Hello, my name is…
1 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Cannon Air Force Base housed many of the Special Forces teams near America’s Old Border with Mexico, including some of the most secretive ones. What people still call the Black Helicopter teams, even if modern “helicopters” have little in common with the original vehicle that coined the term. The Black Helicopter teams were infamous in various conspiracy theories of the Pre-Second Great Depression era, performing missions as unbelievable as ransacking organic milk producers to doing away with inconvenient individuals like the real life Epstein whose death resulted in the saying we all know so well. The most sensational stories always made these missions so black that the soldiers went in without any identification to avoid being recognized as part of the military if they were caught. As in most stories of this kind, there is some basis of truth to the genesis of these stories. There are highly secretive Special Forces teams that perform dark missions, and it was to those teams that the new President of the United States went to after the FBI failed to arrest the old President on charges of treason.
2 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Specials Forces team sent to arrest the old President, also the incoming Governor of Texas, was never officially identified for the public. Much as it was never formally announced that they came from Cannon Air Force Base. Not all dirty laundry must be hung out for all to see. The news of the failed mission ignited a firestorm at Cannon, though. Most of the base’s airmen were shocked to find out that their fellows had been sent to arrest the former President. They understood performing missions of dubious legality in less developed nations to keep the chaos at arm’s length, but a mission like that on American soil was a bridge too far. The new President’s activation of the Insurrection Act against Texas did not change their minds. The active duty military did not deploy on American soil. It was a matter of faith, and their reaction to seeing that faith violated was… explosive.
3 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The news that units from Cannon Air Force Base had been deployed to arrest the former President of the United States hit the base like a bomb. Literally. The majority of the airmen deployed there did not approve of their fellows being used on American soil. The base commander quickly moved to make certain future actions on American soil would be contained before they launched. The President ordered the remaining Special Forces teams at Cannon to arrest the commander and secure the base for future operations. But members of the teams who opposed the arrest publicly announced the orders to the entire base. Decades of terrorist attacks on military bases had long since codified the practice of servicemen working on post with weapons on their person, so the reaction to that announcement was swift and lethal. Shots were fired and Cannon Air Force Base exploded into it’s own small civil war.
4 - Medron - Happy Fourth of July - I hope my fellow Americans have a Happy Fourth of July, today.
The rest of you… well… I hope you do to. Even if you don’t celebrate it like we do. ;)
To my fellow Americans, be careful if you are blowing up a piece of America to celebrate her creation. Come back with all your appendages intact.
It’s never fun to spend the Fourth of July in an emergency room.
Have fun. Be careful. Keep your distance from strangers.
I’m doing my part. You do yours. :)
5 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Cannon Air Force Base’s private little civil war was a vicious affair. Those moving to arrest the base commander and bring Cannon under the new President’s control were elite Special Forces. Those standing in their way included Rear Echelon Marginal Fighters who were almost as dangerous to their friends as those they were trying to stop. Multiple Special Forces teams joined them, but they were trying to catch up with teams already armed, armored, and on their way. Casualty rates skyrocketed as the battle raged on the ground, below ground, and in the air above the base. The fighting shattered most of Cannon’s teams, gutted their aircraft, and set the base itself on fire in dozens of locations. Only a single team and a handful of aircraft remained fully operational in the end, but they and the surviving base staff spread word of what happened throughout the military networks. That and their intention to support Texas. It was a chilling message for the entire American military.
6 - Medron - Picard - I have finally seen Picard this weekend. The really short version is, that it is not like the classic Star Trek I and most fans grew up with. Some say this is a good thing. That Star Trek is growing up. I say that it started grown up. I prefer classic Trek, but this was not as bad as I expected. And as one of my friends said, the last two episodes are great classic Trek. Searching for new life, new civilizations, and going where no man has gone before. :)
The longer version is that the reason for the tonal change of this story is because of those who were focused on. All previous Star Trek shows focused on members of Star Fleet, those who volunteered to explore the galaxy and are the best of all of us. Picard focuses on the literal rejects of Star Fleet. Those who were kicked out, left, or were never good enough to join in the first place.
