World War: Campaign for Eastland
Copyright© 2018 by Lazlo Zalezac
Colonel General Braun had the headache from hell this morning. He’d had a whiskey on the rocks the night before, just to take the edge off of his nerves. Then, unable to sleep he had taken a sleeping pill. The combination had put him out like a light, but left him with a headache worse than a hangover.
He had always thought that General Santini’s desire to be at the front was stupid. He was beginning to understand why the other man had felt that way. Now that things were going really bad in Ulamb and Hamasada, he had this desire to go to the front and fix things. Of course, he couldn’t have done any more there than he was doing here. That didn’t change the feeling that if he was there that he could have fixed the situation.
The situation in Ulamb was very bad and getting worse with every day. His troops were suffering five hundred to a thousand casualties a day. His men were spread across the northern part of the country trying to control roads and occupy the territory. The enemy was hitting them with raids of overwhelming forces. When they tried to follow the attackers, the would find that the enemy forces were split up into squadrons and scattered all over. They might find one squadron.
The attack helicopters were taking out his supplies. His forces were nearly out of fuel, ammunition, and food. They would just pop up, fire a few missiles, and then leave. A day or two later, they would be back to finish the job. Moving the supplies didn’t help. He was sure the locals were feeding the Jade Empire forces information about what his troops were doing.
Bombers and tank killers were taking out his heavy equipment. It didn’t seem to matter if they were on the move somewhere or dug in. The enemy planes always came in overwhelming numbers with air support circling above. The air support wasn’t even necessary, he had no fighters to put in the air to stop them.
His troops were cut off with nowhere to retreat. His attempts to send reinforcements from Hamasada had failed. Bombardment from the sea, over flights by tank killers, and fortifications along both shore roads had prevented his forces from making it to Ulamb through the narrow land bridge that connected it to Hamasada.
The remains of the coalition fleet were being chased all over by the Jade Empire navy so he couldn’t even bring that asset into play. The Jade Empire had a huge navy. It had the stolen fleet from Chen and the ships from eleven countries. That really didn’t seem right to him. How could they defeat a country and end up with all of the military assets of that conquered country? By all rights, that equipment should have been left as burning hulks after battles of conquests. At least, that was what was happening to his equipment.
He sat and stared at the situation map at the front of the room wishing he had more pills to take for his headache.
“General, there’s a call for you from the command headquarters in Hamasada.”
He had two brigades in Hamasada and each of them had its own field headquarters. He wondered what either one of the could possibly want. There was a chain of command they should follow.
“The one in the capital.”
“We lost that one.”
“It’s a Jade Warrior. He said his name was Sword Miguel.”
Colonel General Braun groaned. He had a very good idea what the call was going to be about. His army was beaten. He knew it and they knew it. For that matter, the whole world knew it. Nobody had admitted it aloud, but they knew it.
“Route it to my desk.”
It was a few short seconds before his phone was ringing. He answered it, “This is General Braun.”
“General Braun, I am Sword Miguel.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I was calling to find out if you were ready to surrender your troops in Ulamb and in Hamasada.”
Thinking that it was time to surrender was one thing, hearing it stated aloud was another. Having to say it was the hardest thing he had ever done. His throat grew tight and his stomach fluttered. His palms were suddenly sweating and his ears burned. His first attempt to say it died in his throat before he could say the words.
His voice broke as he answered, “Yes. I am.”
“Excellent. I’m very glad to hear that.”
“How is this to work?”
“Your troops in Ulamb are to make their way to the port in Sadre. We ask that they bring their equipment and arms with them. We’ll have a depot outside Sadre where they can drop them off and the troops will be processed for surrender. After processing, they will board troop carriers and be taken to a neutral country. It may take a little time to transport them. You’ve got a lot of men and we only have a few troop carriers.
“The closest neutral country in the region is Palarma. We’ve made arrangements with them to accept your soldiers for transfer from Ulamb and Hamasada to their country of origin.
“Your troops in Hamasada should head to Port Hamma in the north. As with the troops in Ulamb, they are to take their equipment and arms with them. Again, your men will be shipped to Palarma.
“You will need to make arrangements for transportation to their countries of origin. Hamasada would appreciate it if they don’t have to deal with several divisions at once. We have four ships of Second Great War design, each of which is capable of carrying eight hundred men. There are airports and a port in Hamasada from which you can ship the men.”
“That sounds reasonable.”
“We do request that your generals in the field sign papers of parole for them and their men. It’s a formality, but a necessary one.”
