Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Crow and a group of other New World Power members enter a unit that is a part of a crappy apartment complex. It is unlikely that the building would pass inspection if such a thing would ever be done. But such a thing is a low concern for the buildings tenants, whose primary concern is being able to pay the rent on time followed by being able to put food on the table. Everything else is a “luxury,” such as very simple things like utilities.
And the neighborhood which it is located is one of the poorer areas in Los Angeles where the living conditions are below humane. The neighborhood is littered with garbage and graffiti, preventing the people from taking pride in their neighborhood, which allows for the further development of urban decay. The tenants hope that street violence won’t come knocking on their front doors or come flying through their windows. And the violence that occurs within the building itself, they want it to remain at the other end of the hall.
The apartment which they are entering is leased to a fellow New World Power member who is letting Crow stay there for the evening. Due to the nature of his…occupation, and the actions which he takes, Crow finds it prudent to be constantly moving and not to stay in any one location for an extended period of time. Once you develop a routine of going to a single location multiple times, people will tend to notice. And if you have a high profile, people will talk, which will be bad for people like Crow, even if he’s staying in an area where he is surrounded by New World Power members. All it takes is one slip of the tongue by a member, or the prying eyes of a nosy neighbor, for the red flags to fly and the police to be notified. That’s why he finds it prudent to change locations on a semi-regular basis.
Accompanying Crow into the apartment is the unit’s principle occupant, a few low ranking officers, and T-Bone, Crow’s confidant. T-Bone’s real name is Thomas Clark and he is initially from New York City. He joined the New World Power over five years ago after escaping from police custody and has managed to rise through the ranks to reach where he is today. There are even rumors going about that Crow will name T-Bone as his successor as leader of the New World Power. And T-Bone is essentially Crow’s second-in-command in all but name.
But now is not the right time to officially do either. There are politics in play, for there are other members who have been with the New World Power longer then T-Bone. They have been with the New World Power since its inception or have joined just afterwards, and overlooking them or their deeds at this time would breed resentment within the ranks and would lead to alienation. If that occurs, then the New World Power would be severely hampered and could cause the organization to fracture. And T-Bone hasn’t quite proven himself capable of holding such a position. He needs to prove himself in some leadership situations to demonstrate that he is capable of handling himself as well as earn the respect of other officers.
T-Bone is an impressive figure, both physically and how he carries himself. He has a commanding presence. Standing in at six feet ten, he looms over everyone. He also knows how to carry himself, giving him an aura of confidence and the sense of command, which is enhanced by his commanding facial features, all adding to his presence. To cap it off, his deep, resonating voice is that of someone who you would expect to be in a command position.
Once inside the apartment, the lower officers who accompanied Crow make their exit, leaving Crow, T-Bone, and a few other people inside the apartment. Once they leave, T-Bone closes the door behind them and locks it. He then begins to talk to the other people who are located inside the apartment, allowing Crow to make his way over to the kitchen. Before he starts rummaging through the shelf’s, he turns to the apartment’s principle occupant and asks, “Where do you keep the glasses?”
“They’re in the cabinet to the left of the sink,” the guy replies.
Looking, Crow finds them and thanks his host.
“Is there anything else you need?”
“Do you have any food that you can spare?” Crow asks this as he fills up the glass from the tap.
“We have some fruit. Also, there is some cut up melons in the fridge along with some meats that I doubt we will be using.”
“Perfect. Now, you should get some rest.”
“I don’t want to abandon you.”
“That’s something you shouldn’t be worried about. I can take care of myself. And besides, you have work tomorrow.”
“Ok. Well, have a goodnight.”
With that, the host heads to bed and Crow opens up the fridge. From the fridge, Crow takes out some of the meats and the bowl of cut up melons. The bowl consists primarily of cantaloupe and watermelon. The meats include some leftover steak, salami, and prosciutto. The salami hasn’t been cut into and the prosciutto is in a vacuum sealed container that hasn’t been opened. Looking at the packaging, Crow notices that the date of expiration of the prosciutto has just passed. But since it has only been a few days, he figures that it should still be good. From the fresh fruit on the counter, Crow starts eating a banana. From there, Crow starts cooking the steak. The salami and prosciutto are fine eaten cold. As he does this, everyone else starts heading off to bed as well, except for T-Bone, who comes up to Crow so that they can start talking.
“I think we had a good rally tonight,” T-Bone says.
