The three Harleys stopped at the entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Island Pumping Station, field headquarters for the final battle in the war on tyranny. Being situated on the west bank of the Potomac River, the ACF referred to it, ironically, as the “Western Whitehouse”. Luke leaned his bike onto the kickstand and waved to Ben and Tom. The two young men headed on toward the bridge to the island. They were to double and triple check the electromagnetic pulse weapons. It was crucial that the alignment not be off more than one degree.
Luke dismounted and looked at his watch. Nine o’clock. Three hours until the final card would be dealt in the highest stakes card game of his life. The thought brought back memories of the Poker Runs he and John had gone on when they were young. The Runs were often followed by all night drinking and card playing. Then, heading home as the sun was rising over the mountains. But this game was different. There was no bluffing, no folding. It was all or nothing. You either win, or you don’t go home.
He looked to the east; across the Potomac River. He saw his nephews turn off of the bridge, and onto the island. Turning to his right, he saw West Potomac Park. Fixing his gaze on the Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials, he wondered how those Soldiers felt when they faced their final battle? A sudden chill went down Luke’s spine. He shook it off and headed into the pumping station.
Reaching the control room, three stories underground, he was meet by Taz and Eddie. The two men were busy modifying the controls to operate the EMP’s. Neither looked up. They were on a tight deadline. “Hey Taz, have you heard anything from the Doc about the Nuclear Power Plant yet?” Luke asked. Taz just shook his head and continued working.
Five months earlier, the ACF had disrupted all electrical power going to DC. It was quite a surprise the next day, to discover that DC still had lights and commutations. A week later, Luke had found out that in 2015; the U.S.S.A. had secretly constructed a nuclear power plant two thousand feet below the Supreme Court Building. “Smart thinking for a bunch of dumb asses” he mused, “just in case the shit ever hit the fan”. The only question now was, “What would a EMP blast do to the nuclear reactor”?
Luke had checked with the best minds on the subject he could find. All had their theories, but none could be taken as absolute fact. No one had ever aimed a EMP at a nuclear reactor before. So it was a craps shoot. Not a pleasant thought. But one he was willing to gamble on. The outcome of doing so ranged from nothing, to Armageddon. One expert said that when the EMP fries the reactor controls, it’ll cause a meltdown and explode. Or simply shut down with nothing happening. Or, it could shut down and go into stand by mode. Yet another theorized that it’s deep enough underground to be contained, regardless of the outcome.
Luke knew that they really didn’t need DC to rebuild the Nation. After all, it was just sixty-eight square miles of isolated land. Cut off from rest of the Country. It was more of a physiological tool. If Washington, D.C. were in the control of the ACF, the few remaining supporters of the U.S.S.A. would surely concede and join in the building of a new Nation. At least he hoped they would.
He checked his watch again. Ten o’clock. Two hours ‘till midnight. Time to go check on his boys. A quick word with Taz and Eddie before leaving. Taz said too “ Leave them the hell alone. They were busy. They didn’t have time to BS with the boss” They assured Luke everything was on schedule.
Back outside, his bike fired on the first kick. “That Ben sure has his Dad’s love for engines,” Luke said to himself. “Best Harley mechanic I ever had”. He reached down and kicked it into gear. Luke gave a quick salute to the Washington Monument, silhouetted in the moonlight, and headed off in search of a Nation waiting to be rebuilt.
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