After the Revolution: Chapters One & Two
The telco with your host of citizens chef you may know me as the judge on top chef lieu citizens chef we don't deep into top it's ranging from disaster-relief very justices and hurt our food system. I hope you're as excited as i am to jump back in so starting. This may tuned to hear from experts on a wide range of issues. That you with your fork and your dollars have the power to change. Listen to citizenship. On the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or anywhere you get your favorite shows off after my friend. Alex died by suicide. I kept coming back to the good by email. He sent me and some audio included in it of him talking to someone he'd met online someone who happens to sound a lot like britney spears whoever she was could she helped me understand why my friend was gone. I'm chris stedman host of unread a podcast about the very real connections. We make online listened to unread. Starting june ten on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your favorite shows after the revolution richardson republic of texas. Twenty seventy chapter. One manny manny smiled the way the british journalists face blanched as the old toyota hit the pothole. Reggie wasn't used to bad roads cars driven by actual humans or the way the heavy metal of the gun. Mount and the truck bed made the aluminum frame grown. That was all familiar to manny. He'd grown up in see dimwit back before the lakewood blast back when people had still called dallas. The truck's driver veered around the bloated corpse of a large dog lying in the middle of the road. Reggie gripped the truck bed with white knuckles. And i'd the swaying ammo belt of the twenty millimeter cannon like it was a coiled snake. The governor manny's cousin alejandro grin down the journalist. Suspension fucked yeah. The britain nodded and turned greener when the technical hit another pothole. Many supposed he should offer a comforting word to the man that would be good business but allowed part of him looked at reggie's brand new boots and thought he can stand a little less comfort. The journalists would brag about this ride for months once he got home escorting reporters from the safety of austin to this hundred hotspots of the old metroplex was not manny's ideal career two years ago. He'd been working. On a bachelor's in business administration from the university of austin the plan had been to get a job with ages biosystems than charm his way into a working visa and a gig in california republic but the fighting had started up again in ruined all that the corporate this time was the heavenly a loose assortment of christian extremist militias. They boiled out from the suburbs of the old metroplex and all but broken the republic of texas. The thomas city of austin had stabilized. The situation with the help of an alliance of leftist techs malicious. The secular defense forces beating them back had cost a lot in blood and time and forced manny to change every plan. He'd ever had for his life so he'd embraced the situation and started his own business. Hiring on some friends as employees together they built the best network of stringers in north texas. His boys fed him video contacts and news updates and he sold what he could to. The big foreign media conglomerates in a couple more months he'd have enough saved up that he could fuck off fly to europe and apply for refugee visa. My answer pretty good as long as the war doesn't end too soon. The technical role to creaky stop in front of a checkpoint that had clearly been erected. Within the last few days it was just a collapsible electronic gate into sandbag placements on either side of the battered highway. A street sign nearby announced that they were on the edge of richardson formerly suburb of dallas and currently a forward position of the people's protection army a local anarchist militia. Manny could see the ppa's red black triangle emblem stitched onto the jackets of the soldiers guarding the checkpoint. One of the ppa men walked up to the driver's side window and started chatting with philip. The driver fill in manny's cousin. Alejandro were both with the citizens front. A more or less political militia from the suburbs of austin both militias coexisted under the broad umbrella of the secular defense forces. The stf had been organized by the canadian government to lump all of north texas is palatable militant groups into a single package that could be conveniently armed while the first guard. Talk with philip. His partner did a circuit around the back of the truck. The man was big bulging with muscles so sculpted and prominent they had to be that grown and he moved with the twitchy ungracious of a man who had replaced his nervous system with circuitry. His weapon was very old very battered. Ar fifteen with an m two four three grenade launcher below the barrel. The leader was old. Us military gear the former had been someone's toy before the revolution give america's half billion civilian guns a new rizal debt. The man moved back to the barricades when he'd finished his lap. Reggie looked up at manny. And asked was he was. He crowned many smiled. That was always one of the first questions as soon as any foreign journo saw trooper with large build skin with an off shade or just move a little too fast to seem completely right. Anything beyond basic aesthetic in medical modifications were banned in civilized countries like the uk the real crown the implants that would let a man lift truck or take a rocket to the belly. That shit was locked up tight. Few national militaries even used the stuff these days not after the revolution. He's got some background muscles. Many said in an off handed way that suggested such things were common aftermarket. Nerves to probably stuff is low grade. That's why it's so visible. Reggie nodded his eyes. Stayed locked on the big man. He was quiet for a while before he spoke again. You just live right alongside them. Don't you many