Worth Fighting For
Entry I: The Battle for Liberty Island Begins
Location: Midtown Manhattan
Date: June 17th, 2003
I don’t know if anyone will ever read this. Heck, I’m not sure if there’s going to be anyone left to read this but I feel I need to do something. It may sound stupid but I feel like it’s my duty to document what could be the final months of the United States of America. My name is Timothy Murphy and a week ago I was a writer for the Manhattan Herald. Today… today I’m a member of the Manhattan Resistance, documenting the courageous acts of the Freedom Phantom and his comrades. But first, I should start from the beginning, before the battle for Liberty Island began.
In 1945 the Soviet Air Force dropped the atomic bomb on Berlin, ending World War II and freeing the world from the shackles of Nazi rule. Little did we know, we removed one pair of shackles and replaced them with another. By 1953, the Soviet Union firmly controlled most of Europe with its creation of the Communist Block, a union of all European states. Britain was the last independent holdout but eventually succumbed to the pressure and joined the Communist Block, signaling the fall of a free Europe. The U.S. protested the expansion of Soviet power but failed when mid-range nuclear missiles were transported to Cuba in 1961.
The next decade saw swift military expansion from the Reds. In 1976, the Soviet Armed Forces sent thousands of “advisors” to Guatemala and Honduras, creating communist states in South America. The threat was brought to our backyard when in 1996; Mexico elected its first president from the Mexican Communist Party. Then in 2001 a failed assassination attempt on our president became the first direct action from Russia. Though it was never proven that the SAF was behind it, an unnamed foreign power was implicated in the assassination plot. 2003 changed the face of America forever with sightings of low-flying drones all across the country. The government quickly dismissed them as weather balloons and tried to quell the panic that was growing nationwide. And then it happened, on a muggy day in June, the world I knew ceased to exist.
I was in Midtown Manhattan that day trying to track down Isabella Angelina, the leader of the Warning Against Reds! campaign. She and others like her actively tried to prepare people for the impending Soviet invasion. The government dismissed her claims and New Yorkers thought she was a terrorist but I believed she was right. The Soviet Union had been expanding their power and I knew it wouldn’t stop until the entire world was covered in red. I had arrived at Isabella’s apartment only to find it empty. As I was leaving, I ran into two men from Plumbers on Patrol. Who would have thought that these two plumbers would become key members in the fight for freedom.
As I walked down the stairs of the apartment complex, I felt a sudden jolt and heard an explosion. I couldn’t comprehend what it was until I looked out a window and saw the street engulfed in flames. A military helicopter was firing missiles into buildings and I saw soldiers pouring into the streets from every direction. Screams and smoke rose into the air as I tried to wrap my head around what was happening. There was an abrupt crash from the lobby and I heard the thunder of military boots charging up the stairs. I quickly opened the window, jumped out onto the fire escape, and crouched down just in time to hear the soldiers rushing past.
The plumbers weren’t as lucky, I could hear an angry man scream at them, demanding to know where Isabella Angelina was. There was a commotion and then gunfire erupted from the apartment. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what had happened. I bolted down the fire escape and into the alley below. My first thought was to try and make it to the police station a few blocks away but once I hit the street, I knew that would be impossible. Cars were burning in the middle of the street and people were running in every direction. I saw a truck try to drive right through a crowd of people, running over a woman and flinging a child into the air. Small units of armed soldiers were going from building to building, capturing everyone they could find. I decided to make a run for it and as I made my way down the street, I felt the swift wind of a helicopter landing on the apartment complex.
It was chaos. I saw a police officer and I tried to get his attention but he was running for his life like everyone else. The few police who did try to fight back were quickly gunned down by the superior Soviet Armed Forces. Yes, while running down the street, I was able to finally get a better look at the uniforms of the soldiers. They were SAF, Russians. The Soviet Union had finally sent an invasion force. A small SAF unit was heading my direction so I quickly sprinted down an alley and tried to hide but I only found myself facing three Reds. As I was raising my arms to surrender, a sudden flash of heat hit me. I hadn’t realized I closed my eyes until I heard the screaming and opened them to see the three SAF soldiers set ablaze. An older man, a man in a baseball cap, and a plumber jumped down from the roof of a car port and approached me. I recognized the plumber as one of the two I had run into back at Isabella’s apartment. I didn’t see the other plumber with them as the three men approached me. I tried to find my voice but I didn’t get a chance to say anything as the older man and the plumber ran past me towards the street. The man with the baseball cap grabbed my arm and hauled my body towards a manhole. He barked out orders for me to help him lift it up and then shoved me down into the sewers. I was too stunned to question him and did what I was told.
