INAUGURATION BLITZ, DAY ONE!
As we set out yesterday, this week is Glass House's Inauguration Blitz—not annual, since this only happens once every four to eight years! Our … once-every-four-to-eight-years Inauguration Blitz, then. We’re focusing on government, how the country was born, presidential and congressional behavior and ethics, and—most importantly—the idea of revolution. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of our favorite revolutionary characters for some down-and-dirty answers about their fights, who they’re fighting against, and what they’re hoping to achieve! AND since one of our releases this year--A Rebel's Stone, from PT McHugh--actually deals with the American Revolution itself, we thought we'd start there.
Following, we have a sneak peek of the book, that we saw for the first time last week. We'll set the scene a bit moving into this piece ... Jason, Paul, and Tatiana are in the midst of a fight with Doc and Reis about whether their arch enemy, Dresden, is still alive--or not. And whether they should go after him ... or not. Jason has recently discovered that Dresden IS in fact alive, and is now in the worst possible place--attempting to throw the American Revolution in favor of the British, so that the US never exists.
Jason is, of course, on his way to save the day. But before he goes, Paul takes a moment to question why it's so important to save the US. What is it about the US, he wonders, that makes it so special? And is it worth risking their lives for?
Without further ado...
Fight for the Revolution
(an excerpt from A Rebel's Stone, out this summer)
I turned to my side, wrapped my arms around my pillow, and stared at my digital clock … which was sitting on my nightstand, mocking me. I knew sleep wouldn’t come. Not right now. Unlike Paul, I didn’t not have the ability to shut my mind off and crash whenever and wherever I wished. We would be leaving in just under three hours, as long as Doc was asleep—and stayed that way when we made our move—and my mind refused to settle down and get the rest I knew I would desperately need.
Besides, that was three hours away. Three hours to stare at my clock and worry about everything that could go wrong. Three hours to wonder if we would make it. Three hours to wonder I would return from the past at all—and if I would return to the world I had grown up in.
Or one that was completely changed.
“Are you asleep?” Paul suddenly whispered.
I smiled at the question. “I can’t believe you’re not,” I whispered back.
Paul replied with a soft chuckle. “Me too.”
I didn’t answer. If he was up, and he was talking to me rather than on his phone, it meant he had something to say. And I wasn’t mistaken.
“Jay,” he finally murmured, “if we don’t get to the stone, and don’t get to the past, and don’t stop Dresden … what will happen?”
I turned over on my back and stared at the ceiling. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t thought about it—I had. There were the obvious answers. The Revolution. The damage he could do to history. And there were the not-so-obvious answers. The thread of time. The idea that if Dresden changed the past and damaged it, he could send the entire world spinning off into outer space. Maybe destroy us entirely.
I wasn’t sure either of those thoughts was what Paul was looking for, though, and before I could reply, he continued.
“I mean, I know if we lost the American Revolution the United States wouldn’t exist. Obviously. But how big a deal is that really? Would it actually be the end of the world? I mean … figuratively. The end of the world. It’s not as if Great Britain is the evil empire, right? Think about it. This country seems to be split already. Half the people love the president. The other half hate him. No one agrees on anything. Our teachers, Doc, Reis, the garbage man, the post officer worker… Everyone is on edge over the past couple of years. Maybe we don’t deserve to have what we have. Maybe it didn’t work, this American thing. Maybe in a weird way, Dresden would be doing us a favor by altering history. Did you ever think of that?”
I almost laughed. I was tired, to be sure. And worried about what I was about to face. Nervous that we might not be able to do it—that I might not be able to do it. But the idea that we could avoid it… No. I’d never doubted that we had to go back and stop Dresden—at any and all costs. The thought had never crossed my mind. Not even for a moment.
“You’re just thinking of the bad things, Paul. But think about everything else. Our history as a country. The people we’ve fought for. The people we’ve fought against. Even as recently as World War II—without the Americans, the British and French lose. We’d be living under Nazi rule right now, pledging allegiance to Hitler’s successor. And look at everything American scientists are responsible for! Technology, medical research, space exploration—”
Paul cut me off in midsentence. “But what’s it really doing, Jay? Has it helped the rain forest? You know as well as I do that our polar ice caps are melting because of those advances. We can nuke the planet, kill billions of people, we have countries that hate us so much they’ll go out of their way to kill us. How is that better, Jay?”
I stared at him, shocked. Not only at the fact that he’d said it—Paul wasn’t known for his intellectual pursuits, after all—but that he was … well, kind of right.
Still. That didn’t mean he was entirely right.
“You were with me in Medieval England, Paul. I’m kind of a fan of indoor plumbing, electricity, aspirin…”
“And you think we wouldn’t have all that if we weren’t American?”
