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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

zenphoenix

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As long as he could remember, everybody called him Phoenix. They’d been calling him that for forty years, since the Great War. Back then, he was just another impressionable young man from a family of immigrants. His father, James Zen, and mother, Joanna, came from Britain after the fall of the monarchy in 1873 and found work as a Pennsylvanian steelworker. Phillip was born later that year. His mother always called him Phoenix because he symbolized a new beginning for the family. But Phoenix didn’t always see eye to eye with them. Though James earned enough to pay for school, Phoenix was always a restless and hotheaded child, getting himself into fights with other kids every day. Soon Phoenix realized he liked the fights more than the classes themselves and spent every free hour training down by the steel mill with other eager sons of steelworkers. That was his first major mistake. As he approached 18, the steel mill’s fortunes dried up, taken with it the tuition fund. It became clear Phoenix would have to follow his father into the business soon. But the world had other ideas.

War in Europe began in 1890. As massive armies crashed against each others on the rolling fields of the continent, Phoenix excitedly read news of the engagements in the local newspaper. He didn’t know when or how the thought first came to his mind. It was probably after he read that anonymous British officer’s statement. Maybe he wanted a way to get in on the action. Maybe he wanted adventure and glory. Or maybe he just wanted to get away from the steel mill. But in any case, he gathered up his belongings, made his way to the local recruitment office, and enlisted, only to be told the United States wasn’t part of the war.

Working several odd jobs in the city, Phoenix eventually saved up enough money to buy a ticket on a ship to Great Britain. He soon arrived in Cardiff and made his way to a recruitment office, volunteering his services to the British Army. He went through some basic training and quickly picked up what he believed would be the most important skills on the battlefield. But he was more excited about finally going to war. This was what he had been dreaming about for his entire life.

Or so he thought. He was first deployed to France, where Picardian and Lotharingian forces had invaded British territory. It was here Phoenix got his first real taste of battle. Not the glorified cavalry charge and infantry rush he had expected, but a muddy rain-filled trench in the middle of the French countryside, huddling behind the dirt as bullets from machine guns zipped overhead and artillery shells landed around him. He remained crouched in that trench for three years, until the front finally began moving into Picardy. His unit received orders to go over the top, and they eagerly charged the Lotharingian lines. By the end of the year, the British had reached the Lotharingian border and taken most of Picardy’s North Sea coastline. Phoenix confidently wrote home to his parents, predicting capitulation in several weeks.

That was where everything went terribly wrong. In 1895, Picardy’s forces launched a counterattack from southern France, while the Lotharingians lured the British into a trap and then massacred them with massed artillery assaults and chlorine gas. The survivors, including Phoenix’s unit, fled back to British territory. Still taking heavy casualties, they then received orders to retreat to Calais. By the time Phoenix reached Calais, his entire unit was dead, he had been shot in the leg, and the Lotharingians had surrounded them. The evacuation was a disaster. The British were continuously bombarded with artillery and gas, killing hundreds in the town. When the rest were loaded into the boats and taken across the Channel, Lotharingian submarines awaited them. Only a few hundred made it off the Continent.

Phoenix was taken to a hospital in Norfolk, where his wound was treated. While he recovered there, he received word of Lotharingian armies landing in southern England, facing off against the remnants of the British Army. He desperately wanted to join the fight and defend Britain against the invaders, but his wound was too severe. He was discharged and sent home soon afterward. Returning to America, he followed the rest of the war in the papers and was relieved to see Britain still made it out of the war on the “winning" side.

But with the war over, he had no idea what to do with his life. His leg wound had left him with a slight limp, not enough to slow down his running speed but enough to be noticeable. He didn’t want to go back to the steel mill, but he didn’t know what else he could do. Eventually, he decided to apply for the Military Academy and get an officer’s commission. After impressing one of the instructors with his battlefield experience, he was accepted into the academy. He graduated several years later…at the bottom of his class. But hadn’t some of the greatest Civil War generals graduated at the bottom of their classes too?

Getting his officer’s commission finally gave Phoenix his big break. His salary was much more than that of his father, allowing James to finally retire and fulfill his dream of opening a pub. His uniform was a very obvious symbol of his new social status, and soon he had been catapulted into the circles of high society, surrounded by captains of industry, political dynasties, and some of the richest families in America. He quickly made new friends there. The industrialists were more than happy to provide funding and advertising for his father’s pub. The politicians offered to give him endorsements should he run for office, but Phoenix wasn’t a good speaker, unless he was talking to a woman. Rich women approached him at almost every social event, hoping to make his acquaintance. That was how he met his wife, Ellie, whose father was a retired general who now sat on the boards of one of America’s largest defense contractors. They were married in five months, and a year later, Ellie’s family helped Phoenix get a promotion to general.

The years passed. Although Phoenix was now rich and respected, he still felt like he was missing something. Memories of the Great War kept popping up. He kept remembering the faces of the men he lost in France. Although his time in Europe full of tragedy, he was still drawn to war. He still felt like his true calling was on the battlefield, not in the nonstop balls, fine dining, and social events of the American upper class. Even Ellie and his children couldn’t get him to reconsider. He realized he missed war.

By the 1930s, he was approaching old age and with it the end of his career. His sons were now officers of their own, and his daughters had married other heirs of industrialists and politicians. But he himself spent most of his time reading the newspaper, as he always did, watching for news of wars around the world. His luck started to turn that decade with the skirmishes and then all-out fighting in Asia. The Chinese Civil War soon dragged in other major powers, pitting Russia against Japan. Phoenix realized it was exactly like what happened in the run-up to the Great War forty years earlier. He wrote letters to the editors of major newspapers and to politicians in Dover. In addition to reviving ancient tensions in Europe, it could dramatically change the balance of power in the Old World. If Japan won, it could threaten British and American interests in the Pacific, in addition to trampling on the sovereignty and rights of the Chinese people. If Russia won, the Stali Pact would gain the industry and manpower of both China and Japan, encouraging it to destabilize Europe again. Furthermore, both Russia’s and Japan’s political systems were ideological threats to American democracy. Should one side win, it would give their political system greater legitimacy, slowing down the democratization and liberalization of the world and increasing the appeal of authoritarianism. But his warnings were quickly forgotten as the conflict escalated.

Just as Phoenix expected, the war soon spilled over into Europe. But he was dismayed to hear President Dunaden instead focus on the Antillen Civil War. Although he was happy Dunaden helped the rebels restore democracy to the Caribbean, it came at the cost of withdrawing expeditionary forces from Asia. And Phoenix hadn’t been called to duty. Maybe they would find a better place for him to lead?

Finally, the United States joined the war in 1940. Phoenix listened to Dunaden’s national address as he received classified intelligence on Covenant troop movements in South America. As America marched off to war, Phoenix’s fellow generals, including his friend TBC, received their assignments. As they set off to liberate countries in South America and western Europe, Phoenix waited patiently for his own assignment. As they secured important cities and their enemies’ capitulations, Phoenix waited a little more. As his own sons were mobilized and sent off to the front lines, Phoenix continued waiting. Then came Lotharingia’s surrender and the Norfolk Peace Conference in 1943. The war was over. Phoenix was almost angry he didn’t get a chance to fight. But when he was asked to provide security for the conference, he obliged. He and Ellie traveled to Norfolk, where they watched America and Russia carve up the world, reshaping the geopolitical order in both the Old and New World. And then it was over. They went home, and Phoenix prepared to retire.