“We need to go bigger,” Crow replies. “If we continue doing these small scale rallies, we won’t be able to obtain our goals or objectives. We can’t just stay in the shadows, acting as an invisible puppet master. The point of the New World Power is to take action. If we don’t, then all the work we’ve done, and all that we’ve achieved so far, would have been for nothing. We need to step it up.”
“And what do you have in mind?”
“Well first, bigger rallies. Getting more people to come to these gatherings and allow them to hear our message is essential. We won’t convince everyone, but we’ll get enough. And that will allow us to further build our base.”
“If we do that, then we’d have to be careful on who we allow to speak. The reputation of some of our members, and the organization as a whole, won’t be conducive for the people at large.”
“True. That’s why not all of these rallies will be officially connected with us.”
“I think I have some people in mind who we can use for this.”
“Good. But we will need to still have rallies like the one we had tonight to help insure full fledged members remain active and not become passively involved. To help with that, we should have some large scale rallies designed for New World Power members only.”
“Ok. So that is the first step. What else do you have in mind?”
“Russia? What can they do to help our cause? Don’t they have enough problems of their own to deal with than helping us out? If the Soviet Union was still active, then I could understand why they might want to help us out. But now…eh.”
“It doesn’t have to get involved directly to help us out. And you touched upon a valid point, even if not directly. With how the Soviet Union conducted itself over its seventy-five year history, and its subsequent collapse late in the twentieth century, the bureaucracy of its former members are not that stable and their bureaucrats can be prone to…personal financial persuasions, regardless if they’re from internal or external parties. So all we need is to find some people within the government or military from the former soviet states who are not exactly walking the straight path to give us assistance.”
Intrigued, T-Bone asks “What exactly do you have in mind?”
“Now is not the time or place to discuss it, but you will be briefed when the time is right.”
“Fair enough. On a different matter, I’ve been wondering what is going to be done about the power structure of our organization.”
“Actually, that is one thing that I will be taking care of tonight.” And Crow actually likes the fact that T-Bone is interested in the command structure of the New World Power. “In fact, I want you to think of some people who you think would be good in command. You don’t have to do it right now. Just something I want you to think about and get back to me on in a few days.”
“Will do. Also, I haven’t seen Bane in awhile. Do you know where he is?”
“He’s currently in the Middle East with the Iron Wolves. They’re most likely inciting the local people in Afghanistan and Iraq to violence. I’m not sure of his exact location, however, but that’s to be expected.”
“Why are they there?”
Crow gives T-Bone a conspiratorial like look that also conveys that T-Bone should know, or at least figure out, why they are there. “With any prolonged engagement, it will consume a greater amount of resources. On the home front, it will also drain the political will of the populace at large. On the military front, the will to fight of the military personnel, especially those who are on the frontlines, will diminish. If such a situation occurs for too long, a military coup might occur. And besides, if the fighting force of a country is engaged in an overseas conflict, it can’t be used to help keep the peace at home if something just so happens to occur that requires their presence.”
“But if such an event was to occur, couldn’t that government call upon its reserves to handle the situation?”
“Yes it could, but the people who generally makeup the reserves tend to be weekend warriors and would be unlikely to handle a situation of, lets say, a revolution. They aren’t as well trained as the regular forces. In addition to this, they will most likely fight in an urban warfare situation; something they won’t be trained for. Urban warfare is the new military frontier, and that isn’t a part of the current military training, either for the regular forces or the reserves.”
“But what about the forces that would be pulled from the frontlines to deal with such a situation at home? Wouldn’t their experience help them deal with such a situation?”
“Yes. But look at what happened during the first Gulf War. When the United States went in, the Iraqi troops it encountered didn’t put up much of a fight. That was because they had just finished fighting the Iranians for close to ten years. Even the most experienced warrior will become exhausted if they fight for to long.” After a moment’s pause, Crow says “Listen. You should head off to bed. We can continue this conversation later if you want, but you had a long day and you need some rest.”
“Yeah. That sounds like a good idea. I’ll see you in the morning.”
With that, T-Bone heads to bed. He makes his way to the bedroom where he’ll be spending the night. Waiting for him there is a young woman who is a few years his junior.
Crow, on the other hand, gets busy dealing with issues of the New World Power. Like he said, he works on how the power structure of his organization would look like. He also works on a document that will eventually become the official governing charter of the New World Power. He also works on some plans that he would like see implemented. It isn’t until the first light of dawn that Crow eventually closes his eyes and gets several hours of sleep.
(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas