Through the urging of many of its leaders following the advise of Professor Vicente Sandoval who was recently installed as the Chairman of the Human Resources and Services Committee, the Federation agreed that every resident citizen of every member Republic must now carry a Residence Identification Card. This the entire Federation leadership, including the incumbent Governors of the sixteen soon-to-be independent Republics, now endorsed as prescribed in the Constitution and in anticipation of the foreseeable result of the open-border policy allowed by Consuelo Ortega: tens of thousands, possibly millions, of Open Crossing Permit (OCP) holders overstaying, straying outside the border-states and spreading throughout the rest of the country, quickly turning the whole country into one chaotic third world wasteland.
Well, that may very well be the intent of those (in Washington) who brought about the idea of the CNABS. But it's not going to happen in any of the Federation Republics.
One week after the 14-day open-border period began, five states officially declared their secession from the Union the same day, on Wednesday, March 2, 2112. At precisely 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon, each state Governor accompanied by a majority of their Representatives in the U.S. Congress stood before the cameras of all the national Cable and Network television and made the announcement to the nation and the whole world one after the other, starting with Colorado Governor Liz Murphy, Nevada Governor Ronald Blair, Arkansas Governor Lance Wilkinson, Louisiana Governor Pierre Belliveau and Kansas Governor Lowell Jenkins.
Needless to say, this caught Washington by surprise, exactly what the Federation intended, the first of a number of surprises the leadership had planned weeks ahead. While Paco Valderrama, Pablo Vergara, their cohorts on the Hill and the nation were watching the announcements, other surprises were building up in different parts of the country.
The first of these was when the JCS Chairman General Alonso Cortez was tasked by the Pentagon to order their top Combatant Commander General Harold Drabek (USNORTHCOM) to organize and mobilize a force in several of the rebelling states and put them on an alert standby status. Drabek, still, was nowhere to be found until news reached the Pentagon and the White House the next day that thousands of unbilleted, mostly out-of-state forces had marched in and taken over several of the most valuable military bases of the United States Armed Forces, all located in Colorado. One in the Denver suburb of Aurora--Buckley AFB; the three others within a few miles of each other near Colorado Springs--Fort Carson, Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB.
The base commanders were told they were to obey orders only from CCDR General Harold Drabek. One of them, the Fort Carson commander, managed to put a call through to Washington and learned that there was no such order from the Pentagon. He was ordered to expel the intruders immediately and retake the base. But his security forces were caught unprepared and was soundly defeated in the battle that lasted all day and resulted in several hundred casualties, mostly on the side of the government forces.
With the fall of Fort Carson, many in the Federation leadership and in its member Republics were reminded of a similar event in the past more than two hundred fifty years ago, after South Carolina seceded from the Union, where the Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter to the Confederates, marking the beginning of the Civil War. Thus, they came to view the day, Thursday, March 3, 2112, as the beginning of the new American Civil War.
In Peterson AFB where General Drabek had for several years held office as the base commander and the CCDR of USNORTHCOM, the transition to a new command structure went without a single shot fired from either side. That was because General Drabek and his allies in the base both military and civilian, owing to the news of the secession of the state from the Union, easily won the support of all the forces stationed in the base facilities and both sides then--U.S. Federal and FDF personnel who entered the base--joined forces.
When another call from the Pentagon came, General Drabek, after cutting communications with Washington for several weeks, finally spoke to his (former) bosses there in a video conference streamed live to the White House and the Pentagon, telling the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and everybody else (he didn't give a damn) who was there watching and listening:
I am no longer in the service of the armed forces and the government of the United States of America. I, from hereon, pledge my support and render my services to the Independent Republic of Colorado and its government under the leadership of the Honorable Governor Liz Murphy.
Again, surprise on the part of the Pentagon people and their Commander-In-Chief. But more of the same were to follow. After a hasty conference in the Situation Room, the Secretary of Defense called the Commanding General of FORSCOM in Fort Bragg, the largest Army provider of combat-ready forces to Combatant Commanders. The SecDef ordered deployment of now supposedly fully mobilized forces to each of the five seceding states. This to fortify the defenses of all the U.S. Federal military bases in them and recapture the ones now lost in Colorado. The FORSCOM CG took the order but reported that they would be short one land personnel component on account of the National Guards in each one of those states.
"The Bureau Chief, General Edmund Lippert himself, had informed me," said the CG, "that he has authorized transfer of command of all the Army National Guard units in each of those states to their state executives, the Governors."
That set off the SecDef, ranting that Lippert can't do that. Authority to do that rested only on the President or the Secretary of Defense.
President Paco Valderrama, Pablo Vergara and JCS Chairman Alonso Cortez were then listening and as soon as they heard that, Pablo muttered to the others: "That's what he's been up to, Ed Lippert. Why, the goddamn dirty turncoat. He and that other traitor Harold Drabek. No wonder we haven't heard from either of them the past few weeks."
The SecDef then ordered the CG to make do with what combined units FORSCOM could muster and execute the order immediately. He then contacted the commander of the USSOCOM (Special Operations Command) in MacDill AFB, Tampa Bay, after consulting with the other three in the room. Right then and there, they gave the Commander of the Special Ops a deployment order for its 75th Army Ranger Regiment and Delta Force, the Air Force 24th STS (Special Tactics Squadron) and any other units the CG could recommend to augment the U.S. fighting capability and accomplish this mission against the 'rebel states'.
With that pronouncement by the SecDef, everyone turned to the President of the United States, expecting him to acknowledge what each man now understood to be happening to the country.
Without batting an eye, President Pacifico (Paco) Valderrama did, saying: "Gentlemen, I believe the country is now in a state of civil war."
And indeed, America was.
The following day, Friday, March 4, 2112, early at 10:00 o'clock in the morning, California Governor Henry Flynn, with 31 of the state's 58 Representatives and its two Senators in the U.S. Congress behind him, appeared on national television and announced the state's official secession from the Union. While the Governor (Federation Chairman, Armed Services Committee West) was on the air, the FDF did the same as they did the day before in Colorado. Except instead of taking over the bases only in one state (California), they overwhelmed the forces in several military bases in the four other states that announced their secession the day before--Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana and Kansas--except Nellis AFB near Las Vegas in Southern Nevada which was controlled by the U.S. forces.
In Southern California, the size of the U.S. forces at the border had grown with the arrival of reinforcements from U.S. bases around the region. After two and a half days of continuous fighting, they finally prevailed over and captured more than half of the FDF forces, the rest escaped north to above the San Bernardino-Kern-San Luis Obispo county line, part of the Central California geographic area now controlled by the Federation. The state was then effectively divided militarily, with the U.S. forces retaining control of Southern California, one part of America that now looked more like a colony of Mexico with the hundreds of thousands who had crossed in from the south since the open border started.
Over the weekend, news of the multitudes flooding across the border into the four border-states alternated with that of the state secessions in dominating the press and the media airwaves. By early Saturday morning, after nine days of the open-border period, it was reported by an independent poll and the U.S. Immigration officials themselves that over two and a half million OCP cards had been issued, so far.
TV news videos showed large crowds wandering aimlessly in different parts of the states, rural and urban areas. Streets were clogged up with old-model cars--clunkers and farm vehicles, mostly rebuilt trucks and busses. Large groups of people were seen camped out in parks and any public places they could find, others setting up roadside stalls selling farm produce and home-made products--a sight hardly distinguishable from that in towns and cities of a banana republic.
Owing to the horror of these scenes, the rest of the Federation member republics, eleven of them including Western Texas which had at this point precariously secured its borders with the rest of the state and New Mexico, announced their secession from the Union en masse. The three nearest and bordering the Southwest region announced first: Utah, Oklahoma and West Texas. The rest followed over the weekend: Oregon, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia.
Following these, the Federation held a meeting under the golden dome of the Colorado State Capitol Building where it had now officially moved its governing body and declared the city of Denver its national capital. The meeting lasted well into the night Sunday. It adjourned following a resolution regarding the Declaration of Independence. With what CNABS had now done to the country, the leadership decided it can not wait another two weeks (March 21, 2112), as had been planned before.
Thus, the following day, Monday the 7th of March, 2112, the Central Committee of the Federation appeared on television worldwide to proclaim the existence of the Federation of Independent American Republics consisting of the seventeen Republics which had pledged their unconditional allegiance to the new nation under its newly ratified Constitution.
In the White House, every room with a TV monitor had groups of staffers watching the event. In the Cabinet room, the Cabinet Secretary had quickly assembled the attendees--selected Cabinet members and all the members of the National Security Council--for the emergency meeting called on short notice by the President. Here, too, everyone watched the event, in disbelief, on the wall-mounted fifty-inch flatscreen at one end of the room. A graveyard silence engulfed the entire executive mansion especially during the speech delivered by Central Committee Chairman Alfred de Vera on the Declaration of Independence of the Federation from the Union of the United States of America.
