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RandyT0001 09-30-2015 06:33 PM

Journal of John Aaron Bell
Leader of the Morrow Project West Tennessee Group’s Frozen Watch Team

Day 001
I’m typing this on a Surface Pro 3 tablet. It is light and handy, a new addition to the bolthole among other things. The ‘other things’ are two Hummers, a trailer, an old M29 mortar with some rounds, and an individual weapon kit for each of the team members. Gave the doctor’s kit to Laura Sanchez, the shotgun to Angela Brooks, the grenade launcher to Eric Cooper, the two M16 kits to George Luckett and Charles Johnson while I took the last MP5 for myself. We were frozen in November 1998. It seems like the Project had some changes because they added vehicles and weapons to a frozen watch team. Frozen watch teams were to be activated for replacement personnel by the group leader but we were activated by radio from PB. I don’t understand why but I’m going to err on the side of caution for now.

Upon revival, the team checked equipment. Except for Laura, the doctor, each team member has a tablet. She got a military grade, ruggedized laptop. Once we finished the weapons clearing and cleaning, we armed ourselves and I sent Angela and Charles on an initial recon sweep around the bolthole at 25m. The temperature was warm and leaves covered the ground so it is probably autumn. Laura and George remained in the hole while Eric and I provided over watch of Angela and Charles from the top of the bolthole. The sweeps were repeated every additional 25m until reaching 200m distance. Laura and George did not find any roads within 200m. During our pre-emplacement briefing, we were told that there were two light duty roads within 200m of the bolthole. All that Laura and George reported were mature trees with light underbrush for another 100m(?) distance. Damn, I wish they had put autonavs on these vehicles.

Eric, our resident MP engineering replacement, says there is a partially collapsed retaining wall on the hillside relative to where the vehicle exit is inside the hole. He also says that section of the hole was built separately from our part of the bolthole. When you go outside there is no vehicle path wide enough for Hummers between the trees just beyond the wall. Charles, our resident agricultural MP replacement, estimates that the trees surrounding the bolthole vary from forty to eighty years in age. I gathered the team for a quick discussion of the possibility that we have not woke five years post war but eighty years post war. It was agreed by all that we continue with Project directives until we have more information.

After the meeting, Eric and I go outside to find the best location to set up sanitary facilities for the team’s use for a few days. We only had an hour of daylight left so we selected a temporary location for use until the morning. Except for Laura, every team member was assigned a two-hour shift of outside guard duty with a pair of night vision goggles. Everybody was told the challenge and password so they could exit the hole for sanitary reasons. As I told everybody to eat a cold meal tonight, Angela sighed to make sure I knew she didn’t like that decision but she complied. The watches reported wildlife noise and no smells of smoke from distant fires.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-03-2015 06:06 AM

Day 002
Scattered clouds moved in from the west. However, the best thing is the smell of smoke from the west. I told Angela and Charles to find some clothes out of the contact packs that fit them and get ready for a first contact encounter. I told the rest of the team to prep for travelling over watch duty. I told the team that we would exit the bolthole and secure it from intrusion. Then the team will proceed due west with Angela and Charles as point team, George and Eric as cover team and Laura and I as the reserve team. The rally point will be 100m east of the bolthole. Angela will be the primary contact person and will not have a radio so watch for the standard hand signals. Charles will have a radio and can relay messages with the rest of the team. I know the team will do well. My biggest worry is her accent. Five years after the war and a New England accent might be ‘unusual’ but several decades after the war it might be ‘out of place’.

After travelling west for about a kilometer, we intersect a north-south wagon trail or pathway. The wagon trail was probably wide enough for the Hummers, if we could find a path through the trees to get there. From a few vantage points while crossing the hills, I could see that north of our axis of travel there was flat land so I directed the contact team to follow the wagon trail north. About a third of a kilometer north, the trail met with a wider dirt road. Eric says the road is low tech but well designed, being peaked and sloped for drainage and, apparently, dragged for smoothness. We just have to find the government that maintains the road.