I gulped. There it was, then. Would we be here if we weren’t Americans? Would we have all the things we had—but speak with British accents? Say Dresden changed things and the world didn’t spin off its axis. The thread of time didn’t cease to exist. Say the entire world just went through some shift in planes or something, and started up with a whole new environment. Say we weren’t American, but British or German or some other nation that we would never even know about in our current version of the world.
I paused, thinking, and suddenly the answer was right there in front of me, plain and simple. Yeah, we might still be around—but no, we wouldn’t be the same. And we wouldn’t be us.
“Free will,” I said defiantly.
Paul poked his head up over the foot of my bed and looked at me as if I were speaking in a foreign tongue. “You’re quoting a line from Assassin’s Creed?”
“Coincidence,” I replied.
Paul simply shook his head and started to lay back down—until I continued.
“The game stole it from a founding father,” I said quickly.
I wasn’t sure if a founding father had actually said ‘free will,’ but I liked the way it sounded. And I was right. Which meant I wasn’t going to back down. “It doesn’t matter who. What matters is that they knew how important it was. They knew it in their bones—enough that they broke the law to meet with each other, and actually wrote an entire document about it. They wrote the Declaration of Independence based on the idea, and started a war over it! They thought it was worth fighting for, and they did it. And it’s just as important today as it was then.”
Paul groaned and threw himself back into his makeshift bed. “Now you’re getting carried away,” he grumbled.
I reached out, grabbed a book, and threw it at him to get his attention. “I’m not, and you started this, anyhow. Free will. It’s what we’re built on. It’s what our country is built on. It means we always have a say. We’re always allowed to have an opinion. And we’re allowed to be commoners. Our presidents don’t have to be of royal blood, or rich, or privileged—”
“Or smart,” Paul snorted.
“Or smart,” I agreed. “But that’s the beauty of it. We get to argue about it and fight amongst each other and disagree as much as we want. We have the right to talk about it—and fight, if we want to. We live in a country where we’re allowed to divide right down the center, and have sets of people who believe two totally different things. You say it like it’s a bad thing … but our entire foundation is built on the idea that it’s okay to disagree. We’re Americans. We’ve always been given the right to argue about it. I don’t want to be part of a country where everyone agrees, or worse, feels they have to agree because otherwise they’re going to be in danger from the ruling party. I don’t want to hear only good things about our elected officials, because it’s our right to question them. It’s our duty as Americans. Our forefathers paid for that right.” I took a deep, quivering breath and realized that I’d been close to shouting. Not good.
For a moment, Paul and I sat quite still, listening for any movement from Doc’s room. Or Reis’. But nothing stirred, and before long Paul looked at me again.
“America isn’t the end all be all, Jay,” he whispered.
“I’m not saying it is. I am saying, though, that we have rights we take for granted. Rights we don’t even realize we have.”
I raised my hand and counted off the points as I said them. “For one, you get to voice your gripes about the government. So if you don’t like your congressman, senator, or president you can shout your discontent from a rooftop—or online, if that’s what you’d rather. Try doing that in Russia, and see where that gets you. Try doing that in any tyranny, or any communist country. Two, you can go outside right now and organize a public protest, if you want. You can demand to be heard in order to enact change! Three, we have the right to vote. I’m not talking about the votes you see in North Korea or Russia, where Putin is probably the only name on the ballot. I’m talking about actual choices.”
“Even if the choices stink!” Paul said with a smirk.
“Yes, even if the choices stink,” I replied. “Number four, which is near and dear to your heart, I’m sure, we not only have the right to question our leaders and even our teachers, which you are so fond of doing. We as Americans are encouraged to do so. Where else in the world are students, kids our age, encouraged to debate their teachers, to question what they’re being taught? Freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Freedom to practice art or math or science as we please. And the knowledge that we won’t get in trouble for it, because we’re Americans and it’s our right. What if you lost all that? What if someone came in and tried to take it all away? I think you’d probably notice it pretty quickly. And I’m guessing you wouldn’t like it.”
I lay back down in bed and looked at my clock once again. The United States. All our rights. All the things our forefathers had fought for. They were all at risk, because of Dresden. Because of one man who thought he was better than anyone else, thought he knew better than anyone else, and didn’t care that he was messing with millions of lives. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t okay. And no, I didn’t think he was right. I knew in my heart that he was wrong—and that anyone trying to mess with the American way of life had to be stopped.
Regardless of what it took. Regardless of how much we had to risk to stop him.
“Hey, Jay?” Paul asked after a moment of silence.
“I was just messing with you. I love it when you get fired up!” he replied. “And you’re right. We have to stop him. I’m with you, buddy.”
Two minutes later, I heard him snoring; God, how I envied his supernatural ability to sleep when the world was on the verge of coming down around our ears.
I turned on my side, away from my clock, and started praying that we’d do what we needed to do to save it.
--A Rebel's Stone, summer, 2017
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