Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Atmosphere Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

Guns for the gun god

“Is it really him?”

“Cannot be!”

“Quickly Alexander get the scriptures”

A hand shaking his shoulder suddenly interrupted Daniel from a distant dream of him waking in the cryo-chamber in 2150 and everything being fine. He opened his eyes and looked round quickly, laying on some tattered old hospital bed, a bright light above his head which two figures suddenly appeared before, leaning over him. They both wore long beige hooded cloaks, partially covering their middle-aged bearded faces, gas masks hanging from their necks and a rifle slung over each back.

“He's awake!” One exclaimed, excitement in his eyes like Daniel had never seen before

“Yes, I see that.” The other remarked, throwing a glance to his friend before looking down again “Are you. The Blackwell?”

“The.. what?” Daniel let out, blinking in the bright light and staring up at the two strangers

“The Daniel Blackwell?”

“Yes.. who are you?”

“It is him!” The first one exclaimed again. A third person appeared behind them, holding a thick bound of paper held together with old string. He flicked through the old pages and leaflets until stopping on one and moving it beside Daniel's face for comparison, all three gasping and grinning widely.

“What..? What's going on?” Daniel asked again, starting to get scared

The one with the 'scriptures' turned around and ran off again, shouting happily and throwing his arms up in the air, the two helping him in. He was sat in some infirmary, filled with more medical machinery than anyone would usually find in one hospital, never mind crammed into one room, and the walls were lined with a hundred United Arms propaganda posters.

“We've been waiting so long for this day”

“The day you would walk amongst us again!”

They helped him up onto his feet and walked him towards the door, an arm around him to keep up as he continued asking loudly for an explanation. Any explanation of just what was happening, but getting no response. The door let out into a large enclosed courtyard, floors with doors leading off to unseen areas going up for four or five storeys before meeting a massive metal blast-door which formed the ceiling. Forty or so people could have been in the courtyard, all dressed in the beige cloaks with a black cross stitched onto the front, from the elbow up and down their chest. They all stopped what they were and looked to Daniel, their eyes going wide and their mouths agape with shock. They all dropped to one knee and bowed their heads.

“Hear my call Church of United Armalities! The Blackwell has returned!” One of the men carrying him suddenly proclaimed loudly “God has returned!”

Daniel sat in his high chair over looking the long dining hall, two chairs either side where the other 'Armalities' figureheads sat, three rows of dinning tables stretching on to the end of the room, maybe a hundred of the beige cloaked figured either side of each row. All staring up at him and whispering to each other excitedly. Nothing that had transpired the past half an hour making the slightest bit of sense to Daniel who just nodded and went along with what ever was happening, assuming he was still dreaming and would wake up any moment.

“-And now you are with us once again M'lord I assume we will be begin soon?” A voice came from beside him.

“Begin?..” Daniel asked, slowly turning his head, missing whatever the man was talking about just a minute early.

“The reconstruction of course!” He said cheerily, everyone else nodding “Is that not why you have returned Lord? To rebuild the world just as has been professed”

Daniel just looked to the man with an open mouth and blank stare, bringing his hands up and shrugging slowly “...What?!”

“Hush Elijah.” A female voice came from the other side of the chair “He is obviously tired from his descent from the heavens and needs time to rest” She put her hands on his arm and leant closer, her fair face gleaming out from behind the hooded cloak “Tell us Lord, how did you descend? Was it via a C-180 Skycarrier or C-165 VTOL Liftmaster?”

“Okay!... okay, back up.. just a little bit here” Daniel said quickly, putting his hands out “Just.. who are you all? And.. just who do you think I am?”

“Why Lord... you are the creator, the destroyer. You watched over all of mankind, you gave us the means to fend for ourselves, to defend ourselves from the wild and from those who would mean us harm. The world looked to you, the leaders of the nations of man obeyed your every word, for without you they would be nothing. They would be left defenseless. And.. heaven forbid if any dared cross your path oh mighty one they were slain and cast aside. Nothing compared to the power you wielded.”

“You were weary of man though” Another suddenly continued from another seat down the line “We were corrupt. Unjust in your eyes. There had to be a cleansing!”

“A cleansing!” The entire room repeated at once

“The evils of man destroyed. The world wiped clean so there could be a clean state for your return. So with your chosen disciples you could rebuild the world! A perfect world!”

“A perfect world!” the entire room repeated again.

