Sunday August 14, 2008

3:28 AM

U.S. 131

Cedar Springs, Michigan

The rain pounded down on the roof of the car as the three men proceeded toward their destination. While the wipers flicked back and forth each one was busy with his own thoughts. Each also realized this may be the last day they would breathe the air of this world.

These were not college guys out on a road trip, nor friends headed out for a week of fishing. Those activities had not been enjoyed by anyone in the north eastern part of the U.S. in the last four years. That was how long it had been since the military had accidentally released a biological agent into the Great Lakes.

The entire area between Minnesota and Maine, from southern Indiana into Canada, and all the waterways connected had been turned into a wasteland. Not a desert, but just as bad, as all the water in the region was unfit for human consumption. The large cities were mostly abandoned. Their populations having either been re-dispersed around the four water purification centers set up by the government or moving to different areas of the country. Some even fled to other nations and gave up their citizenship as declared by the executive order of the President when the mass migrations began. The others, whom were rarely spoken about, were dead. Nearly three hundred thousand Americans, killed by their own government.

In the initial panic many citizens were able to make it to areas of safety. The others, who were either too late in realizing what was happening or to stubborn to leave became prisoners in their own country. The entire area was under a quarantine that was enforced by the military. Civilians were not permitted to enter or leave the area under any circumstances, and only authorized military and scientific personnel were admitted. Even then, all orders and permits were given careful scrutiny and strict decontamination procedures were enforced.

The trio traveled for hours in silence. Each reflecting on what was to come and the plan their actions today would put into motion. For months they had been corresponding with others in the region who felt as they did. That no government should be allowed to imprison its own citizens. That through no fault of their own their homes had been devastated and their families torn apart.

6:52 AM

New Freedom Water Reclamation Facility

Michigan City, Indiana

As their car pulled into the parking garage of the New Freedom purification plant their adrenaline began to flow. This was what they had come for. The government would see that they could not deny its own citizens their freedom.

They had chosen Sunday to act because the regular crews would all be at home and only the small security force and maintenance personnel would be present. This would almost guarantee them an easy escape. And by the time anyone reviewed the security tapes it wouldn't matter if they were identified or not.

The driver parked the car and popped the trunk. The three of them made their way to the back of the vehicle and removed the duffel bags sitting inside. They made their way to the elevator, not wanting to arouse suspicion by using the stairs. Inside the elevator the leader of the group pushed the button for the lobby.

The second of the group tapped his foot nervously as the elevator made the short trip up. He was the brother of the leader, but by no means a lesser man. He was just over six foot tall and weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. He was possessed of the rare quality found only in men of great strength. A negligent grace that belied the portly appearance.

As the elevator doors opened on the reception area the men stepped out. The last man of the group set his bag on the floor and proceeded around the corner to the security desk. The man on duty was quick to recognize him. He had been working at the plant for the last year and a half.

"Hey, Jeremy. What are you doing here. It's Sunday."

"Before I went off last night I showed a problem with one of the intake valve filters. I just wanted to make sure the night crew got it taken care of."

"Well, as long as you've got your work order you should be all set."

"Yeah, it's right here." As he pulled the paperwork out of his binder he fumbled it over the edge of the desk. The guard reached for the forms then crashed to the floor as the back of his skull was crushed by the metal clipboard held by his assailant.

Jeremy stepped back around the corner, picked up his bag and the three proceeded toward their goal. Using his key-card he opened the door to the maintenance corridor and the men worked their way to the central filtering station.

Entering the massive filtering room, the men quickly walked to the three main pump units. From their bags they took small bricks of C-4. Affixing them to the giant pipes exiting the pumps, then attached small radio detonators.

As they turned toward the exit one of the security patrols spotted the group.

"What are you guys doing here," the guard asked. Then his eyes opened in shock as a pistol appeared from the bag held by the leader. The two lead slugs entered his chest just over his heart. As he fell toward the floor he hit the "panic" button on his radio.

"Damn it all. I was hoping we would get out of here clean."

"You had to do it Mike. Now we need to get the hell out of here." They left the main room and ran back down the corridor to the lobby. They new they only had a few minutes to get out before the security force responded to the alarm triggered by the second guard. They broke through the lobby and bypassed the elevator in favor of the stairwell.

Bursting out of the stairwell they sprinted to the car, jumped in and tore out of the parking structure.