The Seeder, Chapter Twenty-Five: Nevada Is as Nevada Does

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Nevada is one of our western states. What Nevada does is another matter entirely. With the capital at Carson City, Reno in the north and Las Vegas in the south, nonresidents tend to forget that such towns as Ely, Beatty, and Tonopah even exist although they do tend to credit Loughlin with the loosest slots in the entire overheated, miserable, desert state.

Jovian assaults on the high desert discovered Nevada to their sorrow. It must have seemed to the Stick Men that the Silver State presented an opportunity because of its vast open spaces and often treeless terrain, but nothing could have been farther from the case. The Jupie ground troops ran into a militia-powered meat grinder made up of cells from every corner of the state. Jupie air attacks from nearspace were repeatedly wiped out by hi tech sorties from the storied Area 51.

In the end, the Jovian Commander announced a withdrawal from the Nevada sector officially based on its relative worthlessness in the overall scheme of things. The truth of the matter was quite different: In Nevada, Jumpin’ Jupiter got its military tail kicked but good. Other jurisdicitons would follow suit in time, one by one, but it was Nevada that got the ball rolling.____Norton Henderson, Turning Points In The Jovian War.

There was hardly any traffic. That had been the case in rural Nevada even before the war; it was doubly true these days. Even so, the State crews had not been lax in maintaining infrastructure. Sven need not concern himself with potholes (there would be none) or roadside bombs (they’d been swept years ago).

He flipped the switches that brought the narration by Dr. Semmes to life and relaxed, eyes mostly on the road but occasionally flicking to the dash mounted holo screen. Such screens were highly illegal, of course, even in Nevada. Which was why a quick flip of a hidden switch would retract the entire mechanism in a matter of two point three seconds, leaving only a normal if extremely plain dashboard for any passing law enforcement office to contemplate.

Dr. Semmes had a nice voice for narration, crisp and clear without being irritating. He found himself absorbed….

It seemed like the Jovians were everywhere. In fact, there were never more than a million of them on the planet at any one time. Fear, hope, and rumor multiplied their numbers in the human imagination to more than a billion, each arriving in a lightning fast space vessel equipped with a mind boggling array of intelligence, stupidity, genocidal cruelty, and technology that made science fiction writers orgasmic.

In the early years, some of the Earthbound sheeple even hoped the Jupiterians would save mankind from itself.

Sven chuckled briefly. Nobody would call them “Jupiterians” except an egghead academic. Jupies, Stick Men, Twiggies, the Scourge from God, but never Jupiterians. His amusement almost caused him to miss the next part.

The facts, if they may be called that, were quite different. Jupiterian mindset is not human mindset and never can be, so that we scholars are at best guessing when we talk about their motives and aspirations. For example, we know they pulled back out of Nevada after losing great numbers of troops to the Desert Rat Runners, Mineshaft Monsters, and other colorfully named citizen militia groups…but we have no way to know why they pulled back. Most civilians and even some historians believe it was because they feared losing even more men and machinery if they persisted, but we are not them. We can’t know. It could have been for any reason at all, something as incomprehensible to an Earthling as the alignment of the stars.

This time, the former Seeder just shook his head. Professor Semmes and popular historian Norton Henderson saw things differently. Semmes hated Henderson’s guts; he knew that much from news accounts on the Internet. Most likely it had to do with the latter’s immense popularity and soaring book sales.

By the year 2131, as this is being written and nearly thirty years after the cessation of hostilities, this much seems certain: The beings from Jupiter did have high hopes of colonizing Earth. They wished not to eliminate Earthlings but to subjugate them, to make slaves of the natives. Earth climate and atmosphere do not agree with Jupiterians any more than you and I would thrive on Jupiter. Thus, their plan was to coerce humanity into boosting booty into space where their own waiting fleet could shuttle the loot off to their home turf. It was a plan with which Earthlings might well identify, considering our own bloody, domineering history as a species entire.

