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1980: A Race for Power
The new decade opens with celebrations and a new president. The 1980 Ceruian elections are held and under the leadership of Jose Jamrez the newly formed Libertist Party rises to power, and takes Parliament and the presidency by storm. They win in a landslide, and—appoint Jose as the new president. He is young, ambitious, and determined but politics is just the beginning. He secretly strengthens the military doubling its size building tanks, aircraft something big.
“Stage one of the attack at 0400 hours fifty CT-5 tanks of the First Armoured Battalion under the command of the Field Marshal Korbet Ganms will surprise the enemy and advance to take the three bridges over the Earl River effectively cutting off their main battle force from the capital, understood?” I asked looking around at the men dressed in their sharp scarlet military uniforms their faces reflected coaches before the big game—fearless and confident. There was quiet murmur of yes and affirmative. I had gone over this plan countless times. Most of them knew it by heart but this was the final meeting before the big game.
“Now they will rush their tanks to the bridges to support their capital from being overrun. When they do, Korbet will be outnumbered. This is where you come in Air Chief Sinjil, you will launch airstrikes against them as they near the bridges to even the odds.”
“Yes sir,” he responded with a rough voice giving me a solemn and dutiful salute.
“General Goin, while Marshal Korbet holds the bridges you are charged with taking the countryside and their capital Popei, it is vital you does this as quickly as possibly favorably in two weeks.” He nods his face is deep with scars with a sense of experience behind it.
“Alright, dismissed” I shout with a flick of my hands. I walk out of the room to a richly furnished—but—empty hallway. I approach a dark chestnut door and open it entering my private study. I fell down on to my sofa rubbing my forehead, everything was going to go according to plan I thought. All the years of Baroque prosperity were over bigger now so called nuclear superpowers were bullying us around, but that was going to end— now, we were going to even the scales of power. Like Mao said “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.”
“Mr.President,” a cheerful voice called out from outside the room.
“Yes, come in.”
“Mr.President you have private line waiting for you” chirped Betty Green my personal secretary pointing to the sleek portable satellite phone in her hands. She had one of her many crazy dresses on this time: it was pink suit and green pants,huh.
“Who cares, tell them to call back tomorrow.”
“Its from the prime minister of Herbui Nabu Kesol.” With a sigh, I grabbed and the phone out of her hands.
“Hello, Nabu,” we were close enough to be on a first name basis.
“Same to you Jose,” he said emphasizing the e .
“Not bad news, I hope?” I shot back.
“No,no the Menruian advance guard is still at our border waiting for the supposedly incoming threat; are you ready to cut them off?”
“Yes, operation Slice and Dice is a go but still I am so nervous.”
“Don’t worry, we are ready as could be,” he said reassuring me.
“To Ceru and Herbui,” I shouted raising a toast.
“To Ceru and Herbui,” he replied cutting the line. I handed the phone back to Betty and she immediately began walking out of the room,
“And Betty cut it with the cheerful attitude and colorful dresses. We are running a country—not some dainty fan club” I warned her.
“Yes sir” she replied in an even sillier tone throwing her red hair in a circle and striding out of the room. The only reason I keep her employment was because she was a ruthless intelligence officer and knew how to control the media and that would be very important in the weeks to come. The day was almost over as the sun set over the horizon, the bay window in my bedroom of the Presidential Palace had an astonishing view of the sunset.
The sun waned a dark crimson reflecting its translucent gaze on the water. It’s glorious light swept into the sky turning it more turquoise than blue, just like the half blue and orange circle of the Ceruian flag. One of my favorite views in the world, off I drifted into sleep staring at beautiful phenomenon.
Fizz,Fizz crackled the radio. It cut into the marshal’s ear drums but he couldn’t turn it off he was waiting for a important message.
“Commander Korbet Operation Slice and Dice is a go, good luck” shrieked the man from the Command Central.
“Alright men, it's time we advance for the glory of Ceru” announced Field Marshal Korbet over the radio.
“Viva Ceru!” roared the men confident and ready for anything the world could throw at them. The tanks rolled out on to the horizon towards the border, waking up entire villages and crushing everything in their paths.