October 7, 1944 rolled around, and Russian troops invaded the Baltics. President Eternien ordered a full mobilization of the military and the gearing of the economy to war footing. The United States and its allies marched against the Stali Pact. TBC and the other generals were recalled to service, although Phoenix still didn’t receive an order. Frustrated, Phoenix wrote a letter to Eternien, demanding to know why he was being held back. He had been waiting for this moment for his entire life, and he did not want to be left out of this war. Eternien did not answer. Meanwhile, TBC and the others achieved victory after victory in Europe and elsewhere, though they took heavy casualties. It seemed like there wouldn’t be anything left for Phoenix if he received his orders. But he stayed put, hoping for the best.

Strangely, in 1945, with no end to the war in sight, TBC was recalled from the front lines, ostensibly for a secret mission. But he quickly returned to the front, and soon afterward, the nukes started falling. When he first read about it, Phoenix couldn’t believe it. A bomb that could destroy an entire city…wasn’t that just science fiction? But no, it was real. And not only was the bomb real, the Russians had gotten it first. And for that, two cities and hundreds of thousands of people were dead. Phoenix knew at once what was going on, and he smiled. The war was far from over. It was just heating up. The bombs made sure of that.

With news of the bombing of Istanbul circling the globe, support for the war dwindles in many allied nations. Terres du Nord, Canada, and the Dominican Republic, all three of which have contributed next to no lives to the war, and thus do not understand fully the horrors of the frontlines of Europe, protest against the war, threatening to pull out of the war. None of them go through with it; the US, with its nuclear arms and now massive army, is the most fearsome force the world has ever seen, and being in their Anglo Alliance is guaranteed protection. For now, they remain in the alliance.

In November, the newspapers circulated images of a mushroom cloud over Istanbul. The ancient city had just become the third victim of a nuclear bomb. Countless lives would be lost, along with priceless treasures and cultural landmarks. Phoenix was divided over how to feel. A part of him was glad the city was hit, as it would take out its industry and cripple its political and military leadership. But the rest of him was enraged such an old city with many cultural landmarks had been destroyed. His fellow citizens shared his rage. The governments of three allied countries were even threatening to leave the alliance, but Phoenix knew they wouldn’t follow through.

The American people are less impressed with Eternien. Many do not care about a city thousands of miles from them, but many others reject the deplorable idea of destroying an entire ancient city. The media has a field day against Eternien, and several prominent opponents demand his resignation or call for his impeachment, something that has never happened before in US history. His approval ratings hit a low of 24%, something else that has never happened before. General TBC, one of those most fiercely against the bombing, is relieved of command after very publicly denouncing it and refusing the orders to continue pushing onward. In his stead is General Forster, former commander of 4th Mobile Army.

Phoenix focused his attention on Eternien, holding him responsible for giving the order. He called up his friends in government and the media, hoping to get revenge against the president for not sending him to war, but they were already way ahead of him. Soon major media agencies had run stories denouncing Eternien for approving the attack, while prominent politicians had even begun calling for impeachment. Public approval plummeted in the wake of this campaign. Meanwhile, Phoenix wrote opinion pieces in major newspapers, as he always did, criticizing Eternien’s policy and his handling of the war. “A nuclear bomb isn’t something to be tossed around lightly,” he wrote, “Not like a rock. It isn’t a get out of jail free card. It is a weapon that can destroy an entire city and kill hundreds of thousands in an instant. Such incredible power demands equally incredible restraint and discipline, of which we are lacking right now in the White House.”

Regarding TBC’s sacking, Phoenix said nothing in public, though he privately shared his views about the bombing.

Even as Istanbul still smolders, a third bomb is in production. The Stali Pact has also been messaged again, demanding surrender and saying a third strike is imminent if surrender does not come soon. The earliest date of the next strike is set to be New Years day, 1946. President Kornilov does not respond to the demands. Although he faces riots and calls for peace in Russia, he and the Chinese Prime Minister do not plan on losing this war, as badly as it seems to be going for them. Kornilov hosts a Stali Convention in Novosibirsk with the remaining Stali members except Eretna's President Pasha.

Despite all this, Phoenix soon learns through Ellie’s father that a third bomb is in production. Believing Eternien wasn’t stupid enough to drop it now and instantly end his presidency, Phoenix instead monitored intelligence from Europe, trying to piece together the Stali Pact’s military strategy from their meeting in Novosibirsk. He hoped the third bomb wouldn’t be needed and Kornilov could still be reasoned with.

The push into Stali territory continues. Eretna is in disarray after the strike, and they face several mutinies within their ranks. Their front begins to collapse and Anglo troops push northward. Even though it looks like Russia and Eretna are not able to defend against the Anglos, the issue of China is still at the back of everyone's mind. This war has claimed millions, not even counting civilian casualties. China, the most populated country on earth, will surely be carnage on a whole other scale.

The bombing of Istanbul, despite the outrage, had achieved its intended effect of decapitating the country’s military and political hierarchy (President Pasha’s continued absence was suspicious). One of Phoenix’s sons, Peter, reported Eretnid soldiers mutinying en masse and Anglo Alliance forces making record progress. Although the southern European front was all but won, Phoenix both anticipated and dreaded what would come next: the China campaign.

The Kenyan government, providing only material aid to the Stali Pact, sends an encoded message to President Eternien and the US government. They do not want to support the losing side any longer. Kenya will leave the Stali Pact and join the Anglo Alliance. Their price, Haitian Somaliland and the Castillian Indian Ocean islands, once the war is over. Haiti will not be happy about losing Somaliland, but other colonial gains in the war will satisfy them. Eternien is in agreement, and the Swahili join the war.

Better news came a little later, when the Swahili defected from the Stali Pact to the Anglos. Phoenix welcomed the new addition to the alliance, as the Americans would need all the help they could get to take out Russia and China.

Eretna capitulates on the 16th of November. Americans arrive in their capital of Eskishehir to find a horrifying scene; President Pasha was hanging above the parliament building, his body burned. His own people, it seems, learned of the ignored ultimatum he received and revolted. They dragged him and his house members from the parliament and killed them in the street. Now only Sweden stands with Russia in the west. One by one, the Stali nations are falling before the might of the Anglo military forces.

Peter Zen sent his father a package shortly after the fall of Eskishehir to Anglo forces. Enclosed was a letter detailing his recent experiences, along with a photo of Pasha’s body and a fez covered in dried blood, allegedly taken off of Pasha’s body. While Phoenix believed Pasha had his death coming to him, he thought killing the rest of his family was too much. What did they have to do with Pasha’s policies?

By this point, about 13 months into the war, 18 million soldiers have died, across 4 different continents. The world war seems far from over, with the vast stretches of the Russian motherland still to conquer. The Russian winter begins setting in, and tanks and trucks find it less easy to maneuver as mud replaces the dirt of the inner Russian roads. The same goes for the Swedish and Hungarian fronts. Only the Caucasian front is still making steady progress.

It was now thirteen months into the war. Phoenix had lost track of the statistics. There was only so much the newspaper could do. The deaths were probably almost twenty million by now. But Russia and China and their few surviving allies remained no closer to capitulating. This war was far from over. By now, Phoenix had basically accepted not seeing action again. He had made peace with the fact the stunt he pulled in his youth would be his only battlefield experience, with the rest of his career consisting of armchair posturing through newspaper editorials. He and Ellie spent their time with their grandchildren and walking their pets in the park, happy to at least find some peace while the rest of the world burned.

But of course things had to happen at that moment.