shrugged. Everybody's got something out here and the wet wears but let us hold back the martyr's they own the whole city if it weren't for half fats like him. The journalists nodded and his gaze stayed fixed upon the militiamen until a troubled look crossed his face. He glanced back to manny. Are you all crammed. Reggie asked many smiled. I don't expect either of us. A stock sapien. But i doubt get anything you don't ridge seemed somewhat comforted by this most of what i've read about the really heavy. Maude says they cause a lot of well unstable behavior. That's why that's why the cities such a shithole many asked. The journalist had the grace to blush. Many looked away for a moment. His is landed on the bones of three large public housing buildings. A barrel bomb had detonated in the center of the courtyard all three shared. It had peeled away the walls some of the floors and the resulting firestorm had burned up everything that wasn't concrete steel or rebar for just a moment many felt bad about hoping the war hung on and other six months. The old government blamed a lot unrelated up veterans with military grade. Mods he told reggie most was just propaganda fearmongering people were pissed after twenty years of plague disaster and poverty. Manny shrugged. It's true though. A lot of chrome vets turned on the government. You can't make men into god's and expect them to keep fighting for men. Reggie pointed back to the bolting militiamen. Take it muscles. There is pretty far from god. manny laughed. He's just a guy with too much meat. Money gods don't man checkpoints. The brick was excited. Now these were the questions he'd wanted to ask since they met yesterday. Do you know where some of those people are. Reggie couldn't keep the excitement out of his voice. Could we talk to them. Many didn't have any of those contacts. Nor did he know any other fixers. Who did he tried to let the down easy. Most of those folks liba on the road in between the civilized parts of texas in the republic of california. Oh reggie look disappointed. The truck rolled past the wreckage of an old catholic school. It bore signs of being fortified destroyed re fortified in rediscovering several times. The brit was inches from asking another question when the gate man waved them on and the battered. Toyota farted. its way into drive belching and complaining pest in network of potholes until it hit a relatively straight chunk of asphalt only a few minutes now hefei manny said the. Ppa's ford position is about five minutes out. You'll be in the shit then or at least should jason. The journalists face washed over in an even mix of anxiety and pride one of the first lessons manny had learned at this job was that freezes like the shit made rich gringo writers unreasonably excited excited journalists always called manny the next time they were in country giving white kids and kathy is a lifetime of bragging rights for surviving. A couple of days in his home killed his soul just a little bit but many pushed down the anger and told himself that a chip on the shoulder was a lot less useful than money in the bank. The technical rolled off the old highway. Many could see twenty three and spring valley road emblazoned on a weatherbeaten bullet-scarred sign the technical pulled to the right. The gun swayed in its mount. Many couldn't help smiling. The brit instinctively pulled away from it. They rolled up to what had once been a strip mall was now a forward operating base for the people's protection army an old laundromat. A bookstore and a half dozen restaurants now had their roofs ringed with barbed wire and machine gun emplacements. Many could see a line of bullet hole stitched across three of the shops. None of the windows were intact but otherwise the buildings had weathered the war rather well three m one ninety howitzers were parked next to a taco shop that had once served the local college kids beer and cheap grupp. There is a flagpole out in front of the shop and from it hung the blue and white starburst flag the stf. Three men in uniform stood waiting as the old toyota rolled to a stop in manny and reggie disembarked. Two of the men were officers in the ppa. Colonel jacob degrom and major deshaun clark milgram was a boring tight-lipped nerdy type but to sean was one of manny's favourite sources. He was an old infantry guy. Consummate brawler with a face full of scars in three published books of polish to his name he actually had a base of international fans mostly in spain. The third man was immed- mohammed an advisor from syrian kurdistan. The kurds had been giving aid to the sundry militias of the secular defense forces for years now many considered hamid almost local. He shook hands with jacob. Since many new sean better. He met the man with full embrace and used it as an opportunity to palm the major. A packet of his favorite cigarettes to sean. Give him a wink and a smile. Many shook meads hand next kissed him on the cheek amid return. The kiss clapped him on the shoulder and said emanuel my friend. You really should get out of this business. One of these days. You'll come up here and it won't be safe many frown a little at the use of his birth name but he didn't make an issue out of the matter is still a war. On right he smiled at him. He'd he'll get that shit under control. Maybe i'll work a straight job again. Not too soon. Though he thought the least this war can do is last long enough to get me out of texas amid smile back and manny introduced. Reggie to the officers. The journalist was clearly awkward in that special way. Manny had come to expect from new war. Correspondents it was the norm for young writers to be intimidated by grizzled military men. Some of them got over. That many had worked with the middle aged der spiegel reporter. Last week could probably take in as much incoming fire as major clark. Colonel bill graham lead them into the militarized taco shop. A brief blast of nostalgia squeezed manny's lungs. The place had obviously been