Sat April 21 2012

Sat April 21 2072

In the bears lair, Governor Theodor Gill rubs his face as he stares at the view screen feeding him data. Towns that have fallen, towns that have burned. Casualty rates in Bakersfield. The map showing the San Joaquin Valley almost entirely in Japanese hands.

"How did we come to this?" He asks rhetorically, to no one in particular.

"You forgot how to fight, Mr. Gill." Says a gravelly yet smooth voice, slightly asian toned voice. "You are so worried about what you still have, you have forgotten how to risk it to gain more. You have forgotten how to want."

The older governor turns slowly in his chair, one hand moving to the pistol at his side.

"No no, Mr. Gill. There is no need for that. I am here to make you an offer. I am here to talk. If I wished you dead, you would already be such."

"You have my attention." Says the old soldier, looking more tired by the moment as he turns. "But I do not have a name for you."

"You can call me Junjiro. Mr. Junjiro."

"And what is your offer, Mr. Junjiro?"

"I can give you California. Protect you from your son. All you need to do… is what I ask."

"And you want me to ask you what you want. Yes…. yes." Says Gill, shaking his head. "But I am not going to, Mr. Junjiro. I was warned you would come at some point - when things looked darkest. That someone would come and offer me whatever it was I wanted… and all I had to do was sign over my soul - and the soul of my nation." He shakes his head again, almost sadly. "Mercutio was right."

"The black skinned one is a fool. Think clearly, Mr. Gill." Says Junjiro, entirely unperturbed by his lack of dramatic revelation. "Think clearly on what I offer, against what he does." Junjiro rises then, straightening his sportcoat's plackets. "I know the way out."

Standing atop the PETRO-CAL building, Jace watches the far line of battle, the occasional report of gunfire and muzzel flashes in the distance. "How did we come to this…" Asks Jace, rhetorically.

"By remembering how to fight, Mr. Gill." Says Junjiro, standing next to him. "By remembering that only the strongest, fittest creature survives."

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