Since there is no longer any requirement for naval invasions in Europe, the Marines are moved to British India to prepare for the invasion of Indochina. General Zen is given command of all forces to be involved in the invasion. A passage from a letter he sent to President Eternien prior to the appointment read:

"China will be expecting an attack from their east coast, given the proximity of the Philippines. What must be done now is a feint move in the east to draw their attention from Indochina and allow our troops quick access to the southern Chinese territories. From there, China's soft underbelly will be easily cut through."

-General Phoenix Zen, 4th Marine Army

A messenger from Dover appeared at his house one December morning, asking him if he could show up for a secret meeting in the capital later that afternoon. Realizing he had finally gotten his big break, Phoenix eagerly put on his uniform, said goodbye to Ellie, and took the train down to Dover. There, he met with President Eternien and the Joint Chiefs, who were in the middle of planning an invasion of China. Despite their previous disagreements, Eternien wanted Phoenix, with his unique Great War experience, to lead the campaign. Phoenix obliged.

He quickly found something wrong with the plan. Remembering the Great Reversal of 1895, Phoenix realized the Chinese would be expecting an attack on the east coast, specifically from Taiwan and the Fujian-Guangdong area. Those areas would be heavily fortified. However, Indochina wouldn’t be as well defended, due to the rough terrain of the region leaving the Chinese feeling confident about depending on natural fortifications. What they would have to do is make the Chinese believe they were attacking the coastline by moving troop convoys between Hawaii and the Philippines, forcing them to move troops from Indochina to reinforce the coast. Then they would march up through Indochina, relying heavily on local communities for supplies and extra manpower, and into Yunnan and Guangxi. With the new plan agreed on, Phoenix took a plane out to British India, setting up a local base of operations in Calcutta. Surprisingly, he was given command over the entire Asian theater. He thought he was just going to get a few divisions and serve under another general. Finally, luck was on his side again.

The first day of 1946 blooms bright and freezing cold on the Russian front.


By this time, 3 new bombs are ready to be deployed. The next target is chosen: the Chinese city of Hong Kong. It is time that the Chinese feel the heat of the bomb on their own soil, Eternien says. Perhaps this will convince them to sue for peace. His advisers urge him, this time, to wait. The American people are still adamantly against any more nuclear strikes after Istanbul, and dropping another could mean riots or impeachment.

As 1946 rolled around, the Joint Chiefs sent a message to Calcutta, informing Phoenix of Eternien’s plan to drop a bomb on Hong Kong, despite likely political suicide. Eternien believed the bomb would knock China out of the war without the heavy casualties Phoenix’s invasion likely would cause. Phoenix asked the Joint Chiefs to convince Eternien to wait until public opinion was behind him again. Failing that, he should target the capital instead. Hong Kong was a strategic port city Phoenix’s forces needed to capture to project power into southern China and to establish a supply line from the Philippines. They needed the infrastructure and manpower intact so they didn’t have to take more resources from the Philippines. And Phoenix had also heard rumors of a “wasting sickness” afflicting those in Allenstein and Istanbul which caused intense pain and internal damage. He did not want this wasting sickness to affect his troops. They needed more time to determine the health effects of the bomb.


Then, the next day, the Stali intention becomes clear. Manila is obliterated in a blinding flash of light from the 50 kiloton bomb dropped from the Chinese bomber. 25 thousand Americans, 1300 of them soldiers, and 120 thousand natives are killed by the blast and the subsequent fire. China is now a nuclear armed nation. An hour later, Copenhagen is hit with an equally strong Russian bomb, and 95 thousand British citizens and 2000 British troops are killed.


That Thursday of Terror ends with 250 thousand dead Anglo troops and citizens. A telegram is sent to the US government from Russia, offering a meeting between their presidents in a neutral nation to discuss terms of peace or, at the very least, an end to the use of nuclear weapons in the war. Kornilov claims to have several more bombs on the way, both in Russia and in China.

But just a few hours after Phoenix sent that letter, he received another urgent message. A bomb had been dropped on Manila. The Chinese were responsible. Over a hundred thousand civilians were instantly killed. One hour later, he received another message. Copenhagen had received the same fate. The death toll that day was about 250 thousand. Following the bombings, another message arrived, this one from Russia to Dover. The Joint Chiefs forwarded it to Phoenix. It was a request to dictate peace terms or to end the use of nuclear weapons, with a threat of more bombs on the way.

It comes time for Congress to decide on the next move. It is time to vote.


A) Agree to the meeting

B) Decline the meeting and nuke China

C) Decline the meeting, but do not drop any more nukes.

Phoenix was enraged by the attacks. The cowards had attacked primarily civilian targets with little military or economic significance. They had no shame. They had no honor. It was just like the Great Reversal of 1895. Only he now had the will and the tolls to stop another Reversal. He was going to go to China and get his revenge. Not against the people—they had no say in this. He was going to get his revenge against the generals and politicians who ordered that strike. When this was all over, he wanted to shoot the prime minister himself. But he couldn’t do that if the nukes fell on China.

(C)
 

pyrolithic

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B

As an MP of Great Britain I implore our American cousins to see this through. While your lands are safe from the threat, ours are not. The Stali pact have made it clear that it is us or them, so we better make sure it is us.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Well, that escalated.

General TBC, one of those most fiercely against the bombing, is relieved of command after very publicly denouncing it and refusing the orders to continue pushing onward. In his stead is General Forster, former commander of 4th Mobile Army.

"In all honesty, this could have gone far worse for me. I'm the full-time head of the Doomsday Projects now, and I kept my rank and pension. I've moved my wife away from the east back west though. We are better well rid of Dover. Plus another riot like the one we had the night I returned would cause too much anxiety for her in her current condition.

I remain unsurprised by the current regime's actions but disappinted in that so many are going along with it. I can scarcely believe that things have gotten so bad that many including myself who called for intervention now wish for peace. But in that respect, it is at least somewhst my own fault.

Things have changed, drastically.

I shall never forget our first meeting of the Projects when I got back from Anatolia. I was greatef with the expected sympathy but also a great deal of excitment and fear. They had beeb working you see, on our rockets and...nukes...I hate that word now, abd had come to some conclusions.

Namely, if we continue a nuclear war past the advent of rocket propelled bombs, we and the rest of the planet will kill each other very quickly. I have looked into this myself and have figured with a few individuals privately that the technology for intercontinental missles such as they fear is a decade or two away...around the time a new world war would begin if we do not secure a good peace deal.

But before we reach that point, what I deem Mutually Assured Destruction, we shall be launching increasingly powerful bombs from jet aircraft, bombers and short range rockets that we would be lucky to have those decades of development.

Horrifically, we seem trapped into two possibilities. One in which we destroy the world or one in which our children do. Or of course we could reach an agreement with the russians and Chinese, something along the lines of creating a anti-nuclear agreement between the three nuclear powers (and any one else who manages to join us in hell)...but this remains doubtful. Not with my removal and the president's hardening towards the bomb's usage.

In all honesty I fear for us all."

Even as Istanbul still smolders, a third bomb is in production. The Stali Pact has also been messaged again, demanding surrender and saying a third strike is imminent if surrender does not come soon. The earliest date of the next strike is set to be New Years day, 1946. President Kornilov does not respond to the demands. Although he faces riots and calls for peace in Russia, he and the Chinese Prime Minister do not plan on losing this war, as badly as it seems to be going for them. Kornilov hosts a Stali Convention in Novosibirsk with the remaining Stali members except Eretna's President Pasha.

"The russian dictator cannot surrender. He will be lynched before the parliment he destroyed before that happens. And it probably will happen what with his side losing so much for so little gain. China remains a mystery wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. I do wonder what exactly it is they want or hope to gain out of continued fighting?."

