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Entry #13 - Dedicated to the people

A sizable crowd had formed outside of New Hope. A cheer shot out from the crowd as they spotted us approaching town. The crowd dispersed to the side so the trucks could make their way into town. As we pulled up forming a semi-circle in front of the buildings, more citizens started to gather in the streets. At this point, the whole town of New Hope had gathered to see our safe return.

Brigs drew a hand-rolled cig from her boot. “Your people really do love ya mayor,” she said in an oddly sarcastic tone.

Phillip anxiously looked out the window of the car looking out at the passing crowd of friendly faces. He gave a fake smile to those we passed by but the worry was rather obvious to me, “They’re not gonna be happy when they find out who we are rolling out the red carpet for.”

Brigs slipped the cig in between her lips, “That’s what speeches are for. The mayor gets up there, says a few words, convinces the public it's for the best... The people will understand and might even be a bit happier,” She began to pat herself down and searched her many pockets

Phillip looked over at me. He was aggressively bouncing his leg up and down. I nudged his side and gave him a reassuring nod telling him everything was gonna be okay. A random passerby tapped on the window to get Phil’s attention. He gave me a worried nod back and tried to temper his nerves, before turning to acknowledge the man at the window. I looked back to Brigs, “How do you suggest I do that? I mean what do I even say?”

“You say what the people want to hear, Mayor. Tell them the wrongdoers are dead and the people are safe. The prisoners left are here to do some community service. I’d like to thank my mother yahda yahda yahda ... that kind of shit,” she stopped for a second and looked curiously around the truck. “Anyone got a light?”

“All right this isn’t gonna work,” Phil ripped the cig from Brigs’ mouth, “Can you not take things seriously for once?” He crushed the thing in between his hands as he mad-eyed her. “Do you not see how many people are out there right now?” He struck the window of the car, if he struck it with any more force I thought he would have broken the window or his hand. “Aren't you worried about what they will do to you? To us?”

“Phil back off.” I had to push myself in between the two of them. I was afraid Phil was losing it and was going to finally tear out Brigs throat.

“I’m setting things right, Mayor,” he wrapped his hands around the collar of my shirt, “You’re playing right into this bitch’s hands! Can’t you see that? She wants you to stir everyone up with a crappy speech so everyone hates us and starts tearing us to shreds. And once everyone’s dead she can sit back on the pile of our corpses and enjoy all our hard work!”

I pushed him off of me, “And what happens if I don’t say anything? They will still find out about Brigs and things would be even worse ‘cause people will think we tried to hide her. We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

Phil sat back down and straightened out the crumpled cig. He pulled out his crappy old flip lighter and relit the thing, “You’re not considering our third option.” He looked anxiously at the large mob outside the trucks.

I could feel Brigs hold her breath for a second after Phillip’s last remark, “Phillip, even if you kill me and make Jackson happy, that won’t stop him from coming for you. He’ll still turn his ugly head in your direction.”

“That’s a good bluff but it’s not gonna fool me! Why does it matter anyway you'll just get torn to shreds the second you walk out these door’s. Just look at that crowd”

“That’s enough Phil!! I’ve already made up my mind. She’s going to train our troops and help us defend against Jackson!”

After that comment, Phil’s face went slack as he slumped back into his chair, his anger subsided and was replaced with a look of despair. “We’re just going in circles… fuck it. I don’t care anymore. You two have fun getting torn to shreds by the mob.”

“That won’t happen if you help us with this speech Phil.” Brigs said with a rather surprisingly sincere tone of voice. Almost like a mother talking to a child.

Phil just gave her a childishly annoyed look and rolled his eyes, “That would just get me killed too.”

“Not if we say the right things, And the head of security could carry a lot of weight.” Phil just gave her a glare.

“Drop it Brigs. If Phil doesn’t want to help then there's no point in wasting our time trying to convince him. We got a speech to write.”

She turned to me, “I suppose you’re right. But don’t worry I got something in mind.”

We sat in that truck for some time as a large crowd began to form outside. We plotted for what seemed like hours but when I talked to Phil later he said it was only ten or so minutes. We decided it best to leave out the fact that Jackson would probably want to attack New Hope because it would cause panic or worse... riots. As we stepped out of the truck, instead of the expected cheer from the crowd, it was dead silent. Word must have gotten out from some of the hunters on the mission that we had grown in population since we returned.

I held my breath for a second, then the words started to fall out, “As many of you are now aware, we were successful in destroying the raider group that nested not far from our home. Thanks to the bravery of our own men, as well as the help of our new allies at Jacksons fort, we came through with close to no casualties. The spoils of war go to the victors, we recovered a large shipment of much-needed food and medical supplies.” There were a few hoots hollers and claps at that news, but the crowd grew quiet again very quickly, “As some of you are now aware, we also managed to take a few prisoners. After some much needed conversation with the men, we decided the best course of action was to force these prisoners, despite their aggressive action, to help better our town. To help keep these sort of aggressive actions from happening in the future.” There were a few whispers in the crowd.

“After this brutal attack, we began questioning some of these raider prisoners and learned some very disturbing news about our new allies at jacksons fort. After much thought, I’ve made a decision that will keep New Hope safe for a long time.” A few people were seemingly getting ahead of me, as angry shouts and swears bubbled from the crowd. “I’ve decided to pardon the prisoners, so long as they agree to train our men and help us defend against future threats.”

The voices of opposition grew louder. I could've sworn a man would have run full speed to attack me if it wasn't for a few of his friends nearby to hold him back. I know for a fact that several others had similar violent ideas in that crowd.

Someone in the crowd cried out, “How could you possibly trust these people after they attacked us in the night and killed one of our hunters!?” The hostility of the crowd grew. “How dare you disrespect the memory of the fallen by just forgiving their killers!”

Phil, who had been completely silent up until this point, suddenly stepped forward and everyone went quiet for a second, waiting for him to speak. He stepped passed me and Brigs as the whole world seemed to stand still for a second. “I understand your concerns about letting these people come live with us. After all, they were once a part of the raider group... the “Raiding Officers”. We killed all the others in that group, so why spare them?” He paused for a second as the group nodded in agreement, ready to pounce on Brigs’ men as soon as the go-ahead was given. “Just like you, I'm worried for our safety, but that’s exactly why we need these people here to help keep us safe. They haven’t gained my trust, but that doesn’t mean they will be useless to us. As this group helps fortify New Hope against future raider groups, the police force and I will keep heavy watch over them, even heavier than any other prisoners we have held here before. You have my promise that if any of them step out of line for even a second, they will be put down without a second thought.” The tensions of the crowd died down a bit. Phill scanned the crowd for a second. “That will be all, you will be able to voice your concerns later.”

And with that, the people of New Hope began to disperse. I walked up to Phil, “Thanks for coming around, mate.”

“Don’t thank me yet. People are still worried about Brigs and her men. We haven’t heard the end of this. In the meantime, they can stay near my place. I have a few rooms open. With a few spare hands, we could even get a barracks up and running.”

“Don’t worry Phil. I’ll make sure that happens.”

“And mayor… don’t pull this shit again. I won’t help you like that again.”

Author: Iron_side & Nick Ammann & Lighting wolf

Entry #12 - Brigs story