World War: Campaign for Besland
Copyright© 2016 by Lazlo Zalezac
Incredulous, Empress Jana stared at Sword Michael as she asked, “Sada did that?”
“I don’t believe it.”
“I want to kill her.”
“You aren’t the only one.”
“You’ll have to wait until we drag her back here.”
Empress Jana said, “Send her as many Swords as she’s requested.”
At the forwardmost base in a chain of secret bases, Captain Marin, an officer in the Navy of Franka, sat on the box stuck in the sand watching a plan that he had proposed earlier come to fruition. He was seated in the command center of a base that was the last of a short string of secret bases. They were now within easy striking distance of Misera.
The command center was probably the crudest one used in hundreds of years. There were no structures on the island to call attention to forward base. All of the ‘shelters’ were actually just a bull dozer cuts into the sand which was covered with a tarp that was covered with sand. Even the runway had a thin layer of sand over it to hide it from view.
General Caro of the Espa Air Force sat on a box next to him. Other officers sat on supply boxes that ringed the groove.
“What’s Franka going to do?”
“I don’t know. The situation in-country is pretty bad. If we don’t show something positive soon, the government is likely to fall. The Secretary of War resigned after suggesting that we surrender. We need some kind of win to present to the people.”
“When is the earliest we can strike at Jade Force?”
“We can fly a sortie tonight.”
“Why not now?”
“The fighters for escort duty arrived this morning. The pilots need to rest before making the flight to Misera.”
“We need to give Franka something to hold onto.”
“We’ll attack tonight.”
“Will we attack the capital of Misera or the Jade Citadel?”
“I think we should bomb the Jade Citadel.”
“That’s the stronghold of Jade Force and the seat of power for the Jade Empire.”
“Okay. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll brief the pilots after dinner.”
The discussion about the mission was pretty much cursory since it had been planned a long time ago and nothing had changed. The meeting broke up and people climbed out of the sand pit that was the command center.
“What in the hell is a bulldozer doing in the middle of my runway?” General Caro shouted.
“I don’t know,” Colonel Alfero said getting ready to storm out to the runway.
“I parked it there.”
Everyone spun around to look at the speaker who was standing above and behind them. There were another two dozen Jade Warriors standing beside her.
Looking like someone had just killed his dog, General Caro asked, “Sada?”
Staring at the red headed woman in horror, Colonel Alvarez said, “You aren’t Private Sarah Daniels?”
Confused, Captain Marin said, “I know you. You’re the airhead from the officer’s club.”
“That’s right, General.”
“It’s Captain,” he said and then realized that she knew his rank. She had known it when she had suggested the secret base. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he realized that she had played him like a fiddle.
General Caro asked, “How did you know?”
Captain Marin said, “I hate to say it, but she gave me the idea for a forward base all the way back at Fort Fuerza.”
“That’s when we decided to do this.”
Sada said, “We appreciate you delivering all of these nice airplanes. We were hoping you’d send a few more, but this good enough. It covers all of the losses that we had during that whole Eastland mess.”
Feeling sick to his stomach, Colonel Alvarez said, “I can’t believe Sada helped us build this place.”
General Caro said, “I thought you were a brunette, not a red head.”
“You don’t look like the Sada who addressed the IFN.”
“I am of average size, have plain features, average breasts, and small butt. All it takes to look different is to change my hair cut, apply some hair dye, use contact lenses, make up, wear a padded bra, and put on a different uniform.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Smiling, Sada said, “I hate to say this, but somebody needs to formally surrender, here, or we’re going to have to start shooting.”
With the last bit of bad news, President Jubert was seriously contemplating suicide. The last hope of any chance of emerging from this triumphantly had been dashed. The Jade Empire had made good on their threat to dismantle Franka economically, socially, militarily, and politically.
The country was in debt up to its ears, and it hadn’t even had to pay reparations to the Jade Empire yet. Most of the country was without water and electricity. The transportation infrastructure was in ruins. It would take the country decades to rebuild. It might take even longer since there was no money to pay for it.
