Ever and Always
Chapter 24: The Farm - August 2023
Copyright© 2015 by Banadin
Between the finishing of their house, moving in and getting over the row caused by the explosive magazine showing up, it was late summer before Rick could go out to The Farm.
The fight over the magazine was not really that bad, Rick had just forgot to tell Marsha he had ordered it, and he had been running some errands when it arrived.
For some reason having, five hundred pounds of high explosives show up on the door step of her new home irritated Marsha. She did not scream and cry. She was a cold straight talker. For the first time in a long-time Rick felt real fear.
After a week of little conversation, they finally cleared the air. It was actually Marsha's survivalist mind frame, which was the breakthrough.
When Rick explained his credentials from the military; and his plans to overstate his use, so it would end up off inventory she saw the light. Before it was over, she wanted to go out and blow up stumps! He did make a resolve not to surprise her again.
He didn't, at least not for a month or so.
He had received an email from his truck that it needed an oil change. Rather than letting it drive itself in, he took it into Pikeville and from there went onto the Farm. Rick would always think of it as The Farm. He had called ahead so he was expected. He was mildly surprised when he turned off the main road and went a quarter mile down the drive.
There was a manned checkpoint. It had a lane of jersey barriers to funnel traffic and slow it down into the checkpoint. There was a barricade to be raised to get past the checkpoint. There were three guards, as he pulled to a stop, he was asked for his name and identification. While one guard examined his driver's license another was putting a mirror on a pole under his car.
He noticed the third guard was to the rear of the truck on the passenger side with a clear field of fire. All were armed with an AR15 variant. The stop was quick, clean and professional. It also brought Rick's antenna up. This operation was more serious than he thought.
He was waved through to the main compound. There the Major was waiting. Watkins was genial in his greeting and said, "Welcome to our compound Sergeant!"
Ricks surprise at this knowledge of his past appeared on his face. "Well now Major, you have been doing some homework."
"Not a lot really, you appeared on a list from Viet Nam as a Staff Sergeant, nothing about your career or even MOS."
Thinking on his feet, Rick replied, "I was a company headquarters clerk, paper pusher supreme.
The Major grimaced a little and said, "There is always a need for paper pushers."
He continued, "We are always looking for recruits for our operation." As he talked, he started to show Rick around. Rick was again taken aback by the number of shops and barracks on the property. The firing range said it all to him.
It was as good as any he had seen in the army and better than most. Of course that was comparing to what was current to when he was in. Who knew what fancy gadgets they had these days? It didn't matter this was a good place to train troops. As he was thinking that a squad went double timing by.
"Wow you guys are serious; this is not a weekend warrior get away. It is a real troop training facility."
"I am glad you realize that Rick. I know you are in your eighties, but it is a very fit eighty. We could use a professional paper pusher. Your rank would be Staff Sergeant just like the old days."
Rick attempted a joke, "What's the pay?" The Major laughed and said, "Well we would only charge you a thousand a month. Officers have to pay two thousand for a Lieutenant up to five thousand for a Major.
So far, I am the only one, but if we get more people I am going to promote myself to light bird and charge myself seven grand a month."
Watkins continued, "It cost a lot to maintain this level of an organization." As he was saying this, they went into a large pole barn structure. There were half a dozen technical vehicles parked there.
A technical vehicle is a truck (Toyota being the world's favorite) that had been armored up, and weapons mounted. Each of these had a pintle in the back for mounting a belt-fed machine gun. They looked like they could take fifty calibers.
Rick whistled, "It just keeps getting better and better. You have the Federal licenses for this?"
"Yes we do. The weapons are kept in the armory. We can field a force of two hundred men on four hours' notice. With this as backup there is not much in this area that can stand up to us."
"Now that brings up to the real question, what is the purpose of this force?"
"Rick you know as well as I do the United States is going to fall apart. When it does we want to control our fate. We will be the power in the area, and people will do what we want."
"It's good to be King," replied Rick. "You do get it, as part of this, you can keep that nice new house you just built and being one of the powers of this area."
"Sounds attractive," replied Rick, "can I have some time to think it over or is this join or die."
The Major gave him a dirty look, "We don't reach that stage until it hits the fan."
"Okay I see what you have in mind, and I could play a good supporting role. Let me talk it over with my wife, and I will let you know within a week or so."
Don't take too long we only want the committed."
"I won't I just need to think it over."
Rick was really thinking, "not only no, but hell no, but it would not be really smart to tell him that right now. I will try to think up a good reason to say no later."
"Major Watkins I thank you for the tour and the opportunity. I won't take up any more of your time."
The Major said in a hard voice, "Rick I am glad you stopped by. I think you will reach the right decision. Your future may depend on it when things go south."
Rick could not get out of there fast enough. This was going to be trouble in the future, big trouble. When he got home and described the visit to Marsha, she also was concerned. They decided not to panic but to think about it for several days and then revisit the issue.
That Saturday they discussed his Tuesday visit to The Farm. They had both come to the conclusion that this needed to be brought to the attention of the authorities. The following Monday Rick called the FBI office in Chattanooga.
The agent he was connected to was very familiar with Major Watkin's group. They had investigated and found they had no plans against the United States of America. They also had the proper Federal licenses for all weapons.
Rick got the impression the group had been infiltrated in the process of checking them out.
The group which Rick learned for the first time was called Wilkin's Rangers would only come into play if the United States ceased to exist as such. This would not be against the law because there would be no law!
The FBI appreciated his call but there was nothing they could do under the circumstances. The FBI agent while entirely professional left Rick with the feeling that he was being talked down to.
After that phone call, Rick and Marsha tried to figure out a story for the Major as to why Rick couldn't join them. The problem was taken out of their hands when Rick received a call from the Major.
The call was short and to the point. "I hear you have been talking to the FBI. I guess you have made your decision. Don't come to us for help later. When we save the area after the breakdown you will be taxed appropriately."