[Four Corners Alliance #5] Work Sets You Free

Mongoose

Has absolutely no life
TRP Admin
Jun 6, 2011
219
Sam Nakai couldn't see much out of his swollen right eyesocket other than a dull red glow from the sun. One of the Coyotes had struck him in the face with its rifle in Shiprock, and thrown him into an old cargo truck along with Tribal Labor Corps workers and Tribal Security Force prisoners. They had been driving for what seemed like an eternity. The rickety suspension and the Navajo pothole system had kept him from regaining his senses in any rapid manner, or from looking out to see where exactly the truck was heading. A Hopi medic named George Manuelito kept him on his back, while the other, healthier passengers provided water here, a cigarette there. "Reckon you got a concussion," Manuelito said at some point, though Nakai had trouble remembering his name on several occasions so the diagnosis was quickly lost in the wind. "Don't think too much," Manuelito also offered.

Sam Nakai was a TLC civil engineer, one of the few to be trained as such after Judgment Day. It was all Sam Nakai could do to think, to analyze, when he could. No one seemed to know for sure where they were going, or at least, they weren't telling him, which left him endlessly speculating. He heard Harris, a Bill welder, talk about them heading west, towards "The fields," but he faded out before he could find context. The fields? Nakai wondered. The dry fields? No...The Hopi had set those up in the south, near Gallup. What kind of fields is he talking about?...

After repeating this line of thought for some time, Nakai was interrupted by the truck slowing down and finally halting. "Time to get your shit together," Manuelito snarked. Mechanical footsteps lumbered around the side of the truck. From the floor of the flatbed, Nakai caught a glimpse of a tall, chromed figure bearing down on him, the details still hazy. The figure yanked the tailgate open, as the others balked, moving deeper into the truck away from it. " <:: LEAVE THE VEHICLE," was all its voice could muster. Nakai felt cold, synthetic fingers grip around his ankle, and finally the lurch of inertia as the Coyote flung him outside.

Nakai slammed into the ground, thankfully arms-first this time. He immediately felt the harsh afternoon heat bearing down on him like an oppressive blanket, and his head throbbed incessantly. He could hear shouting and orders being barked around him, then other footsteps. He yelped as someone grabbed him under the arms and hoisted him upwards, but this time, the hands were warm, soft, human. He recognized the lapel of Manuelito's Tribal Health Service jacket as he rest his head, and much of his bodyweight, on the Hopi. "Get your shit together," Manuelito repeated, gesturing to the fact that they had been coerced into standing in ranks. "I'm good, I'm good," Nakai sputtered, pushing himself off of Manuelito finally and making an attempt to stand tall. As he did so, he finally gained his bearings.

They were surrounded by a sea of hastily-built cabins, organized into rudimentary streets that stretched for a half mile in every direction. At the end of it stood tall, imposing fences, connected with tall, imposing guard towers. Nakai could see the yellow signs on the fence warning of their electricity. A central dirt road leading out of the facility crossed through a wooden gate with a sign bearing "Tribal Labor Corps: Productivity Center #3" and the slogan acta non verba. There were already people here for some time, as he saw more ragged folks further down the ranks. They had likely built this place.

Like every other Navajo Nation institution since the surrender, they had been appropriated by the Coyotes in the barest of senses, and nothing was new here. What little they had seen of the new "Colorado Plateau Reconstruction Authority" had simply converted each of these institutions' functions to serve the Coyotes' needs. Until now, the Tribal Labor Corps had been an all-volunteer entity, where young, unattached individuals could find employment in exchange for citizenship and other benefits in the Four Corners Alliance, yet over the past few months, the Tribal Labor Corps had been converted into slave labor for the Coyotes. He was not surprised to see the TLC logo hanging over what was effectively a concentration camp.

"What the hell do they have us out here for?" Manuelito whispered to another one of their truckmates, to which they only shrugged. The dozens of workers quietly grumbled amongst themselves asking similar questions. Finally, a door opened on the largest and most elaborate of the buildings: A platform house with a large staircase, overlooking the surrounding camp like a hillbilly castle. A dusty Indian with pony-tails and a mottled suit and bolo tie stepped out, staring out at the disbelieving crowd. He spoke in an imposing, authoritarian boom.

"Fellow Indians, brothers of the liberation. The Colorado Plateau Reconstruction Authority and the American Indian Front thank you for dedicating your time in service of the Four Corners Alliance by coming here." The man sauntered around the porch, his snakeskin boots clanking on the wooden floorboards. "Americans have always exploited our lands, never allowing us to reap the benefits of our own ancestral lands' natural potential. They lied to us about its natural potential, its benefits to mankind, its dangers. Well, that time has changed. It's time for our people, the stakeholders, to take hold of that natural potential for ourselves!"

"Uranium," Harris whispered suddenly. The others stood in stunned silence.

"You are the first to break ground on the San Lazaro Nuclear Energy project. Starting tomorrow, each man and woman will be issued one helmet, one headlamp, and safety equipment. You will be fed every day, and sheltered reasonably while you work here. Our goal is to excavate 10 miles of tunnels in 3 months, and recover 20,000 tons of uranium to fuel our energy needs."

"They're reopening the goddamn uranium mines," Harris muttered in horror.


"The fruits of our labors here will allow for a swift end to the global conflict, and bring peace and liberation to Indians and all humans, once and for all.

Work will set us free."

 

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