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Posted on Oct 9, 2005 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 11] – Bombs Away

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 11 – “Bombs Away”

The polished black floor tiles of the Sinister Imperial Command Complex seem to stretch on through miles and miles of dark corridor as General Menace strolls through the massive underground base. Apart from the sharp noises of his heels snapping on the floor, the only other sound to be heard is the gentle hum of the air conditioning from the vast life-support machinery deep below.

After descending a few levels, the General passes various doors, some bearing alarming signs warning of various types of nasty death should they be entered, some sealed up completely, failed experiments contained within the rooms behind. Muffled screams can be heard from some of the sealed doors, cries for help or muted roars of hideous monsters.

As the General descends deeper, he passes the occasional guard overseeing the most sensitive areas of the base, snapping to attention as they see him. Eventually the General reaches a huge lobby area containing a large security desk, several armed guards and a retina scanner. Passing through the checks, General Menace enters a massive elevator, which also contains its own guard.

Five minutes later in the Inner Sanctum…

General: Hello? Anyone home?

(There is no reply, only the sound of martial music blaring out from a distant room gives any sign of anyone being present. The General proceeds into the next chamber and is stopped in his tracks at the sight of a Siamese cat sitting on the floor preening itself. It stares at him accusingly with piercing blue eyes before picking something from the floor and running away. Venturing further in, the General finds Doctor Sinister on the floor attempting to glue together a model of HMS Victory, he seems to be trying to pry something from his hand)

Ahem.

(Doctor Sinister continues working on his model, shaking his left arm vigorously)

Sir? I was wondering if you had a few moments?

Doctor Sinister: Ah! General! Good to see you, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. Have you seen a cat anywhere?

My apologies for barging in my Lord, however… Actually yes, I did see a cat, it had something in its mouth.

Yes, that would be Fox. He’s stolen my solvent. Your arrival is perfect timing as ever General, I appear to have accidentally glued the mainmast of this ship to my robotic hand and now the cat’s run off. Can you….?

Erm, of course Sir, however…as I was saying…

(General Menace grabs hold of the offending model piece and attempts to wrench it from his master’s hand)

Carry on.

Well, it’s your latest requisition order Sir, Harmony, your Secretary had me look it over as she was confused. I’ve taken a look myself and, frankly, I’m confused as well.

(The two men tussle on the floor, trying to unglue the Doctor’s fingers)

What’s the problem with it? Dammit, this isn’t working. How about you try and pull it the other way?

(Doctor Sinister’s mast is now well and truly stuck to his hand)

Errr, OK. Anyway Sir, we’re confused about item 374.

The cat food?

No Sir, that’s item 372. I’m well aware of your fondness for your feline friends, although how they are going to get through ten tons of Premium KatChunks in a month is beyond me…

So what’s item 374?

An order for eight hundred vacuum cleaners, to be issued to the newly formed Upright Battalion? Hang on, I’ve got it…

(There is a loud snapping noise as the glued piece finally comes free)

Oh thanks for that. Item 374 you say? Ah yes, that’s connected to item 86.

My Lord, item 86 is an order for three thousand cluster bomb munitions. Erm…oh dear, I seem to have pulled one of your fingers off.

Cluster bombs, that’s right. Oh, so you have. Hang on, let me get to the phone.

Sir, perhaps I am missing something, but what do vacuum cleaners have to do with cluster bombs?

(Doctor Sinister picks up the telephone on his desk)

Harmony. Yes it’s me. Doctor Sinister. Your Boss. Yes, the one with the eyepatch. Get me the Cybernetics Department please. Tell them it’s urgent.

(Doctor Sinister tries to hangs up the ‘phone but it’s stuck to his hand. He looks back to the General)

I’m not having a very good day.

No my Lord.

Anyway General, it’s quite simple, the vacuum cleaners will be used to clean up after the carpet bombing.

Oh…my…Sir, do you mind if I take a seat?

Please do.

(Doctor Sinister smashes the handset on the desk until it breaks free, taking another robotic finger with it)

Sir, when we talk about carpet bombing, we don’t literally mean carpets.

We don’t?

No Sir, Who told you we did?

Clive in the munitions depot.

I think he’s been pulling your leg Sir. Carpet bombing is a term used to refer to high-altitude intensive bombing of a target or a piece of land, the intent being to totally obliterate the region. It doesn’t refer to floor coverings. The first target to be area-bombed in such a way was Guernica in Spain during their Civil War. A few years later during World War II, London was subjected to massive bombing raids with entire districts plastered with high explosive or incendiary bombs. The American and British air forces inflicted wholesale destruction of some entire German cities in the later stages of the war including the infamous firestorm that destroyed Dresden. And then more recently carpet bombing came to the forefront again during the Vietnam war. Most recently, B-52 bombers were used to attack the Iraqi National Guard during the first Gulf War.

(Doctor Sinister picks up the shattered remains of the telephone again)

Harmony. It’s me again. Yes I know I keep ringing you but you’re my Secretary, that’s your job. Get onto the Imperial Guard and tell them to head out to the munitions depot – I want that chap Clive arrested and brought to me immediately. Yes, I’m the guy with the eyepatch. Oh, and one more thing, get me a new telephone.

(Doctor Sinister hangs up again)

Sir, did you have quite a long conversation with Clive?

I may have done. Why?

Sagacity, item 432 on your list is an order for six tons of Paintballs with smiley faces on them. I hesitate to ask why…

That’s for the friendly fire.

Right. I think we need another little chat about that one then.

Any more?

Item 38 – collateral cleaning kits. What are they?

For cleaning up collateral damage naturally.

(Sigh). OK, I give up. In that case, well, while you’re at it Sire, how about adding a shipment of cigars to your list?

What for, General?

So we can smoke out the enemy, of course.

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A J Summersgill and Jim H. Moreno

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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