The Last Stand

At 1425 hours Homeland Security lost imaging and telemetry feeds from the orbital monitors over occupied Europe. Threat levels were raised to Red. All government and military staff were immediately recalled to active duty. Notifications were telexed to all North Atlantic defense personnel. At 1701 hours the Patriot Artificial Intelligence System broadcasted a triple-red advance warning to the White House. At 1719 hours Air Force One took off from Andrews AFB.

3 minutes later all TV and radio channels suspended their programming and put up alerts instructing citizens to standby for an important announcement from the White House at six o'clock. As people took notice of these alerts they became very concerned: It didn't take a genius to know that after overrunning Europe and Australia the Terrorists would move to attack the U.S., the very source of the freedom and democracy which they so despised.

At 1724 hours the Pentagon received an emergency transmission from the Graham Carrier Group, currently on patrol in the no-man's land between the Eastern Freedom Shield (EFS) and the shores of occupied Ireland. Her radar data was relayed back through the EFS but none of the base recognition systems were able to make sense out of it. Additional orbital monitors were diverted in order to track the incoming contacts in the North Atlantic. Within a few minutes there was no doubt that they were looking at an all out Terrorist attack. The monitors managed to relay images of an immense mobilization across the entire breadth of the Atlantic before they too went blank shortly thereafter.

Jenny answered her phone. It was her brother who worked for Homeland Defense. Jenny heard fear in his voice. "Listen Jenny, we have good reason to believe that the Homeland is under Terrorist attack. Are the kids there?" Yes, they were "Ok, tell no one. Not even Andrew. Pick up your kids and grab the SUV. Fill the whole tank and go south, go as south as you can until the fuel runs out and call me from wherever, got it?" Jenny understood.

Her hands were shaking as she ran back to the living room, grabbed the kids, threw coats on them and shoved them into the car. The kids were scared and protesting. Jenny let them play the Nintendo just so they would be quiet for a while. She tried to focus through waves of fear that caused her to feel dizzy and nauseous. The hairs on her arms and neck were standing up: She felt as if they were running from the end of the world.

The Weapons Free authorization code was transmitted to the EFS A.I. at 1740 hours, with orders to open fire at any incoming surface contact in range. Every gun tower across thousands of miles in the Atlantic began a furious barrage of fire: Nobody had ever seen a Freedom Shield fire like this since those European refugee convoys had tried to illegally flee into The Free World decades ago. The defense staff began to realise that this was The Real Thing. Camera feeds from the gun towers revealed an ocean that was literally boiling from the energy blasts streaming into it. At the same time radar sweeps identified hundreds of missile signatures flying through the steam and gunfire, exploding against the Freedom Shield. One by one, the various gun camera feeds went dead. Alarm lights flicked on. At 1752 hours the EFS controller signaled Homeland Security that there were at least three severe breaches of structural integrity forming at 37th, 40th, and 45th parallel north latitudes. Like an oil spill, the Terrorists flooded through the widening cracks in the once proud and indomitable Freedom Shield, racing towards the shores of America.

Jenny turned the SUV violently onto interstate 285 and put the pedal to the metal. Her Homeland flew past on either side, the nation of Jefferson and Martin Luther King, a country of decent people who, like Jenny, had only wanted to live and let live. It had been the foremost proof in all the Earth that democracy worked, and that freedom and the pursuit of happiness was an inalienable human right. Humanity's last, best hope for freedom was now falling away behind as her SUV raced south across Texas. In time, it became part of a long convoy of SUVs speeding towards Mexico.

On the horizon she began to make out the Homeland Guardian checkpoints. The car intercom suddenly spoke up in a soft female voice, jolting her: "The Homeland Gateway System is currently in lock-down due to an elevated threat level. To ensure your protection, the Gateway system will remain in lock-down until the current threat level has subsided. For your own safety, please turn back immediately." Nobody paid much attention. The seemingly endless convoy of SUVs kept moving south, desperate to get out at any cost: Between Terrorists and their own immigration authority, people were willing to take their chances with the latter.

Suddenly a series of bright flashes struck from the top of the Guardian towers towards the first rows of cars in the convoy. One flash found one of the leading SUVs square on. The car twisted and flew up into the air, spinning as if it had been a toy kicked up by an invisible giant. A white hot fireball expanded underneath it, and the cars behind plunged into it. Jenny turned the wheel, driving the SUV off the tarmac, pulled the handbrake and screamed to the children to get out of the car. Another car near the front got hit, splintering into pieces, shooting metal and glass in all directions. The air stank of burning gasoline. People were screaming and running for their lives as more of the Guardian towers joined in the massacre, the flashes and explosions coming again and again, steadily moving down the length of the now scattered and frozen convoy.

At 1755 hours all air defense forces were scrambled east with orders to exterminate anything moving towards the East Coast at all costs. Evacuation orders were in the process of being sent out to Maine, Boston, New York, D.C and Virginia, but nobody had any idea in which direction they ought to evacuate. 1800 hours arrived, and the entire Free World waited for the scheduled presidential address. The designated time came and went, but the the 'standby' message remained frozen on TV screens. At 1818 hours Air Force One dispatched its final communication, verified as authentic by the senior National Security staff, authorizing the use of the Appalachian Cannon Array, the last and deadliest resort of the Eastern seaboard arsenal.

