World War: Campaign for Eastland
Copyright© 2018 by Lazlo Zalezac
“I’d like to remind you that the equipment we’ve contributed to this war has killed thousands of coalition troops and none of the enemy.”
“It’s different now. We’re winning,” Secretary General Mr. Jacques Descroix said.
“The answer is still no. We’ll send munitions and food, but not men and equipment.”
“I guess that will have to do, for now.”
“I’ll have someone get in touch with your office.”
“Good bye,” Premiere Song said before hanging up the phone. Looking at General Hang, he said, “He thinks we’re winning the war.”
General Hang said, “He’s not the only one who thinks that. A lot of people believe that the slowdown at the front is an indication that the coalition forces are starting to figure out how to fight the Jade Empire.”
“I’m beginning to disagree with Pen Sada. The man is a fool.”
“He’s ignorant. He hasn’t studied how the Great Horde of the Great Khung conquered so much territory, in a day when people had to walk to get from one place to another.”
“So how do you think they are doing it?”
“I think Pen Sada is the reincarnation of the Great Khung.”
In the temporary office of the Secretary General, Jacques Descroix was in a meeting with the ambassadors of several of the neutral countries. He waved around a sheet of paper.
“This is a report of them massacring three more towns.”
The Ambassador from Inra said, “The tribe broke the contract they had with the Jade Empire.”
“That’s no excuse! They are mass murders.”
“One thing that we’ve learned in dealing with Jade Force, is that they live and die by the contract. They are quite explicit about that. If they are killing off entire towns, it is because that is the penalty for violating the terms of the contract. Everything is spelled out,” the Ambassador from Amra said.
Bitterly, Jacques Descroix said, “I notice that everyone else other than Jade Force is dying by the contract.”
“That’s because Jade Force does not break contracts.”
The Ambassador from Inra said, “In our dealings with them, we have found them to be exceptionally honest.”
“Honest? You say they are honest? My God, they’re violating the Sviss Treaties.”
“Look, we know exactly what is going on in Ulamb. Nothing happens in one of those towns without the approval of the tribal leaders. The fact is, it is the tribal leaders who are lying and Jade Force is punishing them for it,” the Ambassador from Palarma said.
“You’re just afraid of them,” Jacques Descroix said.
The Ambassador from Palarma said, “I’ll admit there’s a touch of fear on our part. If they say that they’ll bring down a government, they’ll bring down a government. Don’t forget that Pen Sada walked into the Presidential Home and waltzed into the President’s office. None of our guards were able to stop her.”
The Ambassador from Inra said, “They blew up the headquarters of the IFN on the day you declared war on them. They took out all of the people who voted for war, with the exception of one person – you. They don’t mess around!”
Jacques Descroix did not appreciate that little reminder of the worst day of his life. He still woke up at night from nightmares of the building collapsing in slow motion. It was made even worse that none of the countries represented by the people in his office had lost a single person.
“It is a criminal organization and you should be supporting us in bringing them to justice.”
“They stopped being a criminal organization. They are now an empire with nine nations operating under its flag. Their military, the one that is tromping around Ulamb, is made of soldiers from all nine nations.”
“They are violating the Sviss Treaties.”
“The Jade Empire isn’t a signatory on either of the Sviss Treaties.”
“The countries under their flag are,” Jacques Descroix said.
A group of very unhappy men were gathered in the conference room of a luxury hotel located on a tropical beach of Spice Island. They had money problems, serious money problems. This was going to have a very bad impact on their retirement plans. It had taken them years to gather that much cash and now it was gone.
DePaula, the former President of Niella, said, “All of the shared accounts are empty.”
“All of them?” General Argenti asked feeling sick to his stomach.
“All of them. Someone broke in last night and cleaned them out,” Giuseppe Lordi said.
“All seventy million?”
“All of it.”
“Who did it?”
“Who do you think did it?”
“Those damn bastards in Jade Force.”
“What about the island we were going to retire on?”
“We can’t buy it now,” DePaula said.
Lordi said, “We don’t have the money for it.”
“What’ll we do?”
Giuseppe Lordi said, “You each might want to check out your private accounts. Mine were emptied of everything except for twenty cents.”
“Mine was emptied too, “DePaula said.
Ferrara said, “My check card bounced this morning. I was going to check into it after the meeting. I guess I know why it bounced now.”
General Argenti went to his computer and started typing. After a minute, he looked up. “My private accounts are empty.”
“I can’t even pay the hotel bill.”
“What about the gold?”
“I don’t know,” Lordi said. “We’ll have to check out the safe deposit box when the bank is open.”
DePaula said, “Listen, I know this is bad, but we might be able to salvage something.”
“We contact the IFN and declare ourselves the government in exile for Niella. Maybe they’ll give us some money to help organize the liberation of Niella.”
“They aren’t going to want to help us out. We fled the country.”
“All governments in exile have fled their country. Otherwise, they end up being a government in prison or a government in front of a firing squad,” DePaula answered somewhat sarcastically.
The door of the conference room opened and Sword Lina rolled through it. They all turned to look at the Jade Warrior in the wheelchair. For the moment, they were shocked into immobility.
“Good morning, Gentlemen. I’m here to inform you that you’ve been found guilty of treason to the nation of Niella.”
Ferrara immediately went for his pistol. Sword Lina was faster on the draw. The others reached for their weapons. It was all over in less than six seconds.
Looking at the bodies, she said, “You guys didn’t even give me a chance to tell you that the penalty is death and confiscation of all stolen goods. I guess it is too late for that now, not that it matters. You’re dead and we’ve got your money.”
