Following is (still subject to some editing) the intro for the third and final segment of the novel The Burghal Hidage
March 2019 –
Final dissolution of the European Union was hastened with the official exit of Germany. Following the UK’s exit referendum of 2016 additional members leave; The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Austria. Movement for exit in France was narrowly defeated the previous summer amid much controversy surrounding an alleged manipulation of balloting. Western Europe teeters upon the edge of chaos for months. Officials in Brussels attempted desperately for the 30 months following the British referendum to manage the damage and reconstitute the remaining union to validity with little success. Measures prove to serve only as delaying the inevitable.
The Merkel government scarcely retained their governing coalition in fall of 2017 as the country struggled with the massive influx of muslim population initiated in 2015-16. The policy grew increasingly unpopular among the native German population, leading to growing numbers of defections from traditional center right/center left parties to the populist based AFD. With surprisingly strong showings in three state elections in the spring the AFD continued to gather momentum through the summer. As the SPD plummeted in their currency in two of the three state elections the beginning of cracks in Merkel’s coalition began to form. In an unlikely development leaders within AFD and the The Left Party began finding at least some common cause on the subject of the refugee crisis. After the narrow victory it became clear that the Merkel coalition was left standing upon an unstable foundation. The 2017 campaign succeeded in casting enough doubt upon the AFD for its courting of Russian support. In the months to follow attacks of terror cells continued to rise across Europe and increasingly violent confrontations between muslims and native Germans stirred a growing level of buyer’s remorse in the German electorate. The tipping point was reached with the attempted dual attacks with explosives and nerve agents on Munich and Vienna in July 2018.
With Germany having provided the glue to maintain at least the appearance of solvency for the Euro, European financial markets fluctuate wildly during the period. Further brewing currency crises around the world are compounded by the final default of members Greece, Portugal and Italy. The Italian default ushers the abrupt and untidy exit from EU in mid 2018, following a near miss in a referendum the previous year. With greater and greater pressure leveraged upon Germany from Brussels to underwrite the preservation of the crumbling union a reactive groundswell erupts throughout the country. Defections from the SPD party and other lesser parties split the narrowly held coalition and force a confidence vote. Merkel is forced to resign and new elections are called less than a year after having formed her third cabinet. In the social and political chaos to ensue another shaky coalition cabinet is left to wrestle through the balance of 2018 to maintain an orderly exit from the EU and return to the Deutschmark. With their departure finalized in the March 2019 referendum the Euro falls and effectively ceases to exist, its already unstable value reduced to zero. International trading and finance, already treading water through a prolonged worldwide recession starting in October 2017, are thrown into free fall.
April-May 2019 –
The US administration had begun some tepid reforms of currency and spending policies starting in 2017 which had begun to stabilize the dollar’s tenuous reign as the reserve currency, but proved to be too little too late. Inflation had already begun to accelerate and a divided government was stalemated from exercising adequate corrective measures. As the EU unraveled so too had confidence in the NATO alliance eroded with eastern European members Poland, Romania and the Baltic States departing the alliance and seeking to reach accords with a growing Russian menace. Under the Liberal cabinet in Ottawa the Canadians also began to initiate a withdrawal from the alliance. Muslim fundamentalists emboldened by the increasingly authoritarian regime of President Erdogan take on a more overt role in supporting the crumbling caliphate of ISIS on their southern border, further complicating an already deadly mix of rivals supported in varying degrees by both the US and Russia. Combined with a growing civil war in the northeast with the Kurdish rebels their departure from NATO, though not yet officially declared, was understood by all parties as imminent. To avoid another catastrophic embarrassment in the region the US began to gradually remove their assets from long held NATO bases.
By the late spring of 2019 the situation across Europe had devolved into “every man for himself”. With the total collapse of the EU and the Euro western financial markets were dragged down into utter chaos. On April 10 China and the OPEC nations announced their official withdrawal from the dollar. US currency collapsed overnight and hyperinflation ensued, fostering the complete collapse of western currencies within 48 hours. Washington ordered a halt to trading and tripped the freeze switch on all electronic transactions. Appeals to calm were unheeded as citizens rushed on the banks and panic buying swept the country. Without the currency on hand to cover depositors accounts many banks were simply abandoned rather than face the mobs. In the few instances that banks had remained “open” many firefights with mass casualties ensued between armed citizens and civil authorities desperate to maintain some semblance of order. Overnight trillions of dollars on paper simply disintegrated. On April 13 any remaining banks were ordered closed and National Guard units were mobilized to provide security in urban centers across the country. Edicts from Washington went largely ignored in many quarters and Guard units were hopelessly outnumbered to effect adequate control. The fabric of the entire social order of western civilization began to fall apart at the seams.
Through the second half of the month of April panicked meetings were convened in Washington, London, Brussels and Geneva. Every effort to exert control and restore order was futile, the institutions proving utterly unprepared to address the magnitude of panic. Joint meetings of the US Executive Cabinet and the IMF were held in Washington April 13-15. Contingency plans to secure the physical gold reserves of EU members to locations in the west were determined inoperable and met with no co-operation from most of the European states. China and Russia leveraged gold’s value on the international market by announcing added gold reserves previously suspected but never verified. Both refused calls from the west for a physical verification. On April 16 an emergency session of the UN Security council was convened. The proceedings were a sham, hijacked by the Russian and Chinese delegations wielding their veto power. Any protests from US, UK and other western delegations were drowned in procedural maneuvers of the Asian powers, joined by other hostile members such as Iran, Pakistan and oil rich Gulf States.