The people of Franka had lost their sense of national superiority. They were a defeated people. You could see in on their faces. Everything they had believed and taken for granted, had been washed away with the damage to the country. Their jobs were gone. Their money was gone. For many of them, their homes were gone.
Their military was in shambles. They’d lost an aircraft carrier, they had an Army stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere, and most of the military in country had given parole.
Politically, the current government was finished. People blamed it for their problems. They were rioting in the streets and demanding his head. He couldn’t blame them. Franka, as it had once been, was no more. They could point to a distant glorious past, but recent events had pushed it further into the past.
“I have the terms of surrender. Will you accept them?”
President Jubert looked up at the speaker. He wasn’t going to ask how she managed to get into his office.
Pen Ocival handed him the small stack of papers.
“Where do I sign?”
“You should read them first.”
“Why? You defeated us.”
“So that you know what you’re signing. It is a contract.”
“Aren’t you going to take over our government?”
“No. You’d cost us a fortune. You’re going to have to dig your way out of this mess all on your own. In the mean time, you get to pay off your war debt to us.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“You’ve been doing this to the rest of the world for centuries.”
Stone faced, President Morales listened to his Secretary of the Interior. The pipeline from Embalse de La Viñuela had stopped providing water.
“We don’t know. The water just stopped flowing out of the pipeline.”
“Is there any sign of damage?”
“No. The source seems intact. The outlet is intact. The water just stopped flowing.”
“So our principal source of drinking water has stopped providing water?”
“What are you doing about it?”
“We’re trying to find out where the problem is.”
“The country won’t have drinking water until you find and fix the problem.”
Frustrated, President Morales said, “That will be ... when?”
“I don’t know.”
“What can we do about it until you can find and fix the problem?”
“If the trains were running we could carry water from the reservoir to the cities.”
“The trains aren’t running.”
“Then I don’t know what we can do.”
“Get the f•©k out of my office and find some answers!”
Once the Secretary of the Interior had fled, President Morales stomped around his office trying to bleed off some of his anger. This was not a good day and he had a feeling that he wasn’t going to be getting any good news. Earlier he had been informed that the bombers and fighters that they had sent on the mission to bomb the Jade Empire had been captured while sitting on the ground at the forward-most base.
Four soldiers, bored out of their minds, sat in the machine gun nest outside of the power plant watching the road. Supposedly, they were the last line of defense for the power plant in case of an attack. There were a bunch of troops up at the gate to keep invaders from entering the place. There were troops at checkpoints along the road to keep people from approaching the power plant.
The one thing the four soldiers agreed upon was that it was kind of surreal to be there. This was Espa. Nobody attacked Espa in Espa. Wars were supposed to be fought overseas in third world shit holes. Everyone knew that.
“What’s that noise?”
Suddenly, they were deafened by the sound of a huge blast as the ground shook.
“Oh shit! Duck!”
Everyone in the nest ducked down behind the sandbags. The first blast was followed by a second one. The men hugged the ground trying to make themselves as small as possible. They stayed there waiting for a third blast.
In the Capital Building, the lights flickered and then went out. President Morales looked over at the lights on his desk waiting for them to turn back on. If it wasn’t for the office’s windows, he’d be sitting in the dark. He had a really bad feeling about this.
At the power plant, the soldiers slowly sat up and looked in the direction of the blast. They couldn’t see much of the building beyond what was immediately behind them, but the power plant was obviously damaged. It didn’t look all that bad from where they sat. There was just a little smoke coming out of the main building.
“What are we supposed to do,” one of the soldiers asked.
“Stay here and guard the power plant.”
“I think it’s broken.”
“You mean damaged.”
“Yeah. Damaged to the point where it’s broken.”
“We probably ought to report it.”
“If they didn’t notice the noise of the explosion at the gate, they aren’t going to hear us on the radio.”
“That’s true. Stillll...”
“I’ll call them.”
President DePaula of Itan took the news that the forward base had been taken by the Jade Empire without any display of emotion. He just sat there staring off into the distance with a thoughtful expression on his face. Those who knew him knew better than to disturb him. President DePaula was a rationalist in the truest sense of the word. He was thinking through the problem and woe to the man who interrupted him.
