Chapter 30: Ford Nation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 4

Randy Ford hid in a snowy culvert the moment the shooting began.  Despite his prodigious strength and virtual immortality, Karlsson’s serum had reduced Randy’s mind and emotional state to that of a toddler.  He was terrified of guns and adult conflict, which was why he had to be transported in a noise and image insulated carrier.  Even the shouty repartee of talk radio upset him.  

 

And upsetting Randy was dangerous.

 

When encountered by emotional tension or violence, Randy would erupt in wild, defensive rage, immediately killing any human within reach using any means at his disposal.  It had been an unforeseen side-effect of the Karlsson super serum, one that had caused many accidental deaths until he was tamed by his brother.

 

At first Doug was appalled by the serum that had ruined his brother’s mind and ordered Karlsson to do everything possible to restore him.  But after it became clear that the serum made surviving candidates invulnerable to pain, granted super-human strength and near immortality, he reconsidered.  They tested and perfected the serum until it was safe for Doug to use himself, then trained Randy using psychotherapy to respond to control words.  Randy was now a mostly harmless man-child who could be turned into an weaponized monster on command.  A detailed protocol was created for his care, day to day protection, and deployment.

 

Faith previously knew none of this, having only seen the residual effects of Randy and feared him.  But thanks to Doug Ford’s demonstration at the ruined Convention Centre, she had learned the control word to fully unleash Randy.  In her arrogance and desperation, she had uttered it.

 

The phrase “Puppet show” caused a click inside the deep recesses of Randy’s mind.  He rose from the snow, fists clenched.  A moment later he saw Faith’s broken and bloodied body on the ground, underneath a red-haired girl in a dirty sweater dress.

 

“Fayt! FAYT!” screamed Randy.  He launched himself at Anne.  Randy liked Faith, considering her a dear friend, and turned his rage against her tormentor.  

 

Anne withdrew her two short fighting sticks from their sheathes and planted her feet slightly apart to face Randy’s charge.  She was flooded with adrenalin and hot-headed by nature, her judgement blinded by the need for revenge.  Anne wanted to avenge Rick Mercer, Margaret Atwood and Jim Balsillie.  She wanted to avenge the destruction in Toronto and the other Canadian cities.  Most of all she just wanted to kill EnFordcers and end Ford Nation.  This hideous monster man would be the proxy for her immutable hate.

 

Randy barrelled towards Anne intent on shredding her apart with his hands, but Anne was too fast.  In a classic Semenkata move, she faked left then sprang right, bringing her clenched fists down together on his shoulder and vaulting over him in a graceful somersault.  Anne landed, legs and arms apart, the short stick in each hand pointed forward at Randy as he lost control and tumbled to the ground.

 

“Shoot that girl!” mumbled Faith through broken teeth into her communicator as she crawled towards safety.

 

EnFordcer gunfire began hailing down on Anne and Laura, not sure which girl Faith meant.  Of the 300 or so EnFordcers initially deployed at the bridgehead, most had scattered in the chaos when the van first arrived, or were killed by Emily as she rampaged across the blockaded ramp in the D2CK suit.  The remaining units fired at both Anne and Laura in random, uncoordinated bursts.  They shot at the mech suit that was running amok among them, but they lacked the firepower to repel Emily’s D2CK.

 

“RAAAAAAAAAAAA!” raged Randy.  His sweat pants were falling down again and his duster had slipped off his left shoulder.  He tore it off with his hands and charged again.  

 

Anne ran directly towards a pocket of EnFordcers near her side of the blockade, dancing and weaving to avoid small arms fire, but it was only partially successful.  A bullet hit her in her left forearm, one grazed her side just below an armpit, and another went right through her left thigh.  She reached the line of fat guys shooting at her and sprang into their emplacement, shattering the skull of one with one hit of her stick and snapping the neck of another.

 

That was when Randy collided into all or them at once.  One EnFordcer had seen the elder Ford in action in Toronto and was taking no chances.  As soon as he saw Randy coming at Anne in their position he turned his Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun on the monster.

 

Randy took a full clip of 9mm rounds directly into his centre of mass, but it did nothing except refocus his attack at the hapless EnFordcer shooting him.  Although Anne was now within his reach, distracted by brutal hand-to-hand combat with a dozen assailants, Randy grabbed the shooter’s machine gun right out of his hands.  In one swing he pile drove the weapon into the EnFordcers head, driving the barrel down the man’s neck an into his spleen.