“And... you lot would be my disciples I take it?”

“Yes M'lord! If you would have us. We are, all of us, The Church of the United Armalities. Ever since the days when you turned the skies dark and wiped the corrupt cities of man from the planet we have been on this isle. While other men scurried and hid in the tunnel and sewers and subways we found beneath this isle the tunnels of your temple. The temple of United Arms. Filled with things we could not understand. Things that amazed us beyond all comprehension. We learnt from them, we learnt of you, M'lord. From the ancient scriptures which had been left for us by your loyal followers from the old world. And for more years than can be counted, we have waited here for you. Training. Preparing. Learning the ancient scriptures over and over. For we knew this day would come. The new era has began. The era of the United Armalities”

They had prepared a lavish room for him. A room that had been there for centuries waiting for him to arrive. A brightly lid and highly decorated room with pine furniture, a desk beside one wall with a working computer on it and beside a globe with a chunk missing where Asia should be. Beside two bookcases which were filled to the brim with various history books of every war that ma had ever fought in as well as operating manuals for near enough every gun made after 1960. A massive bed sat in the middle with probably the best mattress and pillows still intact in the world and the walls were decorated with massive posters of military hardware; tanks and planes in combat and weapons laid across cushions like they were porn models. And right in the middle a massive poster that stretched from the floor to the ceiling, United Arms in massive red letters in the middle, a dozen planes designed by UA flying up over the text and hundreds of UA tanks and other armoured vehicles below all driving forward and full speed with a massive dust cloud behind them.

Laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling Daniel wondered why he hadn't woken from this dream yet. A crazed cult that revered him as as God? Certainly one of the stranger dreams he had, but something that the old Blackwell, the one from the videos certainty would have liked. The images, the sights and sounds of what he saw of the past all he could think of. The thought of him attempting such a risky and inhumane thing as Operation Aeries seemed unthinkable to him. Even if the operation had gone perfectly and say after just two weeks the cure was released in return for miles and miles of Chinese coastline. Just how many millions of innocent people would have died just to allow another century for America to be at the top. Surely it would have been revealed to the world eventually that United Arms orchestrated the whole thing, nothing can stay secret forever. He couldn't understand how the old Blackwell was able to live with it, after killing the wanted the man the Justice soldiers were after he felt terrible -a man that had murdered 2 innocent people and 2 children.. But the old him had no problem ordering the mass bombardment of his entire country when the disease landed. Standing atop his ivory tower and watching the world burn without a single regret. Would he become that again? The jaded friendless man that stood at the top of the world, so disconnected from society and his fellow man that he'd feel no compassion for them even as they died by the billions?

A knock came at the door and Daniel quickly sat up. The door slowly opening and the lady that had sat beside him previously peering her head in.

“It is Minister Jennings, may I enter Lord?”

“..Sure, I guess. And please, just call me Daniel”

She nodded and pushed the door open, carrying with the a basket.

“I have brought for you fresh clothes. I trust everything so far has been to your liking M'lo- Daniel” She put the basket down on the desk and took out the clothes for him and laid them beside the desk.

“I must admit, we did not expect to find you dressed like a common soldier. All previous illustrations of you in the scriptures shows you in the black garments with which you conducted your business ceremonies.”

“Suits don't make for good combat clothing...” He stood from the bed and walked over to the desk, looking down at the clothes for him, a dark blue suit and white shirt with black tie.

“But just why was it that you needed to engage in combat? No previous exempts of the scriptures had ever mentioned you as a warrior. But a greater thinker, inventor, leader. But excuse my rudeness if the otherwise may be true.”

“Where exactly did you find these scriptures?”

“They filled the temple to United Arms, all beneath the city. The sacred ground that connects all the structures on the surface.”

“Earlier when.. Elijah was it? Mentioned 'this isle' he did mean Manhattan didn't he?”

“Hm, no. This is not The Manhattan, but we are close.”

“And what of the others who were with me?” He quickly asked, only just remembering the group he had traversed The North with. “What did you do with them?”

“They are safe. We were unsure if they were followers of yours or not. So they being held in the cells”

The holding cells were the other side of the compound, beyond the barracks and armouries. After changing clothes he followed Jennings through the compound, every person they came across bowing to him. They all wore the cloaks and all had rifles slung over their backs, they all also seemed to have had stunted growth, there wasn't a single person taller than Daniel's shoulder. Every wall had to have at least one piece United Arms propaganda of some sort plastered over it, and every so often they'd pass tables or display cabinets with a weapon stored inside.