Under Chinese domination the council moved to restore stability to the international financial markets with the adoption of the Uniform Currency to re-establish a medium of exchange. This measure could not pass through the council officially but a majority of members agreed in principle to form the basis for the “Uni” and join their trading currencies to the central system through digitization and the establishment of a World Bank to be headquartered in Geneva. Upon news of this plan the currency markets seemed to reach bottom and stabilize for a time. Washington remained opposed to the plan but a majority of major US banks, all of which bore an international footprint, moved to salvage their assets by joining the world exchange. The President moved to exercise unilateral executive authority to bar the action, but was challenged by a divided congress. As details emerged to the public pressure rose to accept the plan as depositors were insured to receive at least twenty-five cents on the dollar versus the zero value held in US currency. In spite of mounting public pressures the congress remained paralyzed to act on a measure throughout the month of May.
With oil and other vital imports having been halted for over a month and store shelves remaining virtually empty growing pockets of insurrection arose across the nation. Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana agreed to joint measures in their state legislatures to move toward secession. The federal administration cited a constitutional ban against these measures and threatened the dispatch of federal marshals to apprehend their members under a charge of treason.
June 2 2019 –
The Governor of Texas declares that National Guard and regular Army, Navy and Air Force units and facilities were now under the executive control of Texas state government. The President exercising his authority as the Commander in Chief countermands this declaration and the nation remains poised for a constitutional crisis. Commanders of units remain silent on their loyalties and issue orders to stand down for those under their authority. The Governors of Oklahoma and Louisiana issue identical declarations the following day with similar results. In Baton Rouge members of the legislature voicing their opposition to the measure were forcibly removed from the chamber. Continuing to voice their protest at a public venue they were rushed by a hostile crowd. Sheriffs and State Police attempted to halt the mob, shooting and killing six before being overtaken. Twelve officers were shot, eight killed, and four state representatives were captured and hung.
Citing a state of emergency and invoking the war powers act the President announced the suspension of posse comitatus and ordered the deployment of a brigade from the 101st Airborne from Ft. Campbell to restore order and a show of force to back down the states in rebellion. Special units of the FBI and BATF were also deployed to apprehend the Baton Rouge shooters. These orders gave rise to further dissension in the congress and a rise of militias from surrounding states to further challenge federal authority.
June 6 2019 –
With the western alliances crumbling and their member states in disarray Russia chooses to exploit the circumstances and strike at neighboring republics that were once subject of the Soviet regime. With Poland, Romania and the Baltic States having already made overtures to keep peace with the Russian threat Moscow was emboldened to expand their dominance over Europe and rolled across the frontier of Belarus unopposed. In a matter of days they had swept aside the remaining opposition in the western Ukraine and succeeded in installing a puppet regime in Kiev to finish their long conflict with the one time NATO candidate. Sporadic Ukraine resistance continues in pockets, but lacking supplies and western support they are soon eliminated. By the end of June Russia has re-established their control of European Russia and brought nearly half of the former Warsaw Pact back within their orbit.
July 14 2019 –
As internal strife and economic collapse continue to grip the west Russia forms an accord with Iran and Turkey. Radical elements succeed in gaining full control over the Turkish state, bringing the country within the Iranian sphere, despite their majority Sunni population. The Russians lend their support to both regimes to crush the troublesome Kurds, long oriented to the west. This, along with ceding portions of Azerbaijan and Armenia to both, the Russians then absorb the remainder of these republics and Georgia. They gain full control over the Black Sea, the straits of Dardanelles and unfettered access to the Mediterranean. Thus surrounded Bulgaria and Moldova join the other east European states that submit to Russian dominance to be left intact. In dire straits and abandoned by their former EU patrons the Greeks join suit in exchange for relief from the Russians.
August 2 2019 –
Having secured an assurance of a free hand from Russia and cementing the installation of an allied regime in Turkey, Teheran makes their long planned move toward hegemony in the Islamic world. The farcical nuclear “deal” concluded with Iran in 2015 finally bears the bitter fruit it had promised.
The NATO alliance, having all but dissolved entirely, was still desperately working to muster support from its remaining nominal members to craft some response, if even only symbolic, to counter the Russian aggression and Turkish betrayal. The alliance had by this time been so diminished that symbolic gestures were practically all that was within their ability. The EU’s lack of response to the events in the previous decade had done nothing to repair their vulnerability from internal threats. In the most spectacular Islamic attack since 9/11/2001 terror cells from within Europe, aided and sponsored by Iran and other fundamentalist factions, succeeded in a devastating attack upon NATO headquarters with rockets, firebombs and nerve agents. Deaths and casualties ran into the hundreds at NATO HQ while thousands more in Brussels were killed or severely wounded from the chemical attacks.
