PERILOUS JOURNEY - 17
Copyright 2012 by Carl Mason
All rights reserved. Other than downloading one copy for strictly personal enjoyment, no part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except for reviews, without the written permission of the author. However based on real events and places, "Perilous Journey" is strictly fictional. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Further, as in real life, sexual themes unfold gradually. Comments on the story are appreciated and may be addressed to the author at email@example.com
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This story contains descriptions of sexual contact between males, both adults and teenagers. As such, it is homoerotic fiction designed for the personal enjoyment of legal, hopefully mature, adults. If you are not of legal age to read such material, if those in power and/or those whom you trust treat it as illegal, or if it would create unresolvable moral dilemmas in your life, please leave. Finally, remember that maturity generally demands safe sex.
(Revisiting Chapter 16)
During his morning jog - perhaps two weeks after the teens' morale-building victory - Scott first noticed definite changes in the prevailing winds, as well as in the quality of the air. Scott was no meteorological expert, but it seemed to him that winds pushing toxic substances associated with the recent disaster off the coast and out to sea had measurably weakened. That night, as he sat laughing and joking with several of the guys on the porch of the lodge, Grant called his attention to strange lights in the sky. The long clouds of pastel green and red light, that reminded him of the Northern Lights, had them all wondering. To end the day on the same unsettling note with which it had begun, he had no more turned in than wolves at several elevations and from different compass points began a group howl. To say the least, it was eerie.
(Continuing Our Story: Coming...Coming...Here!)
Robbie turned over, luxuriating in the warm bed. That terrible clatter...coming up the stairs and down the hall in his direction! Knocks turning into pounding...louder and louder until his head felt like a bass drum! Opening one eye disclosed the warm June sunlight flooding his room, but little more. The pounding grew more intense...DAMN! "COMING!" the classically-built young man yelled as he hurled his naked body out of the bed. Struggling across the room...more than half asleep...he unbolted and then threw open the heavy wooden door!
"Mornin', Ro......" The smaller, pale-blond-haired seventeen year-old's voice ground to a halt. Well-liked, Woody Harris was quickly making his place in the community. True, he was naive and still had his moments...like right now as he stood in front of Robbie Thayer. The saucer-sized eyes in his bright red face just couldn't detach themselves from the massive hardon that effectively filled his field of vision. In fact, try as he might to control his response, his own thoroughly respectable pecker was quickly coming to rigid attention.
"It's ok, Woody," Rob mumbled, clearing his throat and attempting to pull himself together. "What's up?" If anything, Woody's face assumed a more intense shade of red. In fact, he began to wish that the floor or, perhaps, the towering hardon would simply open up and swallow him! With a loud snicker, the now fully conscious #2 muttered, "Sorry, beast. Why were you pounding on my door?"
"They captured one! They captured one!" the sturdy youth reported excitedly. "They captured one," Rob repeated dryly. "Tell me, Woody, was it a chipmunk? ...an alligator? ...Sasquatch? ...an enemy spy? Slow down... Clarify, man!" "Sorry, Rob!" the embarrassed youth replied. (Pause.) "Ross and Kip captured a soldier in the woods beyond the lake. They're bringing him in!"
"Understood! Good job, Woody. Go back and join the others. I'll follow in just a minute." "Apparently still caught up in the British special forces drama that most of them had viewed on TV the night before, the lad raised his left knee until his thigh was parallel to the floor. Slamming his bare foot onto the floor, he grimaced as he barked, "Thank you, Sir!" Despite his best intentions as he turned away, he couldn't help but take one more look out of the corner of his eye at the object of his lust. "Wow... Good one!" he breathed under his breath.
Before leaving their room, Robbie looked speculatively at the clothes hook, grabbed an old pair of cargo shorts, and hurriedly stepped into them. As he strode down the front stairs of the Lodge, he was met by nearly everyone in camp, including the boys on breakfast KP. Breaking out of the woods at a gallop, Scott joined them.