The bright sun peaked up from the ocean signaling the start of a new day. Today, however I didn't t have time to enjoy the view. I had a presidential address early in the morning . I dressed in a formal attire, a black suit with white stripes over my white shirt and black pants. I had a quick an omelet and headed over to the room where I would be talking to the press. I entered the room flanked by Presidential Service bodyguards on both sides. A dozen cameras followed me as I cut straight to the podium, I stared hard the video camera in the back of the room. It was the CBN, the Ceruian Broadcasting Network, The cameraman put three fingers in the air, they were going live in three, two, one.
“Greetings to all Ceruians on this fine morning, today I am here before you to discuss an important matter,” I took a short pause as Betty handed me a document. “ Last week Parliament had an emergency session that I am sure left many wondering about its true purpose, well it was to pass—this a declaration of war against Menru.” I said holding the paper up high so they could all see.
The room exploded with noise, I put my hands to calm down the hubbub.
“For the past months since my party was elected into power Menru has been engaging in operations with the U.S. in an attempt to undermine my authority and topple the government by funding fascist rebels. This is not just an attack on the Libertist party but Ceru as a country, they are interfering in our business and we must make a statement that we are independent nation and that we don't want them pulling the strings of our government.”
A short blonde women, in a black and green outfit threw her hand up.
“Yes you,” I asked nodding my head at her.
“”What actions are being taken towards Menru.”
“Even now as we speak the military is taking action, but unfortunately I cannot tell you what exactly.”
There was collective gasp as more men and women raised their hands and attacked me with their questions.
“Exactly what will be the purpose of this war?” shouted a man from the side of the room. I stood, lips closed and strode out of the room my bodyguards pushing and shoving them the reporters away from me. I got inside my black SUV just as my bodyguards were getting into the front passenger and driver seats. In front and behind the escorting my ride were two vehicles of the Presidential Service, and inside were more of my bodyguards.
“Michael, our destination is the American Embassy, I have a feeling I might be needed there,” the engine roared to life just as I felt my phone ring. I looked at the number it was Ambassador Han Smith, well that was expected.
The tanks had been rolling the entire morning to reach the bridges, but Marshal Korbet wasn't with them. The Ceruian Intelligence Service had intercepted a message indicating that a convoy was heading towards the bridges carrying supplies and weapons for the Menruians, so Korbet had decided to ambush them, along with him were five other tanks of the First Battalion. Now they waited camouflaged in the treeline on either side of the tiny dirt road with branches and leaves covering their turrets.
They heard them first before they actually saw them. The ground began to shake more and more as they got closer. Finally they could be seen from the from the periscope of the CT-5’s, there were two tanks, one in front and one in the back guarding three supply tanks laden with food rations and anti-tank weapons. Painted on all of them was the Menruian flag two horizontal squares, black and white with a golden star in the middle. Korbet was excited this would the first actual combat they encountered; time to see if the Soviet training paid off.
“I’ll take the one in the front and Timmy you take the one in the back, the rest of you once the tanks are taken out advance and surround the supply trucks—over,” whispered Korbet over the radio.
“Make sure you wait until they are right in front of us, Timmy”
The convoy drove up right beside the Ceruians completely unaware they were heading straight into a trap. Kabam, Korbet shot the lead tank on the side and it erupted in flames. Another shot rang out hitting the rear tank disabling and disabling the turret, but not destroying it. Knowing they had walked into a ambush the tank crew began to retreat backwards. The tank however was too slow and again a shell hit it’s turret this time shredding the top of the tank into pieces. With their protectors gone the men inside the trucks threw their hands in the air, surrendering.
“Ok men, take the Menruians captive and lets drive these trucks back,” shouted Korbet.
The American Embassy was nothing but a small cramped brick building, it didn't even have air conditioning courtesy of the Libertist Party. I walked into the building and there was Ambassador Han Smith waiting for me in the lobby. His tie was crooked and his shirt wrinkled obviously it was sweating hot.
“Jose, how good to see you,” he said faking a smile on his face.
“Yes, it’s such a lovely day isn't?” I asked gleeing over the fact he was sweating his face off.
“Why don’t we go inside my office; it’s so hot in here,” he led me inside his cubicle office as my bodyguards stood position outside.