This time Sven’s laughter exploded in a spluttering mess, spraying soda all over the steering wheel. He’d been taking a sizeable sip when that part about “boosting booty into space” hit his ears. He really liked listening to Semmes, but sometimes her lifelong immersion in academia made for–well, he supposed she had to have been referring to the ancient use of the term, booty meaning a pirate’s ill gotten gains.

She probably didn’t even know its more common meaning even though that meaning had been around for a couple of centuries.

He couldn’t stop laughing, picturing the Jupies in control and demanding regular shipments of human girls. But since their standards were not our standards, we’d probably be able to send them the ugliest chicks we could find, and they’d think we were being good little slavies. But then it would turn out that those ugly chicks were being used in a breeding program, and later on, Earth would be sterilized…and then restocked with a genetic grafting disaster, some sort of hybrid between Stick Men and a whole bevy of Ugly Betties….

His laughter was cut short by the sight of a speck coming over the far horizon.

Any traffic out here could be trouble; it did not pay to be careless. A flick of the switch, and the holoscreen was both silent and hidden. As the oncoming vehicle drew nearer, its identity became clear. Yep. Nevada Highway Patrol, big as day. Two Nevada troopers inside; the days of lone patrolmen had gone out with the War. Sven gave the car a twirl-hand salute as they passed each other; it was returned by the guy in the passenger’s seat.

Whew. Not that he’d felt alarm; Sven Jensen’s emotions were under far better control than that. Some cops were sensitive, just like any other segment of the population. He didn’t need any po-po sensing distress and beginning to wonder why the guy in the old car was nervous.

Not until the cop car had been gone from the rear view mirror for a full three minutes did he bring the holoscreen back out. Ossifers were known to turn around out of sight and double back on a suspect’s tail if they were either suspicious or bored; civilians who were either careless or stupid ended up in traffic court, prison, or the cemetery.

Okay. Back to Dr. Semmes.

In the end, they were defeated by our diversity. In China, billions of Chinese appeared to cooperate with these heavily armed invaders for nearly fifty years. The Chinese people were not sure whether the Jupiterians were demigods, dragon seed demons, or simply misguided space felons. In the end, the image of dragon seed demons won out, and every known spaceman in sight was hunted to extinction except for a desperate few who fled in their skyboats. There may of course be exceptions. China is once again closed to those outside her borders. Their government could well be keeping captured pet Jupiterians in cages for entertainment or in laboratories for scientific study.

We do not know. We can not know.

Then again, neither do we know about our own government. In the twentieth century, official denials of even the existence of Area 51 persisted until its status as a secret facility had already become a “secret facility” well known to the public. This volume, however, deals primarily with what can be openly demonstrated, not the skeletons sitll lurking in a hundred thousand bureaucratic closets.

China’s example of early cooperation with the aliens, at any rate, appears to have been rather an exception. In many other countries, confusion reigned. Politicians and religious leaders ran around like chickens with their heads cut off and accomplished about the same amount of good. Lots of blood, ranging from savagely suppressed slave labor strikes in several African and European nations to the early choices to fight back in Australia and the United States.

Australia was unified behind government leadership. The United States was not.

Canada? Don’t make me laugh. Canadians are great at suppressing their own indigenous peoples. They’re not built for real wars.

Jensen found himself nodding in agreement. His own survival in the Here and Now might be problematic from day to day, yet it was nothing compared to those early War years. He should know. He’d been there, although that most recent past life memory was one he’d shared with no one–not even his beloved Kate, and that was saying something.

Best estimates indicate that during the first five years of Jupiterian occupation, more Americans were killed by fellow Americans than fell to invading forces. Military and police operations were impossibly divided between resisting offworlders and attempting to maintain order in the cities, not to mention clashes with various early militia units thrown together by determined citizens. Gangs ran amok, raping and killing both rival gang members and innocent bystanders indiscriminately while looting every vulnerable business that dared to keep its doors open without multiple armed guards.