Picard spends eight hours tooling through the underbelly of Federation life, where we see body counts and a lack of respect for human life that even a Ferengi would be horrified of. I mean, if you kill them, they can’t buy your stuff, and there’s no profit in that. These eight hours of grunge lead up to two final hours of true classic Star Trek, that I wish we didn’t have to spend eight hours getting to.
In the days of classic Trek, the A story of Picard would have been a two-part episode, and with the right editing for flow and content, would probably be in the “best of Trek” episodic collections. It is a good story, the question and the idea that Trek follows and strives for.
Similarly, the B story would probably have been a two-part season finale/opener, or possibly even a feature film. Yes, that story is that powerful, held up by the rather good acting chops of a certain excellent actress, and with a proper final act would rival First Contact as the best of the Next Generation-era films. I’m not joking. It is a good story.
What I’m saying of course, is that they crammed four hours of storytelling into ten hours of show. And it shows in a number of places. Yes, some of the episodes would make for good single-part episodes with the right editing, but they are strictly unneeded for either main story. Yes, they would be nice to see, but they are primarily set piece episodes that put the story on hold to show off a nice or not-so-nice place. They would be good filler episodes, but the parts of them that support either main story could be cut down to minutes at most.
The final thing I will note is that we see just how jarring Kurtzman Trek is as opposed to the Trek we all grew up with. We see two fleets head off against each other in the final confrontation of Picard. In Trek as we know it, we would have seen dozens of starship classes. Nebulas, Galaxies, Sovereigns, Defiants, Excelsiors, and a dozen other Federation ships we’ve seen over the decades. We would see at least a half dozen different Romulan ships from their smallest scouts to their largest battle wagons. All ships we’ve seen doing battle on TNG, DS9, or VOY. Classic Trek would have mined the ship-class intellectual property that has been built into the series for decades and would have taken the opportunity to show off their ship porn to Star Trek fans of all ages.
Instead, Kurtzman Trek refuses to use ANY of those existing designs, and instead creates one Romulan battleship and one Federation battleship and sends hundreds of these duplicate starships to loom over each other and prepare for the big battle. Whether the reason is legal or choice, Kurtzman Trek NEVER uses the Star Trek ships we grew up with. And in the two cases I can think of where old designs ARE used, it is only after heavy editing to make them different enough that they are effectively different designs for what I presume are either copyright or licensing purposes.
In the end, Kurtzman Trek is NOT the Star Trek we grew up with, and it is most heavily notable in this TNG-era of story telling. And while Picard has promise and does have good story telling, that inability to link up with classic Trek in the most simple ways by showing other ships we know and love on the screen next to the new ones is a great disappointment.
I’m glad I watched Picard. I love the ending.
I just wish I hadn’t had to watch ten hours of Kurtzman Trek to get four hours of classic Trek story telling.
7 - Medron - Goodbye Charlie Daniels - I grew up listening to Charlie Daniels. Even before I started listening to Country Music, when I only listened to 80s pop rock, I knew who he was and knew his songs. He was one of those few artists who transcends the exact style of their music and is simply… a music star.
I will miss him. And I will never hear the song about a golden fiddle in Georgia the same way again.
Godspeed, Charlie Daniels.
8 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Marine Corps Air Station Yuma was the busiest air station in the United States Marine Corps when the Second Great Depression came upon us all. It sported excellent year-round flying conditions and thousands of acres of open terrain all round for conducting training missions or tests. The powerful F-35B Lightning fighters covered the Old Border as Marines from all over the nation passed through the command. As with most American bases of the time, most young officers spent their time training or providing aggressor forces to train others. They never expected to have to defend the base itself from ground attack. Everybody knew the Mexican military was smart enough not to start anything with America after all. They were right. Despite contemporary reports to the contrary, the Mexican military did not attack MCAS Yuma.
9 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Second Great Depression affected every military base across America differently. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma did not collapse into internal fighting. It did not suffer massive desertions. Yes, there were some, but Yuma’s fighting strength remained largely intact. The new President slashed their budget, though, and that cut their ability to train and deploy the expensive F-35Bs that were their primary striking power. So the base commander talked to his drill instructors about the Marine Corps unofficial motto. No. Not the one that probably just came to your mind. The “Every Marine is a Rifleman” motto. Knowing that idle hands makes for mischief, he ordered every Marine on base, starting with himself, placed on double physical training duty until the budget issues could be worked out. As you may imagine, his Marines did not love him for that. Though they did follow him onto the parade field every morning.