Eretna capitulates on the 16th of November. Americans arrive in their capital of Eskishehir to find a horrifying scene; President Pasha was hanging above the parliament building, his body burned. His own people, it seems, learned of the ignored ultimatum he received and revolted. They dragged him and his house members from the parliament and killed them in the street. Now only Sweden stands with Russia in the west. One by one, the Stali nations are falling before the might of the Anglo military forces.

"I have recieved word from at least three allied army leaders and a full quarter of the Doomsday Projects about Allied concerns towards America. We are rapidly falling in world esteem at a time when we need all the friends we can get. There is no other way for humanity to survive without us at least agreeing not to fight each other anymore. We are now far too powerful and foolish for that."

The Russian winter begins setting in, and tanks and trucks find it less easy to maneuver as mud replaces the dirt of the inner Russian roads. The same goes for the Swedish and Hungarian fronts. Only the Caucasian front is still making steady progress.

"It is interesting to note the Russian winter. It has stopped many an invasion and in these days of rapid mobility hurts even harder. The more an invading force relies upon supplies and resource lines, the more they suffer. That being said, russian tactics and strategy being what they are, we probably should just park the european front in a solid defence line and watch the life blood of russia bleed oit upon it. It is disgraceful thinking but it would work, i think."

That Thursday of Terror ends with 250 thousand dead Anglo troops and citizens.

"I was unsurprised by the existence of the Chinease bomb but rather shocked at the rapidity we went from creating the damn thing to killing millions with them. It makes me more firm in my belief that humanity is doomed should we contiue this path, or at least, continue down it in this way."

A telegram is sent to the US government from Russia, offering a meeting between their presidents in a neutral nation to discuss terms of peace or, at the very least, an end to the use of nuclear weapons in the war. Kornilov claims to have several more bombs on the way, both in Russia and in China.

Mm. The Kornilov telegram eh?

It comes time for Congress to decide on the next move. It is time to vote.

A) Agree to the meeting
B) Decline the meeting and nuke China
C) Decline the meeting, but do not drop any more nukes.

"I am alone in my house. I've sent my wife and unborn son away to her parents. Whilst I'm not entierly convinced I'm not being paranoid, recent events...

There is talk of a peace deal. An end to the war. And an ultimatum if not met.

And the president has spent most of the last two weeks mobilising all of my allies and friends in the military, including retired generals. If he's going to court martial me or have me shot, it'll be soon.

I suspect they'll come for me before the summit, wherever it is. They'll either want me on the allied diplomat team or in prison, in dover, ready for a sensationalist trial if things don't go the way they want it to and require a distraction.

Disgraceful behaviour. Borne from fear I suspect. There's been riots in the east for over a month now.

My son...I do not know how to explain to you what or why I have done the things I have. I thought I knew, but when thinking of you, and the future perhaps without me to be your father...I am speachless. All I can do is apoligise. What I have done, I did to protect you and your mother, and this country, and the world.

I have placed orders with trusted correspondents. If and when I am taken, either to Russia or Dover, they shall leak the M.A.D. essays and documents we have written up to the British press. Whatever else happens, the Allies need to be ready for the future.

I hear people coming. It is a little after midnight. I shall just hide this and-

It's them. Goodbye."

-TBC
 

TheButterflyComposer

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They were married in five months, and a year later, Ellie’s family helped Phoenix get a promotion to general.

This did not endear him to the military officers he commanded and served under, at least until he proved his due dilligence and competence unlike many 'bought' commanders.

His political and monetary influence also paid for several generations of new officers, many of whom viewed him with fatherly affection for his benevolence and generosity, as well as his veteran status. TBC, initially a Californian born soldier and thus relegated to service beneath established east coast men despite his family affluence, was one such officer who wed in part his career to Zen. As TBC rose ever higher due to grasping and reforming every idea towards mobile warfare and tanks, the two would often share dinner and conversation.

The Chinese Civil War soon dragged in other major powers, pitting Russia against Japan. Phoenix realized it was exactly like what happened in the run-up to the Great War forty years earlier. He wrote letters to the editors of major newspapers and to politicians in Dover. In addition to reviving ancient tensions in Europe, it could dramatically change the balance of power in the Old World.

TBC was already a noted interventionist within the military (which had begun to impact his prospects of promotion) and thus Zen recruited him to muster inside support for aid to China. This would eventually lead to both men becoming 5* generals and war heroes, though few would have predicted it at the time.

Although he was happy Dunaden helped the rebels restore democracy to the Caribbean, it came at the cost of withdrawing expeditionary forces from Asia. And Phoenix hadn’t been called to duty.

TBC however regailed his mentor with tales of tank manovering and the size and scale of modern war. Though it still had the potential to become as nasty and slow as the 1890's, Zen felt stirrings of old cavalry charges and excitment in the younger man's stories. But he was a father, a grandfather by this time, and he had little desire really aside from dreams, to go to war again.

As America marched off to war, Phoenix’s fellow generals, including his friend TBC, received their assignments.

"They're sending me to Columbia?" TBC growled. "What in damnation am I supposed to do there? Do they really think a tanker commander and his corp are going to be useful in jungle?"

"Maybe they are trying to mold you for army command," Zen soothed, hiding his disapointment he was not at least asked to go.

"It has been some time since I commanded much infantry," TBC admitted. "And a war is the only way to make a name for yourself when you're a horrible good for nothing interventionist like me.'

"Ah, well you see I just bought my way to general," Zen grinned.

Hah!" TBC snorted. "To general perhaps but you earned your four stars just as much as I did. But I doubt they'll give me a proper command to go with that rank. That was really just to impress the Chinease."

"Still, you kept it. They must want you for something," Zen said. "Take it as a challange."

"Mm...right. Well at least South Amercia shouldn't be so bad..."

The United States and its allies marched against the Stali Pact. TBC and the other generals were recalled to service, although Phoenix still didn’t receive an order. Frustrated, Phoenix wrote a letter to Eternien, demanding to know why he was being held back.

Meanwhile, TBC and the others achieved victory after victory in Europe and elsewhere, though they took heavy casualties.

TBC kept up a correspondence with the old general but as the months went on, he became far bleaker in his outlook. More men were dying each day of illness and Peruvian bullets. It was a horrible war, and Europe was not much better.

Strangely, in 1945, with no end to the war in sight, TBC was recalled from the front lines, ostensibly for a secret mission.

He did not tell anyone of his purpose, nor his new rank aside from that he would be theatre commander in Africa when he returned to the front.

When news of the bombs broke however, he sent a letter to Zen asking for advice in such a trying time. His personal responsibility and the war in general wieghed upon him heavily.

Phoenix focused his attention on Eternien, holding him responsible for giving the order. He called up his friends in government and the media, hoping to get revenge against the president for not sending him to war, but they were already way ahead of him. Soon major media agencies had run stories denouncing Eternien for approving the attack, while prominent politicians had even begun calling for impeachment.

He was suprised and quite concerned when TBC broke the military silence on Istanbul and told the entire world what sounded like quite secret information. However, upon his return to the US, the pair met in a tell all discussion. Zen was justifiable astounded by what his own country and the enemy were planning to do to each other (and indeed, had already begun doing).

Regarding TBC’s sacking, Phoenix said nothing in public, though he privately shared his views about the bombing.

"They're running scared," TBC said in private. "They have no idea what they have and what to do with it, except to keep smashing Russia with it."

