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Aug 26, 2004
Joshua Norton University was a growing campus, founded in 1869 to educate Union Soliders and their families, the campus was located in Berkeley, California, occupying about 200 acres on a wooded slope, plus an additional 100 acres covering the steeply sloping Berkeley Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. Many found the veiw amazing, all the more so since the wreckage and rubble from the 1906 earthqauke was cleared out.

JNU held some of the finest scientific minds since the early twenties; of course this was before the influx of German scientists arriving in New York and Chicago academic circles. No self-respecting physicist would be caught dead in California at that point. The faculty at JNU did not take the hit very hard, students still arrived, and teachers still got paid. 1933 was a great year to be in college, no worries of the depression, or war, or hunger, or anything. Being in college was like an island amongst the troubled waters of America. California itself was doing well despite the Great Depression. People moving in droves to open fields, and up and coming factories. The 1932 Olympic games where held in Los Angeles, and were perhaps the only games to ever make a profit in the millions from it.
Dan Lotts sat back in his chair listening to Professor Milan go on about the history of California. He was a strapping man of twenty, big and muscular from his position as center tackle. With brown hair, and brown eyes, with a rather ordinary face his main attribute was his ability on the football field. Lotts took a note whenever he felt the urge, which was not very often in History 101. He hated his history class with a passion, outside the sun was shining and the grass was green, but inside the primary concerns for the Mexican-American war was what occurred within Milan’s classroom.

“Alright it’s about 2:30 now. I shall end class for today,” Milan looked to the class with a smile, his red hair graying at the sides, dressed in a tweed jacket, and wire frame glasses he was the picture of a college professor. Everyone began to pack up, Dan going faster then most, Milan spoke up again putting books into his bag, “Oh yes do not forget to have read chapters six through eight of the textbook on the Western Campaigns of the American Civil War. If you do not read do not show up to class, we are going to discuss this in depth and I want you all prepared.”
Dan sighed to himself he had a week to read, but he really didn’t want to. Walking out of the class he smiled once the warm sun hit his face, outside everything was better, bright day, birds singing, and Coed’s walking to and fro. Looking at his watch he shrugged. Two hours till practice, and nothing else to do he sat under the shade of a tree pulling out his textbook. Across from him were the political posters for every possible candidate running for Governor this year; the California First Party of course had the most up, a few school officials walked around tearing them down. No political polling was allowed in a California campus by federal law, but Lotts smiled seeing the California First Party posters stay up.

Chapter six: Origins of the California Empire

The Emperor and his vision
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Trevor Marley was sweating under the hot sun of the Mojave Desert. His skin was nicely tanned, which was the one luxury he had in the hilly desert of Southern California. At twenty-nine he was handsome, almost movie star handsome, lean, but not skinny, with sandy blonde hair, and vivid green eyes. He could have worked at any studio in Hollywood, but instead he was out in the middle of nowhere hiding from the army. All his life he grew up hearing the stories about California rebels, or freedom fighters depending on who you spoke to, clashing with National Guard units. He never gave the situation all that much attention. Around 1922 or so IRA advisors got into the game and things got dirty. Bombings, guerrilla war, everything one could image. That is when Henry Campton a Republican governor asked for Federal assistance.
The state was only too happy to reply in full force. President Warren G. Harding refused to let anything disrupt the harmony and prosperity America was enjoying. Around this time is when Trevor became interested in it all. He read up on the subject finding all about the movement for independence, and as the original Baybacks said during the civil war, it was all about self-determination.

A delegate from California arrived in the 1919 Paris Peace conference asking for independence, they where denied and promptly arrested on President Wilson’s orders. Bad enough they caused trouble during his administration, but using his own words against him? The President never forgave that.

In 1929, when the stock market crashed, and Hoover let the Federal forces loot peoples homes for surplus supplies. The rational was that California was dangerous land, and America had enough troubles without it starting up again.
Trevor’s father of course would not stand for that, and was shot trying to resist arrest the police told him. He did not know how it happened but Trevor one day was in a bar talking to his friends, and the next day they attacked a patrol of Federal troops and took their weapons and supplies last year in 1933. Trevor smiled at the old 9mm Luger his father brought home from the war and kept under his bed for years, which now helped him out a great deal.

When word got around the Southern California Independent Army, or Black Bears, asked them to join. The papers said there was anywhere from fifteen to twenty separate groups all fighting for a free California. The Black Bears raided from Bakersfield, to Los Angeles, numbering close to three hundred men and women.

