World War: Campaign for Besland
Copyright© 2016 by Lazlo Zalezac
During a rather dull cocktail party in Inra, Ambassador Julliard took a sip of his tonic water while listening to Ambassador Lorenz, the representative from Espa, vent concerning the demands the Jade Empire was making upon it. Espa, like his country of Franka, was not going to surrender to the Jade Empire.
Ambassador Lorenz said, “That whole affair in Engle is a disgrace. King Leopold shouldn’t have surrendered. Engle has lost all credibility as a world power.”
“Let’s not be too hasty in judging the actions of Engle. You might want to remember that Jade Force had just taken out Parliament. I’m sure that King Leopold felt concerned about his personal security and that of his family,” Ambassador Julliard said.
Pointing to the Black Lord who was talking to the Ambassador from Sviss, Ambassador Lorenz said, “Look at that arrogant asshole. She shows up armed at a trade meeting ... fully armed.”
“That is in bad taste.”
Black Lord Flavia finished her discussion with the Ambassador from Sviss, and headed towards the corner where the ambassadors from Espa and Franka were standing. A representative from an agricultural equipment company was also headed over to them.
“She’s coming over here.”
“Every time I run into that bitch she’s demanding Franka surrender.”
Mr. Demmings arrived and said, “Hello, Gentlemen. I’m Jack Demmings of Amra Tractor Company.”
The two men greeted him while keeping a watchful eye on the Black Lord who was still heading their way.
“I need to arrange an appointment to see you, Ambassador Lorenz.”
“What can I do for you?” Ambassador Lorenz asked.
“I’d like to discuss some issues we’ve been having in getting some of our products through customs in Franka,” Mr. Demmings said.
“What’s the problem?”
“There’s been some extremely long delays in clearing customs for our products manufactured here in Inra that we’re shipping to Franka. We had a shipment of harvesters sit in customs for almost a month. It’s hurting our delivery dates.”
“Call my secretary for an appointment so that we can discuss the matter,” Ambassador Lorenz said still more focused on Lord Flavia.
Lord Flavia arrived and greet them, “Good evening, Ambassador Lorenz, Ambassador Julliard, and Mr. Demmings.”
Mr. Demmings, surprised that Lord Flavia recalled his name, replied, “Good evening.”
The two Ambassadors just nodded their heads in greeting and turned to talk to each other. Their cold manner was noted by many people. Lord Flavia ignored the ambassadorial snub.
“Mr. Demmings, I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but the Jade Empire has been consolidating our research universities along the lines of scientific and engineering areas. We’ve just extended that to include agricultural sciences with six universities specializing in different areas. We’d like to invite your company to discuss recent advances in farming equipment.”
“We’d like that very much,” Mr. Demmings said.
“If you’ll give me your business card, I’ll pass it onto the appropriate people,” Lord Flavia said.
“Thank you,” Mr. Demmings said while retrieving a business card from his shirt pocket.
Accepting the card, she said, “We’ll be in touch, tomorrow.”
Turning to the two Ambassadors, she said, “Ambassador Julliard and Ambassador Lorenz, I need to speak to both of you.”
“Franka’s answer to your demand that we negotiate a peace treaty has not changed. We’re no longer at war with you, so there’s nothing to negotiate.”
“Frankly, our government is getting damned tired of you demanding that we surrender. Our patience is about to run out,” Ambassador Lorenz said.
“This is your last chance, Gentlemen.”
“F•©k off,” Ambassador Lorentz said with a growl.
Ambassador Julliard said, “We are about to lose patience with you. We will bomb Misera back into the stone age.”
“You aren’t at war with Misera. It is just one country in our Empire. You are at war with the Jade Empire and we will protect every country who flies our banner.”
“We’ll see everyone in your Jade Empire in jail.”
Lord Flavia said, “I guess that leaves us with no choice. We will dismantle both of your countries economically, socially, militarily, and politically.”
“The IFN has declared the Jade Empire to be a criminal organization. You’ve done nothing except demonstrate that. As far as I’m concerned, you’re just a bunch of thugs.”
“Who else but a thug would show up to a diplomatic event, armed,” Ambassador Julliard said.
“That’s right. You’d never come to one of these things armed. Instead, you just have an armed security person who stands nearby,” said Lord Flavia pointedly. She looked over at the guard and said, “Don’t get any bright ideas.”
