A Dying Land: Negotiating with Death
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Chapter One
My name is Sam Wiebe and I am a hostage negotiator. I am the best. In my 24 years I have never lost a hostage. I've always been good at reasoning with people. I reasoned myself out of a lot of beatings in elementary school, I reasoned my way into marrying my beautiful wife...

The world here has turned to shit but all I can do about it is try to help the people, the people need me now more than ever. Terrorist attacks on the rise, not just foreign but lately so much more domestic. Hostage takings are on the rise. The innocent people are suffering in this world.

Chapter Two
Today I'm dealing with 20 people inside a bank, taken hostage after a robbery went foul. The men don't even want the money anymore they just want their freedom. The police don't want their freedom. I have to manage this but I can't just lie. If I lie no hostage taker would ever take me seriously again.

I tell them I can get them down to ten years if they release the hostages. They say two years. I say I can't do two years. He shoots one of the hostages in the head and says two years. I can't become emotional yet, I'm in crisis mode, the rest of the people still need me. The police want to move in right now and take them down. I can't jeopardize the other hostages.

They position a sniper and take them both out, since they're killing hostages. They should have listened to me they would still be alive. But I don't care about them, I care about the one innocent I let down.

I can't believe I failed.

Chapter Three
I go to the bar. I fall into the booze again. Like I did as a young man. But this time I'm not drinking for a good time I'm drinking to cover my bad time. Holding back my tears I figure I should probably stop. One more drink and I'll be bawling right here in public.

Two men are having a conversation down the bar about the bank job that just went down. One of them says "The other 19 are very lucky, one person dying isn't such a bad outcome, could have been a lot worse." I get up, walk over to him and punch him in the face. "Ow! What the fuck!" I drop my beer and say "Sorry... Sorry... Booze got the better of me." "The fuck's your problem!?" "Never mind." I pull out some cash and throw it on him, put the money for the bill on the counter and walk out the door.

Chapter Four
My home life also suffered. My wife tells me I've become distant, and I suppose I have, I didn't really notice. She's concerned about my drinking. She even spoke to my mother, but my mother being my mother basically told her not to be a bitch I'm obviously suffering I'll get over it.

I try not to bring my drinking home. I do it at the bar. But she does notice me coming home drunk and going to bed without really acknowledging her. I haven't made love to her in weeks. I don't really feel it.

Chapter Five
I'm at my desk staring into space. I'm not really thinking about anything I'm just phasing the world.

One of my fellow officers comes in and tells me "These things happen, man, pull yourself together, more people need you." I punch him in the face. "I never lose a hostage!" "I'm going to let you have that one because you're in a dark space, but you don't get any more." "I'm sorry... A little on edge..." "Fine."

My boss comes in and tells me I'm needed again. It's time to redeem myself.

Chapter Six
The Antidystopian Warriors have taken 14 hostages at city hall. The country is watching this one, both because it's the Antidystopian Warriors and because it's city hall. Most people got out but the inner chambers all succumbed. Luckily we have the place bugged so we can hear everything that happens.

We hear the two that seem to be in charge, a Daniel and an Aaron, saying they need to cut their losses, kill all the local politicians and flee. Nobody else in the organization is liking this idea. Aaron wants to start executing hostages, so we need to work fast. I get on the telephone and tell them if they release the hostages we won't crush their entire organization. Daniel isn't having this, saying "We're the ones who have the power to crush you, not the other way around." "Don't be stupid. You can all still walk out of this alive." "You think I care if I get out alive!?" This is dangerous.

The area they're in has no windows, probably deliberately chosen on their account to reduce the likelihood of snipers. But maybe we can rely on their infighting to get these people out of this. I say "You two seem to be all alone in wanting to harm the hostages. Nobody else wants this to end in bloodshed. This doesn't need to end in bloodshed." "Yeah well I'm in charge and I could go either way." Then a shot is fired. We don't know what's happening. Followed by more shots fired.

I panic. This can't happen again. Somebody else gets on the phone. "We've put an end to this. Somebody shot at Daniel and he and Aaron fled. I'm afraid one of our men is dead but the hostages are safe. If you let us get out of this we'll free all the hostages and this can come to an end." "I can do that. You're not the men we want."

Chapter Seven
They all walk out, guns drawn, hostages between them. They let the hostages go and the men are tackled and cuffed. "You said we would get out of this!" I guess I can take a little damage to my reputation.

And tonight I'm drinking to have a good time again. A job well done.

The Antidystopian Warriors shouldn't bother us again.