On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed. Then China attacked Europe, Asia, and the United States in the belief the disaster was an act of war.
Washington D.C. was a casualty of the meteor onslaught that decimated the nation’s leadership and left the surviving elements of the armed forces to try and restore order as American society fell apart.
As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals representing the surviving corporate structure makes a power play to rebuild the country in a free market image as The New Confederacy...
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I am the Infantry . . .
I have won more than two hundred years of freedom.
I yield not to weakness,
to superior odds,
for I am mentally tough, physically strong,
and morally straight.
I forsake not . . .
my sacred duty.
I am relentless.
I am always there,
now and forever.
I AM THE INFANTRY!
-From the Infantryman's Creed, United States Army
Sixty meteors entered Earth's atmosphere on May Day 2018. One of them swept in over North America at 1:11 p.m. PST. It was brighter than the sun and traveling at nearly sixty times the speed of sound. Because of the object's velocity and shallow angle of entry, it exploded above the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
The result was a flash of bright light, an expanding cloud of superheated gas and dust, and a powerful shock wave. Most of the meteorite's energy was dispersed into the atmosphere. But the remainder produced an explosion twenty to thirty times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast was felt hundreds of miles away.
First Lieutenant Robin ÒMacÓ Macintyre was walking toward the base exchange when she saw a flash of light out of the corner of her eye, heard a distant boom, and felt a wall of hot air hit her from behind. It threw her down. The ground shook for three seconds or so.
Mac did a push-up and was back on her feet in time to see a radio tower sway and fall. There was a resounding crash as the structure landed on a wood-frame building and cut it in half. Mac felt the force of the impact through the soles of her shoes. What the hell's going on? she wondered. Did Mount Rainier blow? Did a plane crash nearby? No, a plane crash wouldn't knock the radio tower down. Mac took off. She was off duty-and dressed in a tee shirt, shorts, and running shoes. Sirens wailed as aid units responded to calls, people ran every which way, and columns of smoke marched across the horizon.
Mac passed a chaplain as she rounded a corner. He was on his knees, head bowed, praying. It's too late for that, Mac thought to herself, as a thick layer of dust swept in to partially block the sun. Something tells me that we're well and truly screwed.
After crossing a grinder, Mac arrived at the company area where her platoon was waiting. Others were present as well, including Captain Paul Driscoll. The fact that he was dressed in camos came as no surprise since he was rarely seen in anything else. "I'm glad you're okay," Driscoll said. "We don't have orders yet . . . But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the brass will come up with something for us to do. So draw weapons and get your platoon ready to roll."
Driscoll looked grim. "I'm just guessing, but some sort of civil unrest is a distinct possibility. Oh, and Mac, one more thing . . ."
"Find something to wear. You look like a cheerleader on her way to a workout."
Mac made a face at him and went off to find Sergeant First Class Emilio Evans. He was her platoon sergeant and, if she was killed, would assume command until the army issued him a new lieutenant. Evans was five-five and typically stood on the balls of his feet as if to make himself look taller. He had brown skin, a round face, and a ready smile. "Good morning, ma'am . . . Is this some crazy shit or what?"
"It certainly is," Mac agreed. "Do you have any intel on what happened?"
Evans shook his head. "No, ma'am."
"Okay, how many people do we have at this point?"
"We're five short," Evans replied. "But three of them live off base. So they could be in transit."
"Yeah," Mac agreed although she had her doubts. The sky was a sickly-gray color, the light level had been reduced by half, and Mac could feel something gritty on her skin. Fallout from a nuke? If so, the entire platoon was going to die. But there was no point in saying that, so she didn't. "All right," Mac said. "I hope they're okay. Let's redistribute the people we have."
"Yes, ma'am. Been there, done that."
Mac chuckled. "Sorry, Emilio . . . That was stupid. Of course you have. Carry on. I need to find something to wear."
"Check the lockers in the maintenance bay," Evans suggested. "There should be some overalls back there." The ground shook, and they were forced to grab onto a Stryker vehicle for support. Soldiers swore, windows shattered on a building nearby, and a new crack zigzagged across the street. "We're havin' some fun now," Evans said, as the tremor faded away.
