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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 58, Part 1

Major Dan Hayes stood in the doorway of General Sarah York's office. Wrapped around his hand was the red leash of Omar the bull terrier.

"Ma'am..." he began to say.

But after a brief glance up from her work, Sarah interrupted him.

"I don't mind you bringing your dog in here after hours, major," she said in a very professional tone, "But I can't allow that while we're working. There's a war going on."

Hayes seemed crestfallen.

"General," he said trepidaciously, "My house was destroyed in the last coalie bombing run. They gave me lodging in the guest quarters here, but they said I couldn't leave him alone in the guest quarters. I, uh, I..."

York felt like a real ass suddenly.

"You take Omar wherever you want around here," she said.

Hayes nodded mournfully, but he seemed to be more perked up than earlier.

"What did you need, Dan?"

"Well, ma'am, we have some reports that I was supposed to pass along to you."

"Reports on what?"

"It's a list of war crimes which I was ordered to bring to your attention."

Hayes handed her a manila folder full of printed reports. The first was on brutalities in a Mexican prisoner of war camp. Two Air Force officers had managed to escape and had reported dozens of violations of the Geneva Convention. A few corollary reports were from other escapees and survivors who had their own stories to tell of Mexican savagery.

The second report was of Russian war crimes. Sarah was briefly curious about why their Allies were being presented here. She realized that the laws of war applied to everyone - not just enemies. It told of looting, raping, and pillaging by the Russian army in Mongolian occupied villages.

The next was very interesting. An American ship had been taken over and it's crew killed. Then it had been set up as a fireship to destroy...

"Dan," she said, "Is this report true? The Australians have a superweapon?"

"It's the reason there've been so few naval battles with the Mongols. You were the first person in the world to be informed. Well, outside of the captain who found the Australian ship. And the dead coalies, I suppose."

"And you?"

"Well, naturally I have to screen your reports."

"Has this Captain..." she checked the report, "Leonard been rewarded at all? It says here he gave up his ship so that the Australians could make enough repairs to return to Australia for a refitting."

"I typed up a promotion to commodore for him, which I was ready to send, if you gave the word, on a moment's notice."

"Good man. You're always one step ahead of me. Send it."

Hayes left the room. She checked the next report. It said, as all the others did, that she was the first person to be informed who was not directly related with the incident. It said that five Russian cities had had...atomic bombs detonated in them!

She stood up from her desk.

"My God," she said, then pressed the intercom button to Hayes' office, "Dan, get me a cameraman from GRTH and a helicopter to meet me on the roof. Tell the pilot that we're going to the warehouse."

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