While claiming no credit for the attack the Iranians issued a public proclamation from their own state television and the Al Jazeera networks within an hour of the Brussels attack, announcing that they were in possession of multiple nuclear warheads and the means to deliver these upon Israel and into the heart of Europe. Beset at all sides the United States and the west were entirely impotent to lend any significant support to Israel. Even had they been the domestic sentiment, though not entirely unsympathetic, was such that any question of rushing to the aid of the Jewish state in current circumstances was inconceivable. There was not the will and but barely the wherewithal. American and British ambassadors to the UN made almost immediate motions for UN intervention and protection, but the body mostly populated by other rogue states or others unwilling to act the pleas fell upon deaf ears.
On the evening of August 2 an emergency cabinet meeting was convened at the white house including the Israeli ambassador and representatives of the Israeli Defense Force. Against the backdrop of growing chaos internally and the rapidly deteriorating situation in Europe the Israelis were met with statements of moral solidarity and little more. The message, whether stated overtly or not, was essentially that they were on their own. With any hope of western support removed the Israeli ambassador conveyed the bleak news to the Prime Minister and announced his resignation. Before midnight both the Israeli and American militaries were placed on the highest level of alert. Fearful of the acts of other terror cells and an exploitation of the conditions by rebel factions internally the President addressed the nation the following morning at 8:00 AM to declare martial law. Supply and communications networks already severely hindered were in effect shut down and converted strictly to government use.
August 3 2019 –
Amid the growing crises the price of oil soared to nearly $ 500 per barrel. Oil produced domestically in the US had already been restricted for distribution to refineries by companies that would no longer accept payment in US dollars, which had become worth less than the paper they were printed on. As one of the measures of martial law domestic fuel sources were declared nationalized. In response naval units acting under command of the Texas Governor seized control of several offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Air Force commanders in San Antonio refusing command from Austin attempted to secure control of bases and retain federal control in response to Defense Department orders to DefCon 1. In this state of heightened readiness aircraft had been ordered scrambled to take out the mutinous naval units in the Gulf. There were conflicting reports reaching Washington that Texas airbases were in mixed control. Unable to determine which units remained under federal command and concerned that this might compromise DefCon 1 readiness against external threats orders were issued to all bases in question to stand down. Seeing the condition of defense being severely compromised members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rode across Washington to the Capitol to appeal to congress to grant them command and initiate emergency proceedings to remove the President from office.
Shortly before sundown in Tel Aviv the Israeli Prime Minister met with the Minister of Defense and high ranking officers of the Israeli Air Force to discuss readiness for a first strike contingency plan that had been in existence with periodic modifications for several years. The Prime Minister was informed that all assets were in place and were prepared to launch on his order. He advised that the units should remain ready to execute on a moment’s notice, but he would stay the order pending further intelligence reports. Iranian surrogates Hamas and Hezbollah had staged numerous smaller scale attacks in and on the borders of Israel on the heels of the declaration from Teheran the day before, but there had been no detection of a move made directly from Iran. After the exit of Air Force personnel from the meeting the Prime Minister directed his Defense Minister to issue orders for the deployment of Israel’s submarine nuclear arsenal to their predetermined locations for Operation Samson, their last resort defense posture.
August 14 2019 –
A state of high tension continued across the globe for nearly two weeks. The world had come to the edge of the abyss and then paused to catch its breath. Inflammatory rhetoric proceeded from Teheran and Ankara as well as from other muslim clerics from around the world. Mass incarcerations of all muslims began across several European countries, including France, Belgium and Germany. The Belgian government had been deposed by a coup following the Brussels NATO attack. Throughout the western world remaining governments and vigilante citizens exacted reprisals upon muslims. With few still prepared to offer defense or shelter thousands upon thousands were jailed, exiled or slain. Propagandists and apologists for Islam were quick to exploit these developments to condemn the west and call more warriors to jihad across the globe. Attacks by lone agents and organized terror cells increased in kind throughout the west and in Israel. As tensions continually climbed a potential source of truce arrived from a most unexpected source. Eager to latch on to any prospect of stabilization that would allow beleaguered governments to address their domestic turmoil the proposal was welcomed with a sense of relief.
In the UN General Assembly the Russian ambassador, accompanied by Iranian representatives, introduced a plan to placate the Iranian fanatical zeal. In essence the Russians placed themselves in the role of keeping the Iranians on a leash and ensuring the security of Europe. In exchange the Israelis and the west would need to cooperate in the establishment of a Palestinian state with a share of control in Jerusalem. The Iranian parties assured that this compromise, though certainly not their first choice, would be enough that they would be able to quiet their more radical elements and insure a peaceful co-existence. Many were wise enough to know that this was nothing more than a further manipulation, but in the chaos existing across the globe there were enough members to endorse the plan and pressure the opponents to go along, if for no other reason than to buy a little breathing space. It was not a solution that was going to be reached immediately, but it was enough to halt the escalation and return to dialog where some accord, whether ideal or not, could be reached. Israel and the US remained on alert, but backed off into DefCon 2. Still holding the gun, but finger off of the trigger. The proposal had little chance of gaining majority support in Israel, but would bring so much international pressure upon the cabinet that they might be obliged to accept the deal and face the fire at home after the fact.
September – December 2019 –
High level talks began and diplomacy moved from Geneva to New York, Washington, Paris and Jerusalem. Any step forward was then accompanied by a step to the side or two steps back, but negotiations continued and tensions slowly began to subside. Attacks were halted but militaries remained on alert. The Russians and Iranians played along through the process, dragging things out and stalling a resolution. Within Israel debate rose against decisions being made for their nation without enough voice being given in their own affairs. The Israeli cabinet continued to wither against heat from home and in the negotiations.
