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Secrets of Liberty Mountain: No Man's Land (Chapter9)

A homeless veteran's life abruptly changes when he stumbles upon a group of female survivalists.

We returned to our room after breakfast to find a note from Sheila pinned to our door. She was reminding us to join her on the front deck for an introductory tour of the Colony and surrounding area. The instructions also suggested that we dress for the weather.

Our walk-in closets looked like walk-in dumpsters. Everything we had brought with us in the Rav4 had been piled in the storage spaces like an unorganized jigsaw puzzle. I busied myself picking out an appropriate wardrobe for our tour.

I selected my favorite Indiana Jones style hat; a dark-brown, fur-felt fedora which had cost a small fortune. I had bought it online a few years ago in the mistaken belief it made me look like Harrison Ford. Fedoras are some of the most practical headgear known to man. The wide brim keeps the sun out of your eyes and sheds rainwater like a mini-umbrella.

I customized the hat with the addition of an eagle’s feather I had acquired at a yard sale. It counted as contraband since I didn't belong to a federally recognized tribe. Non-native people are prohibited by law from possessing eagle plumage and could be fined as much as a hundred thousand dollars and sent to prison for up to a year.

I decided to take the risk for the sake of fashion. I stuck the feather into the hatband, which was adorned with a small enamel replica of the red-yellow-green Vietnam Service Ribbon that I had earned when I finished my tour in Vietnam. I didn't think that I would run into any federal feather police considering the remote location of our mountain hideaway.

I preened in front of the full-length mirror, wearing nothing except for my hat, a beaded necklace with colored beads arranged in the red, yellow, and green colors of the Vietnam Service Ribbon, and a smile.

The handmade necklace was a work of art created by Paul Lavoie, a fellow Vietnam Veteran who’d succumbed to the effects of Agent Orange. I never met the man, but after he died his sister gave me the necklace under the conditions that I wear it in his memory and never take it off. I honored the man and his legacy by mentioning his name and story whenever someone asked me about the necklace.

"You're so vain that you probably think this song is about you..." Darlene sang in a perfect imitation of Carly Simon as she gave me a warm hug. "Wow, the cowboy hat makes you look sexy."

"It's not a cowboy hat, it's a fedora," I replied with a grin.

"Well, it's a very sexy fedora," Darlene whispered into my ear as she pressed her nude body against my backside. Her hands reached around me and began to fondle my semi-flaccid penis. The incredibly sensual feeling of her slender fingers delicately caressing the length of my shaft almost drove me out of my mind.

"I'm horny. Want to fool around?" Darlene asked.

"We're meeting Sheila in ten minutes; we don't have the time," I answered.

"Ten minutes? Isn't that nine more than you usually last?" Darlene teased.

I turned to face Darlene, dropped to my knees, and was eye level with her pussy. I positioned both legs in a wide stance and glanced at my wristwatch. Using my fingers, I gently opened the cleft of the mons pubis to reveal a pink clitoral hood. Beads of lubricant and a reddish glow around her vagina testified to Darlene's advanced state of arousal. She let out a little gasp and shifted her feet to maintain balance when I ran my tongue over the hood's length and licked the swollen clitoris beneath it.

I blew a cooling stream of air on the clit before placing my mouth over her genitals and exhaled a hot breath. The contrasting sensations were like fire and ice. I followed each sequence by giving the little man in the boat a rough tongue bath.

Darlene's legs began to quiver and tremble. She grabbed the back of my head to help steady herself and to maintain balance and pressed my face into her sex. Lick, blow, and suck, I increased the pace of my stimulation and was rewarded by a series of pants and grunts as Darlene's level of arousal increased. I slid my finger into my lover's vagina and stroked the rough G-spot with enthusiasm to speed her ascent as she climbed the mountain.

"Oh my God, I'm cumming," she cried, as waves of contractions squeezed around my finger. She suddenly lost all control and my mouth filled with liquid as she squirted and urinated. She pushed my face away with her hands. I loved the sight of her contractions as Darlene's clit pulsed in climax and streams of liquid trickled down the inside of her legs.

I looked at my watch again and announced, "One minute thirty seconds. I think that we have a new land speed record. Now we've got to hustle if we're going to be on time."