Grant stared across to the opposite cell, a tribal in rags covered in scars and tattoos stared back. He crawled closer to the edge of his cell and grabbed the bars, smirking at the soldier.

“You ain't not used to seeing the bars from that side are you, Justice?” He hissed in his poor english.

“If these bars wouldn't here I'd kill you with my bare hands tvar'

“Your hands wouldn't even touch me by the time I killed you”

They both stopped as the door between the two cells unlocked and opened up, an Armalities soldier walking in followed by a suited man.

“Blackwell! Let us out of here!” Grant immediately exclaimed, standing up and glaring at Daniel. Daniel looked to the Justice soldier, now just in the white UABC overall usually beneath all his armour before looking back to Jennings.

“This is just one. Where are the others?”

“Further along. They kept on talking and planning.. of an escape. So we had to split them up”

“Let them all out. Give them anything they want and if they want to leave – let them”

“At once Lor-.. Daniel”

The Armalitie nodded and grabbed a key-chain from her pocket filled with a hundred keys, filing through them until getting to the cell key and unlocking Grant's cell before disappearing down the line of empty cells and round a corner to the others. Grant pushed the cell door open slowly and stood before Daniel, eyeing him up and down.

“I bet you're loving this aren't you? Just like old times...” Grant sneered

“You probably have more of an idea what's going on than I do!”

“We had only heard rumours of this group. Armalities. Crazy gun worshippers. But we thought they were tribals... they have some of the best equipment I've seen, rivalling even the Militari. ...And now they've just gone and found the god of all weapons himself.”

“I hated what I saw in those videos just as much as you. I do not want to be that man

“The god?” A voice suddenly came from behind, both of them looking back ans seeing it was the tribal in the other cell, he laughed and clapped his hands “They finally found their little Fire-Merchant?”

Grant brushed Daniel to one side and quickly reached through the bars, grabbing the tribal's rags and yanking him upto the bars, hitting his head on them with a loud donk and knocking him unconscious.

“Who is he?” Daniel asked, looking at the filthy man and not wanting to get any closer

“Yankee” Grant replied, cracking his knuckles and shaking his hands.

“As in.. Yankees and Confederates?”

“No...? as in the sports team.”

“That makes even less sense”

The others came into view at the other end of the corridor of cells, the Armalities behind with her rifle in her hands now – just in case.

Comrade Commissar” Powell said, nodding to Grant and avoiding eye contact with Daniel

“Are we being set free? Are we leaving this place?” Harper hastily added “.. Comrade Commissar”

Emanuel and Isaac stood behind, the robot still with one arm missing, the one that he still had was tied behind his back as he could have easily picked the locks otherwise.

“I would like to say yes.” Grant started “But we are on Randall's Island. The only bridge to Manhattan is stuck in the raised position and the only other ways back are either through Brooklyn or the Bronx”

“Bronx it is!” Emanuel quickly said, a stern look on his face

“Well we'd still need our weapons” Grant said, slowly turning his head to Daniel “Mister gun god” Daniel gazed back blinkingly before realising what he meant and turning to Jennings

“Give these people their weapons back and let them leave”

“I would Lord, But. Their weapons are filed away in the storage facility”

“So get them back”

“..That is easier said than done.”

“Well then take us there, let them find them”

Jennings went still, fidgeting with her rifle hesitatingly “But.. Lo.. Daniel. Only the highest ranking Armalities may enter”

“No longer matters. Let them enter and retake their equipment”

She closed her eyes and nodded, hurrying to the front and opening the door to the holding area again and letting them all out. “It is this way” she saftied her rifle and slung over her back again, leading them back across the courtyard at the centre of the underground complex.

“They will need gas masks. We keep the facility oxygen-less and in a vacuum, so the things inside may stay intact for all eternity – or until they are needed.” She stopped them at one of the small armouries that was build into a side-room and blocked off by a brick wall – save for the door and a tiny window, another Armalities sitting inside behind the grate window.

“Minister Jennings! My Lord! How may I help you?” He asked, his eyes creeping across and seeing the group of people they captured as well.

“Five gas masks”

He nodded and turned around on his swivel chair, opening one of the cabinets behind up, all kinds of masks and breathing equipment inside. He pulled five out, one at a time, and put them on the counter, the bottom half of the grate window tilting up and letting them push them through.

