The Champion

Episode 14

Pt .1.

The sun shinned bright thru the truck window and slowly Kyle Bates began to stir from the passenger side of the trucks cab.

"Hey, you want me to take it for awhile? You've been driving since midnight," He said as he stretched and glanced at his watch.

"Yah, good idea. I'll get us off these back roads and you can take over from there," Mike said.

"Man I hope the Tucson Resistance hasn't been wiped out in this Phoenix sweep."

"No, desert rats are tuff. We get this load of hardware to them they stand a good chance."

"Two-hundred machine guns otta do something for their morale," Kyle replied as he looked back at the covered truck bed.

As they continued to drive down the road they passed a patrol car that suddenly turned on their lights, made a sharp turn in the road and started chasing the them.

"Police," Kyle said surprised.

"You gotta be kidding me. Half the worlds falling apart and their handing out tickets," Mike said then looked over and saw Kyle checking his gun. "Stash the hardware. Keep it handy though you never can tell about these guy especially out here," He continued before pulling the truck to the side of the road.

"Hold it right there fellas and put your hands on top your heads," The officer said before stepping out of the patrol car with his riffle pointed at Mike and Kyle. "Your in a big rush," he continued.

"Sorry, Highways straight as a string. We're due in Tucson by tomorrow. I guess it sort of crept up on us," Mike defended.

"Yah, I guess it did. Now you want to open up that back end," the officer said.

"Hey, what is this," Kyle asked.

"Well, this is a toll road now," the officer answered.

"A toll road," Mike questioned.

"Yah, that's right. We take care of the lizards around here but it costs," the officer informed them.

"How much," Mike asked.

"Just exactly half of what ever you got. Now do you want to open up that back end or do you want some real trouble," the officer said then hit Mike in the stomach with the tip of his riffle. "now come on, open it up," he continued.

"Grab the rope Kyle. Lets give them what they want," Mike said then stepped up on the truck bumper and kicked the riffle out of the officers hands and jumped at him causing them both to fall on the hood of the police car. Kyle jumped the other officer, shoving him to ground and knocking the gun out of his hand. Mike hit the officer a couple times then yelled at Kyle to get in the truck. Mike jumped in the drivers seat and Kyle jumped quickly into the other side and they sped off. The two officers pulled themselves up, got into the police car and chased after the truck. Mike drove onto a dirt road with the police car tailing closely behind. They made another sharp turn and the officer pulled out his riffle and shot out the trucks back tire causing Mike to loose control of the truck and crash thru a wooden fence into a small pond. Mike and Kyle jumped out of the truck and started shooting at the officers who returned fire. After several shots were fired from both sides another shot rang out from behind the officers. Realizing they were surrounded the officers jumped back into their car and sped off. Kyle and Mike slowly stepped out from behind the truck and looked for the other shooter. A red headed woman on horseback made her way down the trail toward them. Kyle started to step closer when Mike stopped him and walked up to the woman first. Kyle shook his head and followed behind.

"Thanks," Mike said, flashing her a flirtatious smile. "I don't believe I got the name."

Kathy Courtney, This is my place. Who are you?"

"Donovan, Mike Donovan. This is my friend Kyle Bates."

"Hi," Kyle said and Kathy flashed him a slight smile.

"You know, I could be wrong but I think those guys were trying to shake us down," Mike said.

"Figures," Kathy laughed. "They've all but shut this area down." she explained.

"Collaborators," Kyle said.

"They cut a deal. The guy with beard, that was Karns, he's the enforcer for Big John Rowan. When the visitors attacked the folks here put up a pretty good fight until Rowan sold us out. You guys are with the Resistance aren't you," Kathy said.

"How can you tell?" Kyle asked.

"You got guns. Rowans confiscated most of them around here but fortunately not all of them," Kathy answered raising up her gun.

"Yah, fortunately for us. You know I think we're going to be late with our shipment to Tucson. That's for sure." Mike told Kyle who looked back at the wrecked truck. Half submerged in the pond.