“Let’s get down to root of things shall we, the American government is not pleased with your actions to say the least.”
“I didn’t think they would be,” I countered. “What does your government want me to do?” I questioned the sarcasm dripping out.
“We want to pull your forces out of Menru before any casualties are made — to both sides” hesitating with the last part.
“Well if thats your intention I’m afraid you’re too late the first casualties of the war has already been afflicted a smashing victory for us, I was informed on my way here.”
“What were the exact losses?” he said curious as ever.
“Menru lost two of their American made M1 Abrams and three Menruians were taken prisoner.”
“There will repercussions against you and your country. . .Mr.President,” he spat in anger.
“I expect there to be, but I am afraid as the saying goes once men had their first taste they can’t be stopped” I replied casually exiting his office.
The closer we traveled into the heart of downtown Ceru City, the busier it became. Smoke billowed out in pillars from cars and various factories. For the past decade the economy had skyrocketed and now humongous trucks carrying all sorts of goods and luxury cars roamed the streets. At the center of it all was Innovative Manufacturing, the largest employer in the country and that’s why I had choose them to build this top secret project.
The words IMP; Innovative Manufacturing Plant were displayed the in glowing LED lights front of the building. I stepped out and made a headway straight to the garage. Along with me were the defense minister and General Goin. A executive women in a black shirt and grey skirt walked up to us and turned a green switch on the wall.
“Gentlemen, I present to you the JT-1, the most advanced tank in the world” she applauded, the door opened up and revealed a powerful and menacing looking tank.
“Its is equipped with the latest technology—GPS system, thermal imaging, night vision and a remotely controlled weapons station.”
“Will it be able to match a M1 Abrams in a head on battle?” said defense minister Tom Wokitz.
“Yes, unlike the CT-5 which has relatively little armor the JT-1 has more armor and a more powerful gun allowing her to win in a head on battle with the M1.”
“Well General Goin you will be the one commanding them do you like it?”
“Yes of course how many do we have right now?”
“Well we have one hundred of these ready to be shipped to the front lines,” she responded smiling up at me.
“Excellent we will be needing about fifty more,” I told her.
“Yes, of course we are very grateful for you business,” she said writing something on a piece of paper and then handing it away to a courier.
“Now all we need is a good nickname, the name JT-1 doesn't exactly strike fear into the enemy does it?” joked Wokitz.
“How about Lionheart,” shouted the executive women. I grinned at her making her face blush red like a fresh strawberry.
“Yes, I think that will be a good name indeed,” I said. The Menruians would soon learn to fear the name Lionheart!
The past ten hours had been spent digging dugouts and defense preparations for the inevitable battle with the Menruians, they needed the bridges for future operations so they couldn’t just blow it up. The CT-5’s had little armor but they had one advantage range. With it’s long gun it could shoot the enemy tank while it was still getting into firing distance and Korbet was going to use that to full effect. They arranged themselves into a horseshoe position with the anti-tank guns at the front and with the tanks on the sides. Finally the Menruians drove into sight, they immediately began scouring the dense forest cover for tanks. They knew that the Ceruians were waiting for them, so they sent a few pot shots into the underbrush . The CT-5’s kept their silence.
“Wait until they are in range of our anti-tank guns,” said Korbet following the Menruians with his gun. The Menruians edged forward slowly but steadily until they were right on top of the bridge. The anti-tank guns fired penetrating the lead tanks. Before the the Menruians could respond the CT-5’s hit their flank confusing the Menruians, now they had two enemies to deal the anti-tank guns from the front and the tanks from the side.
“We’re being hit from two sides,” screamed a Menruian struggling to focus on a target while shells exploded from all sides around him knocking him around in his own tank.
Yet again the Menruians were caught in a trap either drive straight into the line of fire to get a decent shot or retreat, as the Menruians drove forward trying to get into range they made easy targets for the Ceruians and were destroyed.
“Retreat,” said the Menruian commander turning his turret around. Taking heavy casualties the Menruians were forced back to the safety of the forest.
“Count the fallen, we know they had seventy tanks.”
“Marshal, I count thirty Menruians tanks and we didn't lose any of our own.”
“Well men with these kind of results this war is good as ours.”