closed. Since the revolution the drink specials and meal prices printed on the wall were given in. Us dollars a currency is dead. Is the last american. President many recognized ads for bands and movies. He remembered from his childhood. The glass facade shattered years ago. The kitchen had been gutted and replaced by walled length screens displaying maps of the city at least a dozen uniformed men and women milled around the space and small groups. He and reggie sat down at a long picnic table with amid and the two officers. Reggie set his camera up on the table. It was just a small silver sphere but manny knew it could record everything happening around it at a higher resolution than the human eye an orderly brought in three beers shiner box from austin and one dark brown t glass cup for the brit raised his glass in a friendly salute. Thank you for meeting with me. And then he started to ask questions many leaned back in his chair and enjoyed a long goal of cold beer. If he wasn't needed to translate generally checked out during interviews he used the free time to activate his deck and check in on the to stringers. He had working right now. David allenby was up. In addison today taking a californian documented recru- on a tour of an stf training facility. He messaged manny to let him know they'd gotten through the checkpoints without an issue oscar. Martinez didn't have any journalists with him. He was embedded with republic of texas police unit. Getting footage from inside a neighborhood that had recently been liberated from the heavenly kingdom. There were no new messages from oscar. His last check in had been the night before it was probably nothing but it concerned manning unless one of oscar got a better offer for his footage. he'd always been loyal before. But if that fuck from the guardian had gone to him. I'm interested in the abrams road bombing. Reggie told the colonel and men's attention swung back to his reporter. That's an odd thing to ask about. The bombing had occurred two weeks back. They'd been big news for a couple of hours. Manny had paid one of his contacts rossa front for video of a walk of the wreckage. It had brought in about three grand profit. The abrams road bombing was not a martyrdom operation. Colonel milgram sounded almost angry terribly. Sorry reggie said you're right. Of course there was no driver so no mater right right to sean clark. Said he pulled a folded piece of white paper out of his pocket. Open it up and smooth it out on the table. It was a map of the dfw area color coded to show the positions of the various militias in the region. We operate eight checkpoints on that part of the richardson line. The sean said as he pointed to each one five of them border republican troll territory. The traffic from there is mostly autonomous and those vehicles slave themselves to our traffic management system before they can enter our territory the other three checkpoints border territory controlled by the martyr's they don't see much traffic and they're all heavily manned bridge was quiet for a few seconds. Many almost hear the gears turning in the journalist head as he struggled to find the words for his next question would it be fair to say the autonomous checkpoints or less secure then. Dijon smiled a quiet smile amid grimaced. Colonel milgram responded in a voice. The autonomous checkpoints heftier defenders but they border republic territory. The martyr's haven't pulled off on attack on one in quite some time. Was abrams road. Not one such attack. Reggie looked eager now like a hound following a scent. We don't know who bombed abrams road. Colonel megrim said no one's taken credit but we doubt it was the martyr's why the journalist asked many leaned in a little interested in spite of himself where this was all going to lead perhaps amid said you should read a bit more about this heavenly kingdom they reject all autonomists technology. They even use remote human pilots for their drones. Like it's two thousand and fucking three. That's why our skies are always clear. We jammed them reggie asked. Is it possible. They found some way to hack. Your defense system hammeed laughed. We bought this system from the israelis. If you're telling me one of the martyrs brigades has a hacker. Who can crack that. Then i'm the king of albuquerque but something still went wrong. Reggie insisted amid smile turned cold. This is war mr reggie. It's mostly things going wrong. That's where the line of questions petered out. Reggie ask them for access to the security footage from the destroyed. Checkpoint and kendall milgram agreed to send it over. We'd like to speak to the survivors as well as possible. Manny interjected not waiting to see if the journalist would ask he knew. Those men were all stationed behind the line. Now which would make for a safer easier rest of the day then heading up to the wire of course. Colonel grimm said with a smile to manny. They said their goodbyes. And then major. Clark walk them out to their waiting toyota. The texas heat hit like an oven as they exited in. Manny was glad they'd be spending most of the rest of their day indoors. Do sean clap to hand on many shoulders. He lit one of his new cigarettes. It's good to see you emmanuel. He said and then he smiled at reggie. And it's nice to meet you my british friend. I'm sorry you've come to the front of the boring time. Why reggie asked because this to sean gestured at the gun placements and loitering militiamen of the command post. This is not war. Not really your job is to help your people children of peace and plenty understand what is going on here. You must teach them the language of war and to paraphrase a dead poet. The language of war is a language made of blood to be spoken. It must be earned. There was an awkward pause. A little of the blood drained from the journalists face humanity old. Fuck manny thought with more amusement than fear classic deshaun. He said and laughed to ease the tension. The major bid them both a