10 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Every Marine on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma learned to hate their base commander as the Second Great Depression ran them into the ground. Literally. With the budget cuts slashing his ability to keep the F-35Bs in the air, he ordered his Marines on double physical training duty. He led them into hell every morning, denying them even the chance to hate him for not putting himself through it as well, including the morning of the surprise drug cartel attack. They came from the sun at daybreak, expecting to find an airbase filled with pilots, mechanics, clerks, and other Rear Echelon Marginal Fighters that would be ripe for the pickings. They found a base of angry Marines looking for someone to vent their hate on. Most could not claim marksman status, but months of physical training had at least driven the basics back into their hindbrains. The drug cartels did not enjoy the success they expected.
11 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Marine Corps Air Station Yuma weathered the drug cartel attacks far better than those who aimed the cartels at them expected. Yuma did not know who could have managed it, but they smelled a rat. Yuma was far away from most things important, so they suspected someone had targeted them for destruction. The question was “why?” The first question, that is. There were many other questions, and it galvanized them to look for other ways to survive. The new President was not going to help them, so they began sounding out the Arizona State government. Arizona was already talking to Texas on matters of regional self-defense, and they roped Yuma into the discussion. Yuma’s commander was clear on the point that they were United States Marines, and were not interested in joining whatever Texas was cooking up. But if Texas was getting ready to shoot up the drug cartels, Yuma would deploy everything they could fly in support of that operation.
12 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Marine Corps Air Station Yuma flew in support of Texas during the Drug Wars. Their F-35Bs could loiter over the battlefields slower than nearly any other aircraft, allowing them to support Texan and American troops in unique and valuable ways. They escorted A-10s, C-130s, and numerous other craft during that conflict and the ones that followed. Throughout it all, Yuma flew the American flag. And when the Convention of States reformed the Federal government, they remained part of the United States Marine Corps. When Arizona joined the Republic of Texas, Yuma remained an American base. Yuma is still an American federal Marine Corps base centuries later, and the bars surrounding the base host “gentlemanly competitions of physical prowess” between American and Texan Marines when they disagree over the matter of who is better. Which is most of the time.
13 - Medron - School - TLDR version: School is the great equalizer. The great opportunity. The great path to freedom and success in America that anyone can navigate if they have the drive and ambition. It's as American as apple pie. It’s our greatest gift as adults to the children of the next generation. A chance for them to reach as high as we have.
We have to give it to them.
Full version: Going to school is a basic part of American life. Much of the rest of the world as well. I will grant that there are some parts of the world where parents would kill to get their kids in school. And others will kill to keep them out of it. Check out what happens in various African countries on a regular basis for that. But for now I speak of American culture.
Going to school is part of growing up. Meeting new people. Learning how to socialize. Becoming your own person in the end. Whether you left school at the end of 5th grade to care for your family fifty or a hundred years ago, or maybe after 8th grade to work the farm, school in America is a universal thing. Graduating the 12th grade is a coming of age ceremony in modern America, the point where a child becomes an adult. Fully 90% of Americans have reached this plateau and entered their new lives as working adults.
We hugged the friends we’d grown up with. We threw our hats in the air. We cheered the coming of our new lives. Some of us went to work. Some of us went to college. Some of us did both. The vast majority of us have that fundamental shared American experience. We went to school together. We made friends and enemies for life. Maybe we kissed someone outside the family for the first time. Some of us played a rousing game of coed baseball. Far more said we did.
Many of us had our best meals of the day at school. Others of us received much needed medical care at school. We exercised at school. Learned to shoot at school. We learned to cook or make furniture. We sang or played an instrument at school. School councilors helped us with our mental health. They found out if our life at home was good or bad. Some of us escaped the worst ghettos in America because we went to school every day and studied hard.
School is the great equalizer. The great opportunity. The great path to freedom and success in America that anyone can navigate if they have the drive and ambition. It's as American as apple pie. It’s our greatest gift as adults to the children of the next generation. A chance for them to reach as high as we have.
