The Federationist advantage was obvious from the beginning of the war. Over 80% of domestic armed forces, including the entirety of the officer’s corps, with a handful of notable exceptions, stayed loyal to the central government. Federationist territory encompassed 67% of the country’s industrial plant. And they had the talent of unity their enemies lacked.
The DUF would have collapsed altogether if not for the uprisings in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, where eco-terrorist groups and anarchist flying columns led a large scale arming of the urban population. By July,
Worldwide satellite broadcasts showed the survivors being marched out of the burning landscape flanked by tanks. Huge crowds surrounded them at the city borders and threw bottles and rotting fruit at them. A fifteen year old grenade maker in a t-shirt with “Power to the People” written on it was severely beaten by an eighty year old woman with a cane. Foreign journalists later discovered that the boy belonged to an eco-terror cell that had forced the woman from her house at gunpoint and turned it into a makeshift bomb factory.
Contrary to popular myth, there was no mass slaughter of refugees by Federationist supporters. Despite Kilor’s televised speeches about “imminent gas chambers”, he was already in secret negotiations with the RFC over the possibility of mass repatriation. The RFC had no interest in feeding and housing several hundred thousand refugees. They even agreed to provide the trucks. It took three months to accomplish the biggest mass population transfer since World War II a hundred and twenty years before. Every half hour for three months an army truck rolled across the border and disgorged another mass of petulant humanity into refugee camps in
A cease fire was negotiated in 2058. The RFC believed it to be the prelude to total capitulation. In fact, Kilor was already secretly organizing the Refugee Brigades.
The Refugee Brigades were entirely made up of survivors of the Western Rebellion, and were entirely the product of Kilor’s genius. He had immediately guessed the capacities of traumatized, starving, homeless masses of young people for acts of extraordinarily savage violence. Kilor organized them into storm trooper units based in the refugee camps themselves. The new soldiers were exhorted by their new generals to the cause of revenge. Revenge on those who had driven them from their homes, who had killed their families, annihilated their lives. They were called to take a pint of Federalist blood for every brick of their abandoned homes. To turn their unspeakable loss into an indescribable bloodbath. “Three Hundred Thousand Exiles, Three Hundred Thousand Guns, Three Hundred Thousand Federationist Dead!” was their most famous slogan. It was shown every hour on the hour on television screens across the DUF, usually accompanied by a computer animated clip of a Federalist soldier having his skull smashed in and his brains scooped out and eaten by a family of starving refugees.
The Refugee Brigades served as frontline troops on ever major front when Kilor broke the cease fire in July.
They became legendary overnight.
Suicide squads dressed in oversized uniforms filled with TNT and nails dipped in cyanide broke the Federationist perimeter around
But it was the
By the time exhaustion set in two months later, neither side had gained more than a few yards in either direction. Kilor decided to force the stalemate. He threatened a renewed offensive through secret channels. The Federationists threatened to respond with tactical nuclear weapons. Before long, they both started to talk about a cease-fire.
Initial meetings took place in the no-man’s land around the Jefferson Memorial. The regular field commanders were the participants. They all knew that a de-facto ceasefire had existed since the failure of the Refugee Brigades to pierce the Federationist defense line at
It became a wall and not a line. Officially, it was named the Jefferson Wall, after the location of the first negotiations. The official name never caught on. People called it the Division Line. It was two miles long and twelve feet high. A winding labyrinth of concrete, barbed wire, electric fencing, motion sensors, guard towers and security cameras. The final settlement left the Capitol building and most of the Mall in Federationist territory. The Refugee Brigades salved their wounds by raising the DUF flag over the remains of the White House and turning them into a permanent military headquarters. Kilor made a series of public statements pledging to move the DUF government to the District. He knew that such a move would have provoked an identical act on the part of the Federationist, and perhaps renewed fighting. It was a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement. He stayed in
There was sporadic fighting along the ceasefire lines outside the District. Mostly in disputed territories like western
This raised the uncomfortable thought among the post-schism intellectuals who finally noticed Pelman’s work. They were forced to entertain the disturbing thought that it was inevitable. That it was not worth fighting about in the first place.
History has a terrible capacity to state the obvious.