good day hug manny and sauntered off back to the command post smoke from his cigarette curled up into the air behind him as he walked. Manny's is lingered on it for a second before he turned back to reggie ready to go. He asked chipper as he could manage three hours. A handful of interviews and one short drive later manny and reggie arrived at their home for the night. The richardson autonomous project. Once a walmart now a twenty two year old experiment and sustainable urban living. The project was the furthest island of civilization on the stf side of the front. It's militias steadfastly refused to involve themselves in the regions greater conflicts. They'd been targeted a few times by the heavenly kingdom the stf by contrast left them alone so when a fixer like manny found himself on the wrong side of the lbj. Freeway after dark. He could usually trust the project to provide food booze and shelter for a price of course sleeping arrangements in the project. Were broadly communal. The bulk of the old walmart had been converted into an indoor meadow with grow lights hanging from the rafters wide lush field of native grass sprawling across most of the inhabited space fruit trees bushes full of berries cannabis plants and copses of bamboo lined the edges of the space. The center of the field was dominated by a large circular kitchen surrounded by a handsome bar. Table tables gazebos and sundry personal structures dotted the field along with a pair of dance floors. Reggie's face lit up when he saw the bar by the time. Manny had dropped off their bags and paid charlie in the driver for the night. The journalist was already three beers in the brit wasn't precisely drunk or sober. But at that productive twilight in between he unrolled a portable screen and had a holographic display up looping four separate sections of the security footage. Colonel new government sent over the journalist alternated between typing furiously scrolling notes in his journal and taking huge hopes of something brown and foamy. He stopped working when he saw many approach. In waived him into the adjacent seat. Hey brother check this out. Many pulled up a seat and the journalist directed his attention to a six second loop of footage from immediately after the bombing it showed to man-sized silhouette standing on top of an old garage. Many remembered the building it stood. Maybe two hundred meters from the abrams road. Checkpoint one of the silhouettes had a rifle. The other held a short squat tube that manny recognized as a camera lens. Notice anything spotters. Manny said probably trying to get kill count. No man look at where he's pointed at concert looking at post he's looking straight back deeper into the old town and i'll bet you his hype enough to be staring right at colonel grimm's command post manny looked again. Thought about the angle. Okay so what he asked you think. This was a probing attack for some big action. The journalists shrugged. Maybe it's something new is what interests me to use of martyrdom operations. That all look more or less the same and now this weird one an autonomous vehicle bomb from a group of fanatics who think autonomous vehicles of the devil. Yeah many agreed. That does seem weird. The bartender walked up. Offered manny his. Pick of the finest liquor in this particular warzone. Manny ordered a shiner. It was the one beer drinker. Could find across both the republic of texas and the austin autonomous region. He looked back. At the looping footage they both watched twice more than reggie spoke up again. What have you heard about past mike. He asked many stiff a little bit at the name. You heard it. Of course they stories of in kansas a fundamentalist uprising inside the southernmost territories of the united christian states. He hadn't thought much about it at first. But two years ago pastor. Mike had moved to texas shortly before the heavenly kingdom had declared itself. It was hard to say. What role exactly the preacher played in the organization but he was certainly its most visible face. I know who he is. Manny said i know the republic led him because they thought his followers might provide a buffer against austin's influence. I know that blew the fuck up in their faces. Many took a long drink and continued. That's an old story around here. The republic using those god finally nut fucks to push back against the leftists. The journalist raised an eyebrow and manny instantly regretted his crude response. He didn't really care about religion one way or the other but whenever he came out to the front it was hard not to get a little angry especially after a drink. Sorry he said it's been a long day. Reggie look down coughed and took a sip. He looked back at manny. Took another sip and said you know that's another subject. I'd rather like to cover. What many asked anti christian sentiment in north america many grunted and looked down at his drink. The brit barreled on. You're not the first american. I've heard express anger towards christians. He said in california cascadia. The north american federation. I've just seen a lot of hate. Look manny interrupted me. I'm a a piece. I love everybody. But this continent's been torn apart and bleeding for the last twenty years. A lot of people hate christians. The ones that don't hate christians. Hitler costs and everybody outside. The american federation hates capitalists. Hate hate hate many took a group of his beer and set it down a little harder than he'd intended. He looked. Reggie in the i finished. There's exactly one thing all the broken bits of this continent have in common hate. The journalist arched eyebrow at manny and return the gays. He had the look of a man peering into the enclosure of a particularly exotic zoo. Animal many wanted to resent it but he'd been doing this job long enough to know this was just how journalists looked at people. Reggie down his drink. He reached a hand up to signal the bartender and then looked back at manny. Can i buy another round. Many