Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen (fiction)

Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen watched the Powerpoint slideshow of images and video taken from Derious’s phone for the hundredth time.

No new revelations came to him. Like the first time he saw it, he was impressed by the crude, amateur production.

The second thing that impressed him was the scale of destruction. To his non-professional eye, it looked like the Fairhaven Senior Living Center had been the target of a B-52 strike.

Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen was a bureaucrat. He lived and breathed policies and procedures. It never occurred to him to actually consult with an expert on munitions and demolition. If he had, he would have quickly learned that high explosives leave dust and small dimension gravel and sheared and twisted steel. High explosives did not leave intact chunks of masonry wall and bent rebar.

Rather, Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen called in underlings and asked if they agreed with his assessment.

Of course they agreed with his assessment. They were not stupid.

Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen quickly came to the conclusion that “Mr Heavy” needed to become a vassal or become extinct. Torvaldsen preferred that he became a vassal...hand over his technology and then become extinct.

Torvaldsen’s area of operation was pressured from the north by Flint, from the east by Detroit and from the south by Ann Arbor and Toledo and he could use artillery and aerial bombing technology to push them back.

If Mr Heavy did not want to play ball, well, then he needed to die because Torvaldsen need the resources under Mr Heavy’s control.

Not every city squandered the grain FEMA had stored locally the way Lansing had lost theirs. Torvaldsen, for instance, had five years of food in secure storage by his reckoning. That reckoning included a steep glide-path where people who were not on his template were eliminated.

Torvaldsen’s domain lost 75% of its population, better than many other areas. The population continued to glide downward and he expected it to stabilize at about 10% of the pre-Ebola population. It was Torvaldsen’s job to ensure that the 10% who survived were wholely dedicated to Torvaldsen’s organization.

To that end, they swept suburban and rural areas and pressed every able male into a paramilitary organization roughly modeled on the Civilian Conservation Corp. Brutal training, inadequate sleep and scant calories quickly broke most of the men down to animals. The only way to get more calories, more sleep and less physical work was to PROVE absolute loyalty

It also meant that Torvaldsen would not be swept out of office by a grass-roots coup staged by rural people.

The manpower sweeps were aided by school yearbooks and captures of social media “friends”.

Deprived of manpower, the rural areas were unable to provide any surplus to ship to the urban areas controlled by Torvaldsen. He interpreted that as willful sabotage and increased the levy against the population.

It wasn’t that Torvaldsen really needed the food, yet. It was just that each level of the hierarchy expected better food than the level below them. They wanted eggs and cream, steak and asparagus and strawberries.

Torvaldsen considered the rural intransigence to be a side issue. He decided to work around it by sending foraging parties farther afield.

That worked great, until they encountered Mr Heavy. Who could have imagined that a heavily armed foraging party of 200 fighters could snuffed out as casually as an adult blowing out a candle on a birthday cake?

Torvaldsen was not a rookie when it came to bureaucratic in-fighting. He recognized the reference to spies as potential mis-information.

Torvaldsen reasoned that if Mr Heavy’s spies were so capable, then why did he allow the invading forces so deeply into his territory before destroying them?

Jeffery Steven Torvaldsen had not reached the top of his organization by being careless. Whether it was misinformation or not, Torvaldsen acted. A few of the incriminated bureaucrats he shuffled off to positions where they were not privy to sensitive information. The rest had fatal accidents. Capable bureaucrats...well, capable enough bureaucrats, were a dime-a-dozen.

The question in Torvaldsen’s mind was how to approach Mr Heavy and give him the ultimatum that he either had to submit to Torvaldsen or face extinction.

Tack and diplomacy were not Torvaldsen’s strong suit.



  1. Tact and diplomacy... Interesting to see how this will spin out.

  2. So Torvaldson is the boss who sent Derious and his infantry company sized force to invade the communities featured in the Shrewd King. And the one referred to as Mr Heavy is the one that we know as Benecio.

    So he thinks he will make Benecio an offer he can't refuse, eh? He is seriously underestimating him.

  3. A bureaucrat who fancies himself a king. Imagine that.


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