Celebrating the Fourth
Celebrating the Fourth
Summary: In honor of Independance Day
John Smith looked across to the large, fancy tent set up on the grounds of the park, and the half-dozen or so smaller wedge tents set up behind it. The whole thing seemed to be masquerading as an 18th-century military encampment that had somehow traveled through time and space to late-20th-century Los Angeles.
Re-enactors dressed in colonial garb went about the activities of everyday period life - churning butter, playing music, spinning yarn, cooking over open fires, and so on. The `local militia' and `Continental soldiers' had drilled, King George III had been hanged in effigy, and a Liberty Pole had been erected - and subsequently chopped down by `British' troops.
Right now, he was watching a target-shooting contest between the assorted military re-enactors, using reproduction muskets, black powder, and lead balls. One of the younger men was doing rather poorly, and he couldn't help but chuckle.
A commotion in the camp drew his attention. A courier on a beautiful black horse galloped up to the larger tent, yelling for the Continental officer who occupied it to come out. Smith couldn't hear everything that was being said, he was too far away, but he noted that the officer accepted the papers the courier delivered with an air of excitement. At his signal, an older boy started to beat a tattoo on his drum, while several youngsters ran through the encampment, encouraging re-enactors and spectators alike to gather in front of the officer's tent.
When all who were interested had assembled there, the officer mounted a low dais, and began to read:
`When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation...'
He hadn't even gotten halfway through the Declaration when a ruckus distracted the attention of the spectators. British troops pushed through the crowd, their leader accusing the reader of treason, and attempting to arrest him `in the Name of the King', while the crowd joined the Colonials in shouting them down, taunting them with epithets like `bloody-backs', 'red herrings', and `lobsters'. Before long, patriot troops came to the rescue, driving off the British after a brief skirmish, much to the delight of the public.
As the throng broke up, Smith decided to wander over and see how B.A. and Murdock were doing with their barbecue.
Darkness was falling, and Smith sat alone on a blanket, not far from one shared by the other two members of his team. He hardly looked up when a re-enactor in a blue-and-buff uniform coat, his auburn hair pulled back in a club, dropped down beside him.
`Pulling your shots today, weren't you, kid?' he asked, a grin tugging at his lips.
`How could you tell?' Face asked, pulling off his tri-corn and wig and tossing them aside.
`You'd never have done so badly if you hadn't,' Hannibal replied, lifting his cigar to meet the flame his lover already had dancing in the air before him.
`Well,' Face admitted, smiling in his turn, `I didn't want to take advantage.'
`Did you have fun?'
`Yeah. Gotta hand it to our ancestors, though,' the younger man said with a grimace. `Those muskets have to weigh more than my sniper rifle did. And loading them! Did you know that even a professional soldier could only get off four rounds a minute at best?'
`Kind of gives you a new appreciation for what they accomplished, pulling off a successful revolution like that, huh, Tem?'
`Sure does,' the younger man answered thoughtfully.
Hannibal chuckled as he reached over and pulled Face close, kissing him gently. They sat quietly, secure in each other's presence, as fireworks lit the sky...
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