The ambassadors from Romal and Itan were standing close enough to overhear the discussion. The two men looked at each other and moved away from Lord Flavia. They were close enough to hear, but far enough away to have a chance at avoiding any violence that might erupt.
“The Jade Empire is going to take out Espa and Franka before coming after us.”
“Do you think Espa or Franka can stop them?”
“I agree. I think it is time we act proactively.”
“I think so, too.”
President Morales was meeting with the Secretary of War, Manuel Sida, and the Secretary of State, Jose Vega, to discuss the issue of the Jade Empire.
Mr. Vega said, “Our Ambassadors are constantly getting harassed by Jade Lords. They can’t go to a diplomatic event without one of those Black Lords showing up, and demanding our surrender.”
“I’ll rot in hell before I surrender to those murdering bastards,” President Morales said hitting his fist on the table. He grimaced once the pain of his action reached his brain. He shrugged it off; only getting angrier at the pain.
“We’ve got to do something about this situation. It’s becoming very awkward. Our diplomatic corps can’t spend its time trying to avoid Black Lords,” Vega said.
“I want to send them a message.”
“What kind of message?” Vega asked.
“Can we put a couple of bombs in their citadel?”
Secretary of War Sida had been expecting President Morales to demand bombing the Jade Citadel. He had tasked a number of people to game it out and the answers he had received were not good. There was only one way to get a plane anywhere near the Jade Citadel and that was to use an aircraft carrier to get it within range.
Geography was going to work against them. There just wasn’t a good route to take them within striking range that didn’t have them cruising past countries that were part of the empire or seas that were controlled by it. For far too many segments of the trip, the carrier battle group would be vulnerable to planes with anti-ship missiles. He doubted that they could make the trip without having to deal with that problem since the Jade Empire had lots of planes.
Even worse, they would be encountering the Jade Empire Navy. It was formidable since it included the combined naval assets of twelve countries, the stolen fleet from China, and the small submarines that it had been producing. At one time that numerical superiority might not have meant much, but the Jade Empire had been training its Navy into a world class force. In a full out naval engagement, Espa would definitely lose.
Sida said, “We don’t have a forward position we could use for that purpose. We’d have to send our aircraft carrier there.”
“To get our carrier within striking range, it would have to cruise past the continent of Eastland, which they control, or around the continent of Surprise. Either way, we’d be within striking range of their Air Force.”
“What does the Admiral say?”
“He has some serious concerns and reservations.”
President Morales did not want to hear that. He wanted to send a cease and desist message to the Jade Empire. If the only way was to send the aircraft carrier, then he was going to send the aircraft carrier.
“Are you sure?”
“I think we should talk with General Fox and see what he suggests. He’s had experience with Jade Force.”
“The asshole lost his army without firing a shot.”
“I know, but...”
“F•©k Fox. I want them bombed back into the stone age!”
“That’s going to be tough.”
Vega and Sida had discussed this possibility prior to the meeting. There was an option that they didn’t think President Morales would be too pleased to hear, but it provided additional leverage in delivering a message. They weren’t the only country getting threats from the Jade Empire.
Vega said, “We’re not the only ones being harassed by the Jade Empire. I think we should talk to Franka, Romal, and Itan. We could work together to send a message.”
Turning to Vega, President Morales said, “You mean, we should resurrect the coalition. Right?”
Sida said, “We’re going to have to make a major commitment of forces if we go that route.”
“How major of a commitment are you talking about?”
“Our carrier battle group, a significant fraction of our army and air force. We’d have to demand that the other countries make a similar commitment.”
“Would they do that?”
“Possibly. We won’t know until we talk to them.”
“Talk to them.”
President Morales said, “I’m going on television tonight to send a message to the Jade Empire. We are not rolling over on this.”
President Jubert was in a meeting with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War to discuss the Jade Empire situation. Jade Lords had been badgering ambassadors about having Franka surrender.
“The Jade Empire acts like we’re still at war with them,” Jubert said.
“Officially, we are at war with them.”
“We’ve pulled our people out of the coalition. It’s over as far as our involvement. Why can’t they accept that?”
“We did have troops there.”
“We are still holding prisoners of war.”
“We’re holding the POWs on behalf of the IFN,” President Jubert said. “They aren’t our prisoners.”
“The Jade Empire doesn’t see it that way.”
