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Posted on Oct 23, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 23] – Forget the Alamo

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

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Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. Although his secret island base has seemingly been destroyed, the Doctor still plots to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

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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. Narrowly escaped the apparent destruction of Sinister Island with his lord and master.

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EPISODE 23 – "Forget the Alamo"

It is night. The crescent of a rising Moon shines lazily through wispy clouds, the dim light only partially illuminating the countryside below, a mixture of scrubland and desert terrain. Off in the distance, bright streetlights criss-cross through a sleepy sprawling city.

A sudden thunderous crash breaks the silence of the night and the Moon is temporarily obscured by a large black shape hurtling through the sky, heading for the distant houses. As the object screams though the air, the sound it generates becomes more strained, before cutting out completely with a final shriek, and then silence. Flipping over onto its back, the shape waggles back and forth to achieve level flight the right way up. Now gliding, the black object struggles to maintain altitude as it wobbles to and fro, and then plummets to the ground, its pointed nose aimed for the centre of the city.

There is a massive explosion as the object hits the ground in an enormous ball of flame.

Several moments later, two parachutes glide gracefully back to earth and land in the middle of a school playing field. As the two figures hurriedly remove their parachutes and check their attached baggage, the distant sky is lit up with roaring flames from the crash as a plume of thick black smoke trails into the air for several miles…

General Menace: That was a close shave my Lord.

Doctor Sinister: You’re telling me, it’s a pity really, a few more minutes and I’m sure we’d have found a suitable filling station.

Supremacy, I’ve tried telling you before, the Aurora doesn’t exactly take regular gasoline. By rights, we should have thanked our lucky stars we had enough to get to Vegas, it was risky taking off from there again. I think it was only our phenomenal speed that allowed us to get as far as we did.

But my logic was sound General – if we can’t find a suitable fuel in Texas, we won’t find it anywhere. They have lots of oil here in Texas you know. (Inspects the briefcase in his hand) And we weren’t exactly short of cash to fill up the tank. (Looks around) Assuming we’ve made it as far as Texas.

(Pulls out a miniature GPS device from his tunic) Yes, we’ve definitely made it to Texas. And I don’t doubt that this is the right place to look for oil, but if I may say, I don’t think you’d have found an Aurora filling station anywhere outside Area 51.

It’s kind of a moot point now anyway, since you crashed the thing.

Me? But?

Never mind General, we all make mistakes, I won’t hold it against you. Are the cats OK?

(Peeks inside the plastic crate hanging from his neck, from which issues a loud hiss and growl) A little bit shell-shocked my Lord, but otherwise unharmed it seems. (Under his breath) More’s the pity. (Louder) I still say it was a mistake to let them out inside the cockpit.

They needed to stretch their legs, stop complaining.

But they clawed me half to death, and I was rather concentrating on trying to fly without any fuel.

Enough excuses General. (Sound of distant sirens) Anyway, we have more important things to worry about. Where are we exactly?

The GPS says we’re in San Antonio.

Damn, no doubt some small out of the way little hick village with limited contact with the outside world…

Actually, it’s the second most populated city in Texas. With the cash we made in Vegas, I’m sure we’ll be back on our feet in no time.

Oh, not so bad then. OK General, let’s get out of here, lead on!

* * *

(An hour later, the two figures trudge wearily along a dark, quiet street)

It’s like I said my Lord, Hotels don’t take bookings at this time of the day. And I’m not so sure we want to be showing our faces anyway, not with the Police crawling all over the city.

Well we need to find somewhere to sleep, right now I’ll settle for anything. (The two men come to a road junction) Like this iron gate for example. It’s well secured. Must be something interesting behind it. (The Doctor removes a finger from his robotic left hand and reveals a set of skeleton keys hidden inside) Hang on a minute, I’ll just spring the lock… (The gate opens) Come on, I’ve found us a place to stay, let’s go in…

(On the other side of the gate are some immaculately manicured gardens and flower beds. In the distance, rising from the gloom, an old stone building can be seen)

Oh my…

Come on General, we’ll hole up in that building for the night, this way…

But…

No buts, it might be a bit old, but it sure beats staying out in the open…

(Doctor Sinister heads off, followed by a protesting General…)

* * *

(Three hours later, General Menace stands staring out of an old stone window frame as the first fingers of sunlight creep across the wide Texas sky. Studying his GPS device for the tenth time, he gently exhales before heading back to the sleeping form of Doctor Sinister curled up in a ball in the corner of the room)

My Lord, your Excellency, you must wake up.

(Mumbling…still asleep) No Mother, I’m not doing anything naughty in here…honest…

Sagacity, I really must impress upon you the urgency of the situation, please wake up…

(Still mumbling, but now half asleep) No Father, I cannot tell a lie, it was not I who chopped down that cherry tree, it was someone else…

Oh for goodness sake. My Lord, the Police are outside!

(Awakes with a start) What?

Yes, we’re surrounded by the Police, they seem to be combing the city, they’re everywhere. They’re undoubtedly looking for us following the plane crash.

Then we should get out of here!

We can’t, I’ve scouted the entire complex, there are only five ways in or out and the Police have them all secured. I’m not sure if they know we’re actually in here or if they just happen to be in the area, but there’s no way we can make a run for it.