Darlene stood naked before me and tilted her head. With a woe-is-me face, she asked, "What about my afterglow?"

"Take it with you," I said, patting her bare behind.

Sheila was waiting for us with a warm smile when we arrived on the cabin's front deck more or less on time. I returned Sheila's smile as I gave her a pack of hand-rolled cigarettes and a red Bic lighter. The shadows still held a hint of last night's frost despite clear blue skies and bright sunshine.

"Follow me," Sheila said, as we set out on our tour of the Colony.

Our first stop was a utility building built into the base of the mountain with only the outer garage doors visible.

"This structure is designed to minimize the Colony's visual footprint. We don't want to draw undue attention to our presence because of Google Earth and the plethora of available satellite imagery. Our continued survival is dependent upon us keeping a low visibility, and we do our best to be invisible to the outside world," Sheila said, as she opened a set of outer doors to reveal a long dark tunnel blasted into the mountain's bedrock.

When Sheila entered the darkened corridor, motion sensors activated banks of overhead LED lighting which in turn illuminated the passageway for as far as the eye could see.

"Holy shit! Did you guys build all this?" The sound of my voice echoed off the walls.

The tunnel was a twenty-by-twenty-foot wide box ramping downward into the mountain's interior. The rough-hewn rock walls glistened with seepage and condensation. Drainage ditches lining each side of the corridor's crushed gravel roadway carried the excess water into the interior.

"The Liberty Mountain Mine was one of the several thousands of hard rock gold mines dotting the Rocky Mountains back in the 1860s. The claim never amounted to much of anything, and it went bust after three years. We took the existing mining shafts and adapted them to accommodate our fleet of service vehicles," Sheila explained.

The temperature gradually rose as we descended. We found ourselves in a large cavern after about three or four hundred yards. The cave contained a full-service automotive center, complete with a dozen vehicles of various descriptions. I spotted several snowmobiles, Jeep Cherokees, trucks of various makes and years and ATVs, along with a few front-end loaders and small Bobcats. I saw our Toyota Rav4 parked off to one side.

"Several of our sisters are excellent mechanics and vehicle operators. They do a fantastic job keeping our fleet up and running," Sheila said as she led us to a tunnel at the back of the cavern.

We followed the lighted passageway for a few thousand feet into another expansive cavern so large that the roof and far walls were lost in darkness. The hot and humid air in the grotto hummed with energy; the distinct whine of three megawatt steam-driven turbines filled the chamber with the low rumbling hum of power.

I was slack-jawed in disbelief. It looked like a scene out of the science fiction movie Journey to the Center of the Earth. Piping and heavy machinery at the middle of the cave surrounded a huge complex of hot springs and heated pools of water on three sides. A single story control center occupied space on the side of the pool nearest to where we stood.

Flowstone covered the walls of the cavern behind us and looked like waterfalls frozen in time. Stalactites reached down from the darkened ceiling, and thousands of stalagmites grew from the floor. Some grew as massive as trees. We followed a well-worn path through the stone forest while batteries of strategically placed LED streetlights bathed the area around the lagoon in a glow of whitish-blue illumination. I noticed that motion detectors kicked the lights nearest us into high power when we came into the range of a lamp; it was like walking under a searchlight's moving beam.

"Let's stop by and say hello to the technicians on duty. We'll have a cup of coffee and some conversation. I'll tell you more about this amazing place," Sheila said, as she pointed to a two-story building about the size of a raised ranch and motioned for us to follow her. Sheila climbed the exterior stairway and entered the building without knocking. 

She shouted, "Surprise!"

"No fucking way, Sister. We've been watching you three on our security cameras for the last twenty minutes," said a thirty-something brunette as she gave Sheila a warm hug. 

The slender technician was dressed in a loose-fitting one-piece coverall. The zipper of the hunter green outfit was pulled down to her navel, and it was clear at a glance that she wore nothing under her outer garments. I recognized the woman as one of the sisters from last night's meeting.

Thanks to air-conditioning, the interior of the control center was ten or fifteen degrees cooler than the cavern's air temperature. Wraparound observation windows provided a three hundred and sixty degree field-of-view. 

