Major Dan Hayes came running into Sarah York's office. He was even outrunning Omar, who usually pulled him through the streets during walks but was now panting far behind his master. Hayes' eyes were broad with terror.
"It's happened," he said, "The Mexicans are coming."
The commander of American forces rose from her desk.
"Oso's forces have blown our scanner station."
"Shut down all our scanner factories immediately," she said.
"What about the riots if we do that, ma'am?"
"Transfer all the workers at the scanner factories to our weapons factories. Maybe something good will come out of this. Go on, major."
"The Mexicans have also taken our largest supply train. The troops've been calling it The Train War."
He threw a map down on her desk. It showed the scanner station and the point where the train had been boarded as red X's. There was a hazy area of light red that sharpened into a single broad line only at certain points.
"Without scanners we can't be certain where they are, but they're definitely moving north. They're moving for Philadelphia. Our reconnaissance planes have determined that the coalies are somewhere in this red area."
"You mean this sea of red that stretches halfway from New Mexico to West Virginia?"
"That's it. The lines are where we're certain they've been, because that's where our troops have met them. By all estimates, Oso's called for major reinforcements, as many as he can get."
"What about the Canadians?"
"The canucks haven't done a thing differently. They've already practically given up the ground war. They've been sending their fleets to the Great Lakes in the hopes of getting a foothold. We've been able to hold them so far."
York's eyes suddenly glimmered with hope.
"That's it," she whispered.
"What is it, ma'am?"
"The Mexicans haven't told the canucks about it, otherwise they'd be moving, doing some serious attacking to try to join up with the Mexican force. If Oso haven't told Canada, it means they want to hog the glory, so he probably hasn't told any of the rest of the Coalition. That means all of their reinforcements will be coming from Mexico."
"Probably," Hayes admitted.
"So Mexico will be left relatively unprotected. We can attack them! Push right into Mexico city and make Almacen feel the brunt of this war himself."
"You're proposing an attack now? We need to defend ourselves!"
"We'll have the Air Force plague their ground troops from the sky like locusts! We won't let up for a moment. They're going to think it's the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. We'll bomb them day and night. It'll slow them down enough to buy the army time for a push into Mexico. Our defense will consist of a counter attack."
"And if Canada tries to capitalize on the situation?"
"Like you said, they're waging a naval war. We can spare ships for the Great Lakes."
"Ma'am, I think you're deluding yourself," Hayes whispered, "We can't spread ourselves out like this. It'll never work."
"Dan, don't you see? This is our chance! If we don't snatch it, the Mexicans will take Philadelphia, and we'll be completely ruined. It'll be like the Rape of Washington all over again, and America can't take that blow while we're still reeling from the first. We have to take desperate measures."
"I agree with that," Hayes said, his grip on Omar's leash tightening, "And I think it's time we seriously consider using nuclear weapons against the advancing Mexican army."
General York's countenance turned icy cold.
"I will not," she said slowly, "Violate the laws of war. 'Atomic weapons will not be used against an enemy unless it is in retaliation for war crimes against an enemy that can not be stopped otherwise.'"
She had quoted the Laws of War exactly.
"Mexico's committed war crimes. You know how they treat their prisoners - our troops!"
"It's illegal, Dan!" she said, "And I will not make America a monster. You saw what happened the last time we went off the deep end."
"I would rather be damned a million times by historians than let our nation be condemned to obliteration by the enemy."
"We will proceed with my plan," Sarah replied.
"Yes, ma'am," her adjutant replied.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- 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."
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