Marching straight for him, the gaggle was led by a U.S. Army soldier in a dark khaki field uniform. Immediately behind him, strutting slightly were Ross Collins and Kip Peirce, Kip carrying the soldier's rifle. As they reached Rob, Kip managed to give the soldier a solid whack in the small of the back with the butt of the rifle. (Rob glared furiously at him and then nodded to Hunter. Believe that after business had been completed, the youngster would receive a stern reminder about the treatment of prisoners!) "Ross?" the Camp's #2 asked.
"The Lieutenant was marching through the woods about a mile south of Little Moose, sir. We informed him that he was on private property and subject to arrest. He asked if there were any place around where he could get a little food and rest. When we told him that we'd take him to our Lodge, he replied that he considered himself our prisoner and surrendered his rifle and hunting knife...sir." Robbie grinned at the boys and then turned to the good looking, well-built young soldier who was standing immediately in front of him. Had to be close to his age, maybe a few years older. "I'm Rob Thayer, Lieutenant. This property belongs to my family. Should I consider myself your host," he continued, "or do you prefer that I call the Park rangers and have them take you to the police station in Lake Placid?" "Lake Placid? I've come that far?" the soldier mused, almost in a whisper. Catching himself, he came to attention, extended his hand, and said, "I'm Bret Kendrick, Mr. Thayer, lately a lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed as Fort Samuel J. May in Syracuse. I'd very much prefer that you consider me your guest. I assure you that you are not in the slightest danger from me. In fact, I hope you will come to see me as a friend." Robbie soberly looked him straight in the eye for a full minute before extending his hand and saying, "Welcome, Bret." After introducing Scott and reminding the gang that the breakfast bell had sounded, Rob and Scottie led Bret up the stairs and into the great Adirondacks lodge.
The tan-haired hunk had scarcely had time to gaze around the beautiful room with its enormous fireplace and accept a chair at the room's one large table when Grant appeared with a very nice breakfast tray, plus coffee for the Thayers. (Wondering where in hell his breakfast had gone, Robbie glared at Grant.) Obviously, very hungry, Bret plowed into the breakfast with vigor, although on a couple of occasions he had to catch himself and restore his drooping shoulders and head to full upright. Obviously, he was on the verge of exhaustion. Scottie ended up helping him upstairs, pointing his guest towards the nearest bathroom, opening the window of one of the remaining bedrooms, and quickly making the bed. Guiding him over to the bed, he helped him remove his jacket and boots and swing his muscular six feet up onto the fresh covers. The lieutenant didn't move for several hours - time that Scott used to quietly discover as much as he could about his new guest.
(The Kendrick Story)
Bret joined the company at supper, grinning widely when he was warmly greeted by the gang. Scottie commented that it was good to see him back among the living, although he said little more at the time. After supper, the two young men retreated to Scott's small office where the shaggy-haired one was asked for a frank and thorough report on his personal background, the events that had precipitated his arrival in Camp Thayer, and his feelings about the band of young men in which he found himself.
Agreeing immediately, the young man said that he was the son of a career officer in the U.S. Army, having lived for years on Army bases throughout the world. His father, a Colonel, and his mother had been murdered while on duty in Africa. After graduating from a renown foreign service academy and completing supplementary study in the States, he was finally commissioned in the U.S. Army. He had recently been promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. He was a communications specialist stationed at Fort Samuel J. May in Syracuse, NY (the installation that had replaced Fort Drum outside Watertown).