Trevor thought of this all as he moved to sit under the shade of his tent reading a dime store novel he bought in Baker. Outside was the small campsite chosen for the day. A dozen people moved about, some working on the few cars, and motorcycles used to move around, other maintaining their guns, and still others doing as little as possible under the hot sun.
The tent flap opened up and Corey Judge walked in. He was short and a little pudgy, and seemed more like a librarian then a revolutionary. Trevor set his book down and leaned back in his cot, “What’s cooking krazy kat?”

“Nothing as of now. We did get a report about some men moving through here.”

“Is it the Easties?” Trevor asked.

“Probably not.” Corey lit a cigarette, and began puffing on it, “ I’d say it’s the National Guard again.”

Trevor smiled at that, Federal troops where one thing, but the National Guard would rather let people run away then chase after them. Then again once in awhile they would give out food and supplies and wink at how empty the area is.
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Dan Lotts sat in his dorm room trying to finish his English paper. He thought it was pretty good, but it was nowhere near the standards of the tyrannical Miss, emphasis on Miss, Reed.

Across from him George Sanders sat on his bed reading the newspaper, “It seems Roosevelt is trying to reign in those Fed’s of his.”
George was a skinny blonde haired, blue-eyed kid from San Francisco. He was trying to get his degree in engineering, and in his free time helped the team out by fetching water for them. Dan thought he was pretty funny, and had a way with women you would not expect from a water boy.

“About damn time,” Dan replied.

With a grand gesture George closed the paper, “I’m going to that club on Figueroa, and 3rd. You coming?”

“What’s going on? That jazz band playing again?” Dan said, looking to George.

“No man. A party leader is giving a rally out there, you know?” George slides his coat on. Dan smacked his forehead dramatically, completely forgetting.

“Let me read this chapter for history and I’ll meet you there.” Dan said reaching for his textbook.

George slid his letterman’s sweater on smiling, “ I’ll save you a seat.”

“Save me a girl,” Dan called out. George laughed leaving the dorm. Dan opened his textbook up and began to read. He was beginning to hate the one sided arguments within it, but he had to read for class.

Chapter 7: Reconstruction of California.

While the Southern United States ended its reconstruction in 1877, California was given what outsiders call a harsh, and most Americans a fitting punishment. All local and state government was under military control until 1882, this was do mainly to the violent actions of old militiamen who did not know their war was lost. The largest such instance was a demonstration in San Fransisco with close to six thousand men and women protested Federal troops expanding a harbor which denied Californians from working on. It ended in a stunning victory for a small group of brave American troops.

While some compare the Californian acts similar to the Klu Klux Klan, it is important to note the Klan is an attempt at cultural identity, while Californians wanted a separate nation.

The Articles of Reconstruction required California, to pay reparations to every state that was invaded. With the funds lacking, the US government took to taking goods in payment. This led to local farmers striking, or burning entire fields in protest in the end of course the United States received what was owed to them.
California rich with natural resources was left in a semi-stable state. Major roadways where broken up and put under military supervision. The same occured to the railroads, California having the first national railroad company. The average citizen was allowed to vote, but the long list of men who fought for the Empire were denied this right until they proved themselves worthy of the most treasured of American rights.

Many throughout the US harbored resentment to Californians. While they preached a united people striving for freedom, California attempted to destroy it all. The state itself had paid dearly during reconstruction. Many felt it deserved though. While brave men across the US, pushed for democracy and progressive actions, while California was trapped in a world where Emperor’s ruled, and people did what they were told and accepted it.
very nice update!

Fenwick said:
....and people did what they were told and accepted it.

until now! :D
William Dean Wootton was not a happy man. He was not happy in 1906 when San Francisco had the earth quake and Federal Troops shot down his mother as a “looter” for taking much needed food to his sisters and he. He was not happy in 1917 when he was drafted and had to fight for the stars and stripes at twenty-four. He was not happy when his entire division, still drying their feet from the trip across the Atlantic was ordered to retake a trench line for the French. He became a Lieutenant after that, and a permanent one for not many wanted the officer stripes with Germans snipers about. He was not happy when his division was shifted to allow Californians to soak up German counter attacks while other American divisions needed to regroup.

