The Order of St. George

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The Order of St. George

Post by Stercutus » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:41 pm

The Order of St. George

Pt 1

The cadet patrol leader saluted Anchors and mounted up making ready to depart the campus. Saluting Anchors was a school tradition that had begun the first year of the plague. It began when Anchors was converted from the sculptural garden’s 65’ tourist drawing centerpiece erected by the good city fathers of Chattanooga to a lookout post manned 24/7 by the students, faculty and staff of the St. George Military Academy. Only the top marksmen of the school had been selected to climb the 60’ to the crow’s nest set in the prominent statue and then lay out in all kinds of weather on the lookout for ragers, raiders and others wishing to test the defenses of the school. The post was no longer manned at all the times but was still up during the day time hours when most of the convoys and patrols took passage through the campus gate. But Anchors always caught a salute.

The 19th Commandant of the St. George’s Military School; Sergeant Major (Ret) Tom Whitesides, watched the salute through the window from the desk chair of his office and then eyed his rifle and body armor laying in the corner of the room. The thought of donning the 44 pounds of armor and gear over his 71-year-old frame and then riding over decrepit and broken city streets the five miles to the train station and back was… unappealing.

Someone had to pick up the incoming 151st Corps of Cadets for indoctrination training and for the last 25 years that someone had been Whitesides. Every year for the past five years he swore it was going to be his last and maybe this year the words would be true. With Colonel Taliento on his death bed and now him having to break in a new commander, the year was going to be beset with challenges. He figured; “why the hell not”? Whitesides then eased over to the corner and threw on his kit.

The convoy to the train station consisted of four 5-ton surplus Army vehicles and two Humvees that the school had purchased in the years leading up the plague. The vehicles were decades older than the cadets operating them and spare parts were a bear to find but they still managed to keep them running year after year. Only two of the trucks would load cadets to bring to the school. The other trucks would load food and supplies brought in by the trains that should have arrived.

The Commandant made a cursory inspection of a few vehicles, asked a few questions of some of the patrol members and then mounted up in the seat behind the patrol leader. This was the final signal for the convoy to depart immediately and a guard moved to open the gates.

The convoy eased out in to the city passing the old 40-acre city sculptural garden and park that for the past 22 years had served as gardens for the school. Whitesides figured if the city ever did turn it back in to a park again then that would mean that things were back to “normal” whatever the hell that meant. Tourists maybe? The idea of tourism had taken a vacation from the human thought process. Until “normal” arrived the 40 acres of corn, grain and vegetables that had kept the school alive during the famines now gave them a comfortable cushion against bad times. The decaying old sculptures just gave it atmosphere. Once the Proles were finished with indoc their first task would be to bring in the crops in the field.

They then cruised past the old National Guard Armory. Prior to the Guard had being called to defend the capital the close proximity to the armory had been helpful. That and the fact that many of the key leadership in units in the area were alumnus of St. George. They had taken a protective air towards the school especially after many of the students became orphans.

One night the Guard unit packed up and left in the middle of the night to defend the capital. The security situation locally collapsed overnight and the school went from being a school to being an armed camp guarded by teenagers and the few faculty that had sought refuge within the walls of St. George. Rough days back then, rough days.

The Guard Commander had taken everyone and all the equipment he could haul with him to Nashville. It seemed very much a one-way trip at the time. He then asked Col. Taliento to “keep an eye on things” until the unit returned. The good Colonel had responded by going to the armory and taking every thing the unit had left behind that wasn’t nailed down and moving it inside the campus walls. Some of that stuff had made the difference over the years.

The convoy meandered through the city and finally reached the station. On arrival the convoy broke and the cadets dismounted and began running around with a flurry of activity. The S4 took his crew and headed for the warehouse with his two trucks while the cadet cadre moved over to the tiny reception station that the school had inside the passenger terminal to greet incoming students. They set up signs with instructions as well as banners and proper flags.

Whitesides dozed off a little in the vehicle while the young ones were set about their important tasks.

About 30 minutes later the Commandant emerged from the Humvee to check on progress. A crowd of incoming students had been collected by the cadre cadets after their release from quarantine. Not all the students would be in the 151st Corp, some were older and would be placed with their proper class. However, all new students had to go through indoctrination training. The new students this year ranged in age 11-15. Many had never been more than five miles from home in their entire lives. The majority were the children of wealthy farmers. Some were from the city and a few, a very small few were on scholarship. Most looked confused, tired and bewildered. A few however were showing some makings of steel.