The destruction on the East Coast and the resultant problems for refugees and others had brought severe stresses to the Armed Forces. A strong majority of regular and reserve Army forces in New York felt that their duty lay in taking any and all measures to protect those parts of the state still functioning. Pressures from coastal elements flooding north that were spreading sickness and crime and claiming the bulk of the state's resources had to be resisted. When Federal sources had ordered NY forces to place their resources in the service of these elements, the NY command structure fractured. Many officers and NCOs lost control of their troops. As a picture of chaos, rape, and pillage deepened, Mark Ketchem, the Commandant of the Army's largest state facility, Fort May, took a strong leadership role. The two-star (Major General) restored some order, at least among the militia and regular Army units that refused to follow Federal orders to stand down. (His authority was also widely accepted by similar units in neighboring Pennsylvania.) He lacked widespread support among the other services, though he did have a sufficiency of trained infantry, armor, artillery, and a small air command that included several attack and transport copters.
Lieutenant Kendrick took part in creating the "I-84 Defense Line" to keep refugees from moving north from affected locations in far-southern New York and neighboring states. When he resisted attacking civilian camps below I-84 and opposed the General's unauthorized imposition of statewide martial law, however, he was quickly reassigned to Syracuse. Kendrick said that he still did as he was told until units were ordered to "eliminate" those among both the military and civilian population who disagreed with the General's policies and commands. At that point he left a message for those officers to whom he was responsible in which he refused to obey these commands on the basis that they were "illegal orders". Able to give himself a little time in the confusion of the minute, he left the Fort and set out into the Adirondack Park. He said that he had no doubt but that he was now viewed as a deserter. Given time and circumstances, he believed that General Ketchem would order him shot on sight.
"He was no deserter from the U.S. Army," Kendrick claimed. Indeed, he remained a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and wished to put his skills and information at the service of the Thayer community and through its people to the Federal Armed Forces.
Sitting back in his chair, Scottie looked intently at the young officer. He then rose, walked over to a small office refrigerator, and removed a couple of beers. Offering one to the tense young man sitting in front of him, he told him frankly that he had been vetted as thoroughly as possible in the past few hours. (Nervously, the shaggy tan-haired one nearly emptied his bottle in one long gulp!) "Everything you've told me squares with the information I now possess," he continued seriously. Twisting the cap off his beer, he took a long swig, grinned, and said, "How about considering yourself a full member of this company, soldier?" The young soldier shut his eyes for a moment. After shaking his head vigorously and clearing his throat, he murmured softly, "Thanks, boss. That's exactly what I want!" With a shit-eating grin, he raised his voice and added, "Got another beer?"
(Tragedy and Danger to the South)
When the Thayers and Bret Kendrick had walked into the Dining Hall that evening...sans clothing, i.e, in the Lodge's "uniform of the day"...there was a major celebration. At 23, Kendrick was a beautiful specimen of young manhood: six feet even; wavy, tan hair on his head (but otherwise rather sparsely furred); every muscular body part classic in its form and beautifully tanned; a handsome, open face that reflected character and his full commitment to West Point's motto, "Duty, Honor, and Country".
Tim McCoy was also pleased about the Lieutenant's decision, albeit somewhat more cautious. "You know, Scott," he had said, "there is no way I can restrict the movement of Army recruiters and others under General Ketchem in and around Lake Placid. Given what we now know, it's probably best that Kendrick not be seen publicly with Public Safety personnel...at least not until...or unless...widespread hostilities break out. What say that several of us "accidentally" find ourselves at the Lodge come mid morning two days hence?" Lo and behold, by 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the Lieutenant, Scottie, Rob, the Assistant Chief of Police in Lake Placid, and a representative group of county sheriffs, the State Police, and Park officers had assembled.