shook his head no thanks. I'm tired and i don't wanna drag at the front tomorrow. He down the last of his beer. Bid reggie a good night and headed over to the spot of turf. Where he'd set up his sleeping bag in gear. He popped off his shoes his pants and his shirt and rubbed himself down with a handful of wet. Naps then grabbed a night shirt and sweatpants from his bag and slip them on many considered clean pajamas. Assessing he fired up his death again once. He was swaddled in his sleeping bag. There was a jittery start and then the corners of his vision were populated by a series of small partly translucent screens each one bulged with updates friends asking about his weekend plans spam from college notifications about the new video uploads in headlines from the local news david had messaged him twice more to let him know he and his journalists were headed back to austin and then that they'd arrived. Oscar still haven't responded manny's initial concern over his loyalty. I got that fucker. Started as a stringer if he sold that video and cut me out of the deal going to going to but the longer he thought about oscar. The more many worried something might have happened. He'd been working in plano today near very stable chunk of the front but this far out. Almost anything could happen. Many closed his eyes side and tried to purge the anxiety from his mind. There was nothing to do now other than get to sleep so he could wake up tomorrow and make more money. That thought prompted manny to pull open his banking app and check on the status of his savings account. The numbers glowed fat and happy and the space in front of his head. Another five months in the field. Maybe six than i buy that plane ticket. He started to think about the pictures he'd seen of dublin and berlin and barcelona all the places he thought he might live. If this war would just hang on a little longer. He soon fell asleep and slept pretty well until the first mortar. Talk with host of citizens chef. You may know me. As the judge. On top chef he's citizenship. We don't deep into topics ranging from disaster-relief very injustices and hurting our food system. I hope you're as excited as i am to jump back in so starting this many you can tune to hear from experts on a wide range of issues. That you with your fork and your dollars have the power to change. Listen to citizenship. On the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or anywhere you get your favorite shows. Introducing more deo a new iheartradio fiction thriller podcast from the creative minds of blood house and crypt tv. One month after two brothers disappear. In the shenandoah forest the lone survivor of the pair emerges starving disoriented and traumatized. What are you talking about with was to me says out what happened out there in the woods and what dark secrets still remain threatening decree eight something unspeakable look at this call. No way this thing is a deer though. Look at the size of the teeth predator for sure. Beware the monster. You're running from mike. The yourself listen to more day on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcasts chapter to roland. He woke up suddenly aware of two equally pressing problems. The acids worn off and eight people are here to kill me. Both of these facts concerned him equally. He couldn't remember his name or where exactly he was. Which made the impending kilty him all the more concerning he opened his is his vision. Was blurry and unfocused. His head felt filled with sand rowland. Oh shit that's my name. Roland wondered how long he'd been asleep. He reflexively triggered his deck before the dim firing of a synapse reminded him that he'd permanently disabled his data connection well a long time ago fort. Louis twitter twenty six thousand minutes his hind brain. What roland called the acres of microscopic processors and data banks spun into his blood spat the knowledge out into his conscious. Mind rolling tried to curse but wound up spitting out a wad of brackish flim. Instead his is settled on a quarter full bottle of fungus whiskey he grabbed. It drained it and routed around on the table where he'd found it until his digging turned up a sheet of acid. He ripped the sheet in half eight one. Half and pasted the other on his sweat. Damp chest rowlands. Brain didn't wait for the acid to do its job. Nanna machines careered the surgeon diethylene acid directly to synapses. The drugs took hold in a matter of seconds. Acid soften the world around him his hind brains running commentary faded into a sort of generalized hyper awareness of the world around him he side relaxed and remembered woman offered over him her hands on his shoulders or knees on either side of his body. Sweat dripped down from his short black hair onto his face and chest. Her pupils were the size of dinner plates. She smelled like acid and desire. She smiled revealing a row of damascus. Steel teeth roland pulled himself out of the memory. He felt the strike team advance. His hind brain generated a map of the approaching assassins. Were still a solid minute from his hobble. There were six men and two women on the team. If he'd wanted a microseconds focus could have told him which members of the group were vegetarians. Where two of the team were on their menstrual cycles and how recently each of their firearms had been cleaned and oiled but roland didn't care about that information. He was trying to remember where he'd left his gun. The one room hut role in occupied was best described a squalid. He knew he'd lived there for quite a long time. He wasn't sure if the home was his in any legal sense of the word. It's one room held filthy mattress a hot plate several dozen empty bottles of liquor and tinkling carpet of spent. With it's a large knife was embedded in the door. Roland couldn't remember why he knew he'd had a gun at one point even though he couldn't currently find it he stood up still wobbly from the massive dose of ghb tequila and started kicking at