There had been an attack on a train yesterday, not an actual railroad train but one of the tractor haulers from the hinterlands of nowhere. The railroad security forces had scwhaked the raiders with dive bombers and that gave Whitesides a tickle. Looks like “normal” was still off on the horizon somewhere after all. Luckily, none of his incoming students had been on that train.

The Cadet S1 provided him with the list of students and it appeared all were accounted for with two pending release from quarantine. One was missing his shot record and he would be getting a shot before he rode on the truck. The faculty cadet staff advisor was double checking all the paperwork. The cadets were capable of doing amazing things when motivated but sometimes a little oversight was needed when it came to the details. Sixty-two new young men in all.

The cadet S4 was visibly upset. Their corn shipment had been delayed and the distributer did not have enough stock on hand to provision the academy. The school would have to make a withdraw from the city corn bank to stay afloat for a few weeks. Whitesides signed off on it and the cadets moved the truck over to the corn bank to make the withdraw. Few people starved these days but keeping people fed was still a struggle.

By the time the supplies, the cadets and everyone else was loaded the sun was dropping behind the horizon. Whitesides wasn’t worried. No school convoy had been attacked in nearly ten years inside the city. When they arrived Whitesides went straight to his office to remove his gear and found the deputy commander Major Russell Garrett waiting for him. Garrett looked sad and serious and Whitesides knew what was coming. He asked how the convoy went and they discussed the events of the day. Garrett then broke the news;
“Tom, Colonel Taliento passed today. His wife has asked if you could do the eulogy, you knew him better than any man.”
“I’ll do right by him but damn that cancer. It stripped everything he had away inside a year. When is the funeral?”
“It will be on Friday. I suspect all the city leaders will be there. Plus, we will have a lot of people coming from out of town to show respects. The VIP guest house is going to be full.”
“Keep the dog and pony show under control and I’ll give a nice talk. I imagine the board of trustees will have to hurry up on the selection.”
“All I know is it won’t be me. I think it is between Smith and Irondale.”
“Either will work. Irondale is going to be younger and stronger. Smith is much more education oriented. We haven’t been in survival mode here in a long time but; I’d still go with Irondale. These kids still have a lot at stake. I guess we will see what wisdom the wise men have for us.”
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by 91Eunozs » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:45 pm

Woot!

Looking forward to another good read!
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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by idahobob » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:36 am

Hmmmmmm..........nice start. :clap:

Wondering where this will go.
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by Stercutus » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:35 pm

Pt 2

The week passed in a blur and Friday arrived quickly. Between visitation with the family, all the VIP’s arriving for the funeral and the Proles going through indoc the commandant did not have a spare moment during the day and the nights were spent preparing for the next day. Life went on at an all too rapid pace.

When Friday Morning arrived, the entire Corp gathered in the massive chapel with hundreds of others paying respects and Whitesides was out of time. He had presented with his best dress uniform and showed with his beloved Rena on his arm in her finest black dress. When the moment to deliver the eulogy came he steeled himself and approached the podium. He placed his papers on the lectern and took a deep breath. He had thought a lot about what needed to be said and wondered a little about the attention span of the younger ones in the audience. They would have to bear it.

“We have lost a great commander, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost the best friend I ever had. Colonel Brian Taliento was such a strong force for good in the world that I am not likely to see another such in the rest of the days I have remaining to me. If ever a man was forged in Duty, Honor and Country it was him. If ever a man stood as a beacon of light in a world gone mad it was also him. But when I think of his patience under adversity and his courage under fire I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words.

I have been asked today to say farewell to a man of whose most heroic deeds all of the Corps is too young to recall, and yet were it not for him none of us would be here where we are today, on the cusp of reclaiming our lost world, or even in this very building. It falls on me to tell his tale. For most of his story is very much mine as well.

Brian was the cadet commander of 89th Corps of Cadets and a graduate of St. George. He was then given an Army Reserve Commission while he went on to finish school and then served with great distinction in the Army of the United States of America for 26 years then retired. Shortly after he then returned here as the board of trustees appointed him Commander at St. George. Had he done nothing else with his life I believe that such an honorable, selfless and just man have been remembered fondly for all of his service, graciousness and generosity. But as many of us are aware there is so much more to the story.

I first met Brian 25 years ago when he decided to hire me to “straighten things up around here”. Things did not need much straightening. In those days the academy was more of a prep school for the upper-middle class members who were geared that way. There were a few kids with discipline problems but they were rare. The school instilled values of service, duty, honor, country in to the learning process. It was a school that was a bit of an anachronism in its day as many such military academies around the country had shut their doors by the time the plague hit. Brian saw values and character as the timeless essential artifacts that they are.