Much to his pleasure, Scott was asked to chair the meeting. Feeling somewhat like the "Lord of the Manor," the representative of a family that had served the Adirondacks well from the mid 1800s immediately brought the group to the morning's business. Lt. Kendrick skillfully summarized the data he had shared with Scott. He added that he believed that the extensive forces under General Ketchem would increasingly affect the lives of New Yorkers, including Park residents. "We need to decide early on," he concluded, "where and how we're going to resist...if, indeed, resistance isn't futile." The discussion that followed was vigorous. If the enemy were to take them seriously, some felt that harassment had to resisted when and where it happened...on the spot...every time. Others felt that a limited number of "strong points" had to be created wherein arms and other defensive means could be stockpiled, e.g., towns. In the event that strong army units invaded the Northeast to pillage (as they had done in other areas), a State Police officer asked if guerrilla war shouldn't be conducted where possible while the High Peaks Wilderness was established as a redoubt for the citizenry of the entire region. "We have the water," he said, "and there is still time to stockpile food and weapons." Tim McCoy pointed out that next to life, the High Peaks Wilderness was one of their greatest treasures. "Neither should be spent needlessly nor to any degree beyond that absolutely necessary," he argued...without dissent
Two of the men commented that these dangers might quickly go away if Federal forces cleaned out the mutinous army elements in the Northeast. In answer, one of the county sheriffs commented that they had heard earlier in the morning that overconfident Federal forces had just suffered a sharp defeat outside Erie, Pennsylvania. They had underestimated the strength of the New York and Pennsylvania irregular forces under the command of General Ketchem. "At best, gentlemen," he offered, that 'cleansing' might take a while longer!" "Given that we're in the far northeast of the state, we may not catch their eye," offered another figure. The reply that the Park covered about 20 percent of the state's land mass tended to silence him! In conclusion, Kendrick argued that if any resistance were to be successful with the least harm done citizens and land, there had to be widespread discussion among all elements in the Park...beginning now!
(The Gathering Storm)
While not a complete cynic, Kendrick doubted that so diverse a population spread over such a large area would be able to come to any common position, at least not soon enough to do much good. Most Park residents would suffer as do all civilian populations when they wake up and find themselves in the middle of a war zone. If they at the Lodge were to be of any help, time was of the essence. He offered one way in which they might be of help.
While still at Syracuse, fellow soldiers had told Kendrick that the troops at the Glens Falls Military Depot (one of the largest military storage facilities in the Northeast) had refused to join General Ketchem. Rather, they had moved into Vermont to help its people buttress their defenses. According to his friend, the irregulars had only assigned a very small guard to defend the installation. "If we could collect enough muscle to help - and a fair number of heavy trucks" he asserted, "we could get back here with all of the military gear we need!" A wide grin spreading across his face, Scottie replied that young men all over the northeastern park would clamor to join them. Furthermore, many older men made their living hauling freight. He had often observed heavy rigs parked at their modest homes during downtimes.
While the general population dithered, the Lieutenant sprang into action. Within the week, the Lodge van with six of the Camp's strongest members headed southeast towards the Northway, i.e., I-87. Bret figured that the 90 miles to the Depot could be driven in less than two hours. At several points before and after they reached I-87, heavy rigs (plus burly young men from the area) met them and fell in line. By the time they left the Park and approached Glens Falls, 18 trucks sped silently through the darkness. Their watches said that it was still only 1:20 a.m.
They couldn't believe that the Depot was guarded by only a dozen men! (Nor could the rebels believe that they had quickly been overcome - or roused from their sleep - and led to the Post Stockade!) For nearly two hours, the men loaded gear and supplies onto the trucks: state-of-the-art communications equipment, ammunition, grenades, rifles, Stinger missiles, ground mines, heavy machine guns, mortars, and more. Within less than three hours, 18 heavily loaded trucks returned to the Lodge. Everyone wondered where in hell this gigantic store of equipment could be stashed. Scott simply latched onto Rob and Kendrick's arms and led him up the wide steps and into the Lodge. Descending a little-used staircase at the rear of the building, they found themselves in a large basement. Working together, they moved several large crates, as well as numerous boxes and other assorted junk. Scott unlocked the heavy metal door that came into view. On the other side they found a dusty passageway that eventually terminated at an old elevator. Pushing one of the buttons and hoping that the ancient conveyance would hold together despite its groans and clattering, the young men soon realized that they were rising, albeit at a snail's pace. When the elevator stopped, Scottie opened the gate and guided Bret over to an opening in the rocky wall. "Damn!" he gasped as he found himself looking down on the Lodge roof!