Up on the Capitol Hill, an emergency joint session in the House Chamber convened with as many members as could be gathered this day by the Senate President, also the U.S. Vice President, Ricardo Padua. At this point in time, the 162nd Congress which had convened fourteen months ago with the original membership of 446 House Members and 100 Senators had been reduced to 333 House Members and 68 Senators. Everyone present, in separate groups, was now staring breathlessly at the flatscreens hung temporarily at several places on the walls of the chamber as their former colleague and now the Federation Central Committee Chairman Alfred de Vera continued with his speech:
"Today, a new nation is born. And with the power vested in me by the will of the people of the several newly independent Republics, all seventeen of them, I declare the self-rule and Independence of the Federation of American Independent Republics from the Union of the United States of America and from any and all other potentate, sovereignty, state, government in existence now and ever."
The screen then split in two as the tremendous roar of the people around the Federation Capitol in Denver, mostly the hundreds of thousands that packed the Civic Center Park and beyond this on the west side of the building, filled the air. Large groups were turned in different directions while viewing the event on several giant video screens. One in front of the Denver County Court building at the west end of the park, several at the stretch of Colfax Avenue on the north side, one at the Greek Amphitheater on the south side, one in front of the Judicial Center on East 14th Street and the largest one, forty feet long, in front of the Capitol west side. The roar got louder as the flags of the seventeen republics were hoisted on thirty-foot masts across the same side of the building and in front of them, that of the Federation, a simple banner divided into three vertical panels. Red, Yellow, Blue, symbolizing the primary colors of all creation in the known world.
This same roar filled the air in other parts of the Federation which now stretched geographically from the Pacific shores of the Republic of California to the Atlantic waters of the Republic of Virginia.
But in the days and weeks since, that roar was deadened by the ominous sound of many battles launched first by the U.S. forces in their effort to dissuade the 'rebels' and their leaders of the idea of independence of any state from the Union.
Their strategy was a simultaneous assault on the Federation forces that had taken over the military bases and on those defending the state (Republic) capitals and their leaders. Washington singled out Denver as the primary objective of the assaults but Pentagon clearly had underestimated the force it would require to conquer the Federation Capital. The first wave of the attacks both by land and air was repulsed quickly by the rings of defenses the FDF had deployed around the Capital. So was the second, and the third, at the cost of several thousand lives, mostly those of the U.S. forces. When the count of (their) casualties exceeded the allowed number, Pentagon finally called back the troops to consider another plan of attack.
With that first full-blown battlefield engagement between the U.S. armed forces and the Federation Defense Forces in Colorado, the period of the Second American Civil War was then perceived in the entire western hemisphere and the rest of the world to have begun.
In California, Henry Flynn's military leaders led by Brigadier General Luke Thurston and their forces which now included the entire California Army National Guards, together with those who had retreated from the border siege earlier, had built their defenses against the advancing U.S. forces from the south between the Monterey County line in the west and the Inyo County line in the east. Numerous standoff battles went on day and night, mostly with artillery and air strikes. Casualties on both sides mounted day after day by the hundreds. So did the collateral damage on the civilian population. Scattered parts of towns and cities burned unattended day and night, and underneath the rubbles were the victims of the civil war, both intended and unintended.
In the Republics facing the Southwest region, borders had been hurriedly barricaded and heavily defended especially after it was learned that Washington had ordered Coalition Governor General Consuelo Ortega to keep the borders open--indefinitely. In Louisiana and Arkansas, the flood of OCP card holders from Texas had reached the state lines. Many had crossed and taken up residence in the two Republics. But armed immigration enforcers there acted quickly.
With every legal resident of the seventeen Republics now carrying the required permanent Federation Residence ID (FRID) card, they had no trouble identifying the trespassers, along with the long-time illegals, rounding them up and expelling them to Texas. That OCP card the newcomers carried actually worked against them in identifying them once they crossed the state line, let alone the fact that many of them hardly spoke English or not at all. Talk about 'probable cause' for questioning the legality of anybody's presence in the country, thought the Federation's immigration enforcers.
Now, many in the newly declared independent Republics were saying: if that (a permanent Residence ID card) requirement had only been approved by both the judicial (Supreme Court) and the legislative (Congress) branch of the government, implemented and enforced--one hundred years ago or even earlier, America wouldn't be where it is now. We would remain one people within the secured borders of a sovereign country, speaking in one tongue with one official language--English, American English.
