Brigadier General Paul King was back in the heart of Mexico. This was the second time he invaded, and the first he had been driven out along with the rest of the American army like a dog with his tail between it's legs. This time was different. This time they'd met little resistance. This time, his army had been winning, and was slowly racking up victories and, thusly, morale, which was far more important than any victory.
The Mexican army had committed itself to an invasion of America and thus was unable to defend it's own country. King felt gloriously happy. He felt as though it was possible - just possible - that they might take Mexico City and end this terrible, bloody conflict.
His troops were there. They were a pack of brave men and women. They'd been separated from their families and their friends for years now, and they fought on without complaint. He was proud of them, damn it. They were gathered up now before the greatly fortified Mexico City.
He walked slowly to the forefront of the assemblage. Infantry troops were lined up in ranks. Tank crews had their heads sticking out of their cupolas. The few leaper crews were standing beside their vehicles. He had everyone's attention. He took a deep breath and began to speak.
"The Last War," he said, "Has been going on for four years now, and we've been fighting in it for about three. I know that when we all began we thought it would be easy, that it would be over in a few weeks, and that we could all go home to our families when it was done. Well, things didn't quite work out that way.
"I know you're all exhausted. The reason I know that you're all exhausted is that I'm very tired, and I know that anything I may have faced to tire myself out, every one of you has faced twice."
The troops were all smiling and the weight of too much fighting could indeed be seen on their faces.
"But, I must say that you have all fought like lions. We've been defeated time and time again, and I know that there was not one moment when you didn't give this your all, not one second when, even though our morale was at it's lowest ebb, you didn't keep fighting. Each and every one of you deserves more medals and honors than are in the entire list of medals for American fighting men and women.
"You have all fought for me ten, no, a hundred times longer and harder than you had to. And I need to ask of you just one thing and that is: give me just one more fight. Give me just one more battle, my lions. The key to our deliverance lies in that city just yonder. It's not just the key to our deliverance either. It is the key to the deliverance of the entire American people. So I ask of you, will you continue to fight? Will you make your country and your families proud to call you Americans? Will you give me just one more battle?"
Without hesitation the entire army cheered and charged forward. Tank engines revved, infantry brought AS guns to bear, leapers began to leap. King smiled and joined his troops as the Mexican army began to meet them in the streets of the deadly city.
"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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