We have to give it to them. We have the open school this fall. Now I don’t know what it will look like. Other countries have done it already. Maybe we look at what they did. Maybe we look at other options. Maybe we distribute it out into smaller schools like we used to. Smaller class sizes, fewer kids in the halls at the same time. I don’t know what our answer will be to the exact bits and pieces of how to make it work.
But we have to make it work. For the children who are becoming adults before our eyes. Who are growing faster than any of us want right now. Who will judge us in the future for what we will do in the coming months.
Don’t listen to those who say we can’t do it. Listen to those who give options and ideas for how we CAN do it. If we do that, we can make our schools great again, and provide the best gift our generations can give to the next generation.
The gift of school.
14 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Second Great Depression hit the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex harder than nearly any other city or group of cities in Texas and the rest of America. Demonstrations became protests and riots, and the civilian leadership actually encouraged them, ordering the police to stand down so the protestors could air their grievances in peace. Gangs and drug cartels fought in the streets. Business districts burned and common men and women on simple walks were shot and killed. It was beyond anything the region had seen in decades, eclipsing even the 2020 riots with their sheer lethality and property damage. The various rioters, gangs, and drug cartels even sought to burn down the Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on numerous occasions. That proved to be a step too far for them. The mayors and town councils may have supported the looters, but the military base did not answer to them. And it did not cooperate when the riots and fighting came for them.
15 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The mayors of the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex welcomed the early protestors that heralded the Second Great Depression. They ordered the police to stand down and let the peaceful protesters be, and when the protests became riots and more, they mayors ordered the police to stay back and let the people vent their righteous feelings. Looters destroyed vehicles on the streets, broke into businesses, and invaded homes, taking anything of value they could find. Some neighborhoods they declared “Police Free” zones where no one could be forced to work against their will. Those zones quickly became hotbeds of gang and drug cartel activity, and thefts, rapes, and murders ran rampant. Those citizens who managed to drive the looters off with weapons soon had their weapons confiscated by the police at mayoral orders. The looters always came back the next night, neighborhoods burned, and citizens died. The flashpoint for Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base came when one of their Marines killed an entire gang caught in the act of looting a family home. The mayor of Dallas ordered his arrest for murdering peaceful protestors, and came prepared with a laundry list of other charges to hang on the man.
16 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base could legally do nothing about the civil chaos in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex surrounding them. They were professional military, not law enforcement, and even the Texas State Guard units on base could not help until the local authorities asked them. The local mayors were not asking for help. Then one night, Lieutenant Jacob Carter of VMFA-112, the Cowboys, caught a gang looting a family home on his way home. He killed them all, and the mayor of Dallas ordered his arrest. Dallas flooded the networks with well-groomed high school pictures, and broadcast stories of the coldhearted murder conducted by a bloodthirsty soldier while innocent children were exercising their First Amendment rights on a peaceful protest. Fort Worth JRB responded by recalling Carter, and the family he’d saved, to the base for protection. When the police came to arrest him, under mayoral orders, the base’s military police smiled and informed them that the base was on lockdown and could not receive visitors. Then the base denied any knowledge of the leaked surveillance video showing the gang looting, torturing, and raping their way through the family home. It finished with Jacob Carter crawling in through a broken window, sneaking up on, and killing each and every member of the gang until the home and family were safe and secure again.
17 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base housed various Texas State Guard, Army, Air Force, and Marine units when the Second Great Depression came upon us all. VMFA-112, the Cowboys, is the most famous of those units. They had been there for nearly a century, and their reserve status meant they had little of the turnover that line units had. Then their Lieutenant Jacob Carter saved an entire family from gang violence during the riots, and the security footage ended up released all over the networks. They publicly embraced that action as something all Cowboys should aspire to do. The other units on base had a similar history, and greatly enjoyed watching the young Marine in action. They were envious, in fact. The Metroplex was their home. They had no intention of leaving it. They wanted to defend it. That is why Fort Worth JRB had very few of the desertions most other bases saw. That is why they showed a united front to the police the mayor sent to arrest the young Marine. And that is why they were ready when the riots and looters came for them.