"If you say so," Mac replied. "See you in five."
Once inside the maintenance bay, Mac realized that it might be dangerous there. All sorts of stuff had spilled out of the wall lockers and onto the floor, including a stack of olive-drab overalls. Mac grabbed one labeled small, and hurried to pull it on. By the time she returned to the vehicles, the platoon was armed and dressed in full combat gear.
Mac's vest was waiting for her. It weighed 3.6 pounds and was loaded with a .9mm pistol in a cross-draw holster, spare magazines, and a small first-aid kit. "The colonel is about to brief company commanders and platoon leaders," Evans told her. "Maybe she knows what's going on," he added hopefully.
Mac followed Driscoll over to the whitewashed headquarters building. The wood-framed structure dated back to WWII and stood slumped like an old soldier who could no longer stand at attention. Rather than run the risk that the building would collapse, the order was given to assemble in front of it. Somebody shouted, "Atten-hut!" as Wilson rounded a corner, and the soldiers came to attention.
Like Mac's father, Major General Bo Macintyre, and her older sister, Major Victoria Macintyre, Lt. Colonel Marsha Wilson was a West Point graduate. It was an honor Robin Macintyre had chosen to forgo, much to her father's disgust. Wilson was about five-eight and her back was ramrod straight. Mac scanned the other woman's face and didn't like what she saw. Uncertainty? Yes. But Mac could see something else as well. And it looked like fear.
"At ease," Wilson said. "I don't have the time to weasel word this," she announced. "So here's the straight scoop . . . It appears that a swarm of meteors hit the planet at a very high rate of speed. At least a third of them exploded over the oceans, but the rest detonated over land and caused significant damage. I'm sorry to inform you that Washington, D.C., took a direct hit."
The news was received with a chorus of groans followed by comments like, "No way," "Oh, shit," and "Those poor bastards."
One of Bravo Company's platoon leaders began to cry, and Mac knew why. The woman's husband was working at the Pentagon. Had been working at the Pentagon. And what about her own family? Where was her father when the poop hit the fan? And her sister? Mac felt an emptiness at the pit of her stomach.
"England, France, Italy, Romania, Turkmenistan, and China all took hits," the battalion commander said grimly. "But that isn't the worst of it . . . The Chinese thought they were under attack. So they launched a dozen intercontinental ballistic missiles from submarines out in the Pacific. Japan, South Korea, and Australia were targeted, along with certain locations in the United States. We believe Peterson Air Force Base was among them."
The news was so bad that none of them said anything as Mac sought to absorb what the words meant. Millions, perhaps billions of people were dead, and Peterson was the headquarters for NORAD (the United States Northern Command), as well as the Air Force Space Command. Both were hardened targets-but could they withstand what the Chinese had thrown at them? Only time would tell.
"The Chinese apologized once they understood the truth of the matter," Wilson said. "Not that it makes any difference. Our government has been destroyed-and our command structure has been decimated. So the general and his staff are on their own until someone wearing more stars shows up."
Mac knew Wilson was referring to the JBLM's commanding officer, Lieutenant General "Rusty" Rawlings. A man who, unlike her father, had risen all the way from private E-1 to general. It was a long and nearly impossible journey.
"General Rawlings wants us to secure the base," Wilson informed them. "Civilians are trying to enter. Our orders are to stop them using the minimum amount of force required to do so." None of Mac's peers said a word as they made their way back to the company area where anxious soldiers were awaiting them. Now it was their turn to deliver the bad news.
Even though Mac prided herself on knowing each person under her command by name, she couldn't remember what area each one of them was from. But it seemed like a safe bet that each soldier had lost someone. Once the platoon was gathered around her, Mac delivered the news and eventually brought the briefing to a close with a lame, "I'm sorry." Some of the soldiers cried and turned to each other for support. A few stood motionless, their faces empty of all expression, while they sought to process what they'd heard.
PFC Wessel, AKA "the Weasel," started to giggle. "What the hell is wrong with you?" Specialist Sims demanded angrily.