She turned around and rolled out of the room. It took her a little fussing to close the door behind her. She made her way to the lobby of the hotel. The clerk behind the check out counter looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face. There was something about her that was bothering him.
When she reached the check out counter, the clerk asked, “Are you checking in or out?”
She said, “Neither. I’m afraid I left quite a mess in the conference room. You might want to call the morgue to take care of it.”
She tossed an envelope to the clerk and said, “I know you can get bloodstains out, but it always has this smell to it. It’s better to replace it. The money in the envelope should cover the cost.”
The clerk stared at her for ten seconds, maybe a bit longer than that. He was still trying to process the statement about calling the morgue. Suddenly, the expression on his face changed.
“Aren’t you a Jade Warrior?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Aren’t we at war with you?”
“Yes, you are.”
The clerk got a worried look on his face. “Are you going to kill me?”
“Not unless you try something hostile.”
He put his hands over his head and said, “I’ll be good.”
“That’s nice. I better roll out of here before things get exciting.”
“I hope you had a nice ... uh ... stay here,” the clerk said feeling kind of foolish on realizing what he was saying.
He looked around, and noticed for the first time that there were three other Jade Warriors scattered around the lobby. He wondered when they had showed up. Of course, their armor tended to blend into the background. He watched them leave.
“No one is going to believe this.”
When the Jade Warriors had left the lobby, he put down his hands. He reached over to the telephone to call the police. His finger was almost to the dial when he wondered if he should call the army. Then he considered calling the press thinking that the hotel lobby surveillance cameras might have caught what had happened there. He mused, “I can see the headlines now: Hotel Clerk Stares Down Jade Warrior Invasion Force. Yeah, that would be so cool.”
It was the annual reunion of the naval officers who had trained under Jade Force as part of the Pirate War. Most of them had been promoted, a few had retired, and two had died of natural causes. The men in attendance weren’t the ones who set up this annual meeting. It had actually been the governments who had discovered that by having some high ranking Naval Officers meeting with each other periodically that things appeared to run a lot smoother in the common waters in which their navies operated.
Admiral Angotti said, “What do you think Jade Force is doing?”
Captain Jai Chung said, “They’re consolidating their position.”
Admiral Tasso said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t take out a good percentage of the coalition force command structure within the next few days.”
“They need to keep the coalition forces from mounting an attack. They’re still getting the Ulamb tribes under control. What is it? Three tribes eliminated in ten days.”
“It’s something like that. If they keep it up at that rate, there won’t be anyone left in Ulamb.”
Captain Jai Chung said, “I was talking to a contact in Mayum the other day. He was telling me that the Jade Empire has about sixty thousand troops in Ulamb. He said that they’ve had a couple dozen casualties despite the fact that they are facing almost two hundred thousand coalition troops. On the other hand, the coalition forces are getting their asses handed to them.”
Admiral Singh said, “I don’t know how they do it. I was there during the pirate war and it seemed to me like they were always five steps ahead of us.”
“Remember the first day of training?”
“I’ll never forget it. I got shot so many times that day that just thinking about it gives me a pain between the shoulders.”
“I think getting shot so many times made me a better officer. I mean, I did become much more alert and aware of what was going on around me.”
“Maybe, but that isn’t what I meant about the first day of training.”
“What did you mean?”
“I remember thinking that I’d seen decisive officers, but I discovered that I was wrong about that. I didn’t know what decisive meant until I had watched the Jade Warriors in action. It just blew my mind. There was no hesitation or weakness in their movements. Everything was done with total commitment.”
“You can say that again.”
“We all became a lot more decisive as a result of training with them. Can you imagine what the Jade Empire Army is going to be like after fighting under them for a year?”
“Can you imagine that Misera now has a world class navy?”
“That’s the hardest thing to believe. That country was a joke. Now, it’s not. In terms of size, the Jade Empire navy just might edge out Amra.”
“I wonder how Amra feels about that?”
“I don’t know. With a little development of a technology base on Surprise, the Jade Empire could have the strongest military presence in the world.”
“Have you seen that little submarine they build?”
“No. What about it?”
“They took a First Great War diesel electric submarine plan, upgraded all of the components to modern specifications, and created a simple inexpensive submarine. It doesn’t dive deep. It doesn’t run fast. They are designed to run with a real small crew. They may not be as capable as one of the nuclear subs of Amra, but they’ve got a bunch of them.”
“I’ve been pushing to get our development center to take that same approach.”
“No. I’m talking about revisiting the designs of smaller ships of the past and upgrading the design to take into account modern components. With the new materials available today, they can build the same parts smaller and lighter. The parts can be manufactured to be more reliable now, too. We could easily get more ships on the water for less money.”
“We’ve got a ship on order from Amra. It’s costing us as much as the last five ships we bought combined.”
“Is it going to strengthen your forces by as much as five ships?”
“That’s what I mean. Jade Force sees a little opportunity like that and then acts on it. They’re going to win this war.”
“I’m glad I convinced our government to abstain on that vote.”
There was a general murmur of agreement.
“Hello, Naji. What can I do for you?” Lieutenant Martine asked.
Naji stood there for a moment looking rather uncertain. He said, “Suppose three people came to visit a friend in this town.”
“That’s fine with me. I’m a firm believer in folks maintaining good friendships. Back home, I have friends stopping by all of the time. We kick back, talk about our jobs and family ... You know what I mean.”
“Well ... suppose they hurt one of your soldiers or one of the soldiers driving past.”
“I’d feel real bad about that,” Lieutenant Martine said leaning back in his chair.
“What does that mean?”