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Posted on Dec 4, 2005 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 13] – It’ll All Be Over By Christmas

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

Doctor Sinister

Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. From his secret island base, the Doctor plans to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars.

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EPISODE 13 – “It’ll All Be Over By Christmas”

It is dusk on Sinister Island. Twinkling multi-coloured lights adorn the entrance to the Sinister Imperial Command Complex as General Menace strides up the steps to the sound of "Silent Night" being softly and expertly sung by the ubiquitous Guards on the door. Despite the flashing Santa hats on their heads, the General is pleased to see that the Guards on the door are immaculately turned out as they stop their singing and snap to attention at the mere sight of him. The General briefly puzzles about when his soldiers might have had the time for singing lessons and then, on a whim, he decides to inspect their weapons, and is pleased to see that their multi-phase Plasma Rifles are perfectly clean and well-maintained, with full charges on the magazines.

As the General strolls through the base, the soldiers who pass him return perfect salutes, and also wear totally spotless regulation uniforms and Santa hats. The entire appearance is one of super-efficiency and decorum.

Proceeding deeper into the base, the sound of gaudy Christmas Carols blare out from the tannoy system.

Five minutes later, in the War Room…

Doctor Sinister: Welcome General! And a very Merry Christmas to you! I’m glad you could make it over here so quickly.

General Menace: I say…

(The General is rendered speechless, for the entire War Room has been transformed with an enormous banqueting table laid out in the centre. Armed guards lurk discreetly in the corners whilst servants rush to and fro with steaming tureens of soup, bowls of hot potatoes, meat and vegetables. A veritable army of Butlers is on standby in the shadows supplying seemingly endless bottles of wine and champagne. Seated at the table, Doctor Sinister’s entire entourage of senior officials, scientists, dinosaur tamers, Ambassadors, secret agents, military personnel and advisors are already tucking in to their starters, Dodo meat in an Orchid leaf salad. The General takes his honoured position at one end of the massive table, opposite Doctor Sinister himself who sits at the other end in an ornately plush throne like chair.)

And a very Merry Christmas to you of course your Excellency, and thank you for the invitation to your Christmas dinner, although I must confess that I am a little confused as to why we are celebrating so early? It is only the fourth of December.

I’m sorry General, did you say something? (The general hubbub of conversation around the table is gradually increasing in volume in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol being consumed.)

Yes my Lord, I was wondering why we were celebrating Christmas so early? (General Menace suddenly sits bolt upright as he feels a hand caress his leg. He looks to his left to see Harmony, Doctor Sinister’s Secretary, who has suddenly and quietly sat very close to him, trying to look casual and aloof. She is clearly the worse for drink and is dressed in a tiny tight Santa outfit courtesy of Victoria’s Secret.)

I’m sorry General, I can see your lips moving but I can’t quite hear you.

(Stands and shouts. He is grateful for the excuse to remove the stray hand from his leg.)

My Lord, that’s probably because this table is one-hundred and fifty feet long and there are two hundred people in between us! Should I move closer?!

No need for that, I’ll give you a ring.

(General Menace suddenly notices that his cellphone is vibrating. He sits down and answers it.) Hello?

It’s me! (Doctor Sinister is holding his robotic hand containing built-in cellphone to his ear and waves at the General from the other end of the table with his normal hand.)

Ah, my Lord, yes that’s much better.  (General Menace feels the return of the hand on his leg, and he swiftly slaps it away. Harmony stares at him hurtfully through bloodshot eyes.)

Excellent. Well then, cheers General, to your good health and eternal life! (The Doctor raises a glass of bubbling green liquid and General Menace does likewise, but with somewhat less enthusiasm.)

Well, I’ll give it a go, but the last time I tried one of these formulas I was in the Hospital wing for a month.

No worries there my friend, the exact mix has been perfected, one glass of that a day and you’ll live forever! (Doctor Sinister swigs his glass down in one and wipes the green foam from his lips. Imperceptibly, General Menace pretends to drink, and as soon as he is able, he deftly pours the liquid on the floor. Harmony sees this and is about to say something until the General glares at her. She returns her attention to her glass of Eggnog and Champagne.)

Your Majesty, as grateful as I am for this incredible array of food and wine, might I be impertinent enough to repeat my question. Why are we celebrating Christmas Day on December the fourth?

General, I see you are as impatient as ever. Would it surprise you to learn that it’s related to one of my grand schemes for world domination?

Well, frankly no, but my Lord, I still don’t see the connection.

(Unseen by General Menace, a Siamese cat slowly creeps up to the small puddle of bubbling green goo on the floor and begins to lick at it voraciously.)

Well General, it occurred to me that only the other day you were giving me some kind of report-thing about the readiness of your troops?

Yes your Excellency, I am pleased to advise that my troops are in the best shape they’ve ever been. We’ve spent months weeding the wheat from the chaff and we finally have an Army worthy of the name. We’ve been training, exercising, cleaning, drilling, teaching, and marching up and down the square. Considering what I had to start with, I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved.