Curses…

And that’s not all your Superiousness, I know where we are.

You told me that already, San Antonio, Texas…

Yes, but I know precisely where we are. We’re inside the old church that formed a part of the Alamo Mission.

The Alamo? That sounds familiar.

It should my Lord.

Oh yes, I remember, it was the name of my local Cinema when I grew up.

Well…

Oh, and you can rent cars from Alamo too. So this is a car rental firm eh? Interesting…

No, that’s not it. The Alamo was the site of a famous battle in 1836 between the forces of Mexico and the Republic of Texas. Approximately 187 men were holed up in this complex whilst 5,000 Mexican soldiers surrounded the buildings. Have you ever heard of Davy Crockett?

Can’t say that I have. Except, hang on, didn’t he wear a famous hat?

Erm…

Yes, that was it, famous hat maker. Got in trouble with activists for using real fur. I’m sure that was the chap.

Not quite my lord, he was an American folk hero, he died defending the Alamo along with Bowie.

David Bowie? The famous singer? He’s dead? Why didn’t anyone tell me? Space Oddity is my favourite… "Ground control to Major Tom"…classic.

No your Supremacy, Jim Bowie. An 19th century soldier.

Not the man who sang Starman?

No. Famous for inventing a type of knife though.

I see. Disappointing, in a way. David Bowie I can relate to, someone with a fancy knife, not so much. These celebrity chefs get everywhere…

(Confused) Erm… Anyway, Crockett and Bowie were among the defenders of the Alamo. They held out for thirteen days.

So, let me get this straight, these two chaps were completely surrounded, with thousands of men outside baying for their blood.

Precisely that sir.

And now, we’re trapped in here in an identical situation in the same place?

Well…

But this is great! We can recreate the old battle and sweep aside our enemies and escape to victory!

Ah…

Picture the scene General, we eliminate everyone in the area, just like Crockett and Bowie, and become the most famous men on the planet for battling and succeeding against all the odds – just like those valiant defenders all those years ago.

But…

I knew there was a reason I chose this building to hide in, it was serendipity! We’re going to recreate history!

Your Superiousness, I must intercede at this point, as I mentioned earlier, Crockett and Bowie died during the defence of the Alamo. As I was saying, they held out for thirteen days before the Mexican Army assaulted and overwhelmed them, most of the defenders died.

Oh that’s just terrific. You know, I really don’t know why I employ you, you bring me to this Godforsaken country, where they don’t even make a decent cup of tea and give me constant lectures on the history of your people, and then drag me without so much as a by your leave into this cold, damp and dusty museum just so we can get caught and no doubt tortured by the local authorities…

Hang on a minute, it was you who decided to crack the lock on the gate, don’t blame me for all of this…

General, you’re fired, I’ve just about had enough of your utter, utter incompetence. You can’t even fly properly, I don’t know why I ever hooked up with you in the first place.

But…

But me no buts, give me that briefcase. (General Menace hands over the briefcase propped up against the wall and Doctor Sinister opens it) There, take it, three million dollars, representing your back pay and your share of the winnings from Vegas. Now get out of my way, I’m leaving.

(General Menace watches, aghast, as Doctor Sinister, struggling with the cat crate and the briefcase, heads towards the door)

My Lord, your Excellency, please, I beg of you, don’t go out that door…

(Doctor Sinister opens the door to see a startled Policeman on the other side, who was just about to knock. Doctor Sinister swiftly closes the door again)

General, you’re rehired. Just get me out of here.

With pleasure, leave it to me Sir.

* * *

(Half an hour later, Doctor Sinister and General Menace are leaving San Antonio with the General at the wheel of a Police cruiser)

Thanks once again General. Sorry for firing you back there, I promise I’ll make it up to you.

No worries my Lord, I understand the pressures of command. I’m surprised my scheme for escape went as well as it did though.

Me too, if only that Cop had known how much more money we had in the case.

Three million dollars seems like a small price to pay for our freedom, and he was kind enough to throw the car in as well. Although I could have bought a lot of cigars with that kind of money…

It just goes to show, a bit of lateral thinking can work wonders. You see, if Crockett and Bowie had adopted my plan and paid off the Mexicans, they could have got away scot free and won their revolution.

Your plan? Can I just say…oh, never mind. Besides which, the Texans won their revolution at the end anyway, despite the outcome of the Battle of the Alamo. Later that year, General Sam Houston led the Texas Army to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Yes, but, just think of the hassle they could have saved themselves if they’d simply given the Mexican Army a truckload of cash, you see? Easy.

With respect my Lord, I don’t see honourable men like Crockett and Bowie going down that route.

Maybe not, after all, not everyone can be a genius like myself.

No, my Lord…

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Where will our two heroes turn up next?

Will Doctor Sinister and General Menace ever get over their personal issues?

And what is the penalty for impersonating a State Trooper in Texas?

Find out in the next exhilarating episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill & Jim 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.

Visit the Incorrect HQ for more episodes!

The Alamo – Official Website for visitors

Battle of the Alamo on Wikipedia

Alamo Rent-A-Car

David Bowie – Official Website

Boone & Crockett Cigar Bands – Up-in-Smoke Cigar Band Museum

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