More countries and banks entered into the Uni and currency and trade began to stabilize. Transport and communications, though still severely disrupted, began to resume. It had begun to appear that the bottom had been reached and the rebound could begin. Enough goods returned to major markets that rations could be doled out, but the population remained restless. In some parts of the country the desire to return to normalcy prompted some to support Washington’s efforts to join the Uni, but large numbers of Americans whose wealth had been invested more in land and property resisted accepting what they perceived as a low ball offer robbing them of their worth. A nervous standoff continued between federal forces and Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Across the country more and more pockets of militia formed armed camps exerting their own sovereignty. Open clashes with federal forces grew frequent but almost as frequently military units refused to act upon their own people and joined themselves to local movements. As a whole the situation across much of the country remained so fluid that Washington was simply unable to regain a firm and sustained grasp.
Across much of the globe daily life remained a struggle for most. Though the degree of panic had subsided nowhere was there a full restoration of order. Services and goods long taken for granted remained absent or scarce and mob justice remained the order of the day. By this time most had come to understand that they were on their own. The progress or lack thereof in international affairs became irrelevant to the average citizen. Matters of their own immediate security remained paramount. As the year drew to a close the word from the negotiation table offered the promise that an accord had been reached and would be finalized early in the coming year.
January 30 2020 –
On the eve of the preliminary signing of the Palestinian Treaty Russian forces attacked and took down multiple satellites. A short time later low yield nuclear devices designed as Electromagnetic Pulse weapons were detonated over the North American continent, the UK and the eastern Mediterranean. Within 30 minutes the eyes of western defenses were temporarily blinded and all electronic devices within the pulse zones were rendered useless. The instant that satellite communications were interrupted in Israel the order for pre-emptive airstrikes on Iran were launched. The craft were unable to escape the pulse zone before detonation over the Mediterranean and plummeted from the sky somewhere in the western deserts of Iraq.
Minutes later word was transmitted via a simple, unsecured radio signal from human intelligence assets within Iran warning of the launch of missiles from Iranian bases. It was never learned if this was done with the knowledge of the Russians or if the Iranians acted on their own. Faced with their imminent destruction the Israeli Prime Minister initiated the command to the submarine fleet for Operation Samson to commence. Within 25 minutes nearly every square mile of land from the Suez and eastern Mediterranean across the middle east and south central Asia as far east as Islamabad was transformed into a barren, irradiated wasteland. Scores of millions perished instantly. Hundreds of millions died in the weeks and months that followed from radiation poisoning, burns or other injuries resulting from the attacks.
Across the planet people either tried to shelter or braced themselves for what they were sure would be their end. But enough damage was done. There was no more to come; the air had already been let out of the balloon. Whether under their direction or not the Russians had succeeded in reconstituting the old Soviet empire, bringing the west to their knees and placing themselves as the largest oil producer on the planet. It no longer mattered what happened on the other side of the globe. The Chinese could be left to extract whatever payment of debt they could collect from North America, the Islamic problem was effectively erased and they would be left to rule Europe, most of Asia and Africa all to themselves. When the time came they were confident that they would be able to deal with the Chinese too, but in this new world order that could be a hundred years away.
As the sun rose over the eastern seaboard on the morning of Friday January 31, 2020 the federal government in Washington, D.C. had ceased to be an effective rule over the United States of America. There were no more United States. The greatest experiment of self-governance in the history of mankind had fallen prey to Plato’s warning from The Republic: that democracy as a permanent form of government can not continue to exist. That once office holders learn that they can curry favor with their electorate by the promise of reward from the public treasury it will lead to irresponsible fiscal policy and thus to ruin. The more sage of their founders, Franklin and Jefferson, had also warned of these perils, but like Plato as years passed and ever greater rewards were promised these too went unheeded. In the latter years of the once great Republic such admonitions were even scoffed at. The end result can not all be blamed on the government’s poor policy choices and fiscal recklessness. A good measure of what ultimately occurred was due to a set of circumstances beyond their immediate control. It was a culmination of events, a perfect storm, that sealed their doom. If they had, however, mended the error of their ways and steered a more prudent course the nation may not have been left in a condition as to be so vulnerable to external events. As is true with most tragedies this too could have been avoided.
Any tragedy will include an element of greed, avarice or envy. Or all at once. The tale of the fall of America was populated by ample measures of these, but more than any other it was the transgression of hubris that brought them down. In the minds of the ruling elite they, the government, were what constituted the nation. Their interests were only to preserve themselves and their fiefdoms. For them these were the things that defined “the nation”. The halls of power stretched from Washington D.C. up to New York City, the cultural and financial center, and beyond up the eastern coast to academia residing in the Ivy League schools of New England. Anything outside of that insulated tube was simply an inconvenient nuisance, like so many insects collected upon the windshield. In what followed the great collapse the former rulers only further multiplied these faults, but the people of the nation demonstrated that it was they, not Washington, who defined what it meant to be an American.
