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Table of Contents

Freedom Kills

Synopsis

In an age where we are constantly losing more and more of our freedom, taking a stand is on a lot of people's minds. Only a few are actually willing to make that push, though, and the results can be unexpected.

John and Ralph are best friends. They are discussing their freedom (or lack thereof) and what can be done to gain it back when John comes up with a great idea: they can create their own island where they are the ones in charge! For people that are highly in to keeping freedom alive, this sounds like an awesome idea. Their plan is working great until another country decides to step in, changing the entire dynamics.

How can a little island with a population of only a couple hundred people fare against an invasion by another country? What will happen as a result of the invasion, and are the possible costs worth it? Through Freedom Kills you will learn the answer to both of these questions. The results of the self-governing island and freedom is… to die for.

Story

As they were walking along the street, the two friends were discussing what they have to do. They were both high proponents of freedom and neither of them felt that things were going the way they wanted.

“Why is it that people allow the governments to control absolutely everything?” John asked angrily.

“Because… while there are some people that are willing to stand up for their rights, most are not willing to due to fear of what may come as a penalty for doing so. As long as this fear keeps up, the government will always be like a train running over everyone, and nothing is going to change,” Ralph responded matter-of-factually.

John looks at Ralph with a disgusted look, then asks “wait a minute… so because most people are not willing to stand up for what they believe in, that means that we have to take the fall as well?”

Ralph responds, “of course… how do you think that a very small group of people can cause a massive change to happen? If the majority of people are not willing to stand up and do something, the minority is limited on what they can do as well.”

As Ralph is walking, John grabs him by the shoulder and stops him. He looks at him and says “I have an idea. If we start our own country, we can abide by only our own rules and we will not be forced to follow the rules of others. With us being the government, we can then run things the way they are meant to be run!”

Ralph looks at him nervously and asks “well, how do you think we can do a thing like that, genius?”

As John looks around a bit and thinks, he comes up with an idea. “We can just buy our own island. If it is an island that is not already governed, that means we have full control over anything and everything that happens to it!”

Ralph thinks about this idea and responds with, “I think that actually might work. It will cost a bit to get an island like this, but if we bring in all the others we know that are freedom fanatics, we should be able to handle it!”


Six months go by. They have achieved their goal and purchased their island. Their population has grown in to the hundreds, and things have been going great. It is time for their monthly meeting, held on the third Friday of each month.

John goes up to the pedestal and looks around at all of the island's residents. While he has been the leader of the island for a while now, he still gets nervous when speaking to the crowds. “The first order of business is to look at how our economics are going,” he says while looking down at his notes. “So far, we are still producing much more food than we need for our farmland. While we could try trading this off for other things, we need to have a vote before making a decision like that. It is important to realize that we do not know what the future holds, and holding stock piles of food is a good idea for long-term survival in case something happens.” He looks around to the crowd, seeing a lot of nodding, so he moves on. “So far, we have been able to sustain our own lives here, but we need to prepare in case we are invaded. This means that we need to start pooling resources to purchase protection in the form of guns and ammo, but also things like cell phones, satellite phones and a ham radio transmitter. This will ensure that if we have to defend ourselves against others, we have what we need to do it, as well as a way to communicate with one another from opposite sides of the island if need be.”

What John and the others did not realize is how important these last statements would be. Fast-forward six months, and the preparation the island residents went through is the only reason they are still alive.

There are guns blazing everyone and explosions happening. Looking around, the entire island has turned in to a battle zone. John, Ralph and their director of protection, Jeremy, are working together to try and formulate a plan to fend off their attackers.

“We have to do something!” yells Jeremy. All three men are standing around with fear in their eyes, unsure as to how they even got in to the situation they are in.

Ralph jumps in, “I really can not believe that we did not consider what would happen without our own army. It was such an obvious thing. There is no possible way we can compete with our resources. We do not even have planes!”

