By; Gerald A. Polley
All rights reserved

Chapter One

    It is that period in history that is called The Second American Civil War. Taking advantage of the turmoil in Europe the American Christians have passed The Religious Clarification Act, which, in essence, outlaws many of the teachings of the new religion of Spiritism. The Spiritists have risen up in rebellion against The Union, forming independent republics. The peoples of The Indian Nations plus, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims in America have joined them. Even many Christians have forsaken their brothers and sisters and joined the rebellion!     It has not gone well for The Union. In defeat after crushing defeat they have lost all of the west coast, The Hawaiian Islands, and Alaska. The east coast has held for some time, but now Maine has fallen, and Fortress Manhattan. The only foothold The Union continues to hold on the east coast is a strip of land in Georgia, which contains their last east coast seaports, which they need desperately, so that supplies can continue to come into them from their few friends still left in Europe.
    In desperation for more manpower The Union Forces have done what desperate armies often do. They have emptied their prisons, asked for volunteers, granting any that would serve in the army amnesty if they would fight. Almost the entire 3rd Platoon Of Christ's Brigade are released felons. Their commander, Major Jefferson, knows that tomorrow the enemy will engage them. They are dug in, hold an easily defendable position, but he also knows the enemy is determined, fanatical.
    He joins twenty of his officers around a campfire. Some strong beverage is being passed around. Though it is prohibited, there is much of it in the camp and the major does not begrudge his men a little indulgence as long as they're sober in the morning.
    As he sits down Captain Hollywell asks him "We've been telling why we have grievances with The Spir, Major. Why did they have you in the brig?"
    The Major took the cup offered him and stared at those around him. He didn't particularly like sharing his personal experiences, but he supposed the camaraderie of the moment required it.
    "Not too much to tell," he remarked. I was running a national guard unit in Vermont. The local gangs would pay damned good money for weapons, so some friends of mine were making fake rifles and we were switching them for the ones in the storage boxes. They fooled even the military inspectors! Then we got a new officer, a woman...damned pretty! Really took to her. Damned pretty, thought she rather cared for me, too.
    Well, she wondered where I was getting all my cash, and without thinking about it I told her. The next thing I knew the damned Provost Marshals had me! The bitch was a Republic agent! She sold me out. They gave me twenty damned years for selling a few damned guns, twenty f'n years! I'd still be stuck in that damned brig if the war hadn't come along. But now the old army needs me again, and I've got a chance to get back at those damned bastards for what they did to me.
    I understand Ms Goody-Goody is in command of one of the units opposing us tomorrow. Maybe I'll get lucky. She'll come up here and we can settle our score personally. I'd really ENJOY that!"
    The men around him all muttered in approval. The Captain fell silent, then one of the men spoke up. "What about you, Captain Howard?" he remarked. "I heard they did you pretty bad, too."
    "Not me, personally," the captain answered, "the bastards did my son. His gang virtually ran our neighborhood. They did all the importing to the area, and nobody bothered them 'til The Spir came. Then it was day and night harassment. The kids couldn't go out on the street to do a little business. They videotaped them night and day, testified against them in court, just wouldn't leave them alone. The kids got mad, targeted the worst family and paid a little visit to them one night to teach The Spir to mind their own business.
    They were waiting for them. They told them to surrender their weapons. The kids said to hell with you and started shooting. They killed them all, every last one of them! We screamed bloody murder, demanded they be arrested and tried. But the authorities said there was nothing they could do, it was purely self defense. The kids had opened fire first. They'd been given every opportunity to surrender. They let the bastards go scott free!
    They murdered our kids, they let them go. There was nothing we could do. So when the war came I was one of the first to volunteer. Now people are waking up, they're fighting back. I want a chance to avenge my boy who they never gave a chance! I don't intend to take any prisoners no matter what our orders are."
    A murmur of agreement spread through those gathered. "What about you, Capt. West?" one of the men asked. "You just fight for The Union, or have you got something personal too?"
    "I've got plenty personal!" the captain answered. "I had a daughter. She was a good girl. Had a few problems, but nothing serious. Then her husband joined The Spir, started saying she was on dope, an unfit mother. We tried to protest, but the courts bought their lies, wouldn't listen to a bit of reason. They took the kids to one of those colonies. My daughter wanted them back, so she went there one night. She had a gun. She wasn't going to hurt anybody with it, she just had it so they'd listen. The sons of bitches shot her. never gave her a chance, just killed her right in front of her kids!

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