"Madness I agree," Zen said, "but you must be careful son. They've taken your command already. Losing your liberty or life isn't worth this. If needs be, I'll take over the fight in public. You are young yet. Youre country still needs you. So does your wife."

TBC shifted in his seat. "She's expecting."

"Excllent!" Zen smiled. "Even more reason-"

"Even more reason why I have to see this through. Not even you understand the stakes. Humanity cannot be in a nuclear war. We'll all die. The world will become a desert. We must stop the president. We have to end this war."

Zen shook his head. "I don't believe it to be our power to halt it."

TBC rose to leave. "Yes...and yet Istanbul is now a crater. Apparently, we can do anything."

He quickly found something wrong with the plan. Remembering the Great Reversal of 1895, Phoenix realized the Chinese would be expecting an attack on the east coast, specifically from Taiwan and the Fujian-Guangdong area. Those areas would be heavily fortified.

Reports from the Chinease civil war indicated this to be the case as well.

Surprisingly, he was given command over the entire Asian theater. He thought he was just going to get a few divisions and serve under another general. Finally, luck was on his side again.

He was quite aware that Dover was getting rid of a rather large thorn in their side by removing him to Asia, but with a shortage of generals and the capacity for this front to turn into a bloodbath without his expertise, he had to do it anyway. Still, he did feel a slight pang for his family, and for his fellow anti-nuclear conpatriots left in the US, now without a great defender. He wondered if he'd see any of them again.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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B: The moral high ground is gone. We need the war to end as quickly as possible, and that's gonna mean more nukes.

Love the excerpts from @zenphoenix and @TheButterflyComposer
 

TheButterflyComposer

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silentsam5

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Hey all, sorry for my absence. I'm back on my busy schedule. I'll be trying to post every Tuesday or Thursday, the days I have the most time off. I'll read through your comments later tonight and respond if I can! I'm interested in how the vote went!
 

zenphoenix

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Yes General Zen compliments the story quite well yes? Hope he survives the impending destruction of asia
If he survives this war, I'm going to try to bring him into politics. Zen/TBC 1948 (or 1952) anyone?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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If he survives this war, I'm going to try to bring him into politics. Zen/TBC 1948 (or 1952) anyone?

Mmm...US gov needs to not shoot me first. Maybe a riot in Dover can free me in transit then i go to ground for a bit like the A Team.000
 

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Hmm. Doesn't sound like a US soldier to me, especially a high ranking one. Even McArthur waited till he retired to really try to get support to run for office.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Hmm. Doesn't sound like a US soldier to me, especially a high ranking one. Even McArthur waited till he retired to really try to get support to run for office.

Well TBC is too young to be president but Zen was already retired before coming out 'for one last mission'. Provided he doesn't do something stupid he'll probably come home with enough support for at least a campaign if not nomination with all his political lobbying and economic base.

Not sure what would happen though. Doubtful the present government can survive the war if that, but who comes in after? A war hero who will try to rebuild europe and the alliance? Somone who will try to set up isolationism again? Someone who wabts to build a pax amercia and nothing more? Or a mix of them all?

Or is this going to end in nuke fire?

Edit: Zen would probably be best letting an election term go by before throwing his hat in, unless there genuinely is a constitutional crisis ongoing and no one knows how to stop it. TBC wouldn't though. Too young, too much of a political outsider despite being v. Popular with public and military. If he survives, the next administration would possibly kick him upstairs one more time to high miltiary command. After that, presuming there is a cold war/general peace, he'd be allowed to retire from the military and get a political career if he wanted it. If Zen was running at that time, I could see it working somewhat.
 
Last edited:

silentsam5

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Fire will be answered with more fire. Not the choice I expected, but it should make for an interesting chapter!

Do you perhaps have a save game from the first chapter? I would like to have a play through like this one.

It would be a bit odd. I had to manipulate a lot of the events to stimulate the CPU to actually do somethings. Any regular playthrough would probably devolve into war with a few years and then everyone would just be at war with each other. That's what happened in loads of my test runs.

@zenphoenix @TheButterflyComposer Loving the roleplay! Both these men will probably have a role in the future peace (if there ever is one).
 

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Well TBC is too young to be president but Zen was already retired before coming out 'for one last mission'. Provided he doesn't do something stupid he'll probably come home with enough support for at least a campaign if not nomination with all his political lobbying and economic base.

Not sure what would happen though. Doubtful the present government can survive the war if that, but who comes in after? A war hero who will try to rebuild europe and the alliance? Somone who will try to set up isolationism again? Someone who wabts to build a pax amercia and nothing more? Or a mix of them all?

Or is this going to end in nuke fire?

Edit: Zen would probably be best letting an election term go by before throwing his hat in, unless there genuinely is a constitutional crisis ongoing and no one knows how to stop it. TBC wouldn't though. Too young, too much of a political outsider despite being v. Popular with public and military. If he survives, the next administration would possibly kick him upstairs one more time to high miltiary command. After that, presuming there is a cold war/general peace, he'd be allowed to retire from the military and get a political career if he wanted it. If Zen was running at that time, I could see it working somewhat.
As eager for battle as he is, he's smart enough to not charge into enemy territory without a plan. He knows everything, including the future of American nuclear warfare doctrine, rides on his success in China. Personally, I see Phoenix as a Truman/Eisenhower-type of leader, but it's ultimately up to silentsam5. And he'll definitely make sure the world doesn't end in nuclear fire.

You bring up a good idea about skipping an election term before launching a campaign. Give the people time to heal and the country to return to peace, during which Phoenix could show how he can be as good of a peacetime leader as a wartime one. Maybe TBC could get a position in his cabinet if he's elected...
 

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Chapter 19 - Jan 1946: The Fall of Sweden

The Stali Pact's double strike is a huge blow against the Anglo Alliance. The British citizens cry for the destruction of the Stali Pact, and there is already talk of independence coming from the Philippines. It is obvious that the end of the war must come soon, or the world will spiral into chaos.

The disowned General TBC is called to court a few days after he returns to the states. President Eternien, stubborn in his stand against TBC's refusal to follow orders, intends on a quick trial, but the US citizens do not agree. Overwhelming support for the man pours in, and he becomes a sort of patron saint to many. The media quickly circulate an excerpt from a letter he sent to General Zen before his trial:

"I am now but a disgraced general. On the things I've done, and many were not noble, I stand resolute. I acted not as a general of the US army, but as a man. This war is likely to turn the world to dust, and I will take no more part in aiding the destroyers of either side. I do not know what warfare of the next war will look like, but it seems destined to be fought with sticks and stones.

I care not what they do to me. I only hold hope in my heart that these men, they who so strongly wish to be crowned King of the Ashes, can put the world back together once the last bomb has dropped.

-General Titus TBC"

Approval ratings for President Eternien fall as support for TBC rises. Unlike Russia's first strike, the recent attacks are blamed squarely on the president for allowing this to happen; millions have died, yet Eternien continues the fight. For the first time, a pro-surrender movement gains traction in the US.

Eternien meets with his advisers on the 4th after receiving the Kornilov Telegram requesting a conference to resolve the issue of nuclear weapons. Of his closest advisers, the majority strongly suggest striking China in retaliation for the bombing of the Philippines. It would be seen as protective by the Filipinos, but as more useless destruction by the rest of the world. With majority support, Eternien approves striking against China. However, he receives a letter from General Zen imploring him to seek a different target. Hong Kong will be vital in the upcoming invasion of China, and a ruined city, covered by the little understood radiation caused by a nuclear bomb, would be of little use. The president agrees that a new target must be found.