The group put the masks on and Jennings put hers on, an intricate oxygen mask usually worn by fighter pilots, a tube running from the end to some unseen oxygen tank beneath her cloak. She continued on across the courtyard and led them up a flight of stairs, an airlock at the top with two guards either side that bowed as Daniel approached. They passed through the airlock and were on the surface again in the middle of Randall's Island. It was a small island, around a mile long and half a mile wide, Interstate 278 and an elevated railroad ran overhead down the middle of the island, one side the NYC Department of Environmental Protection facility which the Armalities compound was now part of, the other side of the bridges were numerous residential tower blocks. All all over the island were dozens of old sports and athletics fields which had now been converted into farmland, acres of crops growing all across the island and tended to by Armalitie farmers. Along the edge of the island a four metre high wall made of scrap and concrete and dotted with guard towers, and at the south of the island was the Manhattan Psychiatric Centre. Which suddenly made everything that was going on make a lot more sense upon Daniel seeing it. The image of mentally unwell people trapped there during the apocalypse and seeking refuge underground only to come across the United Arms tunnels -which only a handful of people on Manhattan had learnt about when Protocol-U5 was initiated-. The explanation and purpose of said tunnels and of United Arms getting muddled as it was pasted down to the next generation then the next, eventually becoming its own relgion.

Further north up the island they trekked, down a narrow dirt path between two fields where the farmers all stopped to bow to Daniel, the novelty of which had worn off on him and was starting to get annoying. They headed to another area of the old NYC DEP facility where massive storage tanks were built into the ground, where every day over a billion gallons of water used to fill up from the reservoirs from around New York City and be used by the people of the city. The Armalities had sealed them up completely and covered the top with dirt where a couple of fields now grew from, the tanks no longer visible from above.

They filed down some stairs in a concrete dug-out to where a big iron gate stood, surrounded with ten massive machine-guns manned by heavily armoured Armalities. They sat up, looking to the group, the guard leader quickly standing and walking to Jennings.

“Minister.. why are-”

“The Blackwell has permitted it”

The guard leader hesitated for a moment then nodded, reaching into his cloak and taking out a key which hung from a chain around his neck, turning and unlocking a box on the wall, inside yet another lock. Jennings took out her key-chain again and and rummaged through for the right key and put it in the second lock and turned it. Behind the second lock a red button which she pressed, the large iron gate grinding open and revealing the bare metal framework of an elevator the other side. The guards all moved out of the way and backed up against either of the concrete walls leading to the elevator, saluting as Daniel passed by, Grant and Powell rolling their eyes in discontent. The group stood on the metal grill floor of the elevator, a view of the chasm of concrete stretching down below into the darkness, and the iron gate closed again, all the air getting sucked out by a large tube above.

“You should ready yourselves. There will be quite a few weapons down there” Jennings said, glancing to the others.

“No more than we've seen before I bet..” Power remarked.

The elevator lurched and descended down, lamps on the walls beside it lighting up at the right time as it passed by, only the elevator remaining illuminated as the rest of the shaft above and below remained dark. A minute later it reached the bottom again and Jennings opened the shutter at the front of the elevator, the group walking out into a massive cavern of darkness the other side, unable to see more than a few feet in front of them. Jennings opened a junction box on the wall beside the elevator opening, a light switch inside which she flicked.

Five seconds later a tiny light on the floor a few metres away flicked on, shining upwards and showing a small row of rifles on a rack.. Then another light and the next rack of weapons above that. Then another and another. The whole shelf of guns now illuminated. The group looked on at the small shelf of guns unimpressed, Powell about to open his mouth to say something sarcastic when suddenly lights running off from the left and right direction of the shelf flicked on one by one. Showing a row of maybe ten shelves, a cascade of lights hanging from the ceilings suddenly all bursting into life, another row shelves of guns beyond the first first, then another and another. 50 shelves. 60. 70. The lights continued shining on, stretching on further and further away from the group, thousands of weapons appearing before them, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. They stared on wide-eyed as suddenly massive floodlights way up in the ceiling in a similar row flicked on, showing a massive Abrams tank just to the side of the them. Then another tank beside it and another. Two long rows of armoured vehicles appeared either side of all the gun racks. And then another row of tanks and APCs behind them. Massive floodlights along the floor -in the mess of power cables and wires which powered all the lights- flicked on showing rows and rows of jets and helicopters hanging from the ceiling and held in place with hundreds of ropes, metal walkways running between them. Lights all along the very far wall of the former-water tank all flicked on in a row showing a massive series of white cylinders rising from the ground and almost touching the ceiling, the US flag adorning them beside a nuclear warning symbol - a dozen undetonated ICBMs standing at the far end of the tank and completing the little spectacle they just witnessed.