John looks at the other two and says, “we must continue as we are. We can not let them win. We have something to prove, which is that we are more than capable of handling ourselves. If we die doing it, at least we died with honor, dignity and knowing that we did the right thing. What is our alternative? Return to the lifestyle we were trying to get away from, where we are constantly being told what we can and can not do by the government, despite the fact that in most cases the rules are ridiculous and are created just to benefit a small group of people? No! We have to continue this.”

“Then what is our plan,” asks Ralph? He grabs John's shoulders and starts shaking him violently. “We have to come up with a plan. There is no way we are going to get anywhere at all if we just go out there and hope for the best. None of us has the knowledge on how to counter these attacks, either. What are we going to do?!”

John looks over at Jeremy and asks, “what do you think? Do you have any idea as to what we need to do?”

Jeremy starts looking at their whiteboard, trying to analyze the layout of the island and where all of their weaponry and food stock piles are. He comes up with an idea.

“Alright, you are probably not going to like this, but we need to split up. If we are all grouped up close together, a plane or a bomb can take us all out at once. If we split up in to three groups, with each of us leading a separate one, I think we can each hold our own and we can defend each other.”

John looks at him and asks, “but how are we supposed to keep in contact when we are that far apart? We can not just leave each other without having a way to keep in touch, as that is just sui–.”

Ralph interrupts, “in case you have not already realized, we have already committed suicide. The best thing that we can do right now is to hold off the attackers as long as we can, but we are more than likely not going to end up making it to the end.”

Jeremy jumps in the middle of them, “guys, seriously. We need to start dealing with this now. Quit fighting with each other. We are not the enemies; they are! To answer your question, each of you take one of these cellphones. We can use them to keep in contact with one another. But make sure you put it on vibrate, otherwise you may be giving off your location at a very bad time.” He walks over to their safe and pulls out three cellphones, keeping one for himself and giving the other two to John and Ralph.

Ralph questions, “but what happens if we do not have a signal? You know this island can be a little bad when it comes to reception.”

Jeremy goes back to the safe, pulling out two satellite phones as well. “This should cover us, but there is a problem… we only have two. Who is willing to go without one?”

John looks at him and says, “I will. It is my fault we were not as prepared as I thought we were. If I had thought things out better, we may not be in this mess right now.”

Ralph looks down at his hands, trembling, and picks up the cellphone and satellite phone. He gives both John and Jeremy a hug and says “alright, guys… we need to get this moving. The longer we wait here, the worse the situation is going to be out there.”

The three men walk out and start forming up three equal-sized groups of residents. Each one gets control over eighty people, and while it is not efficient, there is no alternative. This is a situation that has to be dealt with and it has to be dealt with fast.

“Alright, John's group, head north,” Jeremy barked out orders. “Ralph's group, you head south. My group will take the east. Be safe out there everybody, and remember that if we lose this battle, we did not die in vain. We all deserve our freedom, and we are all willing to stand up and make the ultimate sacrifice to show how important it truly is. You should all be proud of yourselves!”

As everyone starts to move towards their location, the fear stricken faces are clearly seen. Most of the people that are on the island were not planning for bad things to happen, but they did. How did it get this far, you might wonder?


It actually started about a month prior to this war, when the island residents started having problems with a nearby country. The country wanted to start taxing them, as you might expect the residents did not agree.

Some government officials came over from a nearby small country most people have never heard of, called Ralengbal. Much like the island John and Ralph started up, Ralengbal was created as a way to escape the oppression of their old country, as well as break away and get their own freedom. The difference came with their mindset.

Lerme, a highly respected political figure of Ralengbal, took a visit to the “Freedom Island,” as everyone called it. He had one agenda on his mind: to start taxing the members of this island.

“John, I am Lerme, the assistant leader of Ralengbal. I have come to speak to you about some pressing matters,” he said sternly.

“Alright, I think it would be best that we handle this in my office then. I would also like to invite another person, my right-hand man, to come as well. He helps make decisions and I think it is of importance to clue him in as to what is going on,” John said.