The Secretary of State said, “This last threat from Lord Flavia is serious. We need a real answer to it. One that they have to respect.”
“They want war, we’ll give them war.”
The Secretary of War said, “We might want to be careful about that. We don’t have a good place from which to launch a war effort against them.”
“We’ve got three carrier battle groups.”
“I’d hate to risk them.”
“They have a very large, well trained, and experienced Navy. Those damned little submarines of theirs are a pain in the ass, and they know how to use them effectively.”
“Are you saying that three carrier battle groups can’t handle one Navy?”
“I wouldn’t want to commit all three carrier battle groups.”
“How about two of them?” President Jubert asked.
“That would be good, but that would put us at parity with their naval assets. Don’t forget, they have the navies of twelve countries and the fleet they stole from Chen. In terms of tonnage, they’re bigger than us.”
President Jubert said, “What do you suggest?”
“We should talk to Espa, Romal, and Itan about joining us. We need to hit them with overwhelming force.”
President Jubert said, “Isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do all along?”
“We’ve been fighting a land battle against them on the premise that holding territory is important. We should give up on trying to land forces until after we’ve softened them up by taking out their Jade Force. Once Jade Force is out of the picture, then we can go after their empire, one country at a time.”
“That makes sense.”
“We’ll have to talk to Espa, Romal, and Itan.”
“In the meantime, move our carriers into a strategic position where we can sail against them quickly, once we’ve got an agreement with the other countries.”
“The Jade Empire is threatening Franka and Espa. In diplomatic venues all around the world, their Black Lords are saying that they’ll destroy them economically, socially, militarily, and politically.”
“Do you think the Jade Empire will invade Franka or Espa?”
“I don’t know. They might do what they did to Engle and just decapitate the government.”
President DePaula asked, “Are they making threats against us or Romal?”
“Not at the current time.”
“I’m sure that Franka and Espa can deal with it,” President DePaula said.
“I don’t think they can,” the Secretary of War said. “You saw what they did to Venu.”
“Most of the deaths were due to those chemical weapons Venu had stashed all over the place,” President DePaula said.
“That’s not the lesson to be learned from the invasion of Venu. The Jade Empire hit one of the largest military machines in the world, with overwhelming force, in an exceptionally well coordinated attack. Venu didn’t stand a chance against them.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that Franka and Espa can’t stop the Jade Empire. Once those two countries have fallen, it will be our turn.”
President DePaula said, “We’ll just have to take care of them.”
The Secretary of Defense’s question hit the room like a thunderclap! Although it was the question on everyone’s mind, he was supposed to answer it, not raise it. Everyone in the room was stunned. The background noise of papers being rattled, chairs squeaking, and fingers tapping came to an abrupt pause.
“That’s the question you’re supposed to be able to answer,” President DePaula said tightly.
“Let me remind everyone here of a few significant military facts. We don’t have an aircraft carrier in our Navy. We don’t have any kind of base anywhere near territories controlled by the Jade Empire from which to launch an offensive. A large number of our service men have given parole.”
“So we can’t get an airplane within a thousand miles of them! That gives them air superiority. Anyone we put on Jade Empire controlled territory is going to get bombed into the grave from above. We’d never face their army, much less have a chance of defeating it. Even if we managed to get airplanes in position, our Army isn’t large enough to defeat the Jade Empire.”
“We could use a base belonging to a country near them.”
“That’s not going to happen. Every country near them has agreed to stay out of any part of this conflict. Jade Force hammered the governments of every country on the Fractured Lands who fought them. Every nation on Ringland stayed neutral. There are no nearby countries willing to serve as a staging point for an offensive against the Jade Empire.”
“We can’t just give up.”
“I didn’t say we had to give up,” the Secretary of Defense said.
“What do you suggest we do?”
“We have to join with Espa and Franka. They have aircraft carriers to provide air support. Once we get a foothold anywhere, we can move our Air Force in to provide air cover for our Army. It would be even better if we could get Romal to join in. With the four countries working together, we could field an Army that would be a real threat.”
The Secretary of Defense wasn’t going to mention that is exactly what they had been doing throughout this war against the Jade Empire. He wasn’t going to mention that they had lost every battle to date. He felt that their only hope was to stage outside the reach of the Jade Empire military, move in to an area where the Jade military was unprepared, and strike a fatal blow quickly.