Location: Manhattan Rebel Base
Date: Tuesday, June 17th, 2003
Once inside, there was an eerie quietness that was only broken with an occasional muffled explosion sounding in the distance. The man in the baseball cap introduced himself as Phil Bagzton and questioned why I had been at Isabella Angelina’s apartment. At first I didn’t know what he was talking about, I had completely forgotten about what I was doing before the attack. Then I remembered why I had sought her out and explained that I wanted to interview her and spread Warning Against Reds! message about the Soviet Union. He was still skeptical of me until I told him my name, which he recognized from my previous newspaper articles about the inevitable Red invasion.
Phil informed me that Warning Against Reds! was just a front and that he and Isabella were actually members of the Manhattan Resistance, a group of dedicated men and women prepared to fight the Soviet invasion when the time came. He shook his head and muttered to himself that everything they had been preparing for had finally happened. After he collected his thoughts, he explained to me that the sewer beneath the city was their base of operations. From here, they could easily access any part of the city with the network of manholes that existed around the area. I asked him about the other two men he was with. The older man, Mr. Jones, was a key advisor to Isabella. The plumber was Chris Stone and he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Phil wasn’t sure but it sounded like Chris’ brother, Troy, was taken to the apartment building roof and transported by helicopter to some unknown destination. I recalled seeing a helicopter landing on the roof when I was escaping through the alley below. While he didn’t know Chris, Phil told me that Chris stopped to save him from a pair of Reds before they all met me in the alley.
We rested a bit at a central hub in the sewer, the “base of operations” as Phil called it. The base was simple but they were well equipped with food, weapons, beds, and they even had a working TV. It wasn’t long until more Manhattan Resistance members started to appear. Finally Mr. Jones and Chris Stone made it back. We learned from them that Isabella had been captured and they confirmed that Troy Stone was taken by the Reds as well. While Mr. Jones and Phil tried to regroup and figure out a way to rescue Isabella, Chris only cared about getting his brother back. Phil wasn’t having any of that, after all Chris and I were the only outsiders there. Phil and Chris started to argue about why they should help each other when another member quickly told everyone to quiet down and listen to the TV.
An image began to flicker on the screen until it became clearer. The logo of “SAFN” flashed across the screen and a blonde woman with a distinctly Russian accent began to speak. She introduced herself as Tatiana Kempinski and began to inform us of how the Soviet Armed Forces had come to free us from the troubled U.S. Government and our corrupt leaders. She told us that we were poor Americans that had been liberated by the Soviet Union and all we had to do was swear allegiance to Mother Russia.
A new image flashed across the screen of an intimidating man named General Tatarin. He spoke of how anyone who resisted would be sent for “retraining” at special facilities in Alaska. It took me a moment to realize that I recognized his voice. He was the one that was looking for Isabella at her apartment. I wasn’t the only one who recognized him as I saw Chris seeth at his image. After all, it was this man who captured Chris’ brother, Troy.
After the broadcast was over, everyone was silent for a spell until Chris spoke up. He told Mr. Jones and Phil that he would do what he could to help them rescue Isabella since she was the leader of the Manhattan Resistance and in return, they would help him rescue Troy. Phil promised they would find Troy and any other civilians captured too. Phil then turned to me and told me that it wasn’t my fight and that I could leave. With everything that had happened and everything that I had seen, there was no backing out now. I didn’t know how to use a gun but I knew this city like the back of my hand. If anything, I knew I must stay to document the courageous efforts of the Manhattan Resistance. But most of all, I knew freedom was something worth fighting for.