Unhappiness turned to anger in 1921 when he came home from Oxford, a gift from the English government to any American officer who received a medal for bravery which Dean had two one of and a service medal from England and France, and he could find no jobs, and what jobs their where moved to the Midwest, and East Coast. The Recession hit California hard, factories found it cheaper to be on the East Coast where the money was. Wootton tried to find work, but nothing was stable. The state of California in what is to be the greatest nation in the world was still looking fondly on the partially paved roads of its major cities. San Francisco his home for so many years never recovered from the big quake the hulking twisted frame of city hall still took up the skyline. Along the way he joined the California First Party.

The California First Party soon became Dean’s life. Long hours trying to keep what diminishing seats they had in the State congress, holding rallies for the governor, doing what ever it took to make California great again. By 1923 he was thirty years old, and a principle member of the party. He was angry at how the East Coast had taken away the one outlet for change within California, by replacing the party with Republicans, and Democrats whose loyalties lay to the East.

The anger in Dean Wootton soon vanished in 1926 after he learned of the Nazi’s. Standing atop a podium in downtown San Francisco, his hands sweating as he spoke to the crowd in his soothing baritone voice. He wore a simple gray suit with a wide brimmed hat. Behind him the California flag hung, easily twenty feet tall, draped on the sides by red banners with a white circle, and a black bears paw in the center. Searchlights scanned the skies drawing crowds. It was October 15, 1929 and Dean Wootton had found Fascism.
Now in 1933 he was a happy man. In San Francisco, a party strong hold, he was enjoying life as the leader of the California First Party. He was waiting and preparing for years and it was all finally coming together. He spent a fortune of his own money, but sitting before him was the on element missing from California returning to its place in the world. The city itself was slowly being rebuilt block by block, each time making converts out of the people who lived there.

An elderly man with a shock of white hair sat across from Dean. Howard Neal was the Senator for California, an old warhorse that fought like the devil for states rights, and what ever he could get for his home state.

Dean found this quality extremely appealing, and also easy to use. “So Senator are we in agreement?”

“No need for such formality, call me Howard.”

“Alright then Howard, are we in agreement?” He hated repeating himself but did not let such things consume him at the moment. His plans had various factors, all of them designed to hide his real goals, but they where useless without support and power behind them.

Senator Neal seemed to chew on the question for a while. Looking up at Dean he smiled, “Hypothetically, if such an event did occur, I would be forced to act how I think best. And the best seems to be you,” The Senator offered his hand with a smile.

“Thank you sir.” Dean smiled, he could lay on the charm when he had to, but this was a real smile for soon everything he would be angry about would be gone.
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It was the fourth qaurter, six mintues to go, at the forty yard line, Dan Lotts number twenty left tackle, felt the grass under his palms as he dug in ready to go. His leather helmet tightly around his scalp, as he grit his teeth. The moment the words where spoken he charged forward like a rabid dog, holding back not one but two players. He kept pushing with all his might until the whistle of the referee made him stop.
Looking around he wondered where the ball had went, but down field he saw Thomas “Pretty boy” Neill at the goal line, forty yards away, ball in hand. Lotts let out a yell of triumph. With one minute to go the Washington Warriors had to pray to catch up with the Norton team.

“If they did pray it didn’t do them any good!” Dan said hours later in the small pizzeria the Norton team called home. Thomas sat by laughing, as did George. Dan let out a loud yawn. Thomas slapped him on the back, “You tired already son?”
“Yeah. I played my entire Sunday, and now I get to go study.” Dan let out a groan.

George shrugged, “ Can’t help you there buddy.”

“I know I know. I’ll try and catch you guys later, I just need to finish a paper and read a little.” Dan slid his jacket on walking to the door; Thomas yelled out, “We will be here all night.”

Back at the dorm Dan Lotts finished his paper as best he could, he then eyed the history text book yet again, “One more chapter.” He really hated his book; East Coasters or Easties if you want to get mean about it, filled it with lies, and misconceptions.

Chapter Eight: California Empire, and its legacy.

Not many in America look fondly upon its “Empire,” yet few cannot be amazed at how far a rag tag group of militiamen, and an insane old man went. While the Confederate and Union troops gained a quarter mile a day, the Empires troops or “Baybacks,” crossed into the entire western half of the United States in a matter of six months.

When the Empire fell with Sherman’s immortal words of, “"I was saddened to see my nemisis surrender without a fight." Lincoln was able to focus on the South fully wiping them out within a year. Lincoln put a quarter of a million-dollar reward out for “Emperor” Edward Norton, a staggering bounty in its day. Lincoln was furious, quoted as saying the day before his assassination, “Without [California] to deal with this war may have ended in 1865.”

The shadow of the Empire still hangs over California. Since allowed to take part in their government the California First party (CFP) formed in 1903. California senators and lawmakers made it so every March 19th people could celebrate the Emperor’s birthday which replaced the National holiday of California surrendering. While many California natives see the party as a great leap forward in California, many within the hallowed halls of congress look at the party as a thorn in the side of America.

During America's entry into the Great War (1917-1918), California joined the nation in defending Freedom and Democracy against oppression and aristocracy. Creating one full division, the “Norton Boys” went onto fight with distinction for America, under the guidance of various officers from Maine to Mississippi.
After the war many Californians came home with a sense of belonging to something greater than a single state. The Californian First party took a seat behind that of Democrat and Republican parties. The old wounds where healed. The people were finally American.

Don Lotts threw his book against the wall of his dorm. “Piece of crap.” No matter what some East Coast book said Dan was a Californian.
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Dan Lotts sat in his dorm flipping through the letter from his cousin in the National Gaurd. He was somewhere down south, most likely the Mojave Desert, patroling the region for "trouble." Dan glanced at his watch and got up walking across the qaud to his history class.
“ Now we are going to go into more recent history. Who can tell me what brought about the resurgence of the California First Party?” Professor Milan looked about his classroom, “Anyone at all…” With an indigent sigh he began to talk when Suzie Jacobs raised her hand. Dan thought she was a bombshell through and through, but way to classy for a lug like him.
“Yes Ms. Jacobs?”

“Was not the great depression the cause of the Party coming back?” Suzie twirled her finger through her long curly red hair.

“Very good.” Professor Milan wrote Great Depression on the chalkboard. “Now this is an important thing to focus on. Following that the dust bowl swept though the Midwest, literally destroying everyone’s farms. What were left were few states able to take care of themselves. California was lucky in this respect; the state government followed the example of president Hoover and planned to let the economy fix itself. Of course all that really did was let the CFP resurface in 1931.”

Dan Lotts sat at up the mentioning of the Party. He himself was a card-carrying member of the California first party. He raised his hand, something he rarely did in any class. Professor Milan pointed to him, “Mr. Lotts do you have to go practice?”

“I have a question.” Professor Milan nodded for Dan to continue, “Do you agree with the textbook?”

“Excuse me?” the Professor cocked his head to the side curiously.

“The textbook makes us sound like a bunch of fanatics, for trying to leave the United States. Chapter seven seemed alright, but eight and nine seem more like comments on how great the East Coasters are.” The class went silent as Dan awaited an answer.

“You are certainly welcome to your opinion,” Professor Milan then continued with his lecture. When class ended Dan got up and started walking to the door. Professor Milan rested his hand on Dans shoulder.

“Mr. Lotts.”

“Yes Professor?” Dan wondered what he did now. What occurred was Professor Milan reaching into his pocket and holding up a card. It had a black bear claw in the center, surrounded by a white circle on a red background.

“ I completely agree with what you said in class today Dan, can I call you Dan?”

“Yes Professor.”
“Please call me Martin. Now Dan take this card. There is an address on the back, I think you should go see this man, bring your friends. They will be welcome.” Martin smiled, packing his things up for the day. Dan looked at the back of the card:

Grizzlies Regional Office
Eugene Kelbs, Attorney at Law
2103 South Camino Street San Fransico, CA​

Dan looked to his professor and grinned, “Thank you sir.”

Professor Milan held his right hand up like he was taking an oath, “ Long Live California.”
Fifty miles of Los Angeles sat the Antelope Valley, within it was Lancaster. It was small with about eight thousand people at most. So when Trevor Marley, Corey Judge and three others drove down Lancaster Boulevard,its paved road the only one within miles, in their rusted beat up Ford truck it made people stop and stare.

A small diner sat across from the movie theater. Trevor was hungry, and desperately needed coffee. “Shall we go sit inside?” Trevor looked to the others.

“We are to wait around till we meet this guy so sure,” Corey replied.

The five walked into the Sunny Side Up Diner. The place had six people inside; the waitress looked them over, looking not at all impressed. Trevor paid her no attention; the small group of national gaurdsmen got his full attention though.
The five men took a booth in the corner; they ordered breakfast, and plenty of coffee, although Corey ordered a Coca-Cola. Trevor dug into his plate of hash browns with gravy poured over the top with gusto. He was used to rations, and what ever was scrounged up not home cooked food.