When I think of all the actions he took through the years that have stemmed the tide and staunched the flow I always go back the very beginning when the real test of the character of men began. On the 23rd of March of Year Zero of the Plague Brian called me to his office and we sat in stunned silence for hours as we watched on the television day three of the Plague. We watched as the rage virus caught fire to the world. In one terrible day, much of the progress of mankind was violently undone. Before the week would end humanity would be on the ropes. Then things would get really bad.

Many lesser men despaired. People died not just from the plague and through violence associated with it but through fear itself. I don’t remember exactly how long we sat there all I remember is that the phone rang and the Dean was calling saying that in light of the National Tragedy he would be cancelling classes the next day and sending the faculty home. They lived off campus back then. He wanted to know if we were assembling for evening muster. That was the last time that the Dean ever beat Brian in acting on anything. He said muster would go on as scheduled and the school would carry on in the face of adversity. He then hung up and sat there in deep thought for a moment.

The phone rang again and it was the school security guard. Back in those days we had two security guards who were older, retired policemen. Their primary mission back then was to protect the school from the students and keep out trespassers. The Rage Virus had rolled right up to the gates of St. George and was knocking. People didn’t know yet that there was only one cure to the virus. The guard was uncertain what to do with the small crowd trying to gain entry and was afraid to shoot them. The police were not taking calls. No help was coming.

I don’t know what a lesser man would have done. I am ashamed to admit it but I was afraid. I was afraid for my kids, for Rena, for my country and for our beloved school. Brian may have been afraid but he didn’t show it. He went to the safe in his office, opened it and pulled out two 1911 Pistols. He checked the loads and handed me one. We didn’t talk. We ran. We ran from the office and went straight to the front gate. We arrived just in time to see the security guard being devoured by a crowd of seven ragers. I might have gone in to a complete state of shock but if so, it was broken by the sound of Brian opening up on the nearest rager. The sound was then accompanied by my gun helping to finish the job.

Once the bodies stopped twitching Brian recovered the security guard’s weapon and ammunition. He told me to go the barracks and collect the school rifle team, drill team, the trap and skeet team and any other worthy upper classmen and assemble a guard force. I was then to go to the armory and issue them whatever weapons and live ammunition we had available. They were to take posts along the walls and towers and shoot anyone that was going over, under or through the walls and gates. He would post here and stop anyone until I got the force stood up. I was to also put the barracks, the whole campus on lockdown.

For you young ones that have grown up with a weapon within arms reach for your entire lives it is hard to put in to context the idea in that day of giving guns to kids 13 years old and telling them to shoot to kill to defend their school and their classmates. If Brian were wrong he would certainly be fired and go to prison for the rest of his life and I as an accessory would go with him. If he were right then it was the end of all things. We had just killed seven people at the front gate of a prestigious school and the police were not responding. For me, that was the end of all things.

After gathering the cadets, I herded them to the school’s armory. Hard to understand in these times but back then nearly all the rifles the cadets were issued were non-functioning drill rifles. Our entire armory of functioning guns consisted of 5 M1 Garands, 20 single shot .22 target rifles and 5 over and under clay guns. Luckily, we had cases and cases of ammo in preparation for the school year. I split 30 cadets in to five groups of six and assigned an upper classman to lead each. Each group had a Garand, a shotgun and four target rifles. I gave them as much ammo as they could carry. I ordered the groups to their posts and took one group with me as we double timed it back to the gate where the firing had ceased.

Among the cadets there had been some conjecture that perhaps the faculty and staff were messing with their heads about the whole Rage Virus. That maybe it did not exist at all. Major Garrett could tell you. He was there you see, all those years ago as a terrified 13-year-old kid with a single shot target rifle. But when they saw what we saw; they knew… unequivocally.

Brian had gotten the gate closed but a larger crowd drawn by the sound of shots had gathered and was trying to make entry through the iron bars. Without ammunition he was doing what he could to hold back a horde that had gathered and pushing on the gate. He was holding them back bodily himself, knowing it could come down at any moment and that he would suffer the same fate as the guard. What finer testimony is there of a man who is willing to lay down his life for his brothers? That is the kind of man Brian was. Retreat was never an option. Fear was for other men. Holding the line for his brothers, because if not he, then there would be no one else.

Seeing their Commander so heavily beset and trying to save the school inspired them to their moment and they did what needed to be done. Their innocence died that day along with the old world and I died a little right alongside them. But they did what needed to be done.

