Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Line

George Oliver paced slowly along the rampart, his blaster slung over his shoulder. He gazed down upon the no-man's-land of electronic barriers that kept the enemy at bay. There were electronic surveillance devices to warn them of approaching attacks. But since the great drone offensive, when someone had found a way to hack in and temporarily bring the system down, George had not totally trusted the mechanics.

It did not help that they were hemmed in on two fronts. The western front was solid from Canada to Mexico, and they opposed anyone crossing their borders. The eastern front was open in the south, and some tried to escape past the shore patrol to safe places like China and Uganda. But George was not ready for that yet. This was his home, and he intended to stay and defend it.

What had gone wrong, and how had it gotten this bad? thought George. Neither side had been completely innocent; both had helped to escalate the war of words. Then had come the law suits, the arrests, and the imprisonments. Maybe it would have better if we had just been willing to suffer like Christians rather than fight back. But slowly a resistance movement had grown until it had ended in full-scale war. It had been fortunate for them that a good part of the military had proved to be on their side. And now here they were, cut off by walls on either side. And there seemed to be some who liked it that way. George hated it. He wanted to reach out to those on the other side of the line, to find a way to make peace, to tell them about the love of Christ. But he did not know how to do it.

His reverie was broken off by a sharp buzz. He went to the nearest surveillance panel to check it out. There was one, seemingly unarmed, drone hovering, just outside the perimeter. And it was broadcasting an offer to parley. Did he dare let it in? It could be a trap. But was he willing to pass up the possibility it might not be? He alerted his own drones to destroy it if it made a false move, but he told the surveillance system to let it through.

He took cover behind the corner of a tower, with his blaster leveled at the intruder. How useless this could be if the drone had a weapon that the scanners had not detected he knew very well. The drone came in slowly and hovered directly in front of him. On the cone of the device there was a large video screen. As it neared, there appeared on it a young man with a tense smile.

"We wanted to send you a message," began the young man, "but we are both too afraid of hackers and propagandists to let our systems interface. This has proved the only way to reach you. We have tried to eliminate religion, or at least what we thought was inappropriate religion. We have failed. The more we tried to suppress them, the more they multiplied. We have decided to find a way to make peace. And we also would like to explore making  peace with you. We want to become one people again. It will not be easy. But we believe it is worth doing. Will you join us in this?"

George was still not sure this whole thing was not a trap. But could he let the opportunity get away if it was not?    

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