Before they had even been able to fully understand everything that had happened the Washington elite knew that the rules of the game had been completely and inexorably altered from anything they had known, but their instincts remained the same. Rather than concern themselves with the restoration and preservation of the country they were interested only in preserving their rule and exploiting the circumstances to strengthen their rule. Their difficulty was that they no longer possessed all of the means of exercising their rule. Too much of it had slipped through their grasp and with no money and no credit they were left with little means other than what they might take by force of arms. Within their immediate sphere of influence in the mid-atlantic and the northeast the government still possessed enough armaments and commanded enough remaining forces to maintain their hold and control upon these areas. To attempt to expand their hold beyond those boundaries without having an assured means of resupply in fuel, ammunition and the other necessities to keep an army in existence would be spread perilously thin, jeopardizing the tenuous hold they already had.
The first step had to be the restoration of consistently reliable communication. With nearly all electronic based devices cooked by the pulse attack older analog technologies, already scarce from the advance of the digital age, became invaluable commodities. Some military vehicles and craft had been shielded against pulse weapons, a contingency the Pentagon was not entirely unprepared for, but fuel for these was in perilously short supply. Even where reserves might be found the logistics of obtaining them were cumbersome at best. Power generation and distribution, which had likewise become dominated with digital technologies, had also been incapacitated in the pulse attack. Any production whatsoever was sporadic and unreliable. The challenge they faced in obtaining adequate fuel from any source was not as simple as manually siphoning a few gallons out of a small tank with a short neck. Some generators were available, but scarcely enough for their need. Radio transmissions could be restored fairly reliably and the administration even went as far as powering up an old analog television transponder, a technology retired over a decade before. In the vain hope that there were any across the land who even had an operable set to receive an analog signal they broadcast meaningless orders and instructions to a citizenry who could not see them and would likely have ignored them even if they could.
Alaska was the next former state to move for secession. With few exceptions military facilities and units within the state accepted command from Juneau and declared that any move by forces remaining under the command of Washington would be treated as an act of war against the Alaskan Republic and would be met with force. The following day commanders of the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii announced their alliance with the Alaskan Republic, further removing any federal control over a large segment of naval and air force assets.
The Governor of the State of Washington dissolved the state legislatures and announced a union with the Canadian province of British Columbia. Canadian federal authorities in Ottawa issued an order of protection for the citizens of Washington pending stabilization and a legal resolution of the crisis. In heavily populated areas along the coast the transition was uneventful and embraced by many, but in the eastern reaches of the state garrisons were formed in opposition to the administration in Olympia and a de facto state of civil war existed.
Unrest rose in neighboring Oregon until any semblance of control evaporated. Guard and police units with divided loyalties made it impossible to determine which side anyone was on and if an area was secure or not. A group declaring themselves the Peoples Revolutionary Council of Oregon seized control of the city of Salem and ousted the state government. The Capitol was razed and surrounded by a mass of nearly 90,000 gathered to chant as the flames roared. The council proclaimed independence for the Peoples Free State of Oregon, moving the Capitol to the University of Oregon in Eugene. As in Washington state the more urban parts of the state along the coast supported the coup, while resistance was formed and mounted in the eastern counties. Again a state of civil war existed, though there were few open conflicts, the two sides gathered within their own camps and observed a nervous truce.
The remaining government in Washington D.C. was effectively powerless to control events on the far west coast, still scrambling to determine a course of military response to the mutinies in Alaska and Hawaii. The Governor’s office in Sacramento declared it’s loyalty to the government in D.C., but their state was splintering as well. Well armed and organized drug cartels from Mexico with allies and operatives within U.S. boundaries moved to seize control of many cities and broad stretches of territory across Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. Federal authority in Mexico City, already weak and corrupted, was removed and the entire country was under the direction of a cadre of drug lords. An undeclared war existed against the southwest with the unspoken but clear intention to restore those lands to Mexican control. By late March of 2020 the besieged states of Arizona and New Mexico first pledged their intent to work alongside Texas and provide for the common defense of the southern boundary. With some divisions within each state their remaining legislatures moved to join officially to the Texas Republic, Arizona on April 9 and New Mexico on April 13. Legislatures in Utah, Nevada and Colorado initiated moves toward the establishment of separate but allied republics in each of their states.
As the country continued to careen in multiple directions from Washington’s control the remaining federal government grew desperate to reassert their authority. Air and infantry forces were deployed to secure military assets in Colorado, Nevada and Florida where they were met with poorly organized resistance, but stalemated nonetheless. Some Senators and Pentagon officials in Washington attempted to seize control wishing to restore constitutional authority. The coup faltered at a critical moment and the principals of the effort were executed. As news of the developments trickled out and reached other quarters of the country more military units abandoned Washington’s command. A Mexican delegation was mounting a campaign of support in the UN for their claim to a restoration of Mexican sovereignty in the American southwest and events continued to spiral out of the control of Washington. The President travelled to New York to address the UN in person.
Ostensibly this move was to appeal for the denial of Mexican claims, but very quickly became an appeal to the UN to provide aid to urban centers on the east coast and to assist the government’s efforts to restore control and authority over the “outlaw” states. The motives of many UN representatives were to stand aside and cheer while America burned, but others saw the opportunity to exploit the invitation to their own advantage. With the ready cooperation of the US Ambassador representing Washington a measure was passed for UN action on four primary points.