They all stood completely still, staring forward into the inconceivably large assortment of weapons and vehicles and missiles. Some horrible monument to all that was wrong with man. Every kind of rifle and SMG and pistol from before 2050 and some seen dating back to the 1800s lined the racks. There were even WW2 vehicles in the rows of vehicle, still kept in perfect condition. A quarter of the vehicles that stood around them couldn't even be found in this country so just how the Armalities had managed to gather them all into this space was unthinkable. And the nuclear missiles. They were as tall as an apartment building, there was no way to transport them other than foot, and the nearest missile silo was hundreds of miles away. Had they really ventured off to the old bases and dragged back dismantled bombs and missiles here?

Jennings walked beside the group who still hadn't moved or said a word, looking to them and waving her hand in front of their eyes. Daniel slowly looked to her his mouth still agape

“Is this... what you've all been doing for the past twenty thousand years?”

“All for you my Lord. Does it please the Blackwell?”

He looked back to the mass of military hardware then back to her, trying to form words but none wanting to leave his mouth, shaking his hands quickly in bemusment. Grant, Powell, Harper and Emanuel slowly walked towards the first row of guns, looking down at the weapons which were atleast fifty or sixty years old by 2050 and from parts of the world they had never heard of before. HK G3A3? Kalashnikov AK74? Isaac had slowly walked over to one of the tanks, walking beside the ancient war machine and wondering just how many hundreds this one machine could have killed.

“How did you.. get them all here?”

“Carried them of course. We search across the land for the old military bases, the old armouries from the Ancient One's armies and bring back all we can find. And this is just one of the rooms. There are two others.”

“I guess I'm both impressed and terrified”

Jennings immediately looked disheartened, bowing her head down and burying it in her hands

“We have displeased the Blackwell. Our life's work for nau-”

“No. No.. its just. This is all a bit much to take in.” He quickly added, putting his hands on the Armalities' shoulders “It's uh.. great!”

“Just great?”

“Amazing, even.”

Jennings lifted her head, slightly cheerier again. A walkie-talkie beneath her cloak suddenly barking into life

“Minister. We have a situation up here.”

Reaching in for the radio she brought it up to her face.

“What is it?”

“Yankee prisoner managed to escape. He's managed to amass more of them beyond the northern gate”

“How could he have escaped?!”

“We'll have to find out later. We need some help up here now”

She put the radio away again and let out a sigh.

“We gotta go up and deal with this... shouldn't be a problem. If you stay back you'll be-”

“I want to fight.” Daniel said, cutting her off. He turned round and looked to the million guns behind him, picking a random row and walking down it. He stopped at one of the shelves and picking a rifle at random – A EuroFabrik Aschtenne. A couple of the magazines for it in a small compartment behind, similar ones behind all the rifles along the racks. The others were slowly coming out from various rows of the shelves as well and carrying an assortment of weapons.

“We are fighting these tribals. And then we are leaving, Blackwell.” Grant said, walking past him and standing the elevator again “Whatever you do – we don't care. But if you're going back to Manhattan it won't be with us”

Daniel stood back in the elevator, feeling a little uneasy, the others filing in beside him, Jennings leaving all the lights on and closing the elevator shutter again and pressing the up button before unslinging the rifle from her back and loading it.

“Do Armalities always have their weapons on them? I have not seen a single unarmed one yet” Emanuel asked

“They are assigned one from the day they are born.” Jennings replied, still looking forward as the elevator ascended back up the shaft “They care for and look after their weapon as if it were a loved one. And must partake in at least one-hour target practice with it every day. If they lose their weapon, they lose a part of themselves.”