In the 1950s, early in the "Cold War", Scottie explained, "Americans were sure that a nuclear war was just around the corner. Many a bomb shelter was constructed in back yards; cities built much larger facilities or stocked food and water in places such as subways. My family simply honeycombed Mount Lily with caves, caves with reinforced openings from which a murderous defensive fire could be mounted. I don't have to remind you what our Marines faced when they had to take Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima or the Shuri Line on Okinawa during the Second World War in the Pacific. Let me show you one more view." Returning to the elevator, he punched the top button. Bret was actually surprised at the size of the gallery into which they exited. He was even more surprised by the early 20th Century vintage "light field gun". [Author's Note: A smaller, portable cannon used in the field for infantry support and as an anti-tank weapon before mortars and rockets came to dominate this class of ordinance.] Looking out through an opening, Rob gasped, "My God, Dad, I can see the main track and the place where our track splits off for the Lodge!" "Yep," Scottie muttered, "and this little monster will lob explosive shells beyond the main track down the valley! As a kid, I always hated it and pleaded with Dad to get rid of it, but I'm beginning to wonder."
Down below, a large camouflaged portal in the side of the mountain rose to disclose an immense storage area with its own freight elevator. When the trucks had been unloaded, over half of the storage space was still available!
(War Comes to the Adirondacks)
Following their defeat at Erie, the Federal forces quickly launched another major attack, this time where New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey come together at the top of the Delaware Water Gap - and, parenthetically, where I-84 crosses the Delaware River near Port Jervis, NY. At best, it was a standoff, causing the Federals to withdraw in order to lick their wounds and resupply.
Now able to focus their attention on plundering their own people, Ketchem's troops turned central New York into a hell of fire, looting, and rape. Perhaps made cautious by the forests, water, and mountains, only two concerted thrusts were made into the Adirondacks. As Kendrick had feared, citizen inability to develop a plan carried a high price, especially in towns that were thoroughly sacked. Successes in the Park's southwestern towns only whetted the appetite of the irregulars for more of the same, especially as they eyed the more populous towns of the Champlain Valley and the Park's northeast.
The eastern edges of the Park were secured by Federal forces based in New England. >From the west, however, strong tank and mechanized infantry columns ran rampant along NY-3, not slowing until they approached Saranac Lake. Under Kendrick, the "Thayer Boys", augmented by large groups of late teens and adults from the towns, finally stopped the rebel forces as they neared Lake Placid. The second clash took place in the High Peaks Wilderness as the rebels attempted to bypass the town and reach the Lodge at the foot of Mount Lily. No one there would forget the shells lobbed from Mt. Lily which helped to remove 34 rebel tanks and armored personnel carriers from the main Wilderness track. The skilled use of mines and mortars backed up by inhabitants fighting for their lives snuffed out several land probes in the center and north of the Lodge. When General Ketchem sent his entire copter force in over the lake to blast the Lodge and land a major contingent of troops, he was dismayed to discover that his opponents had Stinger missiles! These bloody defeats cleared the way for a successful Federal campaign in New York and Pennsylvania two months later during which the insurgency was put down.
(The Rewards of Peace)
Braving the unaccustomed silence of peace and the high heat of a lazy, late summer afternoon, one of the "Communications Runners" left the Lodge in full gallop, heading for Scott and Robbie who were stretched out on the shore of Little Moose Lake. The runner, hopping from foot to foot on the blazing sand, simply pressed a note into the boss's upraised hand. Briefly, the note identified the caller as Gregor Hodges, a medical doctor in a rural town about 120 miles southeast of the Lodge on the New York-Vermont state line. He asked Rob to return his call on a matter of extreme importance.
(To Be Continued)