The ACA deployment occurred precisely at 1840 hours, vaporizing most of the eastern seaboard along with a whole chunk of the Atlantic ocean, turning the exposed seabed into glass. The blast destroyed one whole third of the Terrorist forces in transit, along with many cities in the US mainland. But even that was too little, too late. Eventually millions upon millions of black-clad Muslims armed to the teeth flooded out of personnel carriers, flowing like a black veil across what used to be a free and peace loving land, slaughtering anyone who stood against them.

The beautiful Virginia forests glowed red with fires. The blood of innocents flowed into the Mississippi. Dirt nukes began to explode over church steeples in beautiful mid-west country towns. Hundreds of suicide planes rained over Chicago, sending its magnificent skyscrapers tumbling and collapsing into the waters of Lake Michigan. North Dakota's prairies turned black from clouds of Anthrax crawling over the land. People were dying by the millions. And in a quiet humble church just outside Laramie WY, a statue of the Virgin Mary cracked in two and fell off its stand. It was the end of freedom, for all mankind.

Jenny woke up in a barn. Her head was ringing with pain and shock, but she had enough of her faculties to look around and make sure that the children were safe for now. She remembered how the Southern Guardians had fired upon them and thought of how if she ever had the chance she would personally kill those congress guys on TV who had guaranteed that the towers only fired on Illegal Immigrants and Terrorists. She needed to get to a television and find out the latest developments in the War On Terror. She ran to the farm house next to the barn, knocked on the door, and, receiving no answer, walked in. She turned on the TV. An Arab announcer was speaking:

"Rejoice! You have been liberated by the El Kaida. You are free to respect and observe only moral laws from now on. Your children will be taught morality and love of The One True God. All men over 14 will be called for National Service, and all females of mothering age will be inspected by the clergy for purity. All followers of Zionist faiths will be rehabilitated. Please be calm: We are not here to harm, we are here to liberate. Remain where you are and we will visit you soon to complete your liberation. Failure to comply with your new Government will result in severe punishment. Rejoice, our new brothers in the light of Allah, May His Name Be Praised. And now a word from our sponsor..."

At 0946 hours both Annapolis and San Fransisco were leveled by nuclear blasts. During the previous couple of days people attempting to flee via the Canadian border were slaughtered by the Borealis Defense Perimeter in the same manner as that of the Southern Guardians. And then suddenly everything stopped dead. Despair took over. The Terrorists kept moving west, killing history, tradition, pride and freedom with swift swings of their curved swords. People tried shooting at them, punching them, running them over with cars, tearing them up with pitchforks, but they were invulnerable to attack by western weaponry.

Jenny returned to the barn with a resigned expression on her face. The kids were very quiet from the shock and hardships of the last few days. She looked first at Chandler and then at Lucie. She pictured them dragged into the El Kaida camps, brainwashed into being Terrorists, her sweet Lucie made to lie down with her legs forced open while an Imam sliced off her vulva and clitoris, her handsome Chandler amongst rows of black-clad boys shaking their fists into the air and screaming "Death to Democracy! Death to Freedom!" She knew that it would come to this. "We didn't do enough to stop this" she thought "why didn't we do more? Why didn't we just nuke all other countries while we had the chance? Oh my sweet babies, you will never know the meaning of the word 'freedom'. How we have failed you."

Then she heard them. Even though they were distant and distorted, the screams of hatred were unmistakable: The Terrorists were approaching.

She ran into the nearby farm once again and filled two glasses with water. Desperately, she stormed through medicine cabinets and found the pills she was looking for. She mashed them up and poured them into the two glasses. She then ran back to the children, knelt and gave a glass to each one. "Drink this guys, it will make you feel much better, drink it all, ok?" They drank, while the screams of hatred grew louder in the distance. Lucie fell dead even before she had emptied her glass. Chandler managed to finish his drink. Oblivious to his sister's death, he tried to hand the empty glass back to his mother, but just then it slipped and fell from his outstretched arm, smashing on the floor. His arm fell a few moments later.

Jenny ran up a ladder to the top of the barn. She found a break in the roofing and crawled through above it. She stood on the roof by holding onto the lightning rod, and stared into the distance. In every direction, the Terrorists had covered the horizon and were closing inward like the fall of night. The afternoon sun glinted off thousands of their swords, blanketing the farm buildings with a golden shimmer. The sound of their hateful screams became a deafening roar. They had seen her on the roof and were coming for her.

She closed her eyes and sang as loudly as the agony and her exhausted lungs would permit. "OH SAY CAN YOU SEE" she screamed defiantly to the blackness that was swallowing the land around her, "BY THE DAWNS EARLY LIGHT" - and then, like a wave, the sea of Terror crashed onto the barn, rocking it on its side. "WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAILED" Jenny kept singing, holding onto the lightning rod for support as the barn tilted and began to collapse, "AT THE TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING..."