A control panel filled with switches and dials below the window monitored the performance of the turbines and generators. Several large screens displayed different views of the underground labyrinth of caverns and passageways. Images and various views of the area around the cabin dominated one bank of displays.

Sheila said a quick hello to the two women on duty and then led us to a large conference table on the first floor of the control center. Three K-cups worth of hot steaming coffee awaited our pleasure in a couple of minutes.

"What is this place?" I asked as I took a sip of coffee. "It's incredible, whatever it is. No one has ever seen anything like it. "How on earth did you manage to build that?" I pointed out the window to the maze of generators and machinery at the center of the cavern and shook my head in disbelief.

"It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. It turned out to be an engineering nightmare. We were able to hire a Swiss engineering firm to design and construct the entire system. Everything and everyone needed to build this facility were brought in by the heavy-lift air service. When they finally finished, we gave them a ten percent bonus to forget we ever existed. Lucky for us their banking secrecy laws encourages financially induced amnesia," Sheila laughed.

"This facility," Sheila tapped her finger on the conference table, "doubles as the control center for our geothermal generating capacity and also serves as a security command center in the event of an intrusion. We've wired every conceivable approach to our valley for sight and sound. We have acoustic sensor arrays and remote video cameras to alert us in the event of any intrusion."

Floor to ceiling maps of the valley and surrounding area covered one wall of the center, and banks of radio equipment filled another wall. I hadn't seen anything like it since I completed my tour of Vietnam. I had worked in the Out-Country Air Operations command center at MACV back in the day as we tried in vain to interdict the flow of enemy supplies coming down the Ho Chi Minh trail.

The Air Force dropped tens of thousands of seismic and acoustic sensor arrays along the length and breadth of the trail system. The enemy couldn't fart without us knowing about it. It didn't do much good. Charlie had more farts in his belly than we had aircraft and bombs. Still, we had wired the trail like a pinball machine and played it every day.

"Our sensors are solar powered and have a ninety-nine percent uptime. We picked you up on our surveillance system when you were still ten miles out yesterday. Our security teams didn't go on high alert since we expected your arrival. On ready-alert maybe, but they weren't deployed to prevent your entry into the valley," Sheila said, as she pointed out the grease paint marking which indicated our route of travel.

"How often have you had a problem with intruders?" I asked.

"We've only had two incidents since we opened the cabin. The first was a troop of lost boy scouts. We intercepted them and redirected them back to civilization. The second time was when two escaped convicts wandered into our valley," Sheila said.

"How did that turn out?" I asked.

"Not so well for the convicts. They stumbled upon three of our sisters skinny-dipping in the river and decided to have some fun. They almost beat one girl to death and tried to rape the other," Sheila said, as her eyes narrowed and her expression hardened.

"The third woman was able to get away and radio security. We got there before they could do much more harm than they had already done," she said.

I remembered the hullabaloo over the escape of two men from the federal prison facility in Englewood. It eventually died down. No one ever found the escapees, and folks assumed that they had made their way to Mexico.

"What happened to the men?" I asked.

"I executed them and left their bodies for the animals. No trace of them remains," she said without elaboration. I noticed her hands were shaking as she was talking.

The phrase uttered by Robot B9 from the TV series "Lost in Space" rang like an alarm bell in my brain. “Danger Will Robinson, danger!” I had an increasingly uneasy feeling. 

Sheila was a first class security freak, and she was telling me way too much and sharing too much information. If I couldn't earn her trust, there was no way she would ever allow me to leave this place alive. In her mind, millions of dollars and fifteen years of labor depended upon Liberty Mountain staying off the grid and a secret from the outside world.

She was a competent and capable commander, and the security of her family of sisters was clearly her number one priority. My mission was to figure out a way to become a fully-vetted member of the colony and to earn Sheila's complete acceptance.

Shit! She just confessed to murdering two men in cold blood. I tried to hide my involuntary shiver. I pulled out my pack of smokes out of my shirt pocket, offered a cigarette to Sheila, and took one for myself.

I felt a surge of sympathy as she smoked in silence. It wasn't for the dead rapists that I grieved, but for Sheila. Necessity forced her to take two lives to protect the community, and she would carry the memory to the grave. I realized with a shudder that she wouldn't hesitate to put a bullet into me if she thought it necessary to protect the colony. Having a cup of coffee with someone who one day could be your executioner was weird. Weirder still was the fact that I liked and respected her. 