At this point, a wagon rounded the curve in the road to the south and came into view. Angela and Charles signaled the wagon to stop and talked to the couple driving it for about five minutes. The middle-aged couple, Sam and Bernice Walton, was in route to Falkner, the Le-fáy-et county seat, to repair the tower clock. Sam said the war happened long ago before his father was born, seventy years ago. Angela and Charles claimed to be travelling in search of baby clothes. I don’t think Bernice believed them because when she heard that reason her eyes about dropped out of her skull having popped so wide. Sam Walton told them about a village just past the curve to the south and suggested they ask those families about old baby clothes.

Once the Walton wagon had travelled a few hundred meters north, the team moved south to the village. Once Angela and Charles could see the first building I ordered them off the road. I told the team that we would conduct a sweep around the perimeter of the village to find good observation posts. The team was to avoid contact with locals. I assigned members to the OP’s. For the remainder of the day the team observed the movements and people of the village. About an hour before sunset, I ordered the team to gather at my post. From there the team returned to the bolthole via over watch movement.

Since the wind was from the west, I agreed to Laura’s preparation of a hot soup meal for the team. After assigning watches, the team met to discuss plans for tomorrow’s initial contact with the villagers. Based on the day’s observations several people would visit one centralized building, possibly a general store or church. In the morning, the team would return to the village in Project uniforms and proceed to that building to introduce ourselves. Our goals would be a peaceful encounter to obtain information and assistance to recover our vehicles.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-05-2015 07:24 PM

Day 003
About 3 AM a line of thunderstorms from the northwest drenched the area. It was still dark by sunrise. Considering the stormy weather and lighting conditions I canceled the contact mission for the day. Except for guard duty and sanitary reasons, the team would remain in the bolthole until the weather clears. In essence, everybody has the day ‘off’. People played card games, read from the collection of classic books on the tablets, etc. to pass the day. I decided to write in this journal a short paragraph about each of the team members.

Angela Thais Brooks is the recon branch replacement in the team. She was born in Newton, MA in December of 1970. In high school, she was on the swimming team and tennis team. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon University. She has blond hair and blue eyes. She is of average height and weight. Angela is responsible, patient, and resourceful, all good traits for a contact specialist. She is conceited about her family lineage and social class.

Eric Wayne Cooper is the engineering branch replacement in the team. He was born in Paducah, KY in June of 1969. He did not play sports in school but earned a black belt in Judo. Eric received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Western Kentucky University. He has brown hair and green eyes. Eric is slightly shorter than average. Eric is dependable, adaptable to the situation and responsive to a crisis. He has an overrated opinion of his Judo skills.

George Carver Luckett is the science branch replacement in the team. He was born Pine Bluff, AR in August of 1970. As team captain, he led the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff to third place in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge in 1992. He has a B.S. in Chemistry. He has black hair. George has a small, thin stature. George is analytical, observant, reliable, and precise making him an excellent chemist. At times, he is emotional cold and an obsessed perfectionist.

Charles Stephen Johnson is the agricultural branch replacement in the team. He was born in Brownsville, TN in October of 1971. He served as an officer in FFA and 4H during both junior and senior years in high school. A scholarship to Tennessee State University allowed him to earn a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences. He is the biggest member of the team. He shaves his head. Charles is a dynamic person known to be observant and resourceful. He can be very stubborn.

Laura Marie Sanchez is the medical branch replacement in the team. She was born in Little Rock, AR in January of 1965. She was the salutatorian of the 1982 class at Pulaski Academy. She received her M.D. in Pathology from the University of Arkansas in 1991. Laura is shorter than Angela. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She is a humanitarian. She is inventive and witty. She is intolerant of bullies. She uses stinging sarcasm to deflate opponents in arguments.

