Fri April 20 2012

Fri April 20 2072

Artillery is often used to soften up a target before an attack. From Delano, the guns of the Akuma open up. A rolling, unceasing peal of thunder that never ends, punctuated lightening at the end when a shell lands and explodes. Every 10 to 20 seconds, a shell lands and someone dies.

Hour after hour, the guns fire on. A droning in the distance and a shattering clatter in Bakersfield. Shell after shell lands. Though not massive in volume, and not aimed at specific targets, they seem to be having a hugely demoralizing on the population. No one knows where the next shell will land. The concept of 'civilians as non-combatants' is a new one in our own world of 2012, but in 2072, it has been lost again, in favor of total war.

And the guns fire on. The steady, smooth report of artillery rings in the valley, the haze of cordite smoke and the backblast dust from the firing of the guns raises up in the valley. The guns of Bakersfield open up - counter-shelling beginning slowly - one gun here. One gun there. It's certainly not as effective as the concentrated, sustained effort of the Japanese.

It's been said that power flows from the pen and not the sword, and while this is the digital age, the concept remains the same. If you control the content and the message, you control the world. In the world of 2072, content on the Matrix and on the news channels, in the scream sheets, it's highly edited. Highly spun and slanted. And even worse, the media consuming population is entirely asleep. While MOM and other Metahuman Rights Groups have tried to popularize the cause of the metahumans in California, there's not been much traction gaining in the last 10 years.

It's like the entire world turned a blind eye to these events - these horrible acts of genocide that have taken place in the California Sun - like they simply do not exist. But that seems to be changing. With the attack on Bakersfield, NewsNet, the last truly independent news source in the 6th world, ran a story on the devastation of the Monticello Dam attack, and it showed the former internment camp. Now it seems… -now- it seems… that Senators in the UCAS and CAS are taking notice and asking for intelligence briefs from the CIA.

The guns of Delano hammer away at Bakersfield. A line of artillery nine guns long and coordinated slam shells into the beleaguered capitol of the south. Jace Gill stands firm, atop PETRO-CAL's corporate building - his defacto head quarters. Artillery rains down, striking and collapsing the San Joaquin Community Hospital to the north. The 30 story building is the center of town, and thus far they have not shelled it. From its heights, he can almost see Delano, and he can certainly see how the artillery has left gashes in the city.

"Alright. Here's the plan. We sucker them deep - pull our main units back behind the Kern River - we hold them at the bridges and then the rangers sweep down behind them while we use the Condors…" Thats the Bakersfield Airwing - currently in Mojave at their air base.. "Will tear up the Artillery when they shove forward and have to lighten their defense. That should reel them back a bit and we can move forward across the bridges with our armor."

"You really think we can do this, Sir?"

Raising his binoculars to his face, Jace grimaces. "Not a doubt in my mind."

In the city of Santa Rosa, some 20 miles behind the northern coast frontline of Healdsburg, Colonel Tadao Shiawase, commander of the 5th Marine Division, the Jikininki (A ghost that eats human corpses from Japanese Folklore), stands before a crowd, atop a gallows.

"This man! This -Ranger-. Comes into your city. Comes into our home! Spreading sedition! Treason! He spreads lies! Talk of precious California Freedom! Freedom! General Saito has brought freedom and peace to our land! Has brought order from chaos! Look to Sacramento, so silent now. But no more silent than when Governor Gill ruled from there! He, this man here, this Ranger. He speaks of betrayal, of Collaborators! But I ask you! I ask you, who has betrayed California? Is it the General? Is it you? Or is it Governor Gill and his impotent, corporate-dominated toadyism?"

The crowd of several hundred, gathered in the square - they roar their approval for Colonel Shiawase's commentary. At the high point of the cheering, California Ranger Bill Tanner, a 20 year veteran of the force, falls 3 feet, the noose stopping his fall with a sudden snap.

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