the piles of bottles and drug paraphernalia in the hope. That one of them might contain his gun. He found some bullets after a few seconds. Search at the bottom of a folger's coffee ten. That was half filled with marijuana. Next to the ten was a large metal bowl of stagnant. Water roland glanced in and caught sight of his own reflection. His black skin looked ashen and clammy unusually pale. He thought but he didn't recall enough about himself to know if that was really true. His face was long and drawn with wide jutting cheekbones and apache uneven beard had was covered in double. The center of his face was dominated by crooked. Heavily scarred knows rowland had no recollection of why it was scarred but he knew the injury must have happened back before the army filled them with chrome he turned away from his reflection and continue research through the house scattering food and crested plates. Empty coke bags and old fashioned print pornography into even less organized piles no dice that i pawn it. He wondered as his machine assisted memory ward with his profound intoxication. Ruined was now conscious enough to remember that not remembering much was pretty normal for him and he should really worry more about the assassins coming to kill him. Oh shit right. The strike team was just fifty meters out now. He felt a gust of wind and in the same way felt is two of them. Men began to assemble a large sound cannon behind a rocky hill. That faced his hovel. He guessed it was a callahan. Mark thirty eight roland didn't know how he knew the weapons name but he knew it could burn out. Even his armored synapses with a few seconds of continuous fire. One man was on overwatch for the callahan team. He carried a to bore. Ruger falcon antibeach rifle. The mingling odors of fear sweat and baby formula wafting off him triggered since memories of someone. A newborn infant ruin guest. The man must have a kid back home a kid. He scared of leaving fatherless. If some chrome doubt acid head fillets him that was useful data. He filed it away in the chunk of his brain least likely to lose that information over the next four seconds rowlands memory was real good in four second chunks over the next pico second. He cut equally informative whiffs of the others. It was enough to suggest that two of the women in the main assault team were lovers. And they both had mil specs sub dermal armor implanted. Recently the acrid center fresh sutures hung heavy around them. Rolling could also tell that one of the men in the assault party took heavy testosterone supplements either because of genetic abnormality or because he'd been assigned female at birth. The fourth man was moderately addicted to federick and writing into battle on a high stimulant wave. The last member of the assault team was the only one to give roland any pause. You could guess the man's height and weight six five two hundred and forty pounds from the sound of his footfalls ruling could smell the six-hour five hundred submachine gun in his hands but otherwise the man was a sensory blink. No sweat no hydraulics. And black to thermographic sensors. The man was chrome d- not so heavily as roland of coursed but the competent and well-armed squad he led might be enough to narrow the gap. We're in the shooting shit shit shit. Did i leave that gun. The static balance in the air change does the overwatch team warmed up their sound cannon. The assault team was close. Now barely one hundred feet out waiting in the cover provided by several large boulders at the base of the rise that held rowlands ramshackle home. He knew how this fight would go. That unleash the callahan for a good five seconds. While the team moved into position in kicked in the door next the big bruiser in the two women would enter. While the remainder of the assault team fanned out to cover the sides textbook. Post human kill tactics. He thought he didn't actually remember any of the fight. This conclusion was based on but he'd clearly lived through similar encounters. And if he trusted his body and hind brain he would again. ruling finished. searching the apocalyptic ruin that was his kitchen sink. The pile of plates had large enough to hide a short barrel. Ar ten but his gun wasn't there either. Fuck nuts. he cursed. The profanity brought a tiny serotonin spike and role and felt himself. Calm down even as the noose tightened around him his combat. What where did most of its in the moments before meet met metal so roland closed. His eyes slumped his shoulders and relaxed while it cross indexed his memories of past firefights with his current sensory data. A moment later roland was presented with three potential counter-assault strategies. He's elected the one that sounded like the most fun. The callahan fired blanketing home and much of the area beyond a web of noise designed to assault and eventually fry the synapses of anyone dumb enough to stand too long in. its wake. Pain lashed from rollins. Inner ear inn sparked out to every nerve in his body. It would have been enough to leave a strongman curled on the ground shitting his guts out but roland just felt distant aac. His experience of the damage was more akin to seeing the check. Engine light on a car than true agony. He was aware that if you waited too long the sonic weapon would blow out the pain dampeners on his spinal nerve gates lucky for him. The assault team didn't wait. That long rolling felt the big man arc his leg up to kick in the door crumpled and rolling lunged left. This helped him avoid the first spray of covering fire. The combed man in both women barreled inside role in flung himself into the hobbles main structural support beam which ran up. The buildings left wall. He hit it with a rough speed and force of a light truck going twenty miles an hour. His momentum carried him and half the left wall into the rocky ground outside rowlands filthy little home tottered in swayed it collapsed first on the left side and then on the right the whole structure