I am John Aaron Bell, born in Jonesboro, AR in March of 1969. I played football and baseball in high school. I enlisted into the Army in June of 1987. I was a staff sergeant in the mortar platoon of the 2nd Battalion of the 325th AIR during Desert Storm. After the war, I used my G.I. benefits to earn a B.A. History degree from the University of Tennessee – Martin.

It is my time for guard duty. The storms have passed and the air is getting colder.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-08-2015 05:39 AM

Day 004
The storm brought cold north winds. I tell the team that we will wear our Project uniforms, including the jacket, with weapons slung. The contact element consists of Angela, George and Charles with Angela as lead. Laura, Eric and I will be in the cover element. I will lead the team. We will take two bottles of liquor, six pieces of candy, one sewing kit, a comb, a brush, four silver dollars and the mini dental kit so Laura can exam and treat any cavities. Angela and I will have a stun gun as a non-lethal weapon plus a smoke grenade and a CS gas grenade to cover any retreat should it become necessary.

After securing the bolthole from intrusion, the team moves to intersect the road southwest of the village. The team enters the village as a column with the elements in wedge formation. As the team moves to the suspected church/ store, people exiting their homes quickly turn back into their homes upon seeing us. The team enters the building and meets the village foreman, Joe Bryant, and the shopkeeper, Adam Harris.

Initially, both men are a bit scared because of our weapons. As we explain who we are, we discover that the war occurred about 140 years ago. About eighty years ago there was a forest fire in the hills where the bolthole is located that explains the age of the trees. The team is stunned by this news. We asked the two men if they had ever heard of people like us and they said no but there are more people in Faulkner and the government there might have heard of other teams. Joe said that a journey to Faulkner normally takes three to four hours by wagon on dry roads but with last night’s storm, the road is too muddy for long trips.

In exchange for the one bottle of liquor and the four silver coins, Joe Bryant assigns four males in the village to assist us in digging out our vehicles over the next two days. He also assigns four males to cut down any tree we select to create a path to get the vehicles to the wagon trail. We trade the other bottle of liquor, the candy, the sewing kit, the comb and brush for a solid wood seat, ladder-back chair and metal bucket.

We led Joe and the workers back to the bolthole. Eric and Charles begin supervision of the two worker teams as George, Laura, Joe and I enter the bolthole to show Joe the interior. Once he is satisfied of our honesty about our origins, we have him sit in the chair so that Laura can exam and treat his teeth. Laura gives Joe some thiopental to relax him. As the drug starts to take effect I question him about the weapons the Faulkner government has, about their military vehicles, how big is the military force, how big is the police force, etc. I ask Joe what he thinks the leader of the government, the Chancellor, will do once he hears about us and meets us. Once that is done, Laura extracts his tooth, gives him eight pills of ibuprofen for pain and escorts him out of the bolthole. At sunset, they leave the area to return home.

Considering Joe’s answers to my questions, I tell the team that we will lock the bolthole from intrusion and then set up a cold camp about a half kilometer to the east. I tell them to pack whatever they think is necessary for survival on foot. I make the watches longer and each watch has two people on duty, including Laura. Hopefully, in the morning Joe and his workers will show up without Faulkner’s military/police force known as the Rotsee Greys behind them.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-11-2015 10:09 AM

Day 005
The morning brings a cold day with little wind. Angela informed me that she saw a large group approaching the bolthole just after sunrise. I met Joe at the bolthole and he has brought tools, draft animals and most of the people of the village with him. His conscience tormented him last night since four silver dollars should have bought more helpers than the eight he had assigned. To make amends he will help us for the next week to dig out our vehicles. He did request that Laura exam two of the children and see if she can treat their teeth. Laura agreed without consultation with me.

First, Eric, Joe and Charles determined which trees needed to be removed in the gully just northwest of the wall to clear a path wide enough for the vehicles. Eric marked them with some axe blows. Joe then ordered the workers to start the removal of the trees. After that Eric, Joe, Charles and another man, Wilbur, proceeded to survey a route using the laser range finder and two mirrors. They used orange spray paint to mark the trees for removal. They were able to complete the survey by the end of the day.