The first was the establishment of a UN Mandate of protection to be installed in those areas remaining under the nominal control of the Washington government. A multi-national force would be deployed to work in cooperation with federal forces to strengthen security and order in those zones. These would be accompanied by relief agencies to provide adequate supplies of food and humanitarian aid to the large populations in these areas.
The second was to negotiate with a strong Canadian role to resolve the border disputes and civil wars in the Northwest and provide a further support and Mandate of protection to Californian efforts to remain attached to rule from the US capitol.
The third was to broker a negotiated settlement with the Mexican government that would grant some of their demands, but would still preserve American interests in the southwest.
The fourth was a measure which was most desired by Washington and which ultimately led to the full outbreak of the Second American Civil War. Multi-national forces, heavily populated by Chinese, Brazilian, Japanese and Canadian units were pledged in military support to aid Washington in defeating and subjugating those states in rebellion against Washington’s authority.
The administration had gambled that they could find enough support from the international community to obtain their help in restoring the whole country under their control and not have to sell their souls to do it. Behind closed doors many promises of the delivery of US treasure were offered in payment for the assistance. What had in fact been accomplished was the administration being relegated to a steward of a vassal state with no sovereignty of its own subjected to the control of UN authority. Everything the United States had ever been about was sold away to preserve their own hides and power.
The news of this spread as the first of UN forces were marshaled and deployed to American ports. Through the first week of these operations the leaders of multiple states were gathered and convened in Austin. Resolutions were drafted and a provisional constitution was formed recognizing the creation of the Union of Free States of America. The constitution was written to mirror that of the first American constitution adopted in 1789. Delegations were nominated and seated at the first congress to hold a vote on May 10. The union was joined by the following states:
This union placed their capitol in Austin, Texas. Member states were pledged to the common defense of the Union and each declared their sovereignty from UN rule. The Union of Free States did not recognize the UN or the government in Washington and further declared that a state of war existed between them and the Washington regime and any forces lending their material support.
The Canadians, positioned to move more quickly than any other UN members had moved rapidly to declare the UN Mandate in control in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Maine and the northern counties of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. In areas around the urban centers of the lower great lakes several areas were in disputed control, the boundaries unclear. Along the western shore of Lake Michigan the Mandate had asserted their control with limited forces of their own supported by local surrogates. Their control stretched across the rest of the Lake Michigan shore to include a loose hold upon the northwestern counties of Indiana extending inland to control the major east-west highways. A combination of federal and Mandate forces held a nominal control over Ohio, though their hold was only firm across the northern two thirds of the state. Their alliance extended over Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia as well but with large pockets in each of these states operating on their own. In Pennsylvania the northwest corner surrounding the Port of Erie was firmly in Mandate hands and east of the Susquehanna river under federal control. The Alleghenies and western ridge of the Appalachian spine through Pennsylvania, southeast Ohio and the western counties of both Virginia and West Virginia were populated by partisans for the Free Union. Even with UN support many vital resources, especially fuel, were in short supply. With much of the country’s infrastructure still paralyzed and logistics still operating well below 100% all sides had to choose their priorities judiciously. Many of the more remote areas were neglected out of necessity. As their numbers posed no immediate serious threat and partisans generally labored under the same limitations, if not more so, great expanses of land would endure the entire conflict without a shot fired.
The Union of Free States sat upon much of the wealth of the continent’s resources, but were at the time greatly limited in their ability to develop these to their full advantage. The Mandate was better equipped in many instances and had some advantage in reliability of supply, but still spread too thin to wrest control of broad regions and maintain their hold. The ability to distribute large quantities of foodstuffs on a consistent basis to the large urban centers on either coast had already been severely compromised. What both sides learned was that even the availability of many of these goods was now removed from the equation, so much of it within the boundaries of the free states. Mindful of the season Mandate forces set their sights upon areas that were large agricultural centers. There was a tactical advantage in this due to the nature of the geography of these areas. Wide open plains were much easier to police and control with lesser numbers than were urban areas or rougher terrains. The first offensives of the summer were targeted at Iowa, Illinois and Indiana in the north and along the coastal plain region of the eastern Carolinas.
In the early stages of battle the Mandate was able to rapidly press their advantage through the effective use of air power. Fuel reserves were released from various sources worldwide and Russian production was ramped up to stabilize supply. This allowed enough fuel to be made available for the Mandate to conduct a sustained air campaign. American aircraft still in federal control, Canadian and Chinese jets were employed to scatter the poorly organized Union forces, but this was not wholly effective against hit and run guerilla tactics conducted by newly formed Union units and partisans. The Union of Free States had considerable air power at their disposal but efforts were poorly coordinated and fuel supply remained erratic. Efforts in Texas and Louisiana were progressing to restore and increase refining capacity but still fell short of meeting the demand. There was an added difficulty in distribution to key areas. Aircraft directed to defenses in the Midwest had to fly from distant bases using more of the already precious fuel.
