Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rough Riders On Mars! - Chapter 30 – Securing The City

Chapter 30 – Securing The City

After Chronto had left, Lieutenant Ballard and I continued our conversation. 

“You know Colonel,” he said “I didn’t think I’d be fighting in a civil war when I signed up.”

“Nor did I Charlie.” I replied. “I had no idea what we’d be getting in to, but this situation had not even crossed my mind.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Charlie said “I’m glad I volunteered and I expected to do a good bit of fighting, but I didn’t expect to be building a new government. I figured it would be more like Indian fighting, at least until we got more men out here.” 

“I guess I was thinking along similar lines.” I said “But we’re in too deep now to get out and there is no where we could go anyway. However, I think we’ll do alright. We can trust Borlak. We’ll help him and the people of Ceraunius to form a strong, fair, and peaceful society.” 

“What about Reytik?” Lieutenant Ballard asked. “I imagine he and his cronies high-tailed it out of here once the real shooting started.” 

“I am sure he will be a thorn in our side,” I replied. “but I think we and the Martian people can keep him in check. After all, a strong, fair, and peaceful society must have the means to protect its self and maintain the peace. Borlak knows that and he also knows that he can count on us to help build the instrument that will maintain the peace.” 

At that moment, Chronto reentered the room with Borlak behind. 

“Thank you, Mr. Roosevelt” Borlak said “we will definitely require your assistance.” 

“Peace will benefit both of us.” I said “However, we must take care of the immediate threat of Reytik's soldiers first. Do you have any news of their leader?” 

Borlak replied “Neither he nor his minions have been seen since the fighting began. I fear they have fled the city early this morning.” 

“That could cause problems in the near future.” I said. “Still, we must clear the city of his soldiers before we worry about Reytik. Then we must secure the environs around the city. My men are ready to help with that task, but we are afraid we will mistake your men for the enemy.” 

“If you will have your troops work in the area around your fort, I will supply you with guides to identify the hostiles.” Borlak suggested. 

“That will be most satisfactory.” I replied.  

I had Lieutenant Wilcox take care of the arrangements and lead the troops. I also sent for Professors Edgren and Boas along with Miss Linton. It was time for a serious meeting with Borlak concerning the future of Ceraunius.

Soon the men were off going house to house and building to building looking for Reytik’s tribesmen. There was little resistance as the fight seems to have been taken out of our foe. Our men fired a few shots at the die-hards while the rest gave up with little to no trouble. We found a warehouse to hold the prisoners in until we figured out what to do with them. By the end of the day, our sector of the city was cleared. The rest of the city was free of the enemy by morning. 

With the city cleared, we set up a hospital near our station in the city. Here, friend and foe alike were treated and healed of their hurts with no prejudice. It was hoped that such treatment would pacify the desert tribesmen, which would in turn make raising an army more difficult for Reytik.

As our men canvassed the city, I continued my conversation with Borlak.

‘So, what are your plans?” I asked.

“I am not sure.” Borlak replied. “None of us in the movement expected this day to come so soon.”

“But the movement does have a number of prominent members from different parts of society, correct?” I said.

“Why, yes.” He answered.

“Then I would suggest an immediate meeting with these people.” I said. “With the city secured, we must tend to the injured and displaced, remove the dead, and clean up the debris of war before disease and pestilence ravage Ceraunius.”

“Of course!” Borlak exclaimed. “Mr. Roosevelt, I am truly thankful that you have such a clear grasp of the situation. At this time, I am very muddled in my thinking.”

“You will need to clear your head quickly,” I said “for once the cleanup has begun, you and your fellows will have to determine the path your new government will take. That is a much more serious question with greater consequences than what to do in the aftermath of a battle.”

“Indeed, that is true.” Borlak replied. “I will call for a meeting directly.”

“Good, my advisors will be at your disposal whenever you need them.” I said.

“Thank you for everything, Mr. Roosevelt” Borlak said. “Your help will be needed more than ever.”

With that, Borlak left to Make his arrangements. Shortly thereafter, Professors Edgren and Boas, Miss Linton, and my officers not on duty arrived. We gathered in the office to discuss the recent events and determine our next course of action.

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