failed. Roland was already up with a jagged piece of two. By four in his hands he rushed the federick addict holding down or left. The man got two shots off and to his credit both had right where rowlands original heart had been and then roland was on him. He shoved the would into the meat of the man's face. It gouged often a flesh to fill a pint glass and shattered the poor fellows jaw. He went down hard. Roland smelled the familiar of anti hemorrhagic. Nanna machines as they rushed to save the man's life he caught a slight sour. With of the cheap clotting agents in the man's blood rolin gets it was traumatic brand which was convenient trauma had based their whole line on a piece of brazilian military wet wear. That itself was based on a crude synthesis of horseshoe crab blood. The oregon's worked well enough unless you happen to be an amphetamine attitude suffered massive tissue damage then trauma unit would flood your synapses with adenosine to knock you out rather than risk pushing more. Amphetamines on your stress. Heart something the smell of the man's blood set off a powerful since memory. Buried deep in rowland's hippocampus vines slashing his face boiling jungle. Heat his fist connecting with the face of a heavily armed young woman her orbital bone broken blow. He smelled her blood meet. The air and she dropped dropped dropped. The memory fleshed by free of context and the time it took the other man to hit the ground. It was frustrating to only remember the. What an action. And not the why or the after. It was like knowing how to ride a bike without remembering who taught you and win only for everything ruling found it somewhat unsettling a twelve gauge slug. Hit him in the thaw. It dug deep it reinforced bone and stopped the little machines. In rowland's blood were already cutting it. Apart by the time he stopped amusing and bounded over to the other. Flank man roland. Chuck the two by four hard as he ran the would impacted above the assassins temple with his audible crack shattering. The man's venoy bone. The battle drug started trickle into rollins. Synapses now a cocktail of endorphins oxytocin serotonin epinephrine concocted to make violence as addictive as a fat rock of crystal meth roland. Instantly wanted more and he knew it could trigger a greater dose by stomping on the downed man's skull and ending his life. He fought down the ear and instead grabbed the man's a thirty two combat shotgun enrolled for cover behind a red rock boulder. He was almost fast enough. But either the over watchman had some aftermarket parts. Roland hadn't smelled or other hard. Core drug abuse had done long term damage to his reflexes. Maybe no more crack benches rolling thought is a massive to bore slugged. Most of his left shoulder out into the desert behind him. Rule in belted out several words as pain flooded the banks of his dampeners. And just that second with truly exquisite timing. The callahan crews swivelled their weapon around and poured sonic fire at him from above for a fraction of a second. Everything went dark rolands. world was riotous. Read pain and little else it. His body had required the input of his conscious mind. He would have been in a real pickle during the milliseconds. It took for his dampeners to cut through the pain. Hayes rowlands body dove ten feet to the left enough to take him out of the callahan. Spray and behind an outcropping of rocks to round crashed into the roth of his head rolling came back to himself as the shards cut into his skin. Glanced down at the ruin of his shoulder. His little blood robots were already hard at work rebuilding the muscles bones incentives blown out by the giant slug a couple of seconds more and lynnwood be usable again but roland had a better idea he used his intact arm a flesh catapult and the flung himself up over the boulder towards the callahan in its three guardians. The man with the tube or fired again roland had known he would. His hind brain had already calculated the ideal emotions to avoid the dozen most likely shot patterns. He sailed over the half pound bullets with ease and used the hand of his intact arm to rip his wounded arm. Free at the shoulder. Rolling landed hard in front of the callahan. He swung his own severed limb like a club and knocked the barrel to the left. Then he laid into the gun's crew with a mix of pounding swings from the arm and stops to the other men's knees and ankles bone shattered assassin screamed. The man with the to bore in the newborn child at home wavered and broke roland expected this many normal humans and veterans found it nauseating and unsettling to see a man move as fast as he could move at beating their friends half to death with a severed limb and well. He predicted the guy would break. It's not your fault. Buddy will in thought as he watched the man run. Don't feel bad. He'd wanted to say that out loud but he was having trouble working his vocal cords in roughly seven seconds. Rolan eliminated five out of eight threats in the kill team. His hind brain predictions had given him six more seconds at least before the entry team cleared themselves from the debris of his collapsed hobble but the other post human the man who shone blank on most rolling census had faster roland realized this when a trio with fifty caliber slugs brought into his chest cavity. He dropped avoiding the last three rounds of the bursts enrolled behind another pair of boulders with his severed arm and hand the two female assassins were close to freeing themselves now. Rolling could hear them struggle out through the vibrations of their bodies in the red sand. He couldn't see the other post human. But he'd triangulated his most likely location unfortunately the other fucker had him dead to rights. If roland broke cover he'd be shot to pieces. Maybe more pieces than trauma organs could put back together. all right. oh boy do eat a bunch of lead and charge the bastards deploy the meat rockets and run for a gun. While they're blind. He suddenly