18 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base’s commander recognized the danger the Second Great Depression’s protests, riots, and gang violence held for his military base. And for those personnel who lived off base. Fort Worth JRB was a reserve base, so that was most of them. They had civilian jobs and careers throughout the Metroplex, their children attended nearly every school, and their families shopped at all of the most popular malls. The commander recalled every single serviceman assigned to the base, ordering them to bring their families with them. But even Fort Worth JRB was not large enough to accommodate that large an influx of people. So the commander activated numerous contracts to rent homes, rooms, and entire schools in nearby neighborhoods, and expanded the patrols to cover those areas. It was a technical violation of the law, but the police turned an official blind eye to that. Fort Worth JRB was a bastion of calm in the burning Metroplex, after all. Until the rioters and looters came for them.
19 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The mayor of Dallas did not accept Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base’s defiance of her lawful orders to arrest their Marine. He had murdered an entire group of peaceful protesters in cold blood, and the “security footage” the base had obviously cooked up and released was just to make the victims look like they deserved it. So the mayor denounced it as exactly that on live broadcast. The United States Marines had been murdering black and brown and yellow and red people for centuries. And Lieutenant Jacob Carter was the perfect example of that. Northern Minnesota pale skin. Bright blond hair. Shining blue eyes. Movie star square jaw. Wielder of the deeply problematic title, Cowboy. He was the very embodiment of white privilege, and it was time the people rose up and told them that their wanton campaign of terror and murder was over. The mayor of Dallas called and the protesters came. They screamed and spat, they threw bottles and rocks, and they showed everyone on all of the networks that the United States military was not welcome in their town. And when night fell, the gangs and the drug cartels and the anarchists came to burn everything down. But the defenders of Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base did not answer to the mayor of Dallas. They were ready when the looters and rioters came.
20 - Medron - Futuristic Writing and the Crazy Times - One of the things that amazes me about writing is just how crazy things can get. Or rather, how what you think is crazy when you write it can turn normal real soon. When I started writing Jack of Harts a decade ago, I had this thing in the not-too-distance future that helped build the universe as I wrote it. I called it the Second Great Depression, and though I have never noted the exact time in stories, it has always been placed right around 2050 in my timeline. And yes, my background notes get more specific than that round number.
The idea was that the Second Great Depression was this thing that happened nearly half a century from the time I first wrote about it. Part economic crisis. Hence the overall name, but it was never meant as a single event. It was an umbrella name for a massive number of global events that changed the world we know now and paved the way for the world I write in Jack of Harts. Part cultural crisis, especially in America, with a truly “us versus them” mentality taking over and turning violent. The Second Civil War. Part religious crisis that included entire cities and some nations taken over by religious extremists. The Islamic Jihad. Part technologic crisis amidst awakening AIs. The Cybernetic Wars. Part drug crisis amidst the total collapse of the Mexican government. The Drug Wars. Add in a dash of Russian reconquests and Chinese expansion, and you get the building blocks for the world of Jack. Basically, my version of The Crazy Years that Heinlein speculated on in his writings.
A decade ago, when I came up with this vision of the future, I thought this was a really dark near-future version of our history that I really hoped did not come to pass. I did not want to live through a Second Civil War, a Drug War, a Second Great Depression, and an Islamic Jihad all rolled up into a short little decade or two. I did not want to see Russia reconquer Eastern Europe (like Ukraine) or the ex-Soviet Republics (like Georgia). I did not want to see China at war with… India… or conquering the South China Sea and all the islands and nations surrounding it. Seriously. I was looking at trends from a decade ago, and thinking it would really suck if all this went really bad and it all culminated in some nasty conflict a few decades in the future.
Crazy. Right? No one would believe it could go that bad in such a short time.
But I figured it’s far enough out that I can fudge it, and say it just helped build the world that built places like the Republic of Texas into an interstellar power. Along with the Confederation of Dixie, the Republic of California, and the New England Federation. A world that is a bit cockeyed, but still close enough to our own that readers can relate to it.
A decade later, it feels like current events. Crazy Times indeed.
