Installment One takes place in the boundary between Confederate Territory and New Albion- controlled land.  Civil War II has been over for 8 years, but a skirmish over water-rights along the Ohio River has flared up.  This is Captain Fernandez’ first command.

BLENNERHASSETT ISLAND, OHIO RIVER 

Captain Evan Fernandez, 20 year-old Mexican American, fit, alert eyes, capable hands, walks slowly toward his tent on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River.  He passes men and women cleaning weapons, assembling their kits. He nods to several people as he passes, get a pat on the back.

He pushes back the tent flap, then sits on a cot, his eyes intent on his phone.  Holding it tenderly, his mouth curls upward at the face on the screen.  

Evan:  Mami, say again, I couldn’t quite hear you…

Angelina:  Courage, my son. I am sending up a prayer for you for protection.

Evan: My favorite saint, I hope?

Angeline:  Santos are real, querida.  I know you are not a believer, but I am, so, I’m sending strength to you and your company.  Que tu vayas con Dios, hijo.

Evan: Si, Mami.  I love you always…

Evan pulls out a delicate silver cross.  It’s tarnished and a little dented, but he holds it up to the phone.

Evan: Por siempre.

Angelina: Por siempre.

Evan kisses the cross, loops it around his neck. Another call is coming in.

Evan:  Mama, Sanjay is calling, I have to go.

Angelina: Tell my second son he is always in my thoughts.  So, go now. I’ll talk to you tomorrow night, after…

Evan:  After. No worrying now.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow and that’s a promise. Hasta manana, corazon.

Evan heads back out the tent, seeking shelter of the trees nearby. He clicks on the connection. 

Sanjay’s face fills the screen.  He’s South Asian, lean and dark-skinned.  Intelligent brown eyes shine out of the phone.  He’s also in military kit, but he’s sitting in a command center.

Sanjay: Brother.

Evan: Brother.  One of the perks of Command Center – unrestricted calls?

Sanjay: The last chance to check in before the all-dark.  How’s it going over there, Captain?

Evan: Fine cuisine, excellent hotels, it’s resort living over here.  And you, Commander?

Sanjay: Tracking troop movements now – can’t say more.  You know when a water pipe breaks and you have to clean it up?    That last little bit of water can be hard to find and get rid of. Remember that tomorrow.

Evan sighs.  

Evan: Jay, this has been a long time coming.  Eight years. Eight years!

Sanjay grimaces:  I never forget. I know you don’t either.

Evan: Never.  Joanna would be proud.  Emmie, too.

Sanjay:  Do you have it?

Evan holds up the cross.  

Evan: Do you have it?

Sanjay holds up a mangasutra from his mother, Emmie.

Sanjay:  Yes.

Sanjay kisses the mangasutra.  Evan tucks the cross back into his shirt.

Evan:  Wish me luck, brother.

Sanjay:  Por la justicia.

Evan: Por la justicia.

Evan clicks off the connection, then steps out of the trees, unsheaths his rifle and sights along it toward the enemy encampment.  In the far distance, smoke rises. Evan lowers the rifle, raises his cross one more time, murmurs,

Evan:  Justicia.