“Do you have any questions?”
“Just one. My fuel supply in Ulamb is low. I’m not sure that they can make it all of the way to Sadre.”
“Your tanks can go two hundred and fifty miles on a tank of gas, correct?”
“We’ll have refueling stations set up every two hundred miles.”
“When will they be set up?”
There was a long moment of silence and then Sword Miguel said, “They are being set up right now. They’ll be in place by tomorrow morning. I’m sure it will take your men that long before they are ready to move out.”
General Braun wondered how they could possibly manage to have depots set up in less than twenty four hours. Solving the location and transportation issues alone should take longer than that.
“Yes. You’re probably correct.”
“Is there anything else?”
“Not at the moment. How can I reach you?”
“You can call here. You do have a direct line.”
“Don’t feel bad. On every battlefield there are winners and losers. Your men fought well and died bravely. The Gods of War are pleased.”
“Uh ... right,” General Braun said.
The call disconnected leaving him there holding the handset. He put it down on the telephone base and shook his head. The Gods of War – what kind of people were those Jade Warriors that they believed in Gods of War? Warriors who just beat the hell out of his army; that’s who they were.
He turned and said, “I’ve surrendered the army. We need to cut orders directing the troops in Ulamb to head for Sadre. We need to cut orders directing the troops in Hamasada to Port Hamma. They are to take their equipment and arms with them.”
Lieutenant General Miterand asked, “Why would they want the troops to bring the equipment and arms with them?”
“Would you want tanks, guns, and ammunition scattered all over a country you just defeated?”
“Remind the men that we’ve surrendered. There’s to be no fighting. There are to be no aggressive acts. They are to pack up and head for port.”
The hidden city in Chen was an extremely beautiful citadel of great historical significance. It had been founded over two thousand years ago as a single building within a simple wall of wood. It wasn’t long before the wall had been rebuilt of stone. The wall had been moved farther from the building so that it encompassed a greater area. Towers were added turning it into a royal citadel.
For the first six hundred years after its founding, new buildings were added. They were strong solid structures that were intended to last for centuries. The original building was torn down and replaced by a palace fit for kings.
Always, the buildings underwent a continuous process of improvement. The structures were sound and the wood polished to a high sheen. The open areas were paved with stone quarried from hundreds of miles away. The stone gave it a solidity that was timeless.
The great rulers of Chen had run the country from there, sending armies out to conquer. Even the Great Khung had sat on the throne. Never taken in a battle, the history of the hidden city was grand and glorious. There were plots and court intrigues that remained minor small footnotes in the history of a great nation. There were actions in the shadows that never came to light, but shaped the world. Walking through the buildings one couldn’t help but feel the echoes of history reach out to caress the visitor with a ghostly hand, a reminder that now was a product of then.
Now treated as a museum, only the most important public ceremonies took place there. Although the government was run from modern facilities, the signing of important treaties, changes in national leadership, and meetings among leaders of nations took place within the throne room of the palace.
Premiere Song and Khung Kou stood in front of the throne facing a small crowd of people – representatives of their respective governments along with a token number of reporters to record what occurred. They all waited for the last major player in this drama, Empress Jana.
Khung Kou leaned over to Premiere Song and, in a low pitched voice that wouldn’t carry, said, “One word changed and face is saved.”
“It was gracious of them to offer it,” Premiere Song said glancing over at the small table on which the contracts were placed for the signing ceremony.
“Do you think she’d accept marriage to my son in thanks?”
“No, my youngest son, Prince Chang.”
“I don’t think you’ll marry him off that easy,” Premiere Song said with a smile.
“I didn’t think so.”
Empress Jana, followed by four Black Lords, entered the room. Two of the Black Lords stopped at the entrance and took up guard positions. The other two Black Lords stopped halfway to the table on which the contracts sat. They turned to face the small crowd. Empress Jana walked to the table and looked across it at the two men waiting for her.
As host, it was up to Premiere Chen to start the proceedings. In a soft voice that carried surprisingly well across the room, he said, “We are gathered here for a momentous event. After months of negotiation, Chen and the Jade Empire have established a peace agreement ending the hostilities between us.
“Chen entered hostilities against Misera after having voted for an International Federation of Nations resolution declaring Jade Force to be a renegade militia and granting a right to invade Misera in order to take arrest Pen Sada on charges of crimes against humanity. We had accepted the IFN evidence presented concerning Pen Sada and the refusal by Misera and Jade Force to place her in the custody of the IFN.