21 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex spent months sliding into the worst excesses of the Second Great Depression. It started with protests against the old President’s handling of the latest Chinese Flu and the economic impacts of his China policies before the Impeachment. They turned to celebrations after he was kicked out, and then back to protests when the federal forces failed to arrest him. The Metroplex mayors always supported the “peaceful protests,” even as the nights grew more violent, deadly, and destructive. They refused to share information with Texas law enforcement agencies, and publicly ordered the Texas Rangers out of their cities. They refused to cooperate with any warrants or perform any paperwork pertaining to State cases, and released anyone the State detained whenever they gained custody. The new President supported their policies at every turn, publicly spotlighting their mission to drive the evils of systemic racism and so many other sins against humanity from Texas once and for all. The largest target in their crosshairs was the military-industrial complex epitomized by the Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in the heart of their cities. They wanted it out of their cities, and they did everything they could to drive the base to leave. When that didn’t work, they tried to burn it out by aiming the protestors, gangs, drug cartels, and anarchists at the base.
22 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Metroplex had been burning on and off for months by the time one of Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base’s Marines saved a family from a particularly vicious gang. The mayor of Dallas ordered his arrest for his “cold-blooded murder” of the “peaceful protesters” in the process, but the base did not cooperate. A large group of protesters arrived to denounce the base that very same day, while the rioters and looters waited until nightfall. But two of the very best AIs who had just come out of the proverbial closet also arrived that day. Dixie and Twilight. Yes. The real Dixie and Twilight of the Texas Tech graduation ceremony battle. Their self-given mission to fight the drug cartels had expanded greatly after that battle. The cartels had tried to kill their students, so they happily put their advanced machine intelligences into the process of weeding the useful-idiot protesters from the ranks of serious rioters and looters. Or the drug dealers. They had plans for the drug dealers.
23 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Metroplex police were sidelined by mayoral orders during the Second Great Depression. The sheriff departments had too few men to stop all the violence burning through the cities, so the Tarrant County Sheriff was in great need of a reinforced posse. Now it was against the law for the Feds to use Army or Air Force servicemen to enforce laws. The Feds had done so numerous times over the centuries, most famously during Reconstruction and Desegregation, but by and large they had abided by that limitation. But the law had never been updated to account for the Marine Corps, and the Space Force was specifically ordered to enforce laws in space. With this in mind, Americans are ever looking for ways to twist the law to their advantage when there is any wiggle room. So when word made it to Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base of Tarrant County’s urgent need, the base’s Military Police contingent suddenly discovered a deep and abiding love for all things Marine Corps. They resigned from the Army Reserve and volunteered to join VMFA-112, The Cowboys. The Marine commander accepted their service with a smile, granted them their previous ranks on an honorary basis, and the Tarrant County Sheriff formally drafted the entire unit into his posse. The law has changed, and that particular loophole is no longer available, but Tarrant County has never stricken The Cowboys from their posse. They are effectively grand fathered into the posse in just one of the many little peculiarities that has crept into the law over the centuries.
24 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Second Great Depression Riots hit Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base for weeks on end. Thousands of protesters, anarchists, gang members, and anarchists besieged the base night after night, setting fires and destroying vehicles outside the defensive cordon. They were angry and filled with passion, but they were little better than useful idiots with no real plans after that first night. Those leading and directing the riots had considered it their finest hour. Months of planning culminated in that night. Like thousands of successful protests before, they would provoke the military into some careless action that would cost lives and be broadcast all over the world in seconds. They would prove how dangerous and unstable the military was with one good video of them murdering a poor innocent protester who would have a name and a beautiful life story within minutes for distribution all over the world. Then all they would have to do is stoke the fires of outrage, and they could win the propaganda war at their leisure. They did not expect Tarrant County’s reinforced posse to localize and target them specifically for capture or elimination. That threw a wrench into the middle of their carefully laid plans.
25 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Metroplex police suffered under a severe leadership crisis during the Second Great Depression. The mayors ordered them to stand down when the riots burned down entire neighborhoods. The rioters and looters threatened their families, and often tracked down their homes and burned them down. Police morale was at an all-time low. It suffered another hit after the Tarrant County Sheriff drafted the Marines of Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base into his posse. The Metroplex mayors proclaimed them terrorists for their indiscriminate slaughter of “peaceful protesters who had traveled of their own free will to protest the callous murder of other peaceful protesters,” and they demanded the police march onto the base and arrest every last one of them. The police were not stupid. The vast majority resigned within a day of the order, and quickly moved their families into the neighborhoods surrounding the military base. Then they volunteered to join the posse, and the Tarrant County Sheriff accepted them with a smile. That is how Tarrant County built the posse they still claim is the most powerful posse in American history.