The combat in Europe escalates as the end of the war nears. Despite the continuation with the nuclear plans, territory must be taken. In Sweden, the men push forward through frigid temperatures, wearing thick fur coats that do little against the arctic winds.

hWkvuoy.jpg


In Russia, the sweep west and north to capture those trapped in the remains of Hungary continues, but all priority is given to haste, rather than to caution. It is bloodier combat, but the lines move forward more quickly. In fact, the ruins of Moscow are taken on the 22nd of January. The shell of Red Square is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the city; the bomb detonated nearly directly above it by coincidence.

Ox6S0P6.jpg


The invasion of China will begin once 31 fresh divisions arrive from the East Coast. At that point, Indochina will be hit. Air superiority is necessary, and the Chinese still possess around 10 thousand planes. For the moment, the US Air Corps in Asia works at clearing the skies over the Indian Ocean to allow the invasion to happen without impediment. The South China Sea is also flooded with fighters, as to continue the diversion in the east. Hundreds of Chinese planes are shot down every day of the campaign.

ihGnBid.jpg

UQe9GJ2.jpg


The port city of Fujian is chosen as the next target of nuclear destruction. It is not as populated as other cities in China, but it houses the largest military base in the country. It also houses much of the Chinese Navy, which fled there to escape the US Navy.

ZziDiBO.jpg


Unlike the last strikes, an ultimatum is not sent to China. They are unaware of what is about to befall one of their cities. The bomber leaves one of the surviving airbases in the north of the Philippines and gets through the anti air it meets on the way to the city. It drops a 50kt nuclear bomb early in the morning, killing 150 thousand people, destroying 3 capital ships and 10 screens, and shocking the Chinese people.

8bmUV09.jpg


The news increases support for General TBC, and those who still clung to the notion that Eternien was would find a more civil end to the war turn on him. The February 2nd Dover Riots are the biggest in US history, and 100 thousand people take to the streets to show their displeasure at the administration.

In other parts of the country, more riots break out. Just like the Autumn Riots, production goes down on all military materials. On February 3rd, General TBC's trial begins.

Hungary is enveloped by mid February, and the pocket is created in the Ukraine. It is estimated that over a hundred thousand Stali troops are trapped behind our lines.

LtWWdCq.jpg


They surrender a few days later, all 150 thousand of them throwing their arms down. Another pocket of equal size is created to the east, and it too begins to close. The war has become a 1 front war for Russia once again, now that the Caucus and European lines have combined.

QJDmawu.jpg


Sweden falls on the 27th of February, as their temporary capital of Mikkeli is entered. The Stali Pact has been nearly completely ousted from Europe. The fall does little to sway Eternien's opposition to his side. The riots, which killed several dozen across the nation and caused millions in damages, have since become peaceful, albeit loud, protests in most major cities. Production is still down on military good, but the stockpiles should be able to hold out for a few months at least.

7xOEDA4.jpg

ABI3I9C.jpg

The Stali Pact

General TBC's trial takes place on Fort Verigan, just north of Dover. Constant protests take place outside the fort, and several national guard units arrive to ensure the base's safety. The next election is just months away, and it is doubtless that Eternien will lose. In an attempt to gain some favor from the people, he pardons General TBC publicly, removing all guilt from the man. TBC retires and returns to his family.

The Armies continue to push through the Russian lines, and by this point, there is little Russia can do to stop the flood of Anglo troops into the country.

On the 21st of March, General Zen launches the invasion of Indochina.

LoBdecR.jpg
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The disowned General TBC is called to court a few days after he returns to the states. President Eternien, stubborn in his stand against TBC's refusal to follow orders, intends on a quick trial, but the US citizens do not agree. Overwhelming support for the man pours in, and he becomes a sort of patron saint to many.

"It is an unusual thing to have fan mail in prison," TBC murmered as the morning guard brought his breakfast and papers. And a stack of letters from various unknowns.

"You wouldn't be the first in this prison sir," Charlie said, handing it all over.

"True, I suppose political prisoners are a different matter."

TBC frowned as he was left alone. The truth of the matter was, he had broken several laws and arguably commited treason in the past few weeks. If this was a military matter, he would have court martialed himself. But he wasn't on trial because of that, not really. From the papers and the sounds outside his cell window, it was fairly clear this was poltical grandstanding.

"I am now but a disgraced general. On the things I've done, and many were not noble, I stand resolute. I acted not as a general of the US army, but as a man. This war is likely to turn the world to dust, and I will take no more part in aiding the destroyers of either side. I do not know what warfare of the next war will look like, but it seems destined to be fought with sticks and stones.

I care not what they do to me. I only hold hope in my heart that these men, they who so strongly wish to be crowned King of the Ashes, can put the world back together once the last bomb has dropped.

-General Titus TBC"

"Another letter to the General, sir?"

"Yes Charlie. Hopefully he can make some dent in China before the president nukes them as well."

"They did bomb us first sir."

"Once Sweden falls, and it should if they're still following the battleplan we agreed upon, all Russia and China will have left is the bomb. Are we and they going to wipe out Europe and much of Asia out of spite?"

Charlie was quiet for a while. "There are...people around that want the war over and done with."

"I'm sure there are, but thst doesn't help us until election time in a few months. It may well be too late by then."

"Indeed sir, which is why my...friends and I want to spring you now so you can-"

"So I can what?" TBC interrupted sharply. "Come now Charlie. Either you're a governemnt agent with orders to shoot an escaping prisoner as soon as I leave the cell or you've been got at by one of those communist groups that's suddenly decided they like democracy quite a lot. Either way, the man in the outer office is one of Hoover's men who most certainly would like to shoot me if given the chance. So I shall be staying here I think."

"Alright sir. As you wish."

Approval ratings for President Eternien fall as support for TBC rises. Unlike Russia's first strike, the recent attacks are blamed squarely on the president for allowing this to happen; millions have died, yet Eternien continues the fight. For the first time, a pro-surrender movement gains traction in the US.

It was not the first escape attempt offered to the General but it was perhaps the most disquieting. The nation truly must be splitting apart if communists could attract miltiary officers into their ranks. It was not merely nuclear bombs the brave new world would have to face in peacetimes to come. It was also the disenfranchised of the world, the poor whom had seen their homes and families destroyed over national retoric and capitalist greed. If he was to do something to address one issue, he must try to aid the other as well.

The United States was no longer the country he recognised as a potential world leader. It could be again but time was not on humanity's side. This required an international movement all of its own. TBC's nose wrinkled as he was reminded of facist and communist claims of making a new world order. Well...the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

However, he receives a letter from General Zen imploring him to seek a different target. Hong Kong will be vital in the upcoming invasion of China, and a ruined city, covered by the little understood radiation caused by a nuclear bomb, would be of little use. The president agrees that a new target must be found.

Well at least he is sometimes capable of reason.

Unlike the last strikes, an ultimatum is not sent to China. They are unaware of what is about to befall one of their cities. The bomber leaves one of the surviving airbases in the north of the Philippines and gets through the anti air it meets on the way to the city. It drops a 50kt nuclear bomb early in the morning, killing 150 thousand people, destroying 3 capital ships and 10 screens, and shocking the Chinese people.

That is an astounding naval victory. In every other way, what a catastrophe. How on earth are we going to come to a nuclear agreement now?

The news increases support for General TBC, and those who still clung to the notion that Eternien was would find a more civil end to the war turn on him. The February 2nd Dover Riots are the biggest in US history, and 100 thousand people take to the streets to show their displeasure at the administration.

In other parts of the country, more riots break out. Just like the Autumn Riots, production goes down on all military materials. On February 3rd, General TBC's trial begins.

'It is a ridiculous time to be alive. The nation has gone nuts. We very nearly did not get to the fort due to the riots, and i expect the Western states may well be in open revolt. Who knows?

The trial began in a muted fashion considering the build up and press presence. The government's position had deteriorated to the point I was changed into an officer's uniform and my arm and leg braces were changed to simple handcuffs in the fort. In the actual court, I went unaided.

The next suprise at least for me was the Vice President in the audience. Meaning the tribunal had been briefed on how the government wished them to fall that very morning. Meaning the president has presumably just changed his mind...'

They surrender a few days later, all 150 thousand of them throwing their arms down. Another pocket of equal size is created to the east, and it too begins to close. The war has become a 1 front war for Russia once again, now that the Caucus and European lines have combined.

'In the recess, the midday paper reported the fall of Sweden in much the way we had planned for. Another feather in my cap, or another target to shoot at. Still, the Russians now have no answers but the bomb and even that will only ensure most of europe burns with them. There is no saving them now.'

Sweden falls on the 27th of February, as their temporary capital of Mikkeli is entered. The Stali Pact has been nearly completely ousted from Europe. The fall does little to sway Eternien's opposition to his side. The riots, which killed several dozen across the nation and caused millions in damages, have since become peaceful, albeit loud, protests in most major cities. Production is still down on military good, but the stockpiles should be able to hold out for a few months at least.

'The afternoon session was halted after 50 minutes. Rioters had broken the perimeter and the police and garrison were trying very hard not to shoot into the crowds.

God knows how the next government will solve all this.'

General TBC's trial takes place on Fort Verigan, just north of Dover. Constant protests take place outside the fort, and several national guard units arrive to ensure the base's safety.

'They brought in more troops this evening. It is frankly disturbing me and the men at this point to be under siege in our own country by our own countrymen. The garrison commander has floated the question of allowing me to address the crowd to attempt to pacify them...but in my own mind I am not sure if that would help.'

The next election is just months away, and it is doubtless that Eternien will lose. In an attempt to gain some favor from the people, he pardons General TBC publicly, removing all guilt from the man. TBC retires and returns to his family.

'The Vice-president handed me the waiver after the trial. I was free and cleared of all past and present wrongdoing. I kept my rank but not my command and I believe the man wished me to go away into the desert somewhere. I do not believe he knows of the Projects, otherwise it is doubtful they would have cleared me and kept me on as director.

I shall see my wife again and then I must leave for London. The Amercian Government just made a very grave mistake. And I need to marshal some aid.'

-General TBC
 

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As soldiers shouted orders and trucks full of supplies rolled around, preparing for the advance into Indochina, Phoenix sat in his tent, following the news coming from America, particularly his friend's fate.
The Stali Pact's double strike is a huge blow against the Anglo Alliance. The British citizens cry for the destruction of the Stali Pact, and there is already talk of independence coming from the Philippines. It is obvious that the end of the war must come soon, or the world will spiral into chaos.
Phoenix sympathized with the Britons' desire for vegeance. He would make sure they got it in China, but in a civilized manner. No looting and pillaging, and no nukes if possible. But with TBC and himself busy elsewhere, it might not be possible to avoid another strike.
The disowned General TBC is called to court a few days after he returns to the states. President Eternien, stubborn in his stand against TBC's refusal to follow orders, intends on a quick trial, but the US citizens do not agree. Overwhelming support for the man pours in, and he becomes a sort of patron saint to many
As the trial began, Phoenix's only regret was that he wasn't able to be there for TBC, or at least be among the protesters. If it was any consolation, Ellie had written an editorial criticizing Eternien's nuclear policy and planned to organize a protest at the White House, though she couldn't be openly pro-TBC.
"I am now but a disgraced general. On the things I've done, and many were not noble, I stand resolute. I acted not as a general of the US army, but as a man. This war is likely to turn the world to dust, and I will take no more part in aiding the destroyers of either side. I do not know what warfare of the next war will look like, but it seems destined to be fought with sticks and stones.

I care not what they do to me. I only hold hope in my heart that these men, they who so strongly wish to be crowned King of the Ashes, can put the world back together once the last bomb has dropped.

-General Titus TBC"
Phoenix read TBC's letter and sighed. That younger man always had a heroic streak going for him. It reminded Phoenix a lot of himself during the Great War. He wrote back, telling him he had to keep up the fight. The future of the world depended on it.
Approval ratings for President Eternien fall as support for TBC rises. Unlike Russia's first strike, the recent attacks are blamed squarely on the president for allowing this to happen; millions have died, yet Eternien continues the fight. For the first time, a pro-surrender movement gains traction in the US.
Eternien's approval ratings continued to plummet. Phoenix wondered how long it would take for the man to get the hint. Surely he was going to save himself and his career, was he? Or was he like Phoenix and TBC, wanting to carve his name into the annals of history, destruction of the world be damned?

Phoenix didn't know how to feel about the pro-surrender movement. He wanted to finish this war with an American victory, yet he didn't want more bombs dropped. Surrendering at this time would only hand their enemies the victory they wanted. And then they would fight again in the future.
It was not the first escape attempt offered to the General but it was perhaps the most disquieting. The nation truly must be splitting apart if communists could attract miltiary officers into their ranks. It was not merely nuclear bombs the brave new world would have to face in peacetimes to come. It was also the disenfranchised of the world, the poor whom had seen their homes and families destroyed over national retoric and capitalist greed. If he was to do something to address one issue, he must try to aid the other as well.

