Mayor Wagner could contain himself no longer. He speared the “Mute” button with his index finger and said “Bullshit. Total bullshit!”
Governor Ratched startled and reared back as if Wagner had spit in her face. Her face contorted with rage.
“Mayor Wagner, you WILL NOT speak out of turn” Ratched spat back.
“And since when have you given us a turn to ask questions?” Wagner challenged. “I will tell you when: Never.”
“I think the only reason you have us sit here is so you can stroke your ego and practice for your next interview on CZZ” Wagner continued.
That harpoon struck close to home.
Ratched was ready when the second round of attacks hit. Her aides had created a special projection room in her house for video interviews. The temperature was in the low sixties and the lighting was incredibly diffuse to downplay the rivers of sweat that turned her make-up into glossy plastic.
She continued to push the trope that the attacks were fomented by right-wing terrorists and claimed to have ample evidence to support the contention. She could not share the nature of her ‘evidence’ because it would hamper the on-going FBI and Michigan State Police investigations.
CZZ lapped it up and the other major outlets followed suit.
“And what evidence do you have?” Ratched demanded.
“It makes no sense at all. Conservatives love energy. It is the Green-weenies that hate fossil fuels and the infrastructure that supports them” Wagner said.
“Did it ever occur to you that the terrorists are intentionally misleading you?” Ratched asked in an insufferably, condescending voice.
Wagner shrugged. He was a pretty good poker player. “As a matter of fact it did. And I could agree with that IF the attacks had failed or been very limited in scope. But these attacks are massive.”
It was true. Michigan’s economy was still staggering as the Covid crisis gutted the economy and try-as-it-might, Main Street could seem to find firm footing beneath its feet.
Michigan was almost 85% back to baseline when the second wave of attacks hit. Now the pressure in the natural gas pipelines was in free-fall as the wedge of states starting with Michigan and Illinios and extending east to Washington D.C. and north to Maine were suddenly found themselves cut off from the Gulf States where most of the natural gas came from.
Furthermore, most of the largest electrical generation plants were off-line. While it was true that any one severed High Voltage line could be repaired fairly quickly the talent and equipment couldn’t be everywhere at the same time and there were literally hundreds of lines to repair. And some of those lines were in difficult terrain. A ground based attack might struggle on steep Appalachian slopes or crossing boggy barrens but the attack jellyfish were oblivious to the terrain.
Even the thermals that would otherwise complicate the attack in the rugged Pennsylvania hills were minimal in the middle of the night when the attacks were staged.
Mayor Wagner needed to be out there coordinating the town’s people but he was obligated to sit in front of the screen and listen to his megalomaniac governor preen. He really had better things to do.
In many ways, Michigan was lucky. Having been subjected to the first attack, they had run this play before. They had a plan for dropping load and some very agile minds had been thinking about ways to do even better.
For one thing, Michigan has many summer homes. Call them “cottages” or “cabins”. Every fall, usually after firearms deer season, the cottages were winterized. The plumbing was drained and antifreeze was sloshed into the traps of the fixtures.
If you don’t have to protect the plumbing, it is possible to shrink the "warm" footprint down to a single, small room; perhaps just a kerosene lantern burning in a single bathroom. It is possible to keep warm at night with an electric blanket pulling 100 Watts and quilts.
Instead of drawing 40kW-hr a day and burning 750 thousand BTUs a day, four people with electric blankets would draw 4kW-hr a day and no BTUs for space heating. That can free up a lot of fuel for power generation.
Wagner’s problem was that he had to convince the town people to share their electric blankets and sleeping bags and quilts. He had to convince them to drain their plumbing and to take sponge baths for-the-duration.
It was going to be a hard sell because some people had health issues and would not survive extremely austere conditions. He had to protect them and still convince the hale-and-hearty to undergo privation. It would be a massive test of his ability to lead.
And he was stuck listening to this sorry excuse for a human brag while important work needed to be done.
The pointless exhibition was almost porn-like. It was more than what any man with integrity should have to endure.