Memo to self: don't piss Sheila off.

"This is one of the secrets of Liberty Mountain. We decided to expand the network of tunnels leftover from the days when this site was a gold mine after we started to revamp the old cabin. Imagine our surprise when we busted through into this cavern. It's a geothermal treasure. It took us almost five years to engineer and design this system. Construction was a three-year process which cost us almost five million dollars to complete," Sheila explained.

I looked around in amazement as Sheila spoke and tried to imagine what kind of mind had dreamed all this up. I had the dizzy feeling I had woken up in the middle of someone else's science fiction novel. Darlene had told me that Sheila had been a college professor back in the day and she was reverting to form. Her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm as she warmed to her subject.

"We've pretty much run the generators nonstop for the last ten years. We keep one generator active and the other in reserve. Every few months we switch them out to perform routine maintenance.”

While she talked, Sheila moved from one window to the next as she pointed out the different aspects of the underground complex. Her enthusiasm was catching.

"We produce far more electricity than we need. The excess capacity doesn't go to waste because we use it to distill water into hydrogen. Our location is so remote that it's impractical to import gasoline. That's why we've converted all our vehicles to run on hydrogen. The cabin is steam heated. We keep the fireplaces going for their psychological benefits rather than for heating value. Our relationship with fire is both a primal and tribal thing. There's something about fire and an open hearth that makes a house a home," Sheila said, as she tapped the ash off her cigarette into an empty water glass which doubled as an ashtray.

"Let's take a walk. I've got a few things to show you guys," Sheila motioned for us to follow her as she exited the control room.

I couldn't help smiling. Sheila was beginning to sound like one of those infomercials on late night television. Just as she gilds the lily with more features than you could possibly imagine, she opens the next chapter with the words, "Wait! There's more..." or in this case, “I've got a few things to show you."

We followed the trail down to a winding passageway leading to another cavern deep under the mountain. After several hundred feet, the corridor emptied into an illuminated grotto. The air in the open space was thick with humidity and the rich scent of growing things. Before us was an expansive underground hydroponic garden, roughly the size of a football field.

The garden's computerized hydroponic system automatically operated with a minimum of human intervention. Row upon row of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and other vegetables thrived under a full spectrum array of an artificial lighting system. There was a patch reserved for Cannabis production. Forty or fifty dark green marijuana plants added a pungent and musky blend of sweet earthy fragrances to the air. Cannabis plants are packed with a bewildering variety of the same compounds and chemicals found in other plants. Kinda like a pleasant skunk flavored mint tea with a hint of mushrooms and lemon. Weird in a wonderful way.

"Our Colony is nearly one hundred percent self-sufficient in the production of food. We hunt deer and elk and take one or two a week. We also have a herd of thirty-five or forty free-range cattle and two dozen swine, to say nothing of our flocks of free-range chickens. The only foods that we still import are wheat for flour, coffee, and sugar. We could grow winter wheat in the valley, but the fields would stand out like a neon sign on satellite imagery. Speaking of food, it's time for lunch," Sheila said.

The Colony leader led us to an elevator shaft dug out of one side of the hydroponics room instead of following the route we had taken to the cavern. We emerged in the grand kitchen of the main cabin a few minutes later.

Our journey from cabin to cavern and back to the kitchen had left me in a daze. I felt like I had just witnessed an impossible magic trick performed with flawless precision. I blinked in the bright lights of the sisterhood’s cookhouse and shook my head. How many more rabbits were hiding in the bottom of her hat? 

Several sisters, a few dressed in aprons and nothing else, were busy fixing the Colony's midday meal. Lunch consisted of the remainder of last night's venison stew, freshly baked bread, and a garden salad. The food looked and smelled as delicious as the naked backsides of the kitchen crew.

I didn't realize how hungry I was until I took a bite of the warm bread. The next ten minutes passed without conversation as we consumed lunch in blissful silence. I tried to process what I had seen on Sheila's tour of the Colony. What she and her family of sisters had constructed defied description, and was Goddamned close to defying imagination. I wouldn't have believed such a thing was possible if I wasn't a witness.

