This story picks up during the second season of Jeremiah, a month or so after Libby was killed and Jeremiah is now helping run/organize Millhaven. I've seen a good number of Jeremiah episodes but not all of them. I've not seen the ending of the second season either so this story is set before the big confrontation with 'Daniel' in the east.
Jeremiah is not mine to own. All rights and entitlements are owned by Luke Perry and J. Michael Straczynski, plus those who produced and own the whole dog and pony show.
Mal is my creation, part of my twisted and wicked mind.
The attacks had started shortly after Libby was killed. Jeremiah spent most of his time putting out 'fires' around the town of Millhaven. Things seemed to be happening too fast for him and he was frustrated and flustered more often than not. Kurdy and Mister Smith had gone back to Thunder Mountain to report on what had transpired at the last two towns they had tried to recruit. Marcus took it all in and spent many long hours sequestered with other members of the Allied states, trying to come up with a solution.
They knew they had to keep trying to get people to join them but if the news of the attacks began to spread out among the other small towns, there would be no hope of unifying them all. Kurdy and Smith were sent back out to other towns in hope of negotiating some form of arrangement with them. It was long hours, arguments, heated tempers and trying to find something that would help unify everyone against a common enemy that meant them harm.
Jeremiah kept to himself unless he was needed for something official in the town. The printer of the newspaper had received a letter from Marcus and the Allied Council explaining as much as they could about why they wanted to do things a certain way, what they hoped to accomplish and trying to basically rally the people without terrifying them into decisions by scaring them with 'stories' about Daniel's troops. The article was printed and then several bundles were sent to other towns to be distributed. It helped some in the cause to get people thinking about what they wanted from their lives.
Jeremiah walked the town night after night after most had sought their beds, patrolling the hills and roads around Millhaven. He slowly began to draft the few that were interested in helping to set up hidden stands outside of town where they could get clear views of the roads, hills and surrounding area for any signs of disturbance. This was mainly to help get an early warning to everyone in the town if danger was approaching. Each lookout was equipped with radios, flare guns and each watcher was armed. He met with several of the 'town elders' to discuss evacuation plans that might work if the town was set upon. If warning came in time, people could already be prepared to take only what little they needed and disappear into the hills at pre-determined locations that couldn't be easily reached except by foot.
As word spread of this about town, people began to open up a bit more. A town meeting was called and plans were explained. Everyone was to have a pack ready to grab that had dry goods for food, water, a change of clothes and a blanket. If everyone had one they could grab easily enough, they could leave all else behind, knowing it was better to escape with your life and come back later than to end up in the back of one of Daniels trucks headed for a work camp.
Marcus made a stop a month later to find that Jeremiah had withdrawn into himself for the most part, keeping to himself unless he was needed for something in town and patrolling the borders at night. The anger gnawed away at his belly and Marcus knew he would have to do something about Jeremiah soon or he would soon disappear one night and no one would ever see him again because he'd track down Libby's killer and the outcome would probably not be in Jeremiah's favor. Marcus doubted that even Devon could consol his son on this.
As Marcus toured the town, he noticed the change in attitude of the people. They seemed a bit more at ease, a bit more confident about the world around them. When he asked the newspaper editor what had changed, Frank gave him the strangest look and then explained the subtle changes they had incorporated and taken to heart from the guard towers to the children sneaking about the woods to help watch for others and the packs everyone had prepared and by their back doors in case they had to quickly leave when warning was given of danger. He explained that there were about four meeting places up in the hills that had to be reached by foot or horse back. Everyone knew where they were and different ways to get there.
Marcus looked incredibly impressed and with a little haggling, got Frank to promise to write up this information in a format that could be easily understood and print a multitude of copies that could be delivered to other towns for the people to read. It might help give people a sense of purpose and that they could plan ahead. It might also help if these newspapers showed up a few days before Kurdy and Smith made it to their town to ask if they wished to join the alliance. Frank finally agreed and went to work that night, trying to plan out what to put in the articles and papers.
Before he could set the print on the machine, it was his turn to spend the night in one of the hunting blinds set up as a lookout point. He quietly loaded his gun and pulled on his heavy coat, shutting and locking the door behind him. He was to join Jeremiah on part of his patrol as a request from Marcus to help keep an eye on him for the time being. Frank knew what Jeremiah was going through. He'd lost his wife to illness a few years back. He had been totally helpless to do anything to save her and she died in her sleep before he could tell her how much he loved her. He would walk the silent walk with Jeremiah tonight, hoping to give support and silent understanding.