Corey pointed out the window, “That’s him.”

Trevor looked over; across the street by their truck was a sharp dressed man in a tweed jacket and wide brimmed fedora. “Shall I invite him in?”

“Just go get him.” Corey said with a slap to Trevor’s back.

Trevor smiled introducing himself, “And you are?”

“Delivering packages.” The man shot him an icy stare. Trevor smiled meekly, and followed him to his sedan. People on the streets turned to watch them, it wasn’t every day a sharp dressed man drove into town with a brand new sedan. The two men got inside and began driving around. At a crossroads twenty mintues outside of the town the sedan pulled over.

“I got four boxes for you. Your friends will need to help you move them they are pretty heavy.” He looked around and opened one box just enough to glimpse inside. Trevor grinned looking down at the various weapons.
“Hey these don’t look American.” Trevor said looking at some rifles each one different one seeming very small.

“They are from a few friends we have.” he replied.

"What kind of guns are these?" Trevor asked.

"Why do you need to know?" The man seemed to look annoyed.
"We need to know what ammunition to use, I am assuming by the lettering on the top of that rifle it is from asia. God knows how reliable that is." with a deep sigh the man closed the crate.

"I deliver this to you. You take it and use it. That is all." Trevor let it go at that. He wanted to know as much about his equipment as possible but new guns where new guns.
All very intruiging.
Dean Wootton sat inside the smoking room of Stephen Bondeson, General of the California National Guard. It was styled in the art deco sense popular in the twenties and thirties, Dean liked it but found it a little gauche. In the back of his mind he laughed knowing that his wife must have decorated the place. Beside the General was Oliver May leader of the Grizzlies, with the General sitting across from them. Over cigars, and brandy Wootton went over his plan in detail.
“Are you sure this will get the reaction from the international community we want?” May asked.

“Absolutely. We will have everything we need. Legitimacy, authority, international and public support.” Dean snuffed out his cigar.

“Explain the support if you please” Bondeson said.

“To start with a small section within Britain is in favor of limiting American naval power. Most of our estimates put it around nine naval officers and as much as twenty within the parliament. The logic is that the United States has a large navy to defend both coasts; with California in place the US must lower its fleet by least 1/3, but at most ½.” Wootton stood up and went to the globe in the corner of the room. He spun it around until finding the nation.
“Next Japan is in favor of it for similar reasons. They get to become the second largest navy in the world. Also they have expansionist plans themselves, and they cannot do that with America in the way. Next we have Italy who wants to become a major player in international politics, Ireland sees us as kindred spirits, France will support us for they believe this will force America into taking a part in international affairs.”

“What about Hitler?” Oliver asked.

“Germany promises support, and even assistance when the time comes.” Dean said. In his office was a signed picture of Adolf Hitler from 1931. He modeled much of the Party on the National Socialism. Large rallies, honor guards, even the Grizzlies matched that group of Himmlers.

The other two let it all sink in, Oliver downed his brandy and looked to Dean, “So when do we begin?”

“Next election.” Wootton said.
With a grin Oliver May leaned forward, "Shall I take care of the gentlmen on our list?"

Dean said not a word he just looked at Oliver and smiled.
so i guess the entire international community will have no problem with this....its just a matter of surviving until they guarantee your independence...
Lists are dangerous things...
“Grizzlies? I know the name but what do they do?” George Sanders said as Dan Lotts, Thomas Neill, and he walked down Camino Street. Dan got his friends to come with him, for how often does one get to drive to Los Angeles with the top down?

“That’s why we are here.” Dan shot back.

“What kinda place is this anyways?” Thomas said, looking at the neat two-story tan colored building. On the second floor the State flag flew, next to a flag similar to the one on the card.

“Professor Milan says it’s a recruiting office.” Dan replied walking into the building. A small room was inside, stairs leading up in the back. Four women each one prettier then the last looked up from their desks and smiled.

“Can I help you gentlemen?” The closest secretary said. Dan held up the card, her smile grew even larger, “Right up those stairs. I will tell Mr. Kelbs you are here to see him.”

The boys went up stairs, a small hallway lead to an office in the back. Dan looked at all the pictures on the walls: A sharp handsome man in a doughboy uniform, the same man standing atop a platform his hands thrust out CFP flags behind him, and the one right by the office door a tall man shaking his hand.
Thomas slapped Dan on the arm, “Is that Wootton?”