The elevator reached the top of the shaft and the massive iron gate began sliding open again, the group begin greeted with the sounds of gunfire and shouting. The guards that had stood around the gate previously were now up above the concrete dug-out firing their rifles at unseen targets. Jennings gripped her rifle tighter and ran out first, quickly climbing the short set of stairs three metres up to the ground and seeing the northern gate in the distance smashed in, a hundred or so Yankees piling in and cutting the few Armalities there to shreds. Daniel climbed the steps and froze, looking on in confusion as the tribals advanced, dressed in a dark blue and white and carrying improvised weapons; spears from street sign poles with knives or blades at the end or car bumpers filed one side to make swords and carrying car doors as shields.

The group ran forward and crouched down beside a small embankment, raising their rifles and firing at the advancing mob. It took a moment for Daniel to realise what was going on and get down behind the embankment as well. A spear flew over head thrown with some skill and landing just a few yards from them. The gate guards not bothering to take cover and slowly advancing past them and firing at the tribals as another spear landed straight into one's shoulder and brought him to the floor.

“Daniel! Get back inside” Jennings exclaimed as the group all began firing, sitting up and looking back to him. He shook his head and sat up slightly, bringing his bulky weapon up and aiming at the nearest tribal, who dropped to the ground before he could fire, aiming to the next one and squeezing the trigger a few times. Jennings glanced back and forth nervously, gazing back at the entrance to the compound, the airlock entrance opening two dozen Armalities rushing out with machine-guns and laying them down on the floor and beginning to fire off hundreds of rounds a minute into the advancing savage crowd.

The guards that originally stood at the iron gate to the storage facility were just a couple of yards from the tribals, and quickly back-stepping and desperately firing off their weapons. The nearest Yankees charged forward, unsheathing swords and daggers and lunging at the Armalities and bringing to them to the floor, hacking and tearing at their bodies as they screamed and squirmed futilely. Another spear appeared over head an arced down straight into Harper, falling to his back and dropping his rifle, flailing about in pain as it the five foot spear jutted out of his hip. Powell screamed out and stood up, firing his rifle on full auto in the crowd, a dozen dropping dead before he swung his gun around and started smashing it into the head of the near tribal. Emanuel had gone still as they were approaching, now slowly standing up as another spear shot down and narrowly missed him. He picked it up and lobbed it straight back, hitting the thrower in the head before lunging at the nearest tribal without even any weapons on himself and beginning to bring his hand down against the man's head as hard as it could until the tribal's jaw cracked loudly, the other tribals around them quickly stepping back and staring wide-eyed as Emanuel looked up and went for his next target.

Jennings quickly stood, grabbing Daniel's collar and lifting him, dragging him towards the under-ground entrance as fast as she could. More Armalities running out from inside and joining in the massive battle on the surface. He broke free of her grip and quickly turned, running back to the embankment with his rifle at his shoulder, firing at the tribals as they closed all around the group. Grant was beside Harper, one hand on the wound as blood gushed out and the other still gripping his weapon and firing as fast as he could, Harper managing to draw his pistol and firing back, but barely able to stay conscious never mind aim and fire well.

Something suddenly dropped down in front of Daniel's eyes and his rifle dropped from his hands, clattering to the floor and bent out of shape. He looked to his side and saw a Yankee right beside him, the same one from the cell now back in his normal clothing and wielding a metal baseball bat. Daniel quickly stepped back and brought his hands up to shield himself as the tribal swung the bat back, Jennings suddenly appearing in sight and tackling the man to the ground. She fumbled with her rifle and desperately tried to bring it up to fire as the tribal turned the bat round and smashed the end of it against her face, sending her sprawling against the ground. He stood up as Daniel turned to run to the compound entrance again, lobbing the bat and catching Daniel's legs and sending him crashing to the floor. Quickly turning on his back Daniel just caught glimpse of the Yankee as he landed atop of him, desperately flailing his arms and trying to keep the man off as a flurry of fists pounded against his head until he went still. His eyes dropping close and laying flat on the ground.

The Yankees disappeared out of the island as quickly as they appeared. Filing north back across the bridge to The Bronx and leaving their dead and dying behind, only worried about their captured prize. The entirety of the Church of United Armalities now on the surface and firing at the retreating tribals, and getting their wounded back inside, desperately looking for Blackwell but no where to be seen. They quickly retook the northern gate and brought up the replacement barricade, waiting for the other ministers to get up to the surface to decide their next move. The tribals had never attacked this ferociously before and rarely even approached the gates before, the few guards at the gate overwhelmed so quickly. Looking out at the now distant rabble of Yankees falling back to their buildings, knowing Blackwell and Jennings were somewhere in there.

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