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Entry #12 - Brigs story

I had never seen men load a truck quicker than the hunters and ex-marines did that day. After catching Phillips and the marines up to speed on what happened in the canteen they had a certain eagerness to get out of Jacksons' way. The soul-piercing gazes Jackson and his men shot at us as we loaded the trucks sent chills down my spine; the lack of rifles trained on us did little to comfort me, as I was certain they were merely out of sight.

Jackson was rather generous with the loot despite tensions between both of us: a dozen massive boxes of food, enough to sustain the whole town a couple of weeks; medical supplies guaranteed to save countless lives in the forthcoming days; even a decent amount of ammunition taken from the raider hideout. Though it later came to my knowledge that Jackson hoarded most of the guns and ammo for himself. Go figure.

As the final prisoners and boxes of goods were loaded onto the trucks, we hopped in and drove off. We sat in pin-drop silence for the first 5 minutes of the journey -- was everyone just dumbstruck, or simply too afraid to say anything?

Philip was the first to break the deafening silence. “What the hell were you thinking? Are you trying to get us killed?”

I met his outburst with shock, as he was the last person I’d expect to snap at me. “Philip, it’s gonna work out. Everything will be.”

“Fine!? How is everything going to be fine? You’ve just pissed off the most powerful man in the known region. He could wipe us off the face of this earth with one hand tied behind his back -- hell, you of all people should know this.”

The savvy prisoner shifted and put her shoes up behind Phillip. “Phillip is it? You’re in charge of protecting the town, I assume?”

Pushing her boots off the back of his chair, Philip turned around to face her. “What’s it to you, huh?” He paused for a second, his expression a mixture of bitterness and confusion. “Why is she even here? Why are any of those prisoners here? They’re just gonna be a burden on us, an extra mouth to feed.”

“Phillip, calm down!” I had to drag him back to his seat; he was practically standing up at this point. “You want to know how we are gonna defend new hope from Jackson? We need trained men who know what they’re doing. Her men can help-”

“Help?! Do you honestly believe she of all people is willing to help?” Philip cut me off before I could finish. “Hate to break it to you buddy, but her people just killed an innocent person in the middle of the street. How do we know she’s any different from them?”

She glared angrily at Phillip “You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!”

He shot her a snide look. “Oh do I?! I think I know exactly what’s going on here. You guys weren’t happy with the dry bunks and warm meals Jackson was giving you and you wanted to go sit around at the officer’s lounge and drink whiskey and smoke Cuban cigars all day instead. But he wouldn’t let you do that, would he?”

She looked like she was about to break a second and smash in Phillip’s nose with her forehead, but she calmed down and her expression became a sad solemn one. “You really don’t know whats going on. Jacksons reach of power goes far beyond the walls of his fort.when things really started to hit the fan, we were receiving orders from high up the chain of command. They where basic things like aid the people of the local county in keeping the power running, stop the rioting their, bring this food to these people here. But as things went on the person giving the orders changed and it was usually someone lower on the chain of command. Sometimes even lower then cmd. Jackson by the end of it.”

The look on Phillips’s face showed he lost interest a while ago and was just waiting for me to give the word to execute her. I let her continue.” once the orders stopped coming Jackson sprung right into the action. At first we thought he was just trying to keep order but his actions gave him away rather quickly. He was consolidating power and controlling people, not keeping everything in order. He told them they needed to send supplies like wood and stone to help rebuild the fort, then he started demanding the local groups help feed the army reserves under his command, saying “this is why we feed you in your time of need. So you can feed us in our time of need. If you fail to do so no one will be able to protect you.” most listened to Jackson without questioning his motives, but anyone that put up even the least amount of resistance was intimidated with a gun barrel in their face. And if that still didn’t work we were told to pull the trigger.”

She stopped for a second trying to formulate her words. “A lot of us had our problems with the new system but no one was quite willing to disobey orders. That was until one of the rookies was told to kill his own sister.”

Phillip snickered at the comment “I’m sure it was just a simple mix up. He didn’t know what he was doing.”

She breathed in deeply and slightly glared at Phillip `` He knew exactly what he was doing. The two of them came into our fort looking for shelter when they got separated from their parents. The Kid joined Jacksons’ forces to help look for them. Jackson wanted to test the kid’s loyalty to him. When He refused Jackson beat the shit out of him. Beat him till he could barely breathe and crying tears of blood. After Jackson was finished he shot the poor girl in the head anyway. At that point, the group that did become the raiding Officers was mostly just wanting to rip out Jacksons’ guts. My men and I aren’t out for blood. Were just trying to do the right thing. Leaving Jackson was the right thing to do. He’s cruel and power-hungry. Originally the raiding officers were just gonna take from Jackson but that wasn’t enough to keep the raiders with a full belly or happy. So they stole from local refuge groups and other ragtag teams. As soon as the first group outside of Jackson's protection was raided about half the officers started having second thoughts, or started looking for a way out of the group.”

Phillip spat on the floor of the truck “ can you believe this shit. I don’t buy this sob story for a second and neither should you mayor.”

“I actually do Phillip. I believe her.”

“What ...why?”

“Think about it, they’re the only group that actually surrendered back there, everyone else fought to the death.”

“Their just cowards then”

“Cowards!? Your the fucking coward rolling up to the fight and letting Jackson do all the hard work and risking his men’s life while you hide…” Phillip cut her off

“I was on the front line with a whole squad of new hope civilians, don’t give me that shit!” He slapped the back of the driver’s chair. “Stop the car!”

I saw him reaching for his gun“Phillip don’t be stupid!”

“Don’t tell me about stupid when you’re the one wanting to trust raiders!” The truck came to a halt “Listen Mayor I still respect you man it’s not too late to put all of this behind us, let me take care of this. Give me the keys to the cuffs and things can go back to being right between us and Jackson”

I pulled the keys out of my coat pocket and gave him a long look. He gestured for me to give them to him. “I don’t think so Phill” I swung the handcuff keys around my finger.”I know where you’re coming from but pls take a leap of faith”

He tightened his grip on his gun till his knuckles turned white I asked him “Do you trust me?”

He took a deep breath and nodded.

The Prisoner eyed them and gave me a grateful smile as she shifted in her seat and thrust the cuffs in my direction. Phillip looked uncomfortably at me. He seemed like he was going to try and stop me but decided against it. I unlocked the cuffs.

The three of us all eyed each other, I was half expecting the two to tear each other’s throats out this point. Finally the prisoner broke the silence. “I think proper introductions are in order” Phillip chuckled and let go of the gun. I turned to the driver and told him to start the car.

The rest of the ride was filled with dull small talk the prisoner’s name turned out to be Sara brigs. Second lieutenant Brigs If I was wanting to be more formal. Despite Phillips’s friendliness he still didn’t trust brigs I could see it on his face. The hard part is over now… I hope…

Author: Iron_side & Lightning Wolf

Entry #11 - Jacksons wager Entry #13 - Dedicated to the people