(The Siamese cat suddenly stops licking the goo from the floor and turns an alarming shade of purple before crawling away in a zig-zag line making a strange choking noise.)

Fantastic General. Then let me show you something.

(There is a loud whirring noise and the conversation around the table abruptly stops as one entire wall of the War Room slides open to reveal a one-hundred foot high illuminated map of the world. A small red X signifies the location of Sinister Island, and yellow circles indicate all the capital cities on the globe. There is a collective gasp from the assembled throng.)

Impressive my Lord, That explains the order for three tons of Lite-Brite pegs last month.

(Doctor Sinister rises to his feet, ending the cellphone connection, which is no longer necessary as there is complete silence whilst everyone stares at him in awe.)

General, it’s time to make use of our new super-efficient Army. You see before you all of the capitals of the world. I have decided to launch a massive Christmas offensive on Christmas Day itself and simultaneously invade every world capital, with the view of forcing all of the world leaders to accept my rule and proclaim me Emperor of the entire planet!

(There is a thunderous round of applause.)

Yes my friends, no-one in the world will be ready for an invasion on Christmas Day, they will all be too busy eating turkey and cranberry sauce. I sometimes astound myself with my own genius, I’m surprised no-one has thought of this before. And because we are going to be busy on December the 25th, I have decided we should celebrate the festivities today. This war will be, quite literally, over by Christmas!!

(There is another unprompted round of applause from the assembled masses and cries of "brilliant!" and "superb!" from some.)

Ahem.

Sorry General, did you say something?

Yes my Lord, I said "ahem".

And why would you say a thing like that?

Because it’s never going to work. With all due respect, do you really think that the world’s defences are down on Christmas Day? Ignoring the fact that there are plenty of nations out there which don’t celebrate the Christmas festivities, there are many thousands of servicemen and women who go about their normal duties on Christmas Day, there are the Naval crews out to sea, the Air Force pilots ready to fly at a moment’s notice, RADAR crews monitoring the skies, troops on the ground patrolling the trouble-spots of the world, the list goes on…those who serve never let their guard drop for a moment.

(There are muted sounds of mumbling from the crowd, but it is swiftly silenced as General Menace whirls around and glares at the assemblage. Some of them look back and forth from Doctor Sinister to the General, clearly confused as to whom they should be listening. In one corner, the Siamese cat is violently sick before turning orange.)

But you told me your troops were in the best shape they’d ever been.

I did indeed, but we don’t have the manpower to launch an operation like this. Even if there were to be no resistance to our attempts at invasion, I don’t have the numbers required to invade every world capital all at once.

OK then, how about we leave out some of the smaller countries? Mop them up later. Could we end this by Christmas if we did that?

Sir, as much as I respect your wishes that the war be over by Christmas, it’s an oft-repeated phrase that has come down through the centuries. Citizens of Europe in both World Wars, on both sides, happily predicted at the outbreak of hostilities that it would indeed "be over by Christmas", but they would see many years of bloody fighting before their respective wars did indeed end. And despite occasional stories such as the Christmas Day truce in World War I when English and German soldiers played football between the trenches, the facts are that war usually continues in just as brutal a fashion on Christmas Day as any other day. There’s no chance that the world will drop its guard so we can launch an invasion on Christmas Day, I’m sorry, that’s just how it is.

(There is a lengthy silence, interrupted only by the distant howl of a bright red Siamese cat gurgling blue bile onto a pile of boxes.)

I see. Then you leave me with no other option.

(Slightly fearful.) My Lord?

(To the nervous seated guests.) Yes. Let the festivities continue! And we’ll have another meal on Christmas Day seeing as we’ve got nothing better to do. General, you’re with me…

(As the party returns to its previous level of noise, the two men head to one corner of the chamber where a large Christmas tree stands, decorated with candy canes and chem-lights. Gifts are piled high around the tree and Doctor Sinister picks one of the small ones up from the pile and passes it to the General.)

Merry Christmas General.

(General Menace slowly opens the parcel to see…)

Cuban Cigars! Three dozen of them!

I heard a rumour from some of your staff that you liked Cigars. I trust these will suffice. Why didn’t you tell me? I could have got you some ages ago.

They are perfect. Although…they appear to be soaked in something resembling blue cat vomit.

Really? Oh dear. Well that explains where my cat Fox has got to. I’m sorry about that…

It’s no bother. It’s the thought that counts. Thank you my Lord. And I have something for you too. (General Menace removes a tiny package from his tunic pocket and passes it to his master. Doctor Sinister opens it to reveal…)

A Mark Two Uridium 238-AX targeting sensor for the orbital laser cannon! How on Earth did you guess General? It’s just what I always wanted!!

Merry Christmas my Lord.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers!

radioactive.jpg

A J Summersgill and Jim H. Moreno

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

If you want to talk more sensibly about military history from any era, don’t forget to visit the ACG Forums.

BBC – Christmas Under Fire

Imperial War Museum – Christmas at War

W. Thomas Smith Jr. – Christmas Eve Combat

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon

Lite-Brite by Hasbro

Flirt Catalogue 2005

Visit the Incorrect HQ for more episodes!

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