Laura filled each child’s cavity. She also examined the four women and eight men. One of the women had cowpox. Another woman was about two months pregnant. Everyone was in reasonably good health. None of the villagers had every received any preventive inoculations. One of the men is significantly near sighted and needs corrective glasses. When asked about it he said the “M.D.” in Faulkner did not test for it. Each one told Laura that the “M.D.” only comes around the county every couple of years. Afterwards, she said that we should go to Faulkner without the vehicles and start to take care of the community now. I told her that we are not going now; she is not to leave the team or the area until we recover the vehicles. As I walked away, I heard her make some remarks about my character.

George and Angela took turns on security watch. A little past noon, the workers stopped for lunch which consisted of sliced ham sandwiches, fried potato chips and water. About mid-afternoon, two of the women and the children left the bolthole to return to the village. About an hour before sun down the workers stopped and Joe asked us to return to the village for dinner. He had sent the women back to the village to begin the preparation of the meal for us and the village. We graciously accepted, secured the bolthole and followed them.

Next to the store, the women had erected a line of tables and two rows of chairs. Dinner was barbecue picnic pork roast, sauce, fried potato chips, brown beans, dried apple quarters, roasted ears of corn, and cornbread. For drinks, the choices were apple cider, tea, and water. Angela brought one of the bottles of liquor to share with the village adults. Everybody exchanged stories around the table. The villagers had difficulty believing that a powerful nation once spanned across the land from ocean to ocean. They wanted to hear it, so the team proudly sang “The Star Spangled Banner” to them. Angela and Laura began to cry after the last line while Eric and Charles rubbed the tears back into their eyes. George whispered a prayer. I thanked the villagers for the help and dinner then ordered the team back to the bolthole.

Upon our return to the bolthole I assigned guard duty watches as the team reminisced the loss.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-14-2015 04:31 PM

Day 006
I woke up a bit before sunrise. The wind shifted and comes from the southwest now, portending a warmer day, I hope. About 30 minutes past sunrise Joe and seven men arrived at the bolthole. For the next four hours, the men worked on clearing the path of trees. The women alternated guard duty of the bolthole since the teams worked several hundred meters away. By noon, the path had been finished to the wagon trail. Joe and his men returned to the village for lunch while George, Eric, Charles and I returned to the bolthole.

About an hour later, Joe and four men returned to the bolthole. He told me that the village is rearranging some of the animals and farming equipment to make some room in the equipment shed for us to park the vehicles out of sight. After an hour and a half of work, we have removed enough material so that the vehicle bay doors will open. During the previous evenings, team members have been preparing and packing for the departure. Eric and I stayed outside while the rest of the team drove the vehicles out, the Hummer leading. I told Joe to start heading back to the village. The team closed the doors then secured the bolthole from intrusion. It took us about ten minutes to navigate through the cleared path to the wagon trail but five minutes later, we were in the village’s equipment shed.

As we drove through the village, everybody came out of their homes to see the vehicles, standing in awe. I told Angela, Laura and George to wait just outside of the shed while I led Eric and Charles to the center of the village. I told everybody that the people by the shed would show the vehicles to anybody that wanted to see them inside and out. I asked Joe if Eric and Charles could look at their farming equipment and have somebody escort them and explain it to them. As the villagers looked at the vehicles, Joe and I raked the tire tracks out of the road from the trail to the shed. The weather had warmed considerably as the day passed prompting Joe to remove his shirt. I asked about the scars and Joe explained that Faulkner’s Badge, J. D. Baker, caught him jaywalking the street and trampling the Court’s lawn several years ago, judged him and dispensed justice with 15 lashes. I told Joe that I would like to have a meeting with the adult males in the shed while the village’s women could meet with Angela and Laura to discuss the future of the village. He agreed to a meeting after dinner.