26 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex burned during the Second Great Depression Riots. The mayors supported the “peaceful protestors” until the Tarrant County Posse grew large enough to oppose them by recruiting the Marines of Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and the various police officers resigning from their positions throughout the Metroplex. It was a long and difficult road, and the Metroplex mayors fought the sheriff at every opportunity. The posse eventually marched the mayors in Tarrant County out of their town halls and into the jailhouse after running popular referendums that recalled every single one of them. They had no authority in Dallas, but their cities recovered under county management. Tarrant became a beacon of opportunity in Texas, and soon eclipsed Dallas and Harris in economic power, cultural activity, and even population as the various wars brought in refugees looking for a better life. Tarrant rebuilt itself into one of the vital hearts that powered the Republic of Texas throughout the rest of the century and into the next, and is now the single richest and most powerful county in the entire Republic. All roads lead to Tarrant County.
27 - Medron - Free At Last - Free At Last.
A decade ago, Obamacare took away my 100 dollar a month healthcare plan, before generously giving me the option of a 700 dollar a month plan that had less compensation than my old plan. I could not afford the new cost, and so I was forced to do without any healthcare plan at all.
It was then that my appendix exploded. Mayo Clinic saved my life, but there was a cost. Well over ten thousand dollars in cost. Over twenty, actually, but they wrote some of it off. I have paid payments on the rest ever since.
Today is the last day. Today I pay the last payment on that debt. Today is a good day to be alive.
Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I am free at last…
28 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Metroplex burned during the Second Great Depression, and only the timely intervention of Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base’s Marine elements saved much of it from complete destruction. But this intervention was not without consequences. The federal government ordered them to stand down, and when the base disregarded those orders, the feds conducted a swift court martial of the base commanders. They soon added every officer they could prove ignored their orders to the courts martial, and even sent a federal oversight team to take control of the base on the ground. The base escorted the oversight team off base and raised the Texas flag above the American flag at the same time. That ended any question of Fort Worth JRB’s loyalties.
29 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base housed numerous Army, Air Force, and Marine units, as well as a contingent of the Texas State Guard, when the Second Great Depression arrived. They ranged from normal troops, military police, artillery, cybernetic warfare, drone recon, and fighter and transport aircraft. The venerable C-130s and F-16s were the most numerous manned aircraft on base, but the Marine Corps Cowboys flew the newer F-35s. The joint base trained all of their units to work together, making them one of the best-integrated forces in Texas, even if their training levels were lower than line units. They were a reserve base, their troops spending most of their lives working for a living and only getting together for training and refreshing one weekend a month. But that was enough for them to know each other well, so when Texas decided to move against the Mexican drug cartels, Fort Worth JRB was able to send a combined force that could fight on any battlefield they expected to face.
30 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - Not every battlefield Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base’s units fought on was one they expected to face. The Drug Wars were fairly simple. Kill the drug cartels. Texas gave them targets, and they serviced the targets. The Islamic Jihad’s mass use of human shields was a much more difficult challenge, though Texas had less exposure to that conflict than other States. The Cybernetic Wars were particularly complicated, but the reserve units at the base tended to use less technologically advanced weapons that were far more resistant to Rogue AI hacking attempts. The friendly AIs who would later form the AI Council were quick to help defend their most advanced weapons, such as the Cowboys’ F-35s. And when it came time to make a stand against the Chinese, Texas sent the Cowboys to make sure the lesson took. It is perhaps ironic that they ended up flying with the Chinese during the final assaults against the Singapore Collective. Then they returned home to Fort Worth JRB and began acclimating to the new world they had defended and helped create.
31 - Charles - The Republic of Texas - The Second Great Depression, and the various wars and conflicts that happened during it, changed the world as we knew it. Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base survived them all to become one of many Republic of Texas reserve bases. Some may say the best of them, though others often disagree. But as the reserves generally do when the wars wind down, Fort Worth JRB settled back into a slower routine. Her people went back to their civilian jobs, assuming their companies had survived the chaos, or started a new life with a new job or vocation. Some went to space when America returned to that final frontier. They went to Mars and beyond in the decades that followed, all while maintaining a link to the military community of Fort Worth JRB. Ready to stand in defense of Texas and America should they be called back to duty again.