Given the fuel supply challenges the Union needed to confront an unpleasant reality in that limited supply compelled a priority of air defenses in the Gulf and refining centers. The southern boundaries were also beset with Mexican incursions. Valuable military assets and oil from Alaska were unavailable to the continental conflict. Secure transmission or transport of the oil could not be assured and concern of Russian and/or UN moves to seize the oil field required all available defenses. In the wake of the global collapse no help from other sources could be expected. Preservation of oil resources within their grasp were vital to future effort. The Union had to choose their battles wisely at this stage. They were still struggling to organize all of their assets into a cohesive force, restore fuel production, communications infrastructure, command and control function, all while facing threat from multiple directions. In midsummer the difficult decision was reached to employ a scorched earth tactic on the Midwestern front. Unable to effectively conduct battle with any hope of gain the best remaining option was to simply deprive the enemy of what they were after. From July to the end of August millions of acres of cropland were rendered useless to all by fire, flooding or poisoning across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Precious shale deposits in Dakota had to be abandoned to enemy control.
By the end of summer Union forces had made sufficient progress to mount a strong defensive position across Kansas, Missouri, extreme southern Illinois and Kentucky. The eastern end of the line extended along the Ohio River across part of West Virginia and as far as Pittsburgh. Fear of mounting forces to launch an offensive down the Mississippi that would bisect the Union became a priority while still trying to stabilize production and supply. Naval skirmishes erupted in the Gulf of Mexico as enemy forces attempted to find weaknesses on the southern coasts and to disrupt oil production on the Gulf platforms. Defenses in the eastern Carolinas were holding their own against federal forces. Armies under federal control were often weakened by high rates of desertion and sabotage. In Washington the remaining government were finding themselves overtaken more and more by UN officials and foreign interests. On the other side of the globe the Asian powers were also occupied by other concerns.
China had employed their North Korean puppets to reclaim all of the Korean peninsula. Facing this threat the Japanese had been coerced into cooperating through the UN actions. Peking was for the time being content to hold Japan within their sphere of influence through a combination of intimidation and the promise of a share in the plunder. The maniacal North Korean leadership, however, was emboldened to slip the leash of their Chinese masters and issue ultimatums to the Japanese government. American forces that had been in the Japanese islands and South Korea were withdrawn some time before and joined to the Pacific force in Hawaii. The North Koreans were determined to fill this vacuum with or without the blessings of the Chinese. This left the Chinese little option but to send a large force into Pyongyang to bring them back in line. In a colossal miscalculation of North Korean instability the Chinese and Japanese both were stung by the unleashing of their nuclear arsenal upon the Korean peninsula and the major cities of Japan. In the wake of this catastrophe the Chinese government found themselves still firmly in control of their military, but faced growing dissension within their own teeming borders.
In Russia they had relied upon the former Soviet states of central Asia remaining in allegiance, but with large Islamic populations of their own and a steady influx of muslim refugees streaming across their borders popular uprisings in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan seized control in much of each country. These were Islamic Revolutionary Councils in the model of the Iranian revolution who openly voiced a call for jihad against all infidel powers. Though nearly all of the muslim world lay in ruin there remained a potent Islamic threat in the heart of Asia that was in possession of the nuclear weapons of Kazakhstan. The Russians were better equipped to contain the threat, but it still required vital resources to be used up at a rate higher than anticipated.
With productivity in all sectors across the globe severely hampered even those nations better positioned in reserves and resources were hard pressed to meet demands. Virtually all oil production and refining was diverted from consumer markets to supply military need, limited food transport or to the use of the select few. The disruption to transport created a wave through the world economies. In many parts of the globe vital commodities had been nationalized, but too often by governments that were incapable of efficiently running the production. Where oil and refining remained within the control of multi-national corporations these producers found that their capital reserves had been devastated by the collapse of the dollar. Companies and countries alike that had remained heavily invested in the dollar found their purchasing power on world markets evaporate overnight. With Asian powers in control of the Uniform Currency and exchanges they set the rate to be offered in exchange for holdings in failed currencies. Even with the pressing demands of consumer markets removed from the equation worldwide a full restoration of production and distribution was far from reach. Every large scale operation consumed resources at a rate that simply could not be sustained. Along with every other aspect of the advanced economies of the world the energy production infrastructure that had fueled their societies had crumbled and showed only feeble hope of returning to its prior scale.
Under these circumstances the state of the conflict in America grew into a stalemate of two sides forced to rely upon tactics of asymmetrical warfare. With much of the technological advantage of modern weaponry removed from the battlefield an ill- defined front disintegrated further into ever shifting pockets of skirmishes, neither side able to gain and hold control for prolonged periods. While societies around the world stumbled through continued efforts to rebuild their order the fractious condition of the North American continent persisted for the next three and a half years. While lines of battle remained largely static during this period each of the major combatants steadily improved their production and built up reserves to preserve their gains or prepare to advance.
Much of the order that the communist regime of China had been able to maintain over their vast populations had come from the ability to grow industry for export, thus keeping the potentially restive masses employed and able to steadily raise their standard of living. Following the worldwide economic collapse much of their manufacturing capacity that had expanded so rapidly in the twenty years prior was left idled. With resources devoted almost entirely to production for military purposes China had grown stronger in the power they could project externally, but the deteriorating conditions domestically for a population that had only begun to catch up to western standards led to an ever growing challenge to maintain control within their own borders. As the wealth and treasure the nation had created was concentrated into fewer and fewer hands those who had profited by the government’s long term expansion found themselves left out of a share. Once introduced to a taste of capitalism they found the regime’s reversion to communist central planning difficult to swallow. Revolution was brewing, slowly, but in numbers that would prove to be nearly impossible to contain. The tipping point came with a flu pandemic.