After the meetings, the team assembled in the shed for a discussion. Faulkner was started a few years after the death of the mayor and police. The Chancellor (Mr. Raines) took control of the remains of the town and the College using the Rotsee Greys to maintain order. The position of the Chancellor, John Campbell, is hereditary and autocratic. The Vice Chancellor, Earl Campbell, leads the Greys, a cavalry group. The town and the College elect a Badge every year. The Badge is the chief civil officer, arresting lawbreakers, judging them and dispensing justice. The Chancellor and his family, the Badge and his family and the Greys and their families live well while most of the townspeople live in squalor. There is a M.D., a nurse, a midwife, and a “vettic”. Laura thinks that the M.D. is a quack because the nurse provides better treatment according to the villagers’ reports. The team agreed to a plan to enter the town in the morning.

After the team’s discussion, I met with Joe and requested his assistance with our plan. He agreed. I returned to the shed. I read some from the tablet then I took my watch.
John Aaron Bell

RandyT0001 10-18-2015 08:21 AM

Day 007
I woke a little past sunrise. The team had already made breakfast so I ate. After that, I told the team to prep and line up the vehicles for the trip to Faulkner. Joe and two other villagers were saddling up their horses. Within an hour, the vehicles were ready, the mounted escort was ready but everything stopped when a loud “Halt!” came from two grey clothed horse riders emerging from a nearby copse. As they approached, a puberphonia voice said, “I have my best squad surrounding you.” The riders stopped their approach ten meters from my position.

His horse reared, throwing the copperhead snake off its left cannon and throwing the rider off its back. The rider rolled to his left hitting the ground hard. Laura was out of the ambulance fast, running. I raised flat palms to them, told them she was an M.D., and pleaded for them not to shoot. Between moans of pain the leader told his sergeant to let Laura exam and aid him.

Laura asked for a stethoscope and a BP meter. She took a reading and examined him. His complaints of tenderness in the upper abdomen and pain in the left lumbar indicated splenic injury to Laura. She requested to move him in the ambulance to the hospital in Faulkner where she may be able to do some tests to verify the injury. The leader agreed and ordered his sergeant to cooperate. It took about thirty-five minutes to load up the Vice Chancellor and drive to the hospital. There were two brief stops, as Eric had to dismount to evaluate wooden bridges built across the rivers in the bottoms.

Once we arrived at the hospital, the nurse, Tess, guided Laura to a triage room. I told Eric to do a structural survey of the hospital. I told Angela to guard the vehicles. George would escort Eric and assist him. Tess led Laura and Charles around the surviving equipment in what was the emergency department of the hospital. I monitored Earl’s condition while they were away.

Forty minutes later, the Chancellor arrived and met briefly with his son. It took half of an hour for Laura to explain his son’s medical condition to the Chancellor using some anatomical charts. Laura wanted some volunteers for blood transfusions. She and the nurse would draw samples and cross match them with Earl’s blood. After Eric’s report of structural soundness of the building, he and George began to sanitize the OR, equipment, IV bottles, and instruments per Laura’s instructions. Laura read the procedure from her laptop and the operation started.

The operation took slightly less time that Laura expected. There was no life threatening problems. Tess did an amazing job assisting. The problem was the Chancellor’s eemdee, Killdare’s, asking questions during the operation in an effort to cast doubt on Laura’s competence. She told the Chancellor to remove Killdare from the hospital or have him take over Earl’s care. He was removed. She told him that Earl’s recover could take a few weeks.

For the rest of the day and the night the team waited, stood guard duty, and monitored the patient. The Chancellor “will allow us to occupy” the hospital for the duration of Earl’s recovery. What happens after that depends on whether Earl survives. The team is confined to the hospital until he recovers. Villagers will bring food for the team every week. It is tense.
John Aaron Bell

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