In Utah, Governor Frank Naismith--true to the words he spoke before the threat of CNABS became real (like the vision of the border with Mexico disappearing as what was now happening)--massed thousands of local militias and the State National Guards through every mile of the state line with Arizona, securing the Republic of Utah from the onslaught of OCP holders that were now flooding on both sides of it, to southern Nevada and southern California, and southern Colorado as well.
But Colorado, being the seat of the Federation government, faced a bigger threat. Not just with the flood of OCP holders spilling from New Mexico but from the U.S. forces carrying out intermittent air and artillery attacks on the Capital and the FDF-occupied bases and newly installed military facilities in the entire Republic. It was found out, too, in recent days with the capture of many of them, that the U.S. forces had been putting OCP holders in U.S. Army uniforms and sending them up north on combat missions with the regular troops. In response to these incursions, Governor Liz Murphy and her Generals fortified their southern defenses tenfold. Their mission: not only to drive the enemies out of the Republic and back to New Mexico but to turn the demographic landscape of southern Colorado--which for many years now had looked like part of Mexico--back to an Anglo country.
Out in the easternmost part of the Federation, in Virginia, Governor Ken Robinson, of all the heads of the Federation Republics, had been in the most precarious position being within a stone's throw of Washington, D.C. across the Potomac river. As expected, the U.S. forces had simply marched across the bridges over the river and taken control of Northern Virginia.
When the decision was reached for the Declaration of Independence which happened two weeks in advance of the planned event, Governor Robinson gathered up his forces fast to redraw the mobilization plans for the defense of the Federation and, more importantly, the rest of his newly declared Republic of Virginia.
Two weeks later, a few days after the U.S. forces launched heavy attacks in Denver, the Federation capital, he gathered them again but that time, upon the request of General Drabek in the beleaguered capital, a plan was developed to switch from a defensive to an offensive strategy.
Admiral Roscoe George, Ken Robinson's childhood friend and Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, was at his right hand during the gathering in the heavily fortified city of Richmond, 110 miles south of Washington, D.C. The Navy Commander had defected from the U.S. armed forces in a matter of hours after Army General Drabek did, wholly unchallenged to this day after successfully launching a campaign to win over a large number of his Commanders. A Carrier Strike Group and even a Numbered Fleet Commander, that of the Second Fleet headquartered in Norfolk. Others in the rank and file were flat top, submarine and naval air squadron commanders. Many of them who happened to be on shore leave or duty at the time, were present at the gathering with their top Commander, Admiral Roscoe George, in Governor Ken Robinson's office in Richmond.
"Gentlemen, they've pushed us hard long enough," General Harold Drabek, now overall Chairman of the Federation Defense Forces, told them from his command headquarters in Colorado Springs during the video conference. "Now it's time for us to shove them back. It's time for us to throw it all back at them--the same kind of shit they've been throwing at us."
It was decided, especially at the urging of Admiral Roscoe George and several of his commanders, that the Federation should respond to the attacks on the Federation Capital in a like manner. Meaning, as General Drabek put it bluntly, launch an attack on the U.S. Capital, the same as they did and were continuing to do to the Federation Capital of Denver.
"But maybe put a little more sting to it," added Admiral Christopher Barrett, Commander of Carrier Strike Group 12 currently garrisoned in Norfolk, now fully mobilized and cutting the Atlantic north towards the Chesapeake Bay. When Barrett made his decision during Admiral Roscoe's campaign to pull the ranks over to the Federation side, every officer under his command in the CSG-12, along with several other senior officers in the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, followed him. One of them, an officer of his rank, was the commander of the CSG-13 now cruising--after receiving its mission order from Denver--around the Florida peninsula on its way to the Texas/Louisiana shores in the Gulf of Mexico. Soon, the Pentagon lost the entire NS Norfolk, Virginia, the largest naval station in the world, to the Federation of American Independent Republics.
It happened so fast, sending shock waves to Washington so that nobody, the Secretary of Defense, the White House or anybody else inside or outside the Beltway could make up their minds what to do about it.
Bomb the whole damn place and ferret out all those traitors who took it over? That would either destroy everything there or the traitors could retaliate and strike back. Norfolk is a powerhouse that projects its might throughout most of the eastern half of the mainland. It is not that far from Washington. Supersonic fighter jets from there or from a flat top at sea nearby could reach D.C. in less than fifteen minutes.
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