remembered the spring loaded assault razor embedded in his left forearm. And then the twenty two millimeter grenade pistol buried in between his small intestine and his signaled colon to remember to load it before shutting it in there but before he could take any action. The firefight was interrupted by an oddly. Familiar voice hey. Roland has its wayne. Veteran news anchor. Ron burgundy returns with the ron burgundy podcast to take on the most pressing and exciting topics of our day along with his co host and producer carolina. Barlow get the truth about the stories that affect your life as only ron burgundy can deliver it. I've heard it said perhaps by me that you can earn a degree listening to my podcast. That's what i heard for my source that is myself. This is hard hitting no-holds-barred news. I am a trusted source for so many people out there. People think of me as a comforting compassionate welcoming presence in their homes. This is the special brand of honest to the point reporting. You come to expect from ron. Burgundy i don't know whether it's the timber by voice measured tone or by muskie personal scent but i've never felt more loved as a broadcaster that right now. Listen to the ron burgundy podcasts. Season for on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcasts. After my friend. Alex died by suicide. I kept coming back to the good by email. He sent me and some audio he included in of him talking to someone he'd met online someone who happens to sound a lot like britney spears whoever she was could she helped me understand why my friend was gone. I'm chris deadman host of unread a podcast about the very real connections. We make online listened to unread. Starting june ten on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your favorite shows rowland hadn't smelled or heard this new man coming. The voice was very familiar. Felton aim on the tip of his tongue. But it just wouldn't come weapons down leads lasts. I've seen enough to guess. The end roland smelled frustration. Waft off two women now free and angry. The other post human smelled like nothing but and felt him lower his weapon some gray dead strand memory. Polston the back of rowland's brain and he guessed that it was safe for him to stand up now so he did and put is on the mystery man. The fellow had a lopsided squarish jaw with a very deliberate five o'clock shadow. His nose was thick and booby. His red hair was tangled into dreadlocks. That were more the result of inattention than stylistic choice. He was tall muscular but lean with a bare chest that was covered in tattoos of black snakes. They ride in time with the beating of his heart. He wore nothing but a pair of red leather chaps and abroad calm smile. His bare penis swung pinging. Listen the breeze. Both of his poems were extended out front invisible. It was the kind of gesture when used to calm. An animal rowlands synapses fired and misfired in a string of fragmented. Memories ran through his mind. He recalled a really good hot dog on a sunny day pushups in the mud. Searing pain in his genitals and the taste of shitty tweet. These memory fragments were all somehow tied to the man in front of him. It took roland a moment but as soon as he got a full look at those. Coal gray is the man's name clicked into place. Oh shit he croaked jim. Rohan hadn't spoken to a person in months. At least maybe longer he sounded more like a suffering calf that an english speaking human. But jim understood him up. He said ruling side looked at his separate arm and crudely shoved it into place. It clotted a bit. And his stub burned the tiny robot than his blood got to work reattaching his once and future limb. Jim he said again sounding a bit less like a frog after a six-day bench. You fucked up my house man. That's not cool ruin. Didn't know how long he'd known him. He couldn't even pin down the man's last name but he was pretty sure they'd fought together back before the revolution and he was certain they'd had a threesome with a devilishly. Handsome spetsnaz man. He couldn't remember that guy's name or why they'd all been in panama but he didn't expect that was the sort of experience past him would have shared with someone who wasn't a friend you remember me. Jim asked basically road answered. Good because i got a favourite ask. Hey everybody robert evans here. I hope he just enjoyed the chapter. You listened to. I hope you enjoy chapters to come if you would like to read the text version of this book Either on the web or on your e reader as an e pub you can find those on the website. at our book dot com So again the free ad free e pub and the text of every chapter of will be on eighty our book dot twenty thousand nine hundred my friend. Alex died by suicide good by emails to his loved ones and when i opened mine i was so horrified. I barely noticed a link heating loaded near the end. Oh alex had written. Here's alex recordings later. I went back to the link. Where alex britney spears superfan had shared clips of conversations with someone he'd befriended online someone calling herself alice. Someone who happens to sound a lot like britney herself. Who was this. Alice really and could she help me understand why my friend was gone. I'm chris stutman host of unread show about looking for answers in the digital bread crumbs. People leave behind. Where would the trail. Alex left lead me. Listen to unread and soul. Starting june tenth on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your favorite shows this is clinton. Merson retired navy. Seal and host of kenya. Survive this podcast. Have you ever wondered how you handle a life. Threatening situation think you'd make the right decisions in those critical moments. Well let's find out. Join me every tuesday for a wild ride through a crazy world of incredible guests inappropriate interview questions and life and death decisions. Can you survive this. Podcast listen on the iheartradio app apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcast.