Canadian Prime Minister Carl Emery sat hunched over at his desk. “What in the world are we going to do? Without the oil supplies from the west we might as well go back to horse and carriage,” he lamented to his advisors gathered in the room.
Zack Hewitt, the Minister of Defense, thought about the Prime Ministers words before responding. “Take the bastards out.”
“How is that going to resound with the rest of the country? Sending the Canadian military to attack our countrymen?” the Prime Minister replied angrily.
“Not our countrymen, Carl. It was their decision to close their borders and hold back resources required by the rest of the country. The self-proclaimed leaders should hang for treason. Their selfish act is nothing short of extortion.”
Emery emitted a short, derisive laugh. “We don’t have enough fuel to move the damn army even if we wanted to. What. Maybe I could beg the buggers to sell us enough oil so we can go to war against them? I can’t see them having a problem with that,” the Prime Minister barked sarcastically.
“Well then. You could fall to your knees in front of your bosses at the foundation. Ask them to send a supply of oil, so we can activate the army and chase those rebels out of our borders. If we take control of the “Western Canada Region” the country will once again have enough resources to operate.”
The Canadian leader spun in his desk chair. His tired eyes looked out over the grounds of the Parliament buildings. Emery’s anger fumed as he dwelled on the wealth of resources the Western provinces possessed and the way they refused to help in Canada’s time of need.
How in the hell did the Prairie Provinces end up with all the essential goods the rest of the country lacked? Besides the obvious oil and gas products, the provinces were self-sustaining. The breadbasket of Canada lay between the Rocky Mountains and the Ontario border. Cattle, wheat, even an abundance of lumber, the one thing Eastern Canadians prized the most these days. With the shortage of natural gas to heat homes and electricity prices through the roof, the vast forests in the northern parts of the provinces were disappearing at an alarming rate.
When Emery and his cabinet came to power, the fantasy of a carbon-free country seemed feasible. Indeed, Canadians would suffer but over time people adjusted. Most just needed a push to realize the benefits of clean energy. Now damn near eight years later the promised prospect of a green future fell far short of the promised outcome.
The rural farm areas of Ontario and Quebec lost valuable cropland and became blighted with unsightly metal behemoths and a failing power grid. The solar farms produced energy in small, unstable amounts and the billions his government spent on retrofitting buildings was a joke. Even the Parliament buildings had problems keeping the lights on. The goddamn Parliament building, he swore and shook his head, the home of the countries government can’t even keep the lights on.
Prime Minister Emery swung back to look over his advisors. “I will call the foundation and demand supplies. Meanwhile, gentlemen, I want every ounce of fuel and oil available to us gathered. Shut down whatever government departments you have to and make this work.” Carl Emery skimmed from one face to the other. “Stockpile the fuel, mark it for army use only. Maybe it is the time we taught those separatists a lesson. Reunite the country and reclaim the resources we are entitled to.”
Zhernakov slowly opened his eyes. Lying still he squinted through unfocused eyes, his mind dull and confused. Blurry images slowly dissolved into hard-edged reality. A dirty ceiling greeted a mind unfamiliar with its surroundings. His hands felt without moving. Soft clothe and wrinkled blankets.
Where he was and how he came to be here he puzzled over. Then a throbbing pain in his side brought his thoughts rushing back. Moving his head, he glanced to the side. The women. Carol. Sitting a short distance from where he lay.
His eyes traveled to her face. She sat unblinking, her eyes riveted on his. Her face a mask of…. he tried to speak, his tongue thick, uncooperative in his dry mouth. Zhernakov swallowed, forced his lips to move.
“Lie still,” Carol said, her eyes unwavering as they bore into him. With a detached tone, she explained. “We are in a motel. The owner called a friend of his to remove the bullet from your side.” Zhernakov furrowed his brow. Her manner of speaking indicated that things were being left unsaid.
“How…?” he began to question. Then flashes of the darkened gas station and even darker alley swam across his fractured memories. His stumbling across the two men harassing Carol surfaced. He had woken in the car to find her gone. Crossing the mouth of the alley, he heard her voice. Scared, angry.
“You collapsed coming to my aid. The owner of this motel stopped the men from killing you.” She paused and moved her face to the side, dried tears showed. Zhernakov followed her gaze. On a table to her side rested a black pistol. Familiar. Shit, he mumbled. The gun he had snuck into the country concealed in a leg holster. Beside it a small thin case, a computer drive loaded with files and confessions against the American Foundation interlopers who had bought the traitor, Russian Special Operations Directorate, Yuri Frolov.
“Who exactly are you, Comrade?” Carol Ryan asked in a suspicion-laden voice.
Zhernakov fought back the pain in his side. Rising he lifted his body and sat placing his feet on the floor. Before answering, he studied the woman sitting across the room. In the short time knowing her, his respect had grown. The woman had a fire in her soul. A no give up attitude. He liked that. She would make any Russian man proud to be in her presence.
“I am not Canadian. My name is Lev Zhernakov. Once of the Russian Special Forces.” He watched for a reaction. She remained quiet, her face impassive. “I have come to your country for a purpose…” Zhernakov carefully retold the tragedy of the failed mission in the Ukraine. His voice sagged when he spoke of his fallen comrades, all good men sacrificed by the Russian Directorate’s betrayal. For nothing more than some asinine causes of a warped American Foundation and their strange perverted idea of changing the world.
Carol Ryan waited long after the Russian finished his story before speaking. “Why don’t you take the evidence and give it to the authorities. What were you going to do? Kill the bastards responsible for your men’s deaths?”
Zhernakov hesitated too long.
“You were, weren’t you? Kill the Americans responsible. There has to be a better way. You could be killed or the very least hunted by the American law where you would be locked up in prison and left to rot.”
“I know no other way. I have no one left. I have not spoken to my parents ever since the explosion in the Ukraine and was proclaimed dead with my comrades. If word of my survival reached the Kremlin, my parents would certainly disappear.” He shook his head staunchly. “No. Better everyone thinks me dead then my parents living out the remainder of their days toiling in some Siberian hell hole.”
Carol Ryan crossed the room and sat on the bed. Taking the Zhernakov’s hand in hers, she lifted her tear-stained face to his.
“You have been a savior to the children and me since we’ve met, give me a chance to repay you. Come with me to Colorado. We can talk to my brother.”
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.