Lerme, despite feeling a bit uneasy about it, says “alright, that is fine. When he gets here we will begin.”

As soon as Ralph enters the office, he notices that something is not right. “Whoa, what is going on here?” he asks curiously. “You are the leader of Ralengbal! Did something happen?”

Lerme looks over at him and says, “take a seat. We need to discuss something, between my country and your island…”

As soon as Ralph sits down Lerme starts continuing. “Here is the deal. My country is in need of money to help protect ourselves, and we would like to make this easy on you. We want you to either export some of your food to us on a weekly basis or start paying us in other ways.”

John looks at him confused. “Wait a minute, you came all the way here just to tell us that you want us to do something for you? What are you offering in return?”

Lerme responds, “nothing at all. Well, unless you consider your livelihood and safety from us as a benefit. In that case, you get a lot!”

Ralph moves over to John and says quietly, “we need to get this guy out of here. We are not planning to make any deals like this, are we?”

John responds to Ralph, “no, but it is pretty improper to just send another leader out of our presence. Even though we are not going to do as he asks, we need to show him the proper respect.”

“But why should we respect him when he does not respect us?” he asks. “Because we are not like him, and if we do the same things he does it makes us no different,” John responds.

John then looks over at Lerme. “That is not something we are even willing to consider. The entire point of us creating our own island was to break away from being controlled by a government. Even if you are not attempting to exert direct control over our residents, attempting to force a tax upon us is pretty much the same thing. I apologize, but that is not going to happen.”

Lerme stands up, looks at both John and Ralph, and says “I really think you are making a big mistake here… I do not think that you realize what you are getting yourself in to by rejecting our offer of protection.”

As Lerme walks out of the office, John sits back in his chair and just thinks. How are they going to stop Ralengbal from hurting them? What power does their island actually have? With such a small population (only a couple hundred people or so), can they really handle a war if one starts up? What alternative is there? Giving up to Ralengbal would be going against everything the island stands for, and that is not an option…


Reflecting back on the situation that had happened, everyone knew the decision that John made was the right one. If they caved in, what would have been the point of leaving their old homes and creating their own self-governed island? After all of that work and planning, it would have been a mistake to just let it all go. Not to mention this may help set precedence for the freedom of other countries in the future. All-in-all, what was going on was worth it, and every resident on the island felt that way.

As John's group got in to position, they started looking around. “It is so quiet…” John says. “I think that the enemies might be preparing to do an ambush or something. With all the noise we have been hearing, it should not be as quiet as it is.”

John looks around at his troops and tells them to prepare themselves for the battle, as they do not know when it is going to take place. He then calls in to Ralph on his cellphone. There is no answer on the other side, and it instead goes straight to voice mail. Ralph gets fear stricken over the situation, wondering if maybe Ralph just has no cellphone reception where he is. After all, the island is notorious for losing its signals. So he calls Jeremy.

Jeremy quickly answers his phone with “what happened? We are in the middle of a fight right now. Is everything okay there?!” he yells over the sounds of gun shots and explosions. “It is very quiet where we are, and I can not get a hold of Ralph to see what his status is. We are going to make our way towards him and make sure that everything is going okay.” “Roger,” says Jeremy, and he quickly hangs up.

John has a tough decision to make. He can either take his entire group with him to give Ralph's group backup or he can split the group up in to two. It is a hard decision for sure. On one hand, taking everyone in to what could be an ambush may result in everyone being killed. On the other hand, it could be their numbers that help save Ralph's group from an attack.

John decides it is best to go ahead and move as a group. “We are better as a single group than if we split up in to smaller numbers,” he tells his troops. They nod in agreement, and he takes that as being a confirmation that he is making the right choice.

John gets his group up together and they start heading south across the island. They follow along the western side on their way to the south so as to avoid anything that may be happening with Jeremy's group or going through the middle in to more possible unknowns.

As they head down to the south, they can hear the battles ensuing. With each extra second, more and more fear washes over each of the residents' faces, knowing that they are risking their lives for their beliefs and may not make it until tomorrow.

As they approach the southern end of the island, they start to notice how quiet it is there. It is almost as if nobody is even in the area. They start exploring and John runs across a few bodies.

“These… these are our troops. They are dead… the enemies have already run over all of them,” he says while looking around. “Everyone, we need to start looking for survivors. If you find anyone that is still alive, shout it out so we can rush over there and see what we can do to help them!”

After exploring the entire southern end of the island, John and the others come to a realization: there are no survivors. Every single person in Ralph's group, Ralph included, died in the battle. While John wanted to cry over the loss of his best friend and the rest of his troops there, he had a job to do in order to try and keep everyone else protected.

John immediately picks up the satellite phone to call Jeremy. He thought about using the cellphone but if one of their groups has already been wiped out, he needs to get a hold of Jeremy as fast as possible to give him a warning about it, as they may be next.

Jeremy answers the phone. “What is it now?! We are in a heavy fight right now!” John responds, “which way are your attackers coming from?” “What do you mean, Jeremy asks?” “Just answer the question!” “The north,” he replies.

John quickly analyzes the situation and tells his troops they need to move north as fast as possible. If their group in the south has already been wiped out and Jeremy's group is being attacked from the north, that means his group might have an incoming flank from the south as well that he is not going to have the man power to handle.

John gets his men together and they make their way up north, along the eastern coast of the island. This time they are taking the eastern side because they are hoping to sneak up behind their enemies and be able to ambush them. A preliminary attack at this point is probably the only thing that will save them in a fight, especially with their reduced numbers. Not to mention this should help out Jeremy's group because the chances are that they are about to get taken on from both sides, if they have not already.

As John's group gets closer and closer to where Jeremy's group is, they can hear more and more loud bangs going on. This is a sure sign that what they are walking in to is going to lead to injuries, but at this point there is no turning back. They have already lost a large group of their men, and even if they surrender they are likely just going to be killed or imprisoned, and none of the residents want either of these things. Being a coward now is not going to happen; it is either liberty or death. There is no other option.

They continue on with their path, not knowing what they are going to run in to, when all of a sudden it quiets down. Everyone stops moving and John looks back to the other troops. “Do you guys hear that?” he asks, to which someone responds with “no… I do not hear anything.” “Precisely,” John says. “That is the problem. We need to be extremely careful moving forward, as this is not a good sign. This is seeming like the calm before the storm… which means we need to be very prepared for what we are about to see or experience.”

The entire group moves slowly, watching all around them and listening closely for enemies that may be trying to ambush them. As they finally get to where Jeremy's group is, they see the same thing they found with Ralph's group: dead bodies. They comb through the bodies to find that everyone is dead, again. The entire group has been wiped out, with not a single survivor left. Not even Jeremy.

Ralph swallows hard and brings his group together to see if they can come up with a plan on how to defend themselves. “They have taken both of our other groups already, which means they definitely have numbers. Considering the others had problems, this puts us at an even higher risk since we are the only people left on the island. This means that every move and decision we make has to be precise, or we are going to end up just like the others did, and that is something we want to try to avoid at all costs.”

After thinking about what has happened and what is probably going to happen, Ralph looks to the group. “We need to decide here and now what we are going to do. We can stay right where we are or we can go after them. If we stay where we are, we are like sitting ducks, waiting for them to make the move and hoping that they give us hints before making their attacks. If we go after them, we may run in to an ambush. We have no idea where the enemies are, nor what all they are capable of.” He then decided that instead of making the decision as to what to do, he would take votes. This allowed the men themselves to determine what the best path is, since this is definitely a life or death situation and should not be taken lightly.

The first vote was to decide if they should sit tight and hope for the best or chase after their attackers. With this, the majority voted to chase them down. After all, if they are going to die they should at least go down fighting, rather than being cowards.

The second vote was to decide which direction they should go. “We know they went from north to south and from south to north already,” says Ralph. “So with this knowledge, we can assume that they have not gone to the west yet, being that we are on the east right now. I think this means that if we want to catch up with them, we will need to head west and hope that it is the same direction they are going right now.”

The other troops agreed with Ralph's idea, and they took a minute to pray for their safety. “I can not believe we got ourselves in to this mess and that it was all because of wanting our freedom,” Ralph says. “The one thing we should all have as human beings was threatened by our own country first and then by Ralengbal, and the only choice we have to combat it is to go around killing people. This is not how it should have been. I thought by us having our own island we were going to break away from these rules and put ourselves in to a state where we can run our own lives and handle our own business. Now my best friends are dead and we have lost a lot of our residents.”

He starts to break down crying, then catches up with himself and looks at the others. “We need to do this… if not for us, for everyone else that has already died while attempting to protect our rights. We can not let them go down in vain, regardless as to what we are going to be facing. They have given up the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us, and we should be willing to do the same in their honor.” He raises his rifle up in the air as a gesture to see if the others agree and are willing to follow him. At first only a couple people raise theirs in acceptance of what is going to happen, and then others started following suit.

“It is now or never,” Ralph says to his group, and starts marching forward to the east. You could see the fear on everyone's face, but once you have made it this far there is no turning back. If they surrender they die. If they fight they may win. The only difference here is that if they surrender, they will be cowards, and if they do not they will die in a heroic manner. As they start to accept this one by one, the feeling of fear starts to subside and they begin thinking positively about the outcome and what it could mean to, even if none of them, to the others that may gain freedom as a result of these actions.

The troops continue their path to the west. The lack of any sounds means the enemies could have moved elsewhere or they could simply be waiting for them to arrive. As they hit the western coast, all of a sudden there is… nothing.

“What is going on?!” yells Ralph. “I can not believe this. They are not even here!”

All of a sudden a gunshot is heard and Ralph watches someone drop to the ground. Within seconds, they are being rushed by enemies from both the north and the south, right on to their position. “I knew it!” says Ralph. “I knew there was a problem with how quiet it has been, and the lack of action we have been seeing so far. It is show time now, men!”

“Fight them! Kill them! Win back out freedom!” yells one of the troops, as he starts firing at people.

“Do not let them win!” yells another, right before he is shot and killed, falling to the ground grasping his rifle in his arms.

Looking around the battle field, all you see is a lot of people fighting one another. Firing weapons at each other, sometimes hitting their allies instead of their enemies, a pile of blood and bodies laying in the wake of the disaster that was occurring. Half of the time people could not even hit the right target because there was so much going on and so much movement that aiming became difficult.

The entire battle lasts only a few minutes before it is over, despite feeling as if it had gone on for many hours. Ralph is left laying there, the only person still alive, but bleeding to death from his wounds. As he starts to contemplate what happened, tons of things start flowing through his mind.

“Why did we even have to take it this far? Why were we not able to just work out our differences? Why is it so important for people to take away our freedom that we have to make stands like this to begin with? Could we have tried anything else different to try and avoid this situation? Was it really worth losing absolutely everything? Are our actions going to be remembered or forgotten, and if they are remembered, will they benefit anyone or will they have been in vain?”

All of these thoughts rush through his mind as he lays there, finally hitting the realization that everything is pretty much over. He accepts the fact that he is a dead man, and while he is still not sure whether or not dying was going to change anything, he feels that the risk was well worth the possible reward. If nothing else, at least none of the island's residents ran off or otherwise made themselves look like cowards, despite knowing what had happened to most of them already and knowing what would likely happen to them as well.

At the end of the day, only one thing was known for certain: hundreds of men had lost their lives as a result of trying to make a stand for what they felt was right, in the hopes that it would make a difference in the world. By creating their own island and refusing to be bullied back in to a slave-like state by another country, they had done what most men were afraid to do: take the risk in an effort to combat what was becoming an extreme. After all, matters were only going to get worse if they did not step in anyways.

Fiction


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