Chapter Twelve: Rebirth

The Emergency Committee meeting for the first week of August had a special guest speaker. Wayne Goodly, a low echelon administrator for FEMA. He began briefing the committee on the 'big' picture.

"As best as we can determine, about 20 to 30 million Americans have died as a result of violence, starvation, or disease. Most of the cities are in ruins. There's a lot of people missing or hiding, we can't say for sure. The Federal, state, and local governments are mobilizing for a major effort to put the nation back together."

"For most of the past year, we have been doing what we can. Our first concern, once we knew we had lost control, was to safeguard the nation from foriegn invasion. Installations like NORAD have been functioning all along. We maintained some ballistic missile submarines and our spy satellites, for example, to achieve this end."

"The National Command Authority was shaken up, but we have been active the past several months in aiding local efforts to restore order. You will soon be recieving a convoy of fuel trucks and other strategic supplies. It's taken quite awhile to clear the main highways and to inspect the rail and pipeline networks. I'm happy to report that they are functional again."

"In the Northeast, we were swamped by refugees. Quite frankly, we maintained our focus on the larger population centers because we knew that you folks in rural America would be better able to fend for your selves. Thankfully, the winter was reasonably mild and we were able to keep the disaster from getting worse. The NCA is very proud of the work you people have done here. We can understand if you have resentment against us for not helping sooner or even for causing the problem in the first place."

"To this end, as soon as possible, National elections will be held so that we can begin making the final push towards restoration. We are hoping to have most communications and essential infrastructure ready for this by September. It will up to you when you hold your local elections, but by next Spring, we want to have a new civilian government in place." By that time we anticipate several key industries to be functional again, like petroleum. As far as the election of the new president, our plan is for the balloting to occur on the first weekend of November. "

"Production will take awhile to restore, and we are uncertain when we can get the whole economy up and running. Estimates call for another two to three years at least. Perhaps another five years or more before we can expect a lifestyle similar to pre-disaster conditions."

"Now comes the bad news. Taxes." This was met by a loud, long groan. "Now, now. Needless to say, collection is going to be difficult. Taxes are a neccessary evil. We have decided that the best way to work this for now is at the local level. Counties will set whatever rates they deem possible for their citizens to pay. We have worked out a deal with all state governments, such that you will then provide a percentage to the state and to the Federal government."

"We only ask that you turn over ten percent of what you take in. Our primary function will be to protect the country from outside agression. I think you will agree that this is a worth while role for the National government. We will also do what we can for maintaining interstate lines of communication and commerce."

"Most of the rest of will be in your hands and those of your state government. Once a new civilian government is up and running, then a more permament system will be developed. But for the time being, we feel this method is the most workable and the least burdensome. Most of the money will remain with you to use."

"We should have a new national currency ready for distribution by November. By agreement with the state governments, we will comply with their insistance that the new currency be backed by a basket of commodities, such as gold, silver, oil, etc..., and be redeemable for those items. Fortunately, our stockpiles and reserves of these and other commodities are still secure."

"In conclusion, I have been authorized by the NCA to apologize for what happened. We screwed up, short and simple. Those who were responsible are no longer in charge. We realize that there will probably be an investigation by the new government and some form of charges and trials conducted to punish those who caused the nation to unravel."

When asked just who is running the NCA, it turned out to be none other than former General Gordon. America had a coup and nobody knew it, at least in Huron County. But, like another general more than two centuries ago, he was prepared to step aside, once his country was out of danger.

It simply came down to the fact that he was respected and trusted by the military, and they were armed and better organized than any other branch of government. The elected government fumbled the football and he grabbed it and worked to keep it safe for the future. Many of the old government had been detained. Gordon promised not to engage in any tribunals and just wait till a new government could be elected.

When the elections were held, none other than Hank DeWitt was named the new member of the House of Representatives. He was well known throughout the area, having helped other counties in organizing and coordinating militias. Some people asked Larry to run, but he chose not to. He did agree to run for a seat as a county commisioner, for sanitation. Larry was, afterall, the best Junk-Man around.

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The material you have just read is a chapter in the on-line fictional story, "When Autumn Leaves Fall" by Andrew Zarowny, copyrighted 1997. All characters and circumstances are fictional and are not intended to bare any resemblence to actual people alive or dead. You have the author's permission to copy or reproduce this material so long as you charge no money for it's reproduction or distribution.

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