"I hear the fighting is pretty bad down there. You know your going to need some help if your going to make it to Tucson in that," Kathy said.

"Ladies got a point," Kyle agreed.

"Yah, she also has a tractor to pull you out," Kathy informed them.

"Tell you what we'll do. We'll trade you some guns and ammo for a pull with the tractor," Mike offered.

"You got a deal," She reached out her hand and Mike took off his glove and they shook on it.

V

"I can't feel my legs anymore." Robin complained from her cramped position in the back of the van.

"Maggie packed everything but the kitchen sink." Tyler said glancing at Robin thru the rear view mirror from the drivers seat.

"Most of it's staying in Chicago with Robin, the rest you'll think me for later." Maggie replied.

"Wouldn't bet on it." Chris said.

"You win and war with guns and ammo not how to books." Tyler said.

"Hey, turn on that dirt road up ahead. My aunts place is the second on the left." Robin said. Tyler hardly slowed down as he turned on to the road and left a cloud of dust behind them as he drove quickly down the long dirt road hitting every pothole along the way.

"Did we pass it?" Maggie asked.

"No her driveway is on the other side of that tree up there." Robin told her.

"All I see are trees." Maggie said.

"I see it, hold on." Tyler said as he slowed down and turned onto the drive.

"Their here Polly, aunt Jane their here." The curly haired girl yelled as she ran toward the van.

V

Elizabeth walked thru the tunnel not far from the subway station that had become the Resistances new home. She ran her fingers along the graffiti covered walls and wondered about some of the words and symbols, what did they mean, who put them there and what became of the people who painted the symbols on these walls. Maybe she didn't want to know what became of them. Or maybe they were still here she thought when she saw a dark figure standing a few feet away from her on the opposite side of the tunnel. She couldn't see any detail of the figure, witch was odd since her flashlight lit up everything except the figure, but she knew it wasn't one of the resistance. Elizabeth tried to flash the light directly on the figure but it still remained shrouded in darkness. "Hello, who's there?" There was no response so Elizabeth took a step toward the figure. The figure also moved toward her at the same time. Elizabeth put her right foot up on the subway track as the figure did the same in mirror like perfection. Another step and the figure seemed to do the same but this time disappeared with out a trace. Elizabeth rushed to the spot where the figure had stood but nothing was there. She pointed the flashlight toward the ground looking for footprints or some sign that someone had stood in the thick layer of dust that covered the ground near the tracks but nothing was there.

V

Diana (holding a small white box) walked intently threw the corridors of the Mother ship followed closely by two of her guards.

"And how is the prisoner this morning?" She asked when she reached her destination.

"You're the criminal Diana and you know it," Lydia seethed.

"Still unrepentant. Unwilling to admit your obvious guilt,"

"It was you who killed Charles,"

Oh no darling. It was I who married Charles, you murdered him. Now you must pay for your crime… but in the spirit of fairness I've decided to offer you a choice. You can either suffer the indignity of a trial or go out the noble way. Commit suicide." Diana coldly suggested.

"You evil…" Lydia began and started to approach Diana but was stopped by the electronic device strapped to her waist.

"If your still with us in the morning you'll face swift and unmerciful judgment. Try to show a little character Lydia. You have nothing to gain from cowardice," Diana said. Then approached Lydia's invisible cell and handed her the small white box. "Here, you may need this." then turned swiftly and walked out of the room. Lydia opened the box and glared murderously at the large scorpion and then back at the door that Diana had exited thru.

V

Mike shook off the cool night air as he stepped thru the back door of Kathy's farmhouse into the cozy little kitchen.

"Hi!" Kathy said.

"Hi!" He returned.

"You find everything o.k.?" She asked.

"Yah, fine thinks. Kyle's just finishing up outside. Umm something smells good," Mike said taking in the kitchen aroma.

Oh, I thought you and your friend might be hungry," Kathy told him.

"Yah, thinks we are. Here let me help you with that," Mike said reaching for the bowls she had picked up from the counter. When he took the bowls he noticed the ring on her finger. "Your married. Where's the husband?" Mike asked.

"He died when the lizards came in."

"Sorry."

"They hit us pretty hard and Dave was killed in the last of the fighting. He stood for what he believed in."

"Hey, Pick ups alive and kicking," Kyle said as he thru the same door Mike had earlier. "Dinner are we invited?" Kyle asked sensing he had interrupted something.

"You bet," Kathy answered.

"Lets go finish unloading first," Mike suggested.

"Good idea," Kyle said then opened the door and walked into the barrel end of a riffle.

"Hold it right there," a young but threatening female voice said.

"Anything you say," Kyle said adamantly.

"Who are you?" Mike asked.

"I'll ask the questions. Back in, back in," She shouted forcing them both back into the kitchen. "Who sent you huh? Rowland?" She asked.

"Jessie, put that down. There friends. Kyle, Mike. Jessie, My daughter," Kathy said.

"Daughter?" Kyle asked surprised.

"Well, It's nice to meet you Jessie," Mike said as he carefully pushed the gun barrel away from him.

"Same here," Kyle said still more then a little uneasy.

"What are they doing here?" Jessie asked.

"There having supper with us. Now you just wash up," Kathy told the girl. Jessie then pushed Mike aside and stomped off into the other room.

"I don't think she trusts you Mike," Kyle Laughed and Mike half laughed in return.

"Well she doesn't trust anybody anymore. I cant say that I blame her there's nobody to trust around here anymore. They've worn people down. They're collecting what they call taxes for the lizards. Food mostly, they want our horses but I wont pay it," Kathy informed them.

"Are you the only one resisting?" Mike asked.

"Well, the others are afraid. They've got no leader no one to look up to and the next collection date is the day after tomorrow," Kathy answered.

"No lizards gonna eat our horses right mom," Jessie said reentering the kitchen.

"You bet Jessie," Kathy answered as Mike pulled out a chair for her and they all took a seat at the table.

"So, you guys are real lizard fighters huh?" Jessie asked.

"When we have to be," Mike answered.

"Maybe we can get some while you're here then," Jessie suggested.

"You know this kids good material. We could use you in a couple years," Kyle said.

"I'm ready right now," Jessie informed him reaching for a dinner roll.

"Jessie!" Kathy said as she folded her hands to pray and the others did the same. "Lord bless house and these thy gifts…and don't forget those who must fight to protect them. Amen," Kathy prayed.

"Lets eat," Jessie said.

"Would you like to do the honors?" Kathy asked Mike as she took the lid off the bowl.

V

In the Desert Dollar saloon Rowland's deputies informed him of the days events.

"Your telling me they drove you off out there," Rowland said as he opened a beer.

"We got caught in a cross fire up near the Courtney place," The lead deputy informed him.

"That women again!" Rowland said.

"Yah, we should have killed her and her daughter when the visitors got her old man," The lead deputy said.

"I don't need dead martyrs. Not if we're gonna meet the quota the visitors are asking for cause if we don't deliver her horses like we promised the visitors are gonna deliver us," Rowland's said.

"Rowland's, she don't care. She aint scared yet," the deputy said.

"Then it's up to us to change that isn't it," Rowland's said. " Now what about the other two in the pick-up?" He asked.

"We never got close enough to find out."

"Well if it was the Courtney woman we're gonna have to do something about it. Maybe you should take a ride back out there and deliver a little message that'll bring everybody back in line," Rowland's said then set back and drank his beer as his deputies left for the Courtney place.

V

"Must say that was some good eaten Miss Jane."

"Thank you Chris. But Polly does most of the cooking around here. She's become a very good cook," the middle aged woman who appeared older then her years said smiling proudly at Polly.

"That's funny, the only way mom could get Polly out of a tree was to yell dinners ready," Robin joked.

"I'm not a kid anymore Robin. I'm going to be getting my drivers license soon," Polly said glaring at Robin.

"And I thought L.A. was dangerous," Robin teased.

"You'll do fine Polly. Just keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road," Maggie told her.

"Thank you, Maggie. Aunt Jane I have some homework I need to finish, can I be excused?" Polly asked.

"Of course dear, thank you for helping with the dinner," Miss Jane said.

"We better get the van unloaded," Ham said as he stood and walked toward the door.

"Yes we better. I want to thank you for your hospitality Miss Jane," Chris said as he walked over to where Ham was waiting and he bumped Ham in the arm.

"Yes, thank you," Ham said and the two walked out side.

"I better go help or Ham will throw everything out and leave it setting on your front lawn," Maggie joked.

"I know you'll be leaving very early tomorrow and I hope to be up to say good by but in case I should over sleep I want to thank you for getting Robin here save and sound. Please thank Ham and Chris for me as well," Miss Jane said in a quiet, polite voice.

"I certainly will," Maggie said.

"They're very good people. I'm glad you have such good friends Robin," Miss Jane said as she walked to the window and watched Maggie meet up with Chris and Ham at the van.

"Aunt Jane. Is something wrong, you don't look well?" Robin asked.

"I'm afraid I'm not well. Your sisters already know and I guess now is as good a time as any for you to know," Miss Jane said taking a seat next to Robin.

"What is it aunt Jane?" Robin asked taking her aunts hand.

"When the red dust was released several years ago some people and animals began getting sick. I thought I was one of the lucky ones that weren't affected but a few months ago after a routine check up the doctor noticed the same anomalies in my blood that had showed up in the others," Miss Jane told her.

"What are they doing? Are you on medication? How are they treating this?" Robin asked panicked.

"There is no treatment sweetheart. All they can do is give me some medication to slow down the affects." Miss Jane told her.

"Affects. What are the affects. What have they done for the people who got sick in the beginning?" Robin asked.

"There was nothing they could do. Sweetheart, I know this is hard for you. You and your sisters have already lost so much it breaks my heart knowing your going to loose me to." Miss Jane said as she held Robins face in her hands and wiped the tears with her thumbs and her dark expressive eyes that reminded Robin of her fathers filed with tears.

"There must be something we can do. Maybe Julie can help, she and dad created the red dust maybe she can find a cure. Maybe Howie can help. He's a visitor doctor. The two of them together should be able to come up with something," Robin sobbed.

"We have doctors and scientists here who are doing the best they can to find a cure. In the meantime all I can do is try to slow it down with the medications the doctors prescribe. I promise I am going to fight to stay with you and your sisters for as long as I can," Miss Jane said.

V

"Couldn't manage it, huh Lydia. You always were a pathetic weakling," Diana taunted as she walked toward Lydia's holding cell. "The scorpion?" She asked after opening the empty box that set in front of the cell.

"I ate it," Lydia said. "But I saved the best part for you," She then threw the tail at Diana.

"Prepare her for trial," Diana spat angrily and promptly turned and marched out of the holding bay while her two guards unlocked the cell and cuffed Lydia.

V

"Sure you wont stay the night?" Kathy asked smiling at Mike.

"Thanks, but we've lost to much time already," Mike smiled back.

"Where do you want us to put the guns and ammo?" Kyle asked.

"In the barn. Jessie will show you where to put them she's in there feeding the horses," She told him.

"I'll be right back," Kyle said and walked to the barn.

"I wish you would stay. Weapons aren't much good without men to fire them," She told Mike.

"There must be somebody."

"The resistance needs a leader."

"You seem pretty capable."

"When my husband was killed it took the fight out of just about everybody here. They need somebody new. Somebody from the outside."

Mike started to reply when gun fire splintered the porch railing and Mike grabbed Kathy jumped into the bushes in front of the house. Mike shielded Kathy with his own body until the gun fire stopped long enough for him to fire back. Mike ducked back down to shield Kathy again when more shots where fired from the bushes that surrounded the fence on the other side of the driveway. Kyle quickly got into the action when he started shooting back from the barn and Jessie opened the door to the house and shot back with her riffle allowing Mike to start shooting again. Kyle used their diversion to get a better shooting position in front of the house and other shooters retreated.

"Mom are you alright?" Jessie said as she ran from the house when the shooting stopped.

"Yah, everybody's fine. It's just another one of Rowland's tricks," Kathy answered.

"Really, I think your right. You do need somebody to stick around for awhile. Kyle I think you better make the run to Tucson alone. I'll hang in here for a few day's and help these folks organize a bit," Mike told Kyle as they walked toward the truck.

"Good enough. I'll see you back in L.A." Kyle said.

"Take care," Mike said then walked back to Kathy and Jesse. "Well, what's for breakfast?" he asked.

"All right!" Jessie yelled.

V

Robin set under her favorite old oak tree that still had the tire swing her dad put up when she was five. Her dad would push her on that swing for hours and she laughed so hard her ribs would hurt. Then when it got dark her mom or aunt Jane would call them in and they'd race to the porch. Many years had gone by since then but the memory was so vivid she felt like she could reach out and touch her fathers face.

"Good memory?" Maggie asked as she pulled her sweater tighter.

"My dad put that tire swing there."

"I bet Katie still puts it to good use."

"Yah…..My aunts sick. We made her sick. The red dust we created to save the world is killing people like aunt Jane."

"I'm sorry," Maggie said hugging Robin.

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

"Why are you putting clothes in your backpack?" Katie asked as she walked into Polly's room.

"None of your business."

"Are you running away?"

"Quiet," Polly said as she pulled her sister further into the room and closed the door. "No, I'm not running away."

"Then what are you doing?"

"I'm joining the resistance."

"Then you are running away."

"No! it's different."

"How?"

"I'm not just leaving because my parents wont raise my allowance. Our parents are dead and aunt Jane is dying because of the visitors. I'm tired of doing nothing. I'm not a kid anymore and the resistance needs all the help they can get."

"But we need you here."

"You'll be fine. Robin will be here. It's like we're trading places, she'll be here and I'll take her place in the resistance. Only I'll be useful instead of spending all my time chasing boys."

"I don't want you to go. I want both my sisters here."

"Sorry Katie, I have to do this. I have to get justice for our parents and aunt Jane and all the other people the visitors have hurt."

"No! I wont let you. I'll tell aunt Jane and she wont let you go," Katie shouted at her as her stomped toward the door.

"No you wont. You wont say anything or I'll tell aunt Jane what happened to the vase you broke last weak."

"You promised you wouldn't tell."

"Then don't make me."

"Fine, I hope the lizards eat you," Katie said then ran out of the room followed closely by Polly. Katie ran into her bedroom and threw herself on her bed and started crying. Polly set on the bed next to her and rubbed here back.

"I'm sorry Katie, I wont tell I promise but you cant tell either….Katie, I know you don't want me to be eaten by lizards."

"Then don't go," Katie said as she pulled her face out of the covers and looked at Polly with tears still running down her face.

"I have to Katie. Please just promise me you wont tell."

"I promise."

"Thanks. You better get to bed, you got school in the morning," Polly said and helped tuck Katie into bed. "Goodnight."

"Polly."

"What?"

"Don't get eaten by lizards."

"I wont," Polly said then turned off the light and shut the door behind her.

"Hey Polly, is Katie already in bed? I was going to tuck her in," Robin said.

"You can tuck her in tomorrow night."

"I guess. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Polly said and they each started for her rooms. "Hey, Robin,"

"Yah,"

"I'm glad you're here."

"Thanks Polly."

V

Diana walked slowly and methodically around Lydia. Never taking her eyes off her as she spoke to the of judges, the middle holding a long white staff.

"You've heard the evidence against ex fleet adjutant commander Lydia. Have you reached a verdict?"

"No!" Lydia shouted. "You can't do this. I haven't had opportunity to make my case."

"Silence! You have no case. You heard the facts. Verdict," Diana demanded.

"It's against the law."

"Enough! The verdict. Now!"

The two end judged both turned to the middle judge and spoke without a sound as Lydia looked on with a mixture of desperate pleading and fear. The middle judge looked back to Lydia after getting the other two judges verdict and then raised his staff and struck the large stone slab in front of him and the two iguanas that set on the stone suddenly disincarnated.

"Nooooo!"

"We find Lydia guilty of the murder of commander Charles and sentence you to death," The judge said.

"Nooooo! You cant do this," Lydia shouted before the two guards behind her grabbed her and one covered her mouth with his black gloved hand.

"Take her away and prepare her for execution," Diana said with a vindictive smile. "To bad Lydia but at least you tried,"

V

"Well, looks like two vehicles. Eight maybe nine men where here last night," Mike said looking at the tracks on the road then got up and climbed up on his white horse

"Deputy Carnes never comes empty handed," Kathy told him from the saddle of her brown horse. "We were lucky you were with us." Kathy continued with a smile as they slowly rode there horse down the dirt rode. "You know we're down to our last twenty head now and Rowland wants half those for his lizard taxes,"

"What'll he do if you don't pay?"

"I don't know. Steal them or have them shot maybe. I cant give in Jessica would never forgive me,"

"What would happen if no one in this whole valley paid those taxes?"

"I don't know. Point is they wouldn't have the fire power to force us if we could stand together," Kathy said and Mike touched her arm and they brought their horses to a stop.

"Then lets make that happen. Call Your neighbors together, I'll talk to them.

"Are you saying that you would commit to lead us? Because that is what it would take," Kathy said. "Alright, it's worth a try," She continued when Mike nodded affirming that he would. Then she herd a buzzing sound in the sky not far from them and getting closer.

"Sky fighter coming this way."

"They've spotted us. Come on," Mike shouted and the two rode off as quick as they could while the sky fighter fired several shots so close Mike could feel the heat from each blast. Mike saw a chance to get off the dirt road and they took it. They rode up the incline and near some trees when one of the sky fighter's shots hit a near by tree and a falling branch knocked Kathy off her horse. Kathy set up and watched the sky fighter continue to chase after Mike.

"You O.k." Mike asked when he returned moments later.

"Yah, just knocked the wind out of me,"

"O.k. stay here, try to keep out of site. I'll try to lead them off.

"Mike no!" Kathy shouted but Mike rode continued riding off.

The visitor solder in the sky fighter continued looking toward the ground near the area he had last seen the man on the white horse when he suddenly caught sight of the man. He immediately started firing at him. Mike weaved back and forth between the trees dodging each close call the fighter shot at him. He tried to fire back with his own weapon but couldn't get a good shot while racing the horse thru the tree laden field. The fighter continued firing several close shots so intent on killing his prey that he didn't realize how close he was to the mountain until it was to late and he crashed into the side of the mountain.

V

The bay door opened and Diana walked in carrying a black cloth.

"Hello Lydia, you always looked well in black."

"I prefer to watch," Lydia said defiantly pulling away as Diana tried to put the cloth around her eyes.

"How courage's of you. Any last requests?"

"Only to reiterate my innocents. I didn't kill Charles Diana and you know it.

"Unfortunately the court concluded that you did," Diana said triumphantly then walked over to the guard standing next to the disintegrator. "Arm the disintegrator. I want to get this over with once and for all."

"Excuse me commander we may have a problem. The Inspector General has just docked in the landing bay," One of Diana's messengers said when he rushed into the room.

"He isn't scheduled to arrive until tomorrow," Diana said.

"The Inspector General will have your head for this Diana. Release me at once," Lydia shouted angrily.

"He received the judges brief in transit he is aware of the case," The messenger told Diana.

"Proceed quickly," Diana told her guard.

"You wouldn't dare," Lydia said.

"How long have we known each other? Prepare for termination.

"Stop!" The Inspector General ordered (Looks nothing like Marten). "Let her go," he continued then looked from Lydia to Diana. "You must be Diana. I've heard a lot about you. I am Philip, Inspector General and special envoy from our leader. I am hear to deal with the death of Charles."

"Lydia has been tried and found guilty of his murder."

"Well that may be. However, the leader feels justice would be better served if I conduct an impartial investigation," Philip said as he walked toward Lydia with a slight grin.