That day began the Siege of St. George. Brian saved St. George that day but he saved so much more than that. Because it was what happened after that, that made the biggest difference."
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by 91Eunozs » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:19 pm

Nice!

I’m now officially hooked...and looking forward to reading along as you continue to build this world.
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by idahobob » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:16 am

Continue on, please. :D
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by Stercutus » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:48 pm

Pt 3

Whitesides paused. He needed a drink of water. Bourbon and water would have been better but he settled for water and took a long sip from the glass on the podium. He then adjusted his reading glasses and looked out in the crowd of mourners. It was a beautiful September day and the lights played through the stained-glass windows over the faces of friends, family, cadets, alumnus and all the lives that Brian had touched through the years.

He noticed Diamond was sitting next to Garrett. That was an odd coincidence considering they were both at the gate that day. Or maybe it wasn’t a coincidence at all. They had remained friends through the years. His voice fortified by the drink he then continued.

“To be the hero in the moment, to do the impossible; in any other world it would have been enough. But this is the world of the plague. Our world today isn’t merely a momentary test of character. It is a test that God has given us that appears endless. It is how you live every day that matters. In the roughest early days, we needed a man to lead and inspire others to become something greater than themselves, not merely for ourselves but for all men. Such inspiring men fast went down fighting in the early days.

To know what needs to be done, to lead others in what needs to happen and to retain the moral imperative every single day; these things show what makes up a man.

With our momentary crisis abated we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. Securing the school, calling back as much of the staff and families as would come. Convincing everyone to pool their resources. Coordinating with anyone willing t help. These type challenges. We struggle still but no longer live lives on the edge of a knife blade. It has taken a generation but we are coming back.

There is more to it. A man can be competent, a man can be devoted and a man can have character but without a heart all is for naught. I think Brian realized, just as we all realized when the first parents arrived to pick up their child, that not every child was going to be picked up from St. George. Not then, not at the end of the term, not ever and some are still here today. How do you tell hundreds of children, without any proof whatsoever that they are likely an orphan? How do you keep kids them from running away in the middle of the night and finding certain death in the darkness on the other side of these walls? Fear will only motivate a child but so far. The heart has a need to be filled.

Brian was also a father. His children were scattered like seeds to the wind when the plague hit. Due to fate and circumstance he now had to become the father to over 500 boys, girls, young men and women at not only the worst time of their lives but the darkest times in all of recorded human history. Still, he poured out his heart as though it were boundless. As the days of the siege lengthened and turned in to months and then years our school of orphans opened its gates to all the children and young men and women that could fit and there was always room for one more. It was for the least of us that he always did the most.

No matter how bad things became past those gates we never closed our doors. For over 150 years now we have kept the faith. As our mission changed, redefined and eventually resumed Brian made sure we continued to teach, to educate, train and prepare as best we could the youth to face a world that had descended in to chaos. Today, looking out at all of you I am struck by the realization of just how worth it was and how much he did for all of us.

Brian saved St. George but he also saved some of the brightest lights of humanity. Over the years when things were darkest he kept the fires alive here. It is a battle that continues to this very day, even as the weapons and tactics have changed we remain true to our mission of keeping lit the lamps of knowledge and humanity in the minds and hearts of men. The building of men and women of character willing to risk everything to preserve our way of life is what we do.

I know my time on Earth is nearing an end. Each year the Fall is colder, the shadows are longer, the valley of years that separates me from my charges grows ever wider and I feel mortality creeping in to my bones. While I still run towards the sound of the guns I don’t get there nearly as quick. When my time comes, if God finds me worthy to bring me in to the fold I pray only that Brian calls on me to straighten up whatever corner of the heavens God has given him to care for. I’ll stand proudly by you sir in the next world just as I did in this one. Until that day comes we here at St. George must carry on carrying on. That is the legacy that Brian wanted most in the world to leave behind. While today we honor his life and deeds through ceremony we can honor him in splendor by living the ideals he aspired for us every day.

As God pulls Brian to his bosom may God bless and keep all of us today…. And the Order of St. George, forever.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by 91Eunozs » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:13 am

Nice.
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by Nancy1340 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:28 pm

Great start. Thanks

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Re: The Order of St. George

Post by Stercutus » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:56 pm

Nancy1340 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:28 pm
Great start. Thanks
Thanks, this is part of an integrated series of short stories some of which are finished and posted. So likely that is it for this particular story line. However the characters will appear in other stories as I get around to writing them.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:03 am

Re: The Order of St. George

Post by Nancy1340 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:06 pm

Thank you

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