"I'm from LA," the Weasel explained. "The Chinese nuked my ex-wife! There is a God."
Sims was staring at the other soldier in disbelief when Driscoll arrived. "Okay, people," he said in a voice loud enough for everybody to hear. "The CO wants us to establish a position west of the main gate on Division Drive. The MPs set up a traffic control post over there, and we're going to provide backup. Let's load up and roll out." His eyes roamed their faces. "I know this is hard," Driscoll added. "But you joined the army to do hard things. This is your chance to make a difference."
"You heard the captain," Mac said, as Driscoll left the area. "Let's roll."
Mac was in command of the battalion's scout platoon, which consisted of four M1127A2 Stryker RCs. The "RC" stood for "recon." Each vehicle was equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun, or a 40mm grenade launcher, and ancillary weapons as needed.
Crews consisted of a commander/gunner and a driver. A typical load out included a crew of two and a nine-person squad in back. But more people could, and frequently did, squeeze into the rear compartment. Archer Company's record was seventeen.
Mac chose to ride in the one-two vic (vehicle). She rarely if ever rode with Evans since that would put the platoon's entire command structure at risk. The rest of her tiny headquarters group consisted of Doc Obbie, the platoon's combat medic; Sparks Munroe, her radio-telephone operator (RTO); and forward observer Lin Kho. The weapons squad was crammed into one-two as well, which meant Mac was sitting knee to knee with Sergeant Brown. If the noncom was worried about the overall situation, she couldn't see any sign of it on his face.
The rear hatch produced a whining sound as it came up and locked into place. Now Mac was confined inside what amounted to a tin can where, though responsible for everything that happened to the platoon, she couldn't see. It was a helpless feeling, and one she would never get used to. The air was heavy with the sickly-sweet smell of hydraulic fluid. The truck produced a high-pitched, whining noise as it got under way.
The soldiers slumped sideways as the TC (truck commander) applied the brakes. That was followed by some backing and filling as he positioned the Stryker to fire on whatever targets might present themselves. As soon as the ramp went down, Sergeant Brown and his squad surged out to take up defensive positions around the first platoon's vehicles. But there wasn't any threat that Mac could discern. A group of citizens was gathered around a hastily created traffic control point (TCP)-but the MPs had the situation under control.
In addition to his military gear, Sparks was carrying a Sony pocket radio. He turned the set on and fiddled with the controls until he found a station that was still on the air. All of them listened intently as a field reporter described the way things looked from the top of Seattle's Queen Anne Hill. ". . . The top half of the space needle was sheared off . . . The wreckage fell toward the east-and is spread all over the place. Two of the buildings in the South Lake Union business complex were severely damaged, and one of them is on fire. The elevated section of I-5 can be seen through the smoke. It looks like a large section of it collapsed. Cars are scattered on the hillside and north-south traffic is blocked. Oh, no! Another section collapsed!"
"Turn it off," Mac said. "I can only take so much of that."
No one disagreed. Kho wiped her eyes. "My God, Lieutenant . . . When will it stop?"
Mac didn't know. And as the day progressed, it became increasingly obvious that no one else did either. By the time the sun set, it was completely hidden by a globe-spanning blanket of particulate matter. And, because the power was out, the only lights to be seen were those that belonged to a scattering of people with generators and the military. Sporadic gunfire began shortly thereafter. "What the hell are they shooting at?" Brown wondered out loud as he munched on a candy bar.
"Each other," Mac replied. "The people with generators shouldn't turn them on. Lights will attract trouble."
"What about our lights?" Brown inquired.
"Same thing," Mac told him. "It's only a matter of time."
That was the beginning of a long, nerve-wracking night. Gunfire was heard, fires could be seen in the distance, and by the time there was enough light to see by, a large crowd had gathered in front of the traffic control point. Some people had been driven out of their homes by looters. Others had been forced to abandon their cars on I-5 and were looking for a safe place to stay. But General Rawlings knew there were tens of thousands of such individuals out there-and a very real limit on how many refugees JBLM could safely handle. So he had chosen to dispatch medical teams, plus food and water, rather than let them enter the base.