President DePaula looked around the table. The men and women there didn’t look happy to hear the assessment by the Secretary of Defense. Itan was an old and proud country. The idea that it couldn’t defend itself was a bitter pill to swallow.
“Mr. President, Itan approached us about reforming an Army to deal with the Jade Empire.”
“No. The war is over. The coalition fell apart. We brought our troops home,” President Stroman said.
“Although the coalition fell apart, and although we brought our troops home, I’m not sure the war is over. The Jade Empire is threatening complete destruction of Franka and Espa.”
“I feel sorry for them, I really do. However, there’s no support here for sending more troops into that meat grinder.”
“Then we had better sign a peace treaty with them.”
President Stroman said, “No! Did you hear the terms they wanted?”
“We’re Romal. We should be dictating terms.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, they whipped the IFN in every battle.”
“That might be true, but we weren’t running the show.”
“Our plan was to just wait them out. So long as we don’t act aggressively towards them, they won’t have any reason to carry on with the war. We’ll just sit here until they forget about the war effort.”
“I’m not sure that would work with the Jade Empire. They have a different view of war than we do.”
President Stroman asked, “How different can it be?”
“They view war as a profit making enterprise. It’s a business to them.”
That was a very good point. President Stroman thought about how much other countries had paid in reparations. The Jade Empire and the Sviss bankers had gotten rich as a result of the war. Everyone else had lost a fortune. That was the problem with fighting a mercenary army. They were in it for the money and not the glory. They weren’t fighting for some higher ideal.
What he didn’t know is that their thoughts on the matter proved that they had no understanding of the Jade Empire, or its goals. The Jade Warriors said it often and said it publicly. The Jade Empire ended wars; it didn’t start them. To them, war wasn’t something to be entered into lightly.
“I see what you mean.”
“Mr. President, did you take note of what happened in Engle?”
“Of course I did.”
“One day, we’ll be here in a meeting and a cruise missile is going to come sailing in, right through that window over there.” Everyone in the room looked over at the window. “We’ve got to put an end to this as soon as possible.”
“What do you suggest?”
“I suggest that we join Espa, Franka, and Itan in taking the fight to the Jade Empire. We certainly don’t want to end up fighting them on our soil.”
“Discuss it with the folks in the Department of Defense. Let me know what they think we should do.”
“She’s in Romal.”
Jade Empress Jana asked, “What is she doing in Romal?”
A number of people in the room looked around as if hoping someone else would answer the question. Those who didn’t know the answer to the question were curious about the hesitancy in answering it. Empress Jana pointed at Sword Howard.
He said, “She’s working as a bartender.”
“I hate to ask this, but where is she working?”
“The Officer’s Club in Fort Fuerza.”
“That’s probably the best place for her to be. Why ... if she were here, I just might strangle her.”
Hearth Maria said, “She said that Romal is going to rejoin the coalition.”
“Is that solid intelligence, or speculation on her part?”
“She’s not the only one who thinks Romal will rejoin the coalition.”
Empress Jana said, “They have to rejoin it. The only question is, how long it is going to take them to recognize that fact.”
“Sada will let us know the moment the decision is made.”
Empress Jana asked, “So, do we have a plan?”
“We’ve got a ship under construction that will gain us an aircraft carrier. We know the routes they’ll have to take to get their assets to where they can use them effectively. We’ve got a dozen spots that are good for a naval ambush. Once we’ve taken out their ships, they won’t be able to deliver any forces to our doorstep.
“While we’re dealing with their naval forces, we’ll send in the Gangin scouts to identify vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. Then we’ll send in the Eastland Raiders. We’ll dismantle their infrastructure one piece at a time. We’ll let them experience the consequences of ‘civilized war,’ first hand.
“We’ll take out Franka and Espa at the same time, before focusing on Itan. We’ll deal with Romal once the others are out of the picture.”
“Why delay taking on Romal?”
“Area. It’s nearly as large as Franka and Espa put together.”
“That makes sense. Any chance Romal will surrender before we get around to it?”
“There’s always a chance.”
Empress Jana said, “We’re going to play this one out adhering strictly to the Sviss treaties. It will be interesting to see just how much those four nations like a war where their infrastructure is the target. What is it they are always saying, ‘Bomb them back to the stone age.’? I don’t think they’ll be too happy in the stone age.”
Edited By TeNderLoin