The United States was no longer the country he recognised as a potential world leader. It could be again but time was not on humanity's side. This required an international movement all of its own. TBC's nose wrinkled as he was reminded of facist and communist claims of making a new world order. Well...the road to hell was paved with good intentions.
Phoenix himself had been approached by communists and even a few fascists while camped outside Calcutta. He easily saw through their intentions and sent them away. The most radical ones he handed over to military police. He couldn't have them subverting his troops and causing problems just before the invasion.
Eternien meets with his advisers on the 4th after receiving the Kornilov Telegram requesting a conference to resolve the issue of nuclear weapons. Of his closest advisers, the majority strongly suggest striking China in retaliation for the bombing of the Philippines. It would be seen as protective by the Filipinos, but as more useless destruction by the rest of the world. With majority support, Eternien approves striking against China. However, he receives a letter from General Zen imploring him to seek a different target. Hong Kong will be vital in the upcoming invasion of China, and a ruined city, covered by the little understood radiation caused by a nuclear bomb, would be of little use. The president agrees that a new target must be found.
Well at least he is sometimes capable of reason.
Phoenix was dismayed Eternien was so determined to drop another bomb, but he did spare Hong Kong. That would come at the cost of another city, though. At least he could choose a military target which wouldn't affect his invasion's supply lines.
The combat in Europe escalates as the end of the war nears. Despite the continuation with the nuclear plans, territory must be taken. In Sweden, the men push forward through frigid temperatures, wearing thick fur coats that do little against the arctic winds.
After the fall of Eretna, Peter Zen and his men were deployed to Sweden. He wrote constantly to his father, talking about the harsh wintry conditions as they hiked and skied cross-country across the Scandinavian countryside. But he did not doubt the importance of his campaign for one moment, declaring he would free Sweden's people from Russia's grip.
The invasion of China will begin once 31 fresh divisions arrive from the East Coast. At that point, Indochina will be hit. Air superiority is necessary, and the Chinese still possess around 10 thousand planes. For the moment, the US Air Corps in Asia works at clearing the skies over the Indian Ocean to allow the invasion to happen without impediment. The South China Sea is also flooded with fighters, as to continue the diversion in the east. Hundreds of Chinese planes are shot down every day of the campaign.
Phoenix doubted the estimate of China's air force still fielding ten thousand planes, but he didn't doubt there were many of them. That meant he needed more troops and more planes to counter them. Every night, he heard the roar of plane engines coming from the ocean, accompanied by bursts of light from gunfire and explosions.
The port city of Fujian is chosen as the next target of nuclear destruction. It is not as populated as other cities in China, but it houses the largest military base in the country. It also houses much of the Chinese Navy, which fled there to escape the US Navy.
The Joint Chiefs informed Phoenix of the plan to nuke Fujian. It was a primarily military target, but there was still a large civilian population. Knowing Eternien would just find another city to destroy, Phoenix said nothing. A decision wouldn't have made any difference anyways.
Unlike the last strikes, an ultimatum is not sent to China. They are unaware of what is about to befall one of their cities. The bomber leaves one of the surviving airbases in the north of the Philippines and gets through the anti air it meets on the way to the city. It drops a 50kt nuclear bomb early in the morning, killing 150 thousand people, destroying 3 capital ships and 10 screens, and shocking the Chinese people.
That is an astounding naval victory. In every other way, what a catastrophe. How on earth are we going to come to a nuclear agreement now?
At least some good came out of this terrible attack. Phoenix wouldn't have to deal with the Chinese navy now.
The news increases support for General TBC, and those who still clung to the notion that Eternien was would find a more civil end to the war turn on him. The February 2nd Dover Riots are the biggest in US history, and 100 thousand people take to the streets to show their displeasure at the administration.
Phoenix read more about the riots taking place in Dover. Eternien still didn't get the hint, did he?
In other parts of the country, more riots break out. Just like the Autumn Riots, production goes down on all military materials. On February 3rd, General TBC's trial begins.
As the trials began and the riots intensified, Phoenix prepared for the invasion. He hoped TBC would be justified.
Sweden falls on the 27th of February, as their temporary capital of Mikkeli is entered. The Stali Pact has been nearly completely ousted from Europe. The fall does little to sway Eternien's opposition to his side. The riots, which killed several dozen across the nation and caused millions in damages, have since become peaceful, albeit loud, protests in most major cities. Production is still down on military good, but the stockpiles should be able to hold out for a few months at least.
Peter Zen wrote from Mikkeli shortly after the fall. He proudly declared he had pushed the Stali Pact out of Europe, at least most of it. He was also concerned about his mother's safety back at home. Phoenix assured him Ellie was fine.
General TBC's trial takes place on Fort Verigan, just north of Dover. Constant protests take place outside the fort, and several national guard units arrive to ensure the base's safety. The next election is just months away, and it is doubtless that Eternien will lose. In an attempt to gain some favor from the people, he pardons General TBC publicly, removing all guilt from the man. TBC retires and returns to his family.
While Phoenix was glad TBC was pardoned, he knew Eternien's days were numbered. He sent a letter to TBC, congratulating him on his victory.

I will be heading into Indochina soon. This may be the last time I send a letter. Although we've won a great victory here, you must keep up the fight. Stop this senseless destruction before we all die. You are a good man. The people respect you. They need you to lead them. Not in a revolution, but in changing how we think. Reform of this system so we can build a just society for all, free from the terrors of the bomb.

Illegitimati non carborundum.
-Phoenix

He wasn't sure if TBC received his letter.
On the 21st of March, General Zen launches the invasion of Indochina.
As soon as he sent his letter, he packed up his stuff. The camp was vacated soon afterward. He and his troops got in their trucks and tanks and set off for Indochina and destiny.
 

TheButterflyComposer

The Dark Lord Kelebek
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As the trial began, Phoenix's only regret was that he wasn't able to be there for TBC, or at least be among the protesters. If it was any consolation, Ellie had written an editorial criticizing Eternien's nuclear policy and planned to organize a protest at the White House, though she couldn't be openly pro-TBC.

Ellie continued to amuse TBC and embarras the government. Her column had developed a huge following in the western states that were already sore on their local man being imprisoned by Dover.

Phoenix read TBC's letter and sighed. That younger man always had a heroic streak going for him. It reminded Phoenix a lot of himself during the Great War. He wrote back, telling him he had to keep up the fight

Eternien's approval ratings continued to plummet. Phoenix wondered how long it would take for the man to get the hint. Surely he was going to save himself and his career, was he? Or was he like Phoenix and TBC, wanting to carve his name into the annals of history, destruction of the world be damned?

Phoenix didn't know how to feel about the pro-surrender movement. He wanted to finish this war with an American victory, yet he didn't want more bombs dropped. Surrendering at this time would only hand their enemies the victory they wanted. And then they would fight again in the future.

They had discussed this idea before the begining of the war with Russia. One of the issues of Great Wars was that their great destruction demanded great recompence. Unfortunatly, that fostered such animosity and hatred that further conflict was inevitable. This time, the war must be conclusively decided, and then the peace must be won in one.

Phoenix himself had been approached by communists and even a few fascists while camped outside Calcutta. He easily saw through their intentions and sent them away. The most radical ones he handed over to military police. He couldn't have them subverting his troops and causing problems just before the invasion.

'It causes me great anxiety,' TBC wrote, 'of the power of communism. For it promises the earth in a way not even democracy can. All men and women as one, all as rich as each other and all under one rule or law and morale code. But...yet, my experiences with the bomb have shown power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that kind of power is required to set up such a state. It is thus required that democratic nations institute reforms for the working classes that enfranchise them. That raise them up into decent conditions and prospects. The world of the capitalist is rich, but what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? It is not merely a matter of Christian charity but a core foundation of our nation, and all good national beliefs: the right to pursue happiness and be fed, housed and protected.

We must rebuild Europe but we must also rebuild this Union and our neighbours we have destroyed. Justice demands it.'

Phoenix read more about the riots taking place in Dover. Eternien still didn't get the hint, did he?

Apparently not but it isn't like many real presidents resigned...

While Phoenix was glad TBC was pardoned, he knew Eternien's days were numbered. He sent a letter to TBC, congratulating him on his victory.

I will be heading into Indochina soon. This may be the last time I send a letter. Although we've won a great victory here, you must keep up the fight. Stop this senseless destruction before we all die. You are a good man. The people respect you. They need you to lead them. Not in a revolution, but in changing how we think. Reform of this system so we can build a just society for all, free from the terrors of the bomb. Illegitimati non carborundum. -Phoenix.

As soon as he sent his letter, he packed up his stuff. The camp was vacated soon afterward. He and his troops got in their trucks and tanks and set off for Indochina and destiny.

It was a tall order but nothing he wasn't planning on doing anyway. He'd go to London and all the great Allied cities. He'd talk of a wise peace, and a new era of democracy, civil and social rights, a rebuilding of the world and national economics and a new international treaty for, at the very least, nuclear control and probably every other terrible weapon he had created in the last few years. And hey, if they needed this treaty for these weapons, why not use it for other things as well? A protection for democracy around the world that was not inherently a political alliance or empire.

Hm...there was much to be done. For now, all he had to do was implant the idea. Others and better people could then turn it into reality.
 

Sancronis

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It's a shame nukes happened this late as China/Russia won't get the chance to return them to Britain or the US. Still, fiery nuclear annihilation will be fun to watch.