"How did you find this place, and how did this community come to be?" I asked Sheila as I spread a pat of freshly churned butter on a new slice of warm bread.

"My father and I found this place by accident about thirty-five years ago. We were hunting on horseback and came up over a ridge, and we saw this spectacular valley below. The cabin was in ruins, but it was still beautiful. My dad knew these mountains like the back of his hand, but he had no idea this place existed until the day we stumbled on it." Sheila's eyes were closed as she shared her memories.

Several of the sisters took seats near us and listened intently to the conversation while the Colony leader told the story of the valley's discovery. Most of the lunchtime crowd was dressed in work clothes, although a couple of the women were nude. The mixture of dressed and undressed females was oddly erotic and distracting, and I had to force myself not to stare.

"We explored the cabin's wreckage. I was the one who found the old safe filled with stock certificates for the Liberty Mountain Mining Company - three hundred and forty-five thousand shares total. The original owners cleared out when the gold ran out, and the mine went bust."

Sheila paused and chuckled before she continued. "They even left a note which described the gold mining venture as a fool's dream and anyone stupid enough to try to make a go of it was welcome to the company and all its worthless holdings. We researched the business when we returned to Denver. Apparently, no one had filed paperwork to dissolve the corporation. Although dormant, it was still a legally valid entity."

"We had to settle nearly a hundred and sixty years worth of back taxes, fines, and fees to the tune of two hundred and forty thousand dollars to get on the right side of the law. It was worth every cent," Sheila said with a grin that would put the Cheshire cat to shame.

"Dad and I fixed the cabin up enough to be useful as a family hunting lodge. We came up to the mountains every year before he died. When he passed, I became the sole owner of the Liberty Mountain Mining Company."

Her words ended in a sigh as she stared out the window at the cavern beyond. A single tear trickled down her face.

“God, how I miss that man,” Sheila said softly in a barely audible whisper of remembered sorrow before she continued with her story. 

"I continued to visit the cabin with friends and lovers after my dad passed. We fancied ourselves a 'Society of Sisters' and often daydreamed of starting an all women commune. Every week we pooled our money and purchased lottery tickets. We planned to split any winnings among the players. We used to daydream about winning and held many discussions on what to do with our good fortune to be so lucky. Then it happened. We found out that we held the winning lottery ticket to a huge jackpot," Sheila said.

The word about Sheila's history lesson spread and a dozen or more sisters joined the others at the table.

"Each sister could have cashed out with one point five million before taxes if we had split the money evenly, but the windfall would have been the end of our group. We decided, after much discussion, to pool our money and build a state of the art survival colony instead. The vote was unanimous," she said.

"I remember the vote well. I wasn't ready to live away from civilization, and turning my back on that kind of cash in my pocket was a tough choice. I considered the money as an alternative retirement account," Darlene said.

The attention to detail and planning which went into the Colony's creation was impressive. Sheila and her group spent a year creating a shell company to redeem the seventy-five million dollar winning lottery ticket to avoid the public attention associated with winning a large jackpot. The Society drafted a charter and a set of bylaws governing the community's operation.

Everything was open and democratic according to Darlene's remarks, and comments from several sisters, at least as open as a secret society could be. Free and open elections for Colony leadership resulted in Sheila's selection as leader, a post she had held without visible opposition for the last fifteen years. Members of the family of sisters were fiercely loyal to each other and to their leader. The fact that I was accepted, or at least tolerated, by Sheila did much to improve my standing as a guest.

"I love what you've done to the place."

"The only thing missing is children," one of the women said to Sheila.

The comment about children hung like a pregnant pause in the air. Looking around, I was startled to see all eyes were on me as the phrase “founding father” took on a potentially new meaning.

"Children might be a nice addition," Sheila said. 

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2019 by Nathan Wolf
All rights reserved.

This is an adult work of fiction intended for mature readers.

Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is too weird for words and 100% purely coincidental.


NOTE: "Secrets of Liberty Mountain" is a work in progress and today stands at 97,650 words. As a new author, I value your feedback. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on my story. Either leave a comment below or PM me and let me know what you think. Thank you.

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