The Colonel stood looking down at the girl's corpse for a moment, thinking...

You weren't ready.

You thought a revolution could be a simple, happy thing: you and thousands of your friends in the street, yelling and screaming and throwing things (sometimes on fire) at the cops, and The Powers That Be would inevitably fold before the justice! righteous anger! people united! and you'd get whatever it was you were demonstrating - no, rioting- for. These are different times and we must call things by their correct names now, for the sake of clarity. Whatever you were rioting about.

You had no idea what the fuck you were getting into.

Your friends told you the nukes that destroyed Washington and Chicago (and almost got LA and Houston) were a gift, a gift of new possibilities, where The People could take charge and throw out the corrupt Old Order and everyone would live in peace and happiness and nobody would starve or be denied anything. Your friends convinced you to come out for one last demonstration. Of course it turned into a riot.

You didn't understand that the rules had changed forever.

Your friends thought the new President, who just days ago had been a national joke when her fellow Congressmen elected her Speaker of the House in her freshman term, would be a pushover. An easy mark. Your friends thought the EMP pulse that crippled every piece of advanced electronics on the continent would be an advantage. (They were never that good at science, really; those nerds didn't have much interest in your politics, either, or they would have told you otherwise.) The concept of contingency plans was something out of the diseased, drug-addled conspiracy fantasies of paranoid screenwriters.


It must have been a terrible shock to you when the police didn't show up, and the soldiers did. When the molotails started flying, the troops followed orders, and you all tried to run instead of doing the only thing that would have saved your lives. (You never were very good at listening, were you?) You ran, only to run into the blocking squads behind and around you, and they opened fire. The rules had changed, you see; as a nation at war, this sort of business wasn't just a stretchy interpretation of the right to peaceable assembly any more (except you weren't being too peaceable, were you?) and free speech, it was insurrection. Rebellion. Not a police matter any more.


Live in your world. Die in mine.

...he knelt beside the girl's body, ignoring the blood from the multiple gunshot wounds that made the Che Guevara T-shirt almost indecipherable, and gently closed her eyes.

Standing, he looked at his headquarters squad, which surrounded him in a loose diamond and anxiously watched the roofs for snipers. "Vamos, compadres," he said.

Quietly, they moved off down the street, stepping carefully between the bodies as they went.

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