Militias, on their part, performed spottily, killing and being killed in turn by Federal and State police, Jupiterian troops, and on occasion their own people who believed they’d gone turncoat. Eliminating traitors is and always been a militia standard; there were many stabbed kidneys and sliced throats during those weeding-out years.

Yet somehow America came through.

Now we truly had a War of the Worlds beyond the average man’s wildest nightmare, the single most important product of which may have been the Militia Reconciliation Act of 2035. Under the Act, any and all militia cells were provided immediate amnesty for past transgressions such as slaughtering FBI and BATFE and Homeland Security agents, and vice versa. A mixed Review Board based at Area 51 in Nevada, half of the Board members to be composed of militia members, was formed to deal with future incidents. Additionally, The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was reaffirmed and all previous restrictions on gun ownership were declared null and void.

Most effective of all, governmental and military leaders agreed to post joint task force assault instructions on the Internet.

Sven’s mind boggled every time he heard that part. It must have been a truly monumental struggle for the military types to agree upon such an insane breach of security. Yet it had paid off. Jupies were not, after all, polished scholars of the English language. They did by this time possess a network of wussie human collaborators, yet these humans inadvertently made things worse rather than better for the Stick Men.

One example always made him laugh.

The Internet posting had simply said, When in Ireland, beware the mile high Ides of March.

Some militia units had direct liason contacts with their U.S. Army counterparts and planned accordingly. Other units had no clue, and quite a number had no Net access whatsoever, what with more than half of all orbiting satellites been having blown to smithereens by the Stick Men’s space fleet. But the word spread, and the turncoats nearly all got it wrong. Some convinced their Jupiterian masters that a huge offensive would indeed target the Emerald Isle. Most believed the counterattack would begin on March 15, 2037–the next available Ides of March–but that day came and went.

Jupiterian forces relaxed, believing the Net posting had been just another stupid Earthling hoax.

Two days later, on St. Patrick’s Day, two hundred militia members initiated a mortar attack against a huge Jupiterian garrison near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Nearly ten thousand Denver based alien aircraft launched immediately, only to be torn to shreds in a brilliantly executed ambush carried out by combined Air Force and Army forces. Many of our fighter jets issued forth from a top secret portal at Cheyenne Mountain the enemy had not discovered in time.

That, not Nevada, was the real pivot point of the entire War, or so Sven believed. Hundreds of engagements were subsequently fought using the same or similar tactics. Confuse the enemy on the time line, feint a light left jab with the militia, then hit ’em with an all-out right cross when they focused on that first irritating mosquito bite.

The Twiggies never did crack wise to that strategy. They just weren’t genetically capable of ignoring any attack, no matter how many times they got flattened.

EC’s humongous present day population traced back to those early years of mass confusion. Approval for both genetic engineering and human cloning had been rushed through Congress and signed by the President, producing entire battalions of virile, efficient, deadly soldiers with great resistance to Jovian diseases.

In later years, it was seen that cloning also made fighters dangerously predictable. Fight one G.I. Joe or Rambo type, and you’ve fought them all. This began to play into Jupie hands, the Jovians being unquestionably alien but not entirely stupid. Earth’s greatest advantage in the struggle was the variance inherent between people, and the Cloning Approval Act of 2032 was rescinded in 2997. Not that there weren’t plenty of guys out there still romancing their illegally cloned sisters, ignoring the several laws on the books that oulawed Clone Incest.

Thinking about that, Sven shook his head in disbelief. He loved his slave girls, but incest? With all the other millions of chicks out there to choose from? Doing your sister was one thing he couldn’t comprehend.

On the other hand, he didn’t have a sister who looked like holo star Shauna Parr, either….

Beyond that, he likewise couldn’t believe how swiftly his five hour drive had passed. “Reno 2 miles”, he read from the green overhead sign. It felt more like five minutes.

“Occupy the mind, hypnotize the body,” he told the air cheerfully. Time to grab the next exit, find some fuel, hit the restroom–soon, now that he was paying attention–find a Reno/Sparks street map and a motel.

He needed to be rested and ready for his morning appointment with Sandfire’s CEO.

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