Elder Thomas is walking the path between the wood and the courthouse when he sees a light move between the trees. As he reaches for his sidearm, Patrick Hammonds youngest son steps forward holding a lamp.

“Sorry Elder. I didn’t mean to scare you.

“Don’t worry son, you just made me jump a little. Were you patrolling the North Gate?”

“Yes .” He smiles proudly. “Just my second time.”

Elder Thomas smiles and pats him on the back. “Well everyone sleeps a little safer knowing you are all out there walking the woods.”

At the courthouse the meeting drags on longer and longer. Elder Grant has the floor. She is concerned about the southern border. “Elders, it has been almost seven years since any repair work was ordered. We need to maintain our fences and defences. It was only three years ago when there was an incursion in Aubden. May I remind you that 32 people died that night?”

Elder Nagir raises his hand. “My workers are prepared to fortify the fences along the southern border from long marsh to Connington. They are only waiting for extra rations.”

Elder Thomas calls to the duty Guard. “Release extra ration to these men and take a squad to watch them.”

Elders Thomas and Smith are walking back through the park. They had planned on a late supper and a little light conversation.

Smith turns to his old friend. “We are losing aren’t we?”

Thomas is more tired than he can ever remember. After the riots broke out and then the bombing started he was just 11. They rebuilt and did what they could. Now he is 51. He has a village over 11,000 people. He has fought and striven for this settlement. He has done things he is not proud of, sacrificed and worked and saved as many as he could. As he turns to reassure his old friend a HIB shatters through his shoulder, sending fragments into his heart and lungs. High Impact Bullets are designed to explode when in contact with human tissue.

Smith raises his sidearm at fires at the First Nation soldier. He misses and a HIB hits him in the side of his face.

Within two hours the village is burning. Everyone is dead, The Nationalists drive off in their tanks and armoured cars to the next village on the map.

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