Pandemic Book 4
Just when life seems to be settling in, a new enemy appears—the government of the State of California. With a mandatory gun buyback in place, citizens are at the mercy of State Security Officers.
Derrick, Matt, Jessica and the rest of their group grapple with how to deal with this new threat while trying to survive day to day.
Will they find a way to fight back against a rogue government, or will their very lives be at stake?
- Authoritarian Government
- Society Collapses
READ A SAMPLE
READ A SAMPLE
It had been several days since Derrick and his friends had defeated the Emperors and several weeks since the pandemic had collapsed society, but now they had a new challenge on their hands—the government of the state of California. Governor Moffit and his administration had instituted a mandatory gun buyback. In other words, a gun confiscation. Not something Derrick would ever go along with. Being ex-military, he believed in liberty, had fought for it. He wasn’t about to sit by and watch a rogue governor take away his Constitutional rights.
Over the previous few days, Derrick and the rest of his group had taken time to regroup after crushing Randy and his Emperors—each family settling in to their RV, scavenging for more food and supplies, the constant weapons training—but now they were ready to deal with the gun confiscation issue. They had to before the problem came to them.
“Can I talk to you?” Derrick said to Jeff and Chris as they finished a weapons training session. The inexperienced members of their group were getting much better with using their weapons, much to Derrick’s relief. They needed as many shooters as they could get. Matt and Jessica’s teenagers—Dylan, Kayla, and Brooke—were working especially hard, like they really got the critical nature of the training, like they really understood how important it was to be able to aim and shoot—and hit their target—even when there was a distraction.
“What’s up?” Jeff asked.
Derrick waited until no one was close enough to overhear. It wasn’t that he wanted to keep his plans a secret, but before he told everyone else what he had in mind, he wanted to get feedback from Jeff and Chris, the other ex-military members of their group. He would have involved Matt as well, but he was still laid up after getting shot in the leg by an Emperor.
“Been mulling over the problem with the government,” Derrick started.
Jeff frowned. “Every time I think about them taking away our weapons, it makes me…” his voice trailed off as he grimaced and shook his head before spitting in the dirt.
“Right there with you,” Derrick said before flattening his lips in disgust at the idea of random people who were most certainly protected by bodyguards wanting to take away a crucial source of self-defense from law-abiding citizens.
“What are we going to do about it?” Chris asked.
“First,” Derrick began, “we need to scope out the location mentioned on the flyer. See how many men they have, if they’re armed—”
“You know they are,” Jeff said.
Derrick nodded. “I’d be surprised if they weren’t.” He understood Jeff’s fury. Especially when he recalled entering California through the Inspection Station and having his own gun confiscated. He and his group had known what to expect, thanks to a man at the gas station in Reno, Nevada. So, they’d come through in groups, separately, about ten minutes apart. When Derrick thought about what had happened to Matt, how he’d been yanked out of his truck and slammed against the hood which had broken his nose all because he’d refused to hand over his guns, Derrick felt his own temper rise. At least Jeff had gotten there in time to end the situation, shooting two of the men and tying up the third.
“I also want to see what kind of response they’re getting,” Derrick added. “See how many people are willing to give up their weapons in exchange for food and supplies.”
“When do you want to go?” Chris asked.
Derrick looked from Chris to Jeff. “Today.”
An hour later, Derrick and Jeff left—they’d decided they needed Chris at the farm for security. When the two of them were about a mile from the gun collection address, they stashed Derrick’s truck and went the rest of the way on foot. They’d brought a few guns to “sell” to the government—ones they’d taken off of the Emperors. What better way to get a close-up look at the way things were run than to pretend they were there to turn their guns in?
When they were across the street from the building where the buyback was taking place, they paused to scope it out.
“This is the DMV,” Jeff said with a chuckle, then he rolled his eyes. “Good use of government space.”
“Makes sense, I guess.”
A flagpole stood out front with an American flag hanging proudly. Something about seeing it at a building where the government was trampling on the rights of citizens rubbed Derrick the wrong way. Sighing audibly, he turned his attention to the reason he and Jeff were there. “Not much activity.” No one was going in or coming out. “Wonder how many people are still alive to sell their guns back.”
Jeff grunted, then said, “You could ask those census guys.” He was referring to the group of men who had come to the farm—forced their way in, really—and kept the group captive while they searched the place. The men had claimed they were taking a census on behalf of the government.
Smirking, Derrick shook his head. “Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that.” He glanced at Jeff. “Ready?”
The pair crossed the deserted street and approached an open gate that led to the entrance of the DMV. Pausing before reaching the door, Derrick listened. He heard male voices then laughter. Letting the persona of Joe Citizen slide over him, he opened the door and stepped inside. Instantly, a pair of armed men strode to him and Jeff. They were wearing some sort of security uniform.
As the first man neared him, Derrick threw his hands up and took a step back like he wasn’t there to cause trouble. The men didn’t slow down, reaching him and Jeff in seconds. Never saying a word, the men patted them down, withdrawing two guns each from Derrick and Jeff.
“Welcome!” a third man boomed as he walked toward them, a wide smile on his face. Mr. Friendly handed Derrick a slip of paper with a number on it and another slip of paper to Jeff. “We’ll catalogue your weapons and call you up when we’re ready for you.”
Derrick glanced at the two people sitting in chairs and one person standing at the counter. Déjà vu washed over him. If it wasn’t for the pile of guns on one counter and a stack of food and water on another, the people could have been there to renew their driver’s licenses.
Rather startled by the incongruity of the whole situation, Derrick nodded and walked to the row of seats in the back, far from everyone else. Jeff sat beside him.
“What do you think?” Jeff murmured.
Derrick scanned the entire area. In addition to Mr. Friendly and the two armed men who had disarmed them, there were three men behind the counter—one talking to the “customers” and two handling the weapons.
“Kind of surprised so many people are willing to give up their guns,” he replied to Jeff. “Guess they’re desperate for food.”
“Not everyone has a group like ours to rely on.”
Derrick nodded, more grateful than ever for his friends. He watched as the customer at the counter was handed a box filled with food and water before walking toward the door.
“Number two-five-nine,” the man behind the counter called out.
Derrick shot a look at Jeff. “Does that mean that over two hundred and fifty people have sold back their guns?”
Jeff shook his head. “Wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, if your family’s starving, hard to turn down free food.”
“True.” Derrick sat quietly, observing all that was going on. Then they called his number. “That’s me,” he murmured to Jeff. He stood, noting that he and Jeff were the only customers left.
Derrick strode to the counter. The man who stood on the other side looked less than thrilled to be there. Just like the DMV in days past.
Holding back a chuckle, Derrick handed the man the slip of paper with his number on it.
The man narrowed his eyes at Derrick. “You turned in stolen weapons.”
Whichever one of the Emperors Derrick had taken the guns off of must have stolen the weapons before the collapse and that information must have been logged in some sort of database. Wait. How did the government know, though? Did they have access to electricity and databases? If so, what other technology did they have?
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