 

Laura had sprinted across the open ground between Carlo’s fallen D1CK suit and the remains of the blockade, about twenty yards from where Anne had merged with it.  She was still fluidly moving in full Esposito, hammering EnFordcers with her stick and knocking weapons out of their hands.  One armoured truck was accelerating at her but was stopped by Emily, who just stepped in front of it and pulled the front axle off, flicking it into the snow like a discarded cigarette.  

 

“Emily!  We have to help Anne!” said Laura.

 

Emily was completely unfamiliar with the dazzling array of sensors and readouts on display inside the helmet of the D2CK suit but could see 360° around her, and instantly spotted Anne amongst the fighting.  

 

“I’m coming honey!” yelled Emily, turning and running towards the melee just as Randy dispatched the EnFordcer with the submachine gun. 

 

Randy looked up and saw the mech suit coming and ignored it, assumed it was friendly.  “YOU HURT FAYT!  FAYT FAYT FAYT…” railed Randy, pushing aside EnFordcers trying to get to Anne.  

 

Anne was fighting well but her injuries were starting to take their toll.  Seeing Randy coming for her through the tangle of humanity she paused to consider her options.  

 

That was when Randy took a direct hit to his right eye, causing his head to swing back violently and him to stagger backwards.  Justin had driven the van up the ramp, and stopped about two hundred yards on the bridge.  Chrystia was now seated in the open side door and was sniping with the recoilless rifle.  She had seen Randy and fired at him.

 

“I love PEI.” said Justin, a broad smile on his face.  “There’s actually pretty good surfing here in the spring.”

 

Chrystia was about to say something when the van was thrown into the air by a violent explosion.  Ford Nation drones had opened fire at last.  Don Cherry inside the Nature Centre, had seen enough and knew it was time to take control.  Faith was out of the equation, Randy was injured and the EnFordcers needed to be rallied.  

“All units, weapons free!  Repeat, weapons free!” said Don.

 

The drone operators, safe inside Sherway Gardens in Toronto and linked via satellite, released the awesome firepower of the Ford Nation drone force and unloaded on the van with the two former prime ministers and Rick Green.

 

The van, already a shattered wreck, was riddled with bullets and narrowly missed a direct hit from a missile, which threw it up and left it smoking on its side.  Justin was unhurt, Chrystia was thrown away from the van and landed on the bridge heavily, losing her weapon.  Rick Green, already wounded from earlier, tumbled around and came to a rest in a crumpled heap inside.

 

The drones unleashed a relentless fire on the remains of the van.  Rick Green was killed.  The lithium-ion battery for the hybrid drive burst into white flames, which had the benefit of screening Justin from the infrared sensors the drone operators were using for targeting guidance.  

 

Randy stood up, both hands clasped on his head where his right eye used to be, blood and brown fluid pouring down his multiple chins.  “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” cried Randy Ford.

 

Laura worked her way along the masses of EnFordcers along the blockade line to the ramp.  Emily picked up Anne and pushed their way to meet her there.  The trio was crouched behind one of the EnFordcer armoured trucks used to block access to the bridge.  Ironically it was now protecting them and blocking Ford Nation instead.

 

“We need to get over the bridge to Prince Edward Island to safety, then blow it up so that Ford Nation can’t follow us!” said Laura.  “That island is our refuge.  Canada’s last hope!”

 

Emily looked at the situation around them, using the multiple camera views inside the helmet.  The EnFordcers were regrouping, holding back fire as they reformed into cohesive units.  The drones were in control of the bridge ahead.  “If we don’t stop those flying machines it won’t matter” said Emily.  

 

“You can shoot them down with the suit.” said Anne.  Her voice was fading, weakened from blood loss.  Emily knew she had awesome power at her disposal but almost no idea how to operate the computer or weapons, including the rail gun and BlackBerry A.I. fire control system.  “Try using a voice command…” said Anne.

 

“Shoot drones.” said Emily.

 

The D2CK software had been programmed to accept orders from any of the team members as part of the “Trojan” protocol.  Immediately, the screens in front of Emily’s eyes shifted to show a bird’s eye view of the tactical situation.  The drones were all highlighted by red circles, and white circles formed around clusters of EnFordcers and trucks.  Many icons appeared that she didn’t understand, except one that had a words next to it: full auto.

 

“Full auto…fire!” said Emily.

 

The D2CK suit’s rail gun began shooting drones out of the sky in staccato bursts.  Within seconds the airspace above the van was clear, and the rail gun swivelled in the opposite direction to acquire ground targets. 

 

“Cease fire.” said Emily.   She was all too aware that the ammo they had was all they would ever have.

 

“We are clear.  We must cross the bridge and destroy it!” said Laura.  The women nodded.  Emily reached down to pick up Anne but Anne waved her off.

 

“I can still run.” said Anne.  She had taken the lull in the fighting to stab some meds into herself and wrap a shred of fabric torn from her dress around her leg wound.  She picked up a pair of pistols, a shotgun and a grenade launcher she found in the armoured truck.

 

The women began to jog up the steep incline of the bridge towards the remains of the van.  Emily had the rail gun locked on clusters of EnFordcers, and Anne fired several smoke grenades behind them as a screen.

 

Don Cherry was walking up to the blockade line, now covered in smoke from the grenades, surrounded by a dozen EnFordcers loyal to him and ordering the lieutenants to reform and launch themselves into a final assault.  Randy was sitting on the ground rubbing dirty snow into his now vacant eye socket, sobbing uncontrollably.  

 

“Someone go see if Carlo is alive.”  said Don, stopping next to Randy.  Don was afraid of the eldest Ford brother but knew that when reduced to his child-like mental state he was usually harmless.  Don put his hand tentatively on Randy’s shoulder.   “That’s tough, man.”

 

“Fayt Fayt Fayt”  said Randy.

 

“Yeah, I know.” said Don.

 

“We’re ready, boss.” said the senior EnFordcer commander.  Around him were a half dozen fire teams standing behind the blockading trucks.  Another smoke grenade bounced harmlessly overhead spewing a trail of white clouds.

 

“THEN GET THE FUCK OVER THERE AND KILL THEM!” yelled Faith Goldy.  She limped out of the smoke behind them waving one hand.  “Charge!  TAKE NO PRISONERS!”  

 

The EnFordcers looked at her, then at Don.  “Go.” said Don with a casual wave.  

 

“FORD NATION! FORD NATION! FORD NATION!” Chanted the EnFordcer commanders, as the hordes climbed over the trucks and barricades, disappearing into the smoke on the ramp up to the bridge.  Heavy machine gun and pistol fire erupted moments later. 

 

The team reached the burning wreckage of the van and found Justin and Chrystia huddled beside it.  Chrystia had pulled out the few duffle bags she could find, looking for weapons or food and other useful things.  One of them was the bag with the CRTC and remaining BlackBerry tablets. 

 

“Rick?” asked Laura.

 

Justin was shaking his head. 

 

Emily had turned and was firing back down the slope of the bridge.  “They are coming.  Lots of them.  And they are organized this time.” 

 

Anne chose her defensive position, laying down in the snow just behind the back of the ruined van, the only protective cover on the entire 8 miles of the bridge.  

 

So this was it, thought Laura.  This was Queenston Heights all over again.  Like the American invasion of Canada in 1812, it was up to a tiny band of hopelessly outnumbered defenders to stop the aggressors at the water’s edge, or all was lost.  This tiny strip of ocean could prevent Ford Nation from washing over them long enough to recover, organize and keep the dream of Canada alive for the future.  But only if they succeeded in destroying the bridge.

 

Unfortunately, unlike 1812 when the allied warriors of the First Nations attacked from behind and helped defeat the Americans, there was no saviour coming this time.  It was just them, Anne, Emily, Chrystia, Justin and herself against hundreds of heavily armed fat guys, and a mutant monster lead by a superpowered authoritarian dictator.  

 

Laura was calm and strangely at ease with the situation.  The smell of melting plastic, burning metal, and gunfire were meaningless to her.  Her injuries were slight, but she was tired.  Not so much physically, but mentally and emotionally.

 

She had travelled hundreds of years through time, leaving behind her children and husband to be here, to fight for Canada.  It all seemed unlikely to succeed now. 

 

Laura found herself indifferent to the outcome.  Anne was firing now, grunting as she did so from the pain of her wounds.  The rail gun of the D2CK was also in full auto mode again, the empty casings from it sprinkling down around Laura, who was still crouching behind the van.  Chrystia was holding her head trying to be as small as possible, and Justin was staring out over the Northumberland Straight with an vacant expression.  

 

This was it, thought Laura.  Her final moments had come.  She was ready.  Ready to do as much as she could to be a hopeful symbol for her fellow countryfolk, and ready to join her long dead husband and children in the afterlife. 