Worldwide outbreaks of disease had claimed increasing numbers of lives in each year following the collapse. The production and distribution of vaccines and other vital medicines had ground to a halt. Viral infections grew in scale and frequency across Africa and South America. The outbreaks in North America and Europe, although increased, were largely contained due to higher rates of immunizations in those populations. Various parts of Asia had suffered large flu outbreaks, but the strains had been mostly non-lethal. In March of 2024 the first cases of what came to be known as the Yangtze Flu appeared in large coastal cities of China. Through the first four weeks of the contagion it appeared to be limited to only those regions. The fatality rate of nearly one third of those contracting the virus was alarming to health officials, but party officials restricted reporting of the disease as much as possible. In mid April outbreaks spread rapidly into southern and western provinces of the country, the rest of southeast Asia and much of India. By the end of May it had run it’s course leaving nearly 160 million dead in its wake.
The chaos created by the pandemic proved to be too much to keep the lid on an already simmering pot and civil war ensued. This rapidly escalated into a bloody conflict with multiple factions vying for control. The situation grew further complicated by Russian support for rebel forces in China’s Xinjiang province bordering on Kazakhstan.
Prior to the collapse the Russians had enjoyed good ties with a Russian oriented regime in Kazakhstan. This allowed them access to the nation’s considerable gas and oil reserves. After the Islamic revolution seized control the Kazakhs grew hostile to the Russians. A vast but sparsely populated nation, the Russians encountered the same difficulties in trying to tame the land as they had experienced decades before in Afghanistan. The mullahs in the Kazakh capitol supported the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province seeking to expand their Islamic dominion. The Russians lent their support quietly to other factions in the province that were fighting both the communist government and the Uyghur faction aligned with the Kazakhs. Following the elimination of most of the middle east’s oil rich lands the Kazakhs found themselves sitting atop nearly 10% of the world’s remaining known oil reserves. As the conflict intensified the otherwise small percentage of oil removed from the market was crucial, but the nuclear armed Islamic republic seated in the center of Asia was like a land mine buried in the middle of the road. The communist Chinese had also been trying to court the Kazakh regime as a pipeline outlet for exports that would bypass the Russians. The situation in central Asia grew more complicated and dangerous by the hour.
In August 2024 the Canadians withdrew from the UN Mandate, leaving the dwindling federal forces and Chinese forces under the UN the only substantial force remaining in defense of the Washington regime. Deployments were tightened about the remaining regions under their control in the east, with California and the western republics left to their own devices. As occupied areas of the Midwest were reclaimed under the Union of Free States federal sympathizers were hunted mercilessly. Tremendous devastation was rained upon the large urban centers of the region reducing many to mere shells. With external support vanishing the pockets of resistance were routed through the autumn months.
While these developments occurred in America tensions were rising between the Russians and Chinese over the Kazakh conflict. The Islamic state’s interests were informed not by practicality, but by ideology. They were not interested in profiting from the oil. Instead they meant to withhold it, knowing as long as it was in their possession it gave them power. Where the Chinese and Russians sought power it was to wield it to some purpose of self-enrichment. For the Islamic fanatic power is sought only to exercise the will of Allah. In the council of mullahs it was agreed that to be the sword of Allah is to be the ultimate power. The great Satan, the United States, had been brought to its knees, but not wholly vanquished. The little Satan of Israel had been erased, believing that they had taken the disciples of Mohammed with them. Now they were poised to strike the final blow upon the west and would usher in the age of the twelfth Imam.
On December 13, 2024 the Islamic Council of Kazakhstan served up a large contingent of rebels in the Xinjiang province to the communist government forces of China. This move was designed as a show of good faith to engender Chinese trust. On December 22 a contingent of Chinese communist officials flew secretly into Kazakhstan to engage in the first serious talks regarding an oil pipeline through China’s western provinces. The following day while the first formal meeting was in progress the Chinese air crews were overtaken by Kazakh soldiers. Two planes were loaded with nuclear devices and their fuel tanks were topped off and were off into the skies before the Chinese knew what had occurred. The Kazakhs had also set 15 nuclear devices at major wellheads about the country. At the hour of the first break in the talks these devices were detonated, rendering 90% of the nation’s oil reserves irretrievable. A little over eight hours later, within four minutes of each other, the two planes arrived over Washington DC and New York City airspace at approximately 5,000 feet and detonated their devices. Both cities became irradiated craters in an instant. The remnants of a United States federal government were now gone in fact as well as function.
The world was hurled into a deeper abyss, the shaky currency and trade system that had emerged from the ashes of the great collapse caved in upon itself dragging most nations down with it. The UN continued to exist as an ineffectual organization, now headquartered in Geneva. Their role as an interventionist force ceased, any troops remaining under their banner serving in a strictly peacekeeping or security role. The Mandate, as they continued to be called, served in the security zones along the eastern seaboard surrounding and between the twin blast sites. This force remained comprised largely of Chinese with smaller contingents from other member nations rotating through the zones on an annual basis. On April 4, 2025 the hostilities between the Union of Free States and the UN Mandate were officially ended. The Second American Civil War was over. The new Dark Ages had begun.