haven't as of yet been able to speak to General Randolph about it." he said.  "In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for whatever you can find out.  Oh, by the way, I don't know if you're aware, but Old Joe came out of his coma this afternoon.  It's lookin bad for him Sung Wu.  Well, I guess it's about time to get back."

On the walk back two friends chatted about the weather, the cache of ordinance taken from the Hanoi Hilton, about the way the revolution was going and their own work.  It was time to get back to work again.

He decided to stop by and see Old Joe again before retiring.  He was surprised to see him laying on his bed, fully dressed in his uniform with his medals and buttons shined up.  The lighting was quite good so William snapped a picture of him.  "What are you doing all dressed up Joe?  You going somewhere?" he asked jovially.

Old Joe

"Yeah, it's about time for me to mosey on out of here Will.  I'll be shaking hands with the Grim Reaper come morning.  I wanted to go out to meet him in style.  George is waiting for me there by the door."  He said weakly and nodded toward the door.  The picture William took, was the last.  In that picture, Old Joe had saluted William.  He was looking mighty weak and quite sad to go, but, "I guess it's time for me to mosey on out of here . . ."

About midnight, Old Joe left this earth, and went on to his reward.  If rewards are given for service to ones country and to his fellow man, Old Joe would have a heap more rewards than he would be comfortable with.  He never was comfortable with much in the way of owning things.  He'd rather live just a plain life in a small house.

Old Joe was taken down to the morgue where he was cremated as were anyone who died there.  That was out of necessity.  His ashes were raked out for William instead of being spread in the woods with all the others.  Old Joe was a very close and special friend of Williams.  The whole war effort was weighing heavy on Williams mind that day.  The only thing that could take his mind off the somber things of this sort was the work of The Patriot Gentleman's Club.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Chapter XV