“What?” Dan looked closer, and blinked. “How does this guy know Wootton?”

“I met him in Sacramento.” Standing in front of his office was Eugene Kelbs. He wore a neat three-piece black suit, and wing tipped shoes. Hair neatly combed, and a dapper smile on his face. “You are Dan Lotts correct?”

“Yes sir I am.” Dan shook his hand.

“My friends call me Eugene. Who did you bring with you?” Kelbs smiled holding his hand out to the others.

“George Sanders.”

“Thomas Neill.”

“Neill? Did you make that touchdown on Friday?” Mr. Kelbs escorted them into his office. It took up the entire second floor. The CFP flag, and the other Bear Paw flag beside it next to his ornate desk, antique guns, sat next to a fully stocked bar.

“Yea that was me.” Neill said admiring the picture of Eugene next to Jimmy Stewart.

“Ahh beautiful run. I heard it over the radio, almost lost money on your team.” Eugene sat behind his chair, and motioned for the boys to take up the other seats. His happy go lucky smile never left his face, “So Martin tells me you are an outspoken Californian?”

“Martin?” Dan said, “Oh Professor Milan. Well I don’t know about outspoken but yes I am a Californian.”

“And your friends?” Mr. Kelbs turned to them.

“Born and raised in San Francisco.” George said.

“ Los Angeles.” Thomas replied puffing his chest out.

Mr. Kelbs pulled out a few folders and handed them over. “You are all party members correct? If not I can have you join right now.”

Dan held his hand up, “ We have voted for the California First Party since we have been allowed to vote. Well Thomas and I have, George is only twenty.”

Eugene smiled and opened the folders, “Not a problem. These gentlemen are pledges to the Party, and also to the Grizzlies.”

“ So what do the Grizzlies do? I have seen them at a few rallies, but no one really talks about them.” Thomas said.

“The Grizzlies?” Mr. Kelbs stood up smiling, “Why son the Grizzlies are the life blood of the party. They spread the word, put up posters, hold protests, demonstrate, and they handle security.”

“Security?” Dan asked.

“ Nothing to bother yourself with. You see next month elections for the new Governor are to start. The party needs its message to be spread around. More importantly the Party needs good young men like you to show what California is all about.” Mr. Kelbs cracked his knuckles.

Dan, Thomas, and George looked up at him smiling. “What would we need to do?”

He sat back down, “First you need to sign the papers in those folders, and then the loyalty pledges to the Party and to California.”

Without a second thought Dan signed his name. Thomas and George did the same, and then looked up to Mr. Kelbs. “Wonderful. Now first and foremost you will be in our recruitment program. It is very simple walk around in your uniforms, smile, and get people to vote Californian on Election Day. You may have to do security every now and then but nothing very bad.”
Thomas leaned forward, “Uniforms?”

Mr. Kelbs smiled lifting his phone up, “Sarah…Sarah, yes its me. Be a dear and send a few uniforms up. Thank you sugar.” He turned back to them, “Now where was I… oh yes. In about two months you will have to make a small trip up here with any other party members for a rally. Do not worry about money the Party has more then enough, and can cover most expenses.”

Dan was about to speak when the door opened, and a blonde clumsily walked inside carrying three boxes, “ I did not know your sizes. I just guessed.” She walked closer, each box at least three feet long and looking rather awkward to carry.

Eugene smiled, “Thank you Sarah.”

Dan walked out and picked up all three boxes with one hand the secretary gave a little laugh smiling. Dan blushed and passed the boxes out. Inside was a white dress shirt, but on the collar and shoulders were the bars a private would wear. Underneath it was army green pants, and the fancy belt the army liked to wear. Thomas was already pulling it out looking it over, black leather gloves, and new polished infantry boots.
What caught each mans eye was the helmet. It was the doughboy helmet each boy grew up admiring, shiny and new. Dan then saw something odd; he reached in and pulled it out. His eyes widened, “Why do we need a holster?”

Mr. Kelbs walked over taking it away, “Ahh sorry about that. You got a security uniform I believe.” With another brilliant smile Eugene looked to Dan, “No worries son. We are strictly political.”

Dan nodded at that, not really understanding but accepting it.
Strictly political? There's a loaded phrase if ever there was one. I wonder if our boys have heard the saying "War is but politics..." As their only poor californians, I guess not ;)