Seventy percent of their army had been committed to this effort. Now they had no air cover. The best that could happen was they’d be forced to surrender. The worst was that they’d be killed. Franka was out. Espa was on the verge of quitting. Romul had probably lost a big portion of its air force and would surrender.
“We’ll have to surrender,” he announced.
“We can’t defend ourselves from the military of the Jade Empire. Our soldiers are going to be shaking their fists at planes that are bombing them. That’s not going to stop the bombs. It’s just going to kill more of our soldiers. We have to face facts. We lost. We have to surrender.”
“How will we let them know? We don’t have a contact for them.”
“Call our embassy in Inra. They can call the Jade embassy located there.”
President Stroman tossed a paper weight across the room when informed that he had lost a bunch of planes at the forward base. He was furious.
“What are we going to do?” the Secretary of Defense asked.
“What do you suggest?”
“Why do you say that?”
“You’ve seen what’s happened to Franka.”
“Espa is still going strong.”
The Secretary of State said, “Our embassy in Espa reported that they lost water and electricity today. The whole country of Espa is in trouble.”
“Just how bad is it?”
“Very bad. They’ve lost their infrastructure and their military. I imagine that they’ll be surrendering before the day is over.”
“Franka and Espa. I can’t believe it.”
“They’re never going to recover from this.”
“The terms of surrender are horrible. We won’t be getting past this for a decade.”
“At least,” President Stroman said. “Five hundred billion dollars. Our entire annual budget is eight hundred billion. I can’t even imagine how we can pay that much money.”
The Secretary of State said, “We estimate that Franka is in debt to the tune of a trillion dollars and it will cost them another two trillion dollars to rebuild the country.”
“Let our Ambassadors know that we’re surrendering. One of them is going to have to call upon one of the Black Lords.”
“That sounds so damned evil.”
“What sounds evil?”
“The Devil is loose upon the world.”
President Gonzales had never been a man who avoided facing his critics. At the moment, there were a lot of critics. He also knew when he was beat. The Jade Empire had beaten him and the country of Espa.
He had received the damage report from the Secretary of the Interior. Someone had sent explosives through the main pipeline from the Embalse de La Viñuela reservoir. The explosives had collapsed the pipelines underground. They were going to have to dig down to the damaged points and repair them. It had been hard enough to build the pipelines by cutting through the bedrock. This was going to be even more difficult. The best estimate was that it was going to take a year to repair and that was assuming that there was only one point of failure.
Six power plants had been damaged by cruise missiles. There was a plan on his desk concerning how to recover from the damage. They were going to have to cannibalize the feeder train lines for transformers. They were going to have to re-engineer the main train lines. While doing that, they were going to have to get parts for two of the power plants and get them operational as quickly as possible. That would allow them to slowly bootstrap themselves back into a technological state.
It was going to cost money. Estimates put it at 2 trillion dollars. The current national budget was 900 billion dollars. The war reparations to the Jade Empire were going to run 750 billion dollars. Without electricity and power, there was no industry, no business, and no tax revenue.
Espa was going to be broke for the next hundred years. There was a time when he believed that war was good for the economy. He realized now that was only true for the winner. The loser lost everything.
He took a deep breath and faced the camera. There was a collection of microphones in front of him, most of which were out of frame. He didn’t know who would actually see or hear the broadcast, but he had to make it. It was being recorded as part of the official record of Espa and would be watched long after he was dead. His words, words he didn’t want to say, would outlive him.
“It grieves me to say to you, that today is a day that will forever be remembered as the blackest day in the history of Espa...”
Empress Jana said, “Sada.”
“That’s Empress Jana.”
“I’m mad at you.”
“I kinda figured that you would be.”
“Why did you do it?”
“I wanted to limit their suffering.”
“The plan was to make them suffer.”
Sada snorted in disgust. “No. The plan was to make them understand the full cost of war. The plan was to make the whole world understand what it means to make war. That lesson has been delivered.”
“They need to suffer.”
“They’re suffering, and they’ll continue to suffer for a long time.”