Jeremiah was woke by the pounding of someone on his front door shortly after he'd crashed out on the couch to catch a few hours of sleep. He had taken to sleeping on the couch after Libby died, not wanting to sleep in the bed they had shared for a time. The memories were too severe and he had shut the door to the room and left it shut, preferring to sleep on the couch instead.
He groaned and pulled himself up and stumbled to the door. When he pulled it open, ready to yell at whoever had awaken him, he saw that it was Frank. Frank had spent the entire night with him on patrol had said he was going to go catch a few hours of sleep as well before setting up the press to run off a newspaper that would get distributed to the other small towns. "Frank. What the hell are you doing up? Thought you were going to get some sleep?" he asked, pushing the door of his house open to invite Frank in.
Frank could be a real jerk sometimes and a real busy body but he meant well in the end. Frank stepped in and looked like he had buzzed on some heavy caffeine or something before coming over. He waved a printed newspaper in front of Jeremiah's face until he took it. "Look at this! Just look! Someone came into my home last night and set up the press and ran this off."
Jeremiah took the paper and slowly opened it to the main page. Across the top was a different printed logo than what he was used to seeing. The name of the paper was different too. 'Free Spirited Press' and the date it had been printed. Jeremiah looked at the four pages of the paper and the article headlines before looking up at Frank. "So someone did all the work for you. What's the problem?"
Frank blinked, "But these aren't my articles. They…They're fantastic! I've never seen writing so elegant and yet to the point. Easy to read articles because the words flow across the pages. It's a masterpiece but I have no idea who did it. Nothing was disturbed in the shop except the printing press and this copy. I ran another copy off myself to make sure it was the same thing on the press. Its ingenious!" he stated, practically jumping up and down for joy.
Jeremiah sat at the kitchen table, looking at the paper then up at him. "What makes it ingenious?" he asked.
Frank entered the kitchen and paced. "It is almost exactly what Marcus would have wanted me to do. We talked about doing a paper to send out to other communities to describe what we've done here in Millhaven to prepare for any danger or to give us early warning. But this goes a step beyond. It also describes the Articles of the Allied States that have been agreed upon, what some of the goals of Thunder Mountain are. It describes in general knowledge about what Daniel has been doing with people from these small towns he takes over, what he's doing in the big cities like Chicago and New York. I couldn't find any false information in that part, nothing that would be construed as propaganda. They remind us in another article what it means to be free, what our founding fathers were trying to create and how life now is much like it was for the people back then. In a way, it is trying to get people to think about how they value their freedom right now and that if we don't work to protect it and fight to keep it, the article makes us remember what it is we could loose."
Jeremiah watched Frank pace back and forth. "Do you know of anyone in town that knows how to work a printing press besides you?"
Frank shook his head, "No. That's just it. I had a lot to learn about it before I could make it fully functional. I'm sure there are still a few things about it that I'm not certain of yet. But whoever did this knew what they were doing and how to do it quickly. Something like this would take me two days to set up and they did it in only eight hours."
Jeremiah looked down at the newspaper again. He motioned to the stove, "Make yourself some tea or something and sit. Give me a chance to read it before you look at putting it to press."
Frank nodded and went over and started heating some water. He then fixed eggs and toast for the two of them and set it out on the table with hot tea. He couldn't sit still. He felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. Thing was, it didn't seem to matter because he was flying right now. He knew he should be angry by someone intruding into his home but what they had left was priceless. There was a whole page dedicated to being prepared, how to build tree stands and where good places would be as well as even building hidden look out burms out in the open on the prairies.
Jeremiah took his time reading through each page. When he finally finished the last page, he folded the paper up and set it on the table. He was silent for a time. "You're right. It is a masterpiece. Make as many copies as you feel safe doing and I'll see they get to these other towns somehow. Whoever did this was wise to not put our name in it or the name of where the paper originated. It won't take a genius to figure it out if anyone knows where there's a working press, but it gives for some plausible deniability."
Frank nodded enthusiastically. "See. I told you! It's fantastic!" He rubbed his hands together and quickly left Jeremiah sitting alone at the kitchen table. He stared at the paper that Frank had left, knowing he was looking at history in the making. Even he had to admit that he felt inspired and almost energized by what he had read. But he had a duty to fulfill and the need for sleep was clawing at him.
He went to the hutch where he kept his radio to charge it. He tuned it into the frequency needed for Thunder Mountain and gave his code as he called in, looking for Marcus.