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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."

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 24

Global Radio, Television, and Holonet was the single largest broadcasting network on the planet. It broadcasted breaking news from every corner of the globe, and a few entertainment shows each night. Legions of reporters were spread around the planet praying for the chance to be broadcast when something important happened in whatever country they were in. Every actor prayed for the chance to have a show on GRTH.

They were the only holonet station on the planet, except for certain piffling national holonet stations. Of course, only rich weirdos actually had holoscreens, so holonet stations had to broadcast for standard television as well. Most televisions around the world were equipped with translators to translate whatever was being said on the screen since, nine times out of ten it was a completely different language than your own and even more often it was a different language than the language the last program had been broadcast in. It made for some very expensive equipment costs.

Lately GRTH had been growing very bold, and, some would say, reckless. What at first had been called the Russo-Mongolian War and was now being called World War III was a mother lode for GRTH. Ratings had been soaring, and the people wanted more and more live-from-the-front style broadcasts. Tricia Marsden, a British GRTH reporter in Mongolia, had found something she thought would be huge. She had managed to get a one-on-one interview with Mabus Bleda Khan.
The network had already told her they would break into whatever show they were airing to play it. She was excited beyond belief, because this was the big night. She had to be frisked for weapons (and the guard had seemed to enjoy it a bit too much) and a Mongolian had to handle the camera in case there was some hidden weapon in it or something, but Tricia didn't mind all the restrictions.

Bleda's men had made it abundantly clear she was not to ask any really hard-hitting questions, such as "what are your feelings on chocolate cake" but Bleda himself had told her to be perfectly blunt and honest. She just hoped she'd be able to leave Mongolia alive no matter what happened.

The lights dimmed then rose again as the camera began rolling. The room was furnished quite comfortably and extravagantly, in a manner Tricia might have assumed an Emperor would furnish his rooms. But, more likely, it was just a front to look intelligent and rich in front of the whole world, no matter what he really may have been.

"Hello, I'm Tricia Marsden," she said in her best Mongolian, giddy with the thrill that everyone in the world now knew her name, "Broadcasting live from somewhere in Mongolia. I have a very rare opportunity before me tonight, a chance to actually interview in person Emperor Bleda Khan of the Mongolian Empire."

"You need not butcher my tongue, Miss Marsden, I speak English," said Bleda, who seemed to have been holding his ears earlier.

"Ah, yes," she continued more smoothly in her own tongue, "Well, Emperor, where to start? There are so many things that really should be brought to light. Let me ask you, first, what are your feelings about the way certain people are now comparing you to Hitler?"

The Mongolian seemed to have been struck a blow.

"World War II," he began, "Was a war of attrition and greed. People like Hitler, Tojo, and Churchill, wanted only money and personal glory, and to see their nations called best. It was a childish race against one another.

"Hitler took power in order to hurt people. He wanted very much to hurt the Jewish people. I, however, have taken the reigns of power not because I wanted to, but because no one else would, not because I wanted to hurt people, but because I wanted to help people, not because I wanted death, but because I wanted life. I wanted the people of Mongolia to thrive, as they were meant to."

"What about the Russian people?"

"Russia is of no concern to me, miss. Leaders should consider all things in this order: their own people, their family and friends, and themselves. Nowhere do the people of other nations fall under those categories."

"Then you don't think that the leaders of a nation should consider humanity as a whole, but rather only their own little speck of it?"

"Miss Marsden," said the emperor with a peculiar smile, "I am considering humanity as a whole. I consider them as future Mongolians. When I have made the people of other nations the people of my nation, I shall consider them above all other things. Look at the Chinese migrants who have come to me looking for help. Have I not helped them and treated them as equals as best I can? I want to help the world this way, the same way I help my own people."

Tricia broke off for a moment to gather her thoughts and let the drama of the moment sink in.

"Do you have no moral objections to World War III at all?"

"What you're asking me is do I consider this war honorable. Yes, is the answer, and the reason for that answer is that this is not the third world war, nor the second, nor the first. Before now, wars were counted and named and catalogued. But this, this is not the first war nor the eighteenth. This is the last war.

"This is the end of it all. Whether for good or bad, this world's going to be changed utterly and completely after this war. To have my way, we'd all be citizens of the Mongolian empire, and live in peace with one another, and thrive and advance. Or, to have it my enemy's way, we'd all stay individual countries and continue bickering with each other and never be able to advance. But we would realize the need for a lasting peace.

"The army, the navy, the air force, they've seen their heyday. They're going extinct. There's no doubt in my mind that this is the last war, there will never be another war again like this. There are too many other ways to solve problems. But, for now, until The Last War is over, this is our problem solver. This war is going to change the world. It's going to be harsh and terrible while it's going on, but it's after effects will be so glorious, I can't possibly help but feel not only morally justified but morally obligated to continue with it."

Tricia blinked and nodded. The man was forceful, commanding people to hear him, a true statesman. She knew this man would never back down, not even at the bitter end of The Last War.

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