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1979 Crown Publishers Alongside Night Cover

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 27

The President of the United States ordered all political prisoners released immediately.

At eight thirty the morning of Friday, March 2, Elliot Vreeland, his father, and Lorimer stood at a plate-glass observation window at Metropolis Airport, New York, watching a domestic-route jetliner taxiing into its berth.

The President’s order had been delayed three days, awaiting the resumption of traffic routing by former government personnel who had formed the North American Air Controllers Syndicate.

A few minutes later, passengers began deplaning through a portable tunnel. Among the passengers were Cathryn and Denise Vreeland.

Son and father saw mother and sister at about the same time they saw them also, and the two parties began rushing toward each other, waving madly.

Hugging. Kissing. More hugging.

“Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”

“We’re fine, just fine.”

Everybody was just fine.

Elliot introduced Lorimer to his mother and sister. He had a feeling that Lorimer and Denise would get along splendidly.

The five of them began walking through the long, fluorescent tunnel to the parking lot, exchanging inforrnation and stories.

“No, they didn’t hurt us at all,” Mrs. Vreeland explained. “We were given VIP treatment from the moment the FBI arrested us . . .”

“It was so horrible when we heard about what happened Tuesday,” Denise said. “We’d all gotten very close, even just being together a few days. I got a chance to know your friend Phillip, and there was this one girl my own age, Barbara . . .”

“I had a pretty bad time of it right after the press conference,” Lorimer told Mrs. vreeland in answer to her question. “Dr. Taylor put me on sedatives until Wednesday night . . .”

The family emerged from the passenger terminal and walked to Dr. Vreeland’s rented car.

“. . . have engaged me as a liaison between the Cadre and EUCOMTO,” Dr. Vreeland said, as they drove back to Manhattan. “EUCOMTO announced recognition of the Cadre as the ‘legitimate government of the United States,’ and Dr. Rampart refused the status. We’d set it up in advance, of course, as a publicity device . . .”

“Lor and I signed a lease on our apartment until school is out,” Elliot told his mother. “Dr. Fischer wants Lor to get her bachelor’s before she signs on with IntellSec, and if there’s a college that’s put a pre-law program back together by September, then I . . .”

“. . . UPI outbid the other news services for my sketches of the prison,” Cathryn Vreeland said.

“. . . the police and firefighters unions ordered their members to remain on the job after the arson at Rockefeller Center,” Dr. Vreeland explained. “NoState Insurance is working out the retainer so it can start offering its general protection policies . . .”

They drove past Pennsylvania Station.

On a tall flagpole, two banners flew at half staff, commemorating the dead of Utopia. Elliot pointed them out as they passed.

Each had a revolutionary tradition. Throughout their histories, both had been misunderstood, misrepresented and betrayed.

The black flag was raised again this day.

Once more flew the revolutionary “Dont Tread on Me” flag.

A yellow taxi passed Dr. Vreeland, the tzigane honking his horn and swearing.

Things were looking up for a change.

On Monday, Elliot turned in his thousand words to Mr. Harper, detailing why the capitalist system had, after all, been self-destructing.

Lorimer turned in two thousand words in rebuttal.



Next in Alongside Night is Afterword: “How Far Alongside Night?” by Samuel Edward Konkin III.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

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