 

Laura rose and stepped out from behind the van to face her destiny, her hockey stick in both hands.  Through the smoke and tracers she could discern the shape of hundreds of fat men, shuffling towards them as fast as their unhealthy lifestyles allowed, despite withering fire from the rail gun and Anne.  EnFordcers fell by the score but more kept coming.  Laura looked up and across to Emily.

 

“I am almost out of ammunition” said Emily. 

 

“I’m already out.” said Anne.

 

“They’ll be here in seconds once we stop firing…” said Laura. 

The rail gun stopped.  Inside her helmet displays Emily could see that the suit was empty.  “Here they come.” 

 

“FORD NATION! FORD NATION! FORD NATION!” 

 

Laura summoned all her mental energy to focus on the fight ahead.  Time slowed down as bullets whizzed past her and she chose her targets, seeing the four-dimensional chess of moves that would land the greatest amount of damage.

 

“I will stop them.” said Justin Trudeau.

 

Laura snapped out of her reverie.  What did he say?

 

Justin jumped up and ran out towards the EnFordcer mob, a single duffle bag slung over his broad shoulder.  

 

“Prime minister…!   what are you doing?”  shouted Laura.

 

Justin was hit by bullet after bullet.  Blood sprayed off him and steamers of fabric tore off his clothing as he ran, headfirst into the assault force facing him.  One arm flailed backwards involuntarily as it took round after round of machine-gun fire.  The EnFordcers stopped en mass and concentrated their weapons on Justin as he staggered on, shaking with hits, finally tumbling onto the ground.

 

“JUSTIN!” yelled Chrystia Freeland, who watched in horror as her friend and colleague of many decades ran to his death in an apparent suicide.  The EnFordcers shot into his body causing spouts of blood to squirt into the air.  Others resumed their massed attack on the women.

 

Inspired by this heroic, selfless act of defiance Laura and Anne charged. Anne had her blades out, and Laura pointed her stick at the nearest EnFordcer, only 30 yards away.

 

But revenge wouldn’t be theirs.

 

A silent, white globe of light ballooned where Justin Trudeau fell.  It expanded rapidly and engulfed the entire mob of EnFordcers, vaporizing them.  The bridge below their feet rippled like a flag in a stiff breeze, knocking Laura and Anne down.  A few seconds later the air was filled with an ear-splitting roar as the sound of the blast wave caught up to the survivors.

 

A fifty foot section of the bridge was gone, neatly sliced off by a micro-thermonuclear explosion coming from the CRTC.  Justin had spent the road trip reading Jim’s notes, and learned that there was enough atomic energy inside for one more time jump, or one nuclear explosion, depending on the settings.  After seeing his new friend Rick Green killed and remembering his former standing as a leader of Canada’s government in the Big Stop, Justin realized it was up to him to save the day.  Years in prison had caused him to retreat into himself, and these last months with the team had allowed himself to be distracted by cooking and pop culture.  But Justin knew his Canadian history.  He recognized that he was the Issac Brock of this moment, that this time needed.  He alone could afford the sacrifice destiny demanded.  

 

Besides, he also knew the brutal truth about where they were.  The surfing in PEI was actually not worth the effort.

 

***

 

Don Cherry was standing on the edge of the blockade when the CRTC went off.  Blinded by the flash, he staggered backwards, raising his hands in front of his face to shield his face.

 

That was when Faith Goldie shot Don Cherry.  A creature of instinct, she recognized the opportunity when it was there.  With her remaining good hand she had armed herself when the fight moved up the bridge, and seeing the flash she knew that she could hide Cherry’s death as collateral damage.  She casually emptied the entire clip into the old man with the bad tartan suit, then dropped the gun and limped off towards the Nature Centre.

 

***

 

Inside Sherway Gardens, Sun TV recut the scenes of the battle to make it seem like the EnFordcers killed everyone, that the cheers of people across the country were for them, not the mysterious woman with the hockey stick.  Bryan Adams and Ezra Levant were live, breaking down what the on-screen ticker labelled “The Defeat of White Squirrel Terror”, with panellists Jason Kenney and Chad Kroeger.

 

***

 

In the official residence, Doug Ford watched.  Faith reported in that Randy was hurt, but that the escapees and Cherry were dead.  The prime minister finished a tall spinach smoothie, and went for his workout.  Ford Nation had won.


Submitted: September 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Mac Lang. All rights reserved.

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