"Thank you, Inspector General. I am very grateful to you and the leader," Lydia said with a slight smirk.

"Reserve your gratitude. It may be premature. Now if you ladies will excuse me I want to get right to work."

"By all means," Diana said.

"You are here by freed, pending of course the out come of my investigation," Philip informed Lydia before leaving.

"Nice try Diana, I'll see you destroyed for this," Lydia said with a hiss before leaving Diana alone pondering her next move.

V

Hamm had been driving for only twenty minutes when he pulled over to a gas station and asked Chris and Maggie to go inside and pick up some extra snacks and take their time. He watched the two enter the store then leaned over and pulled a soda out of the cooler next to him.

"You thirsty kid?" He said as he punched at the can opening with his fingers before lifting the tab and opening the can.

"How did you know I was here?" Polly said sticking her head out from under the pile of blankets in the back of the van.

"I wouldn't have lived this long if a sixteen year old kid could get the drop on me. So you want a soda or not?"

"No and I'm not a kid!"

"Really. Your running away from home like a kid."

"I'm not running away from home."

"So your aunt Jane knows your hiding in the back of my van?"

"No. She wouldn't understand. Neither would you." She said as she pulled herself out from under the blankets and climbed into the front passenger seat.

"Then explain it."

"People keep dying. My parents died, most my friends I knew before the visitors came are dead and now my aunt Jane is dying."

"Sorry about your aunt Jane. She's a real nice lady. Don't see how getting yourself killed is going to change any of that."

"Who says I'm going to get myself killed. Robin didn't and I'm smarter then she is."

"I'm not so sure of that."

"I'm tired of setting around being useless."

"Is that really what you think your doing, being useless.

"I'm certainly not being useful."

"Your taking care of your aunt and your sister. I wouldn't call that being useless."

"Now Robin can do that."

"Then you'll have to find a different way because the only place I'm taking you is back to your aunt's."

"Then I'll find another way."

"I bet you would. Look ki..Polly. I don't know your aunt to well but she seems like a real nice lady. A woman that's lost a lot, something you should understand. Don't see why you would add yourself to that list."

"I don't want to worry my Aunt Jane."

"Then stay and continue helping her. At least until your eighteen and you've graduated high school. Then if the war is going and still want to fight in it I'll come get you myself. I'll even train you."

"Assuming your still alive by then."

"Do we have a deal?" Hamm said in an aggravated tone.

"We have a deal," Polly agreed.

"Good. Now run in there and get Chris and Maggie before the store keeper thinks their casing the joint."

V

"Well I'm afraid everyone that's coming is already here," Kathy said as she poured Mike a cup of coffee.

"I knew non of those chickens would show up," Jessie complained from her seat on the couch in the darkly lit living room. Suddenly she herd a vehicle pull up and jumped up and ran for the window.

"Who is it?" Kathy asked.

"It's Joe," Jessie answered and then went to the door to let Joe in. "Hi ya Joe."

"Hi ya Jessie," The old man greeted as he hobbled in to house.

"Come on in. Mike, this is Joe Sampson. He owns the farm down the road," Kathy introduced her one legged neighbor who wore a well worn pair of overalls and a lumberjack coat.

"Nice to meet you Joe. Thanks for coming," Mike said reaching out his hand to greet the man.

"Well, I'm thinking you. It's high time somebody stood up to Rowland and his lizard bunch. I hear you got quite a reputation with the L.A. resistance. Don't let this stump fool you. I still got plenty of fight left in me," Joe said.

"I hate to sound pessimistic but I don't see how this thing can work with just the three of us," Kathy said as she walked next to Mike

"Three!" Jessie screeched.

"Any resistance starts with a dedicated group of individuals and I think that's us," Mike said.

"Are you saying your going to see this thing thru all the way?" Kathy asked emphasizing the last three words.

"All the way!" Mike returned with the same emphases.

"It seems to me he's got lots of incentive. The question is do you have a plan?" Joe asked

"As a matter a fact I do," Mike answered.