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Posted on Jul 31, 2007 in Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 32] – The Night of the Long Diodes

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

Where the hell are we?

Buried in a corridor my Lord, I’m afraid the US Air Force has probably destroyed most of the base by now. (The wailing noise grows louder) It sounds like someone is trapped…

Nonsense, that’s Fox – he was always the loud one. Probably buried like we are – but never fear, their catbox is nearly as indestructible as I am.

(The two men fall silent as they contemplate their predicament. There is no sound other than a distant rumble and the steady drip-drip of a broken water pipe)

Well, this is a pretty pickle. Never thought it would end like this.

{default}

No Sir.

I wonder who betrayed us…

(There is a strange whirring noise and then an electronic voice booms out) +++ TARGETS LOCATED IN SOUTHERN CORRIDOR 17 +++

H.A.T.E.? is that you?

+++CONFIRMED+++

Targets? What targets? Can you get us out before they arrive?

+++NEGATIVE…THE TARGETS TO WHICH THIS UNIT REFERS ARE THE TWO OF YOU+++

(There is an ominous silence)

I’m sorry? I don’t follow…

My Lord, it becomes painfully clear to me – H.A.T.E. is directing the US forces to our position.

But why?

Because he’s the traitor.

(Doctor Sinister stares, aghast) I’ve been stitched up by a computer?

It looks that way. It must have been under the control of the US Government all along…spying on us.

+++NEGATIVE+++

Then what? What made you deactivate the defences and hand us over? It can’t be money…

(The computer refuses to answer. General Menace stares at the ceiling and listens to the wailing of the cats. Doctor Sinister is fiddling frantically with his arm-based computer screen)

I’m rather afraid it looks like money is the root of all of this. Take a look…oh, you can’t…

My Lord?

I’ve managed to access the panel in my arm. I don’t have any control over H.A.T.E. or access to his main systems, but I can see what he’s been up to. H.A.T.E.’s been siphoning funds from my accounts, surreptitiously at first, I thought something was odd a couple of weeks ago. Now, over the last few hours, since the attack started, it’s taken most of my money. Looking at this database, he’s been severing my control of the entire Sinister network, announcing my death to all our agents and assuming command himself. It rather looks like our electronic friend has flipped his lid.

H.A.T.E.’s insane?

Probably got a bit upset when the US shut it down and evacuated the Cheyenne facility.

But we arrived and reactivated him – surely that deserves some recognition?

I see it all now. Think back to how helpful he was when he was first turned on – all those promises and then slowly he went quiet over the next few months. I spotted an unhealthy interest in my bank accounts back then, but he was very useful to our plans. Then the problems with my arm started – H.A.T.E. was trying to take control of me, access to my files and what have you, but that didn’t work, all he got was my arm and what I got was an insight into how he, it works. It’s perfectly clear to me, he’s decided now if he can’t control me, he’ll do away with me and take control himself. H.A.T.E. is a machine after my own heart…he wants control of the world and now I’m expendable. He must have finally found a way into my files.

And then he called in the Army to blow us to bits.

It looks that way…his main systems are so deep in the mountain he’s protected…I’ve no doubt at all that once I’m gone he’ll turn on the Army and thus will begin the reign of H.A.T.E.

Wow, sort of a night of the long knives…but with diodes. I’m referring of course to the incident in Nazi Germany in 1934…Operation Hummingbird was…

General…for once you don’t need to give me the history lecture. I’m fully conversant with the event. Except of course, in that case it was the leader doing away with some of his followers…not the other way around. In fact, it was that selfsame world leader who ended up stuck in a bunker with only his dog for company – except of course he was insane and I’m not…

(The cats’ wailing gets even louder)

General, I’d take your company over that of a dog any day.

Erm, thanks…I think.

Well, and my cats of course.

+++TARGETS ARE ONE HUNDRED FEET IN FRONT OF YOUR CURRENT POSITION, URGENCY IS REQUIRED+++

Right, I’ve had enough of this. (Using his cybernetic arm, Doctor Sinister manages to lift a large girder pinning his legs and with some effort, rises to his feet. He bends down to assist the General in a similar manner and after a few minutes, the two men stand in the ruined corridor together)

+++ALERT, ALERT, TARGETS ARE MOBILE. URGENT INERDICTION NEEDED+++

So, are you with me?

(General Menace reaches into his pocket and removes a rather battered Cigar from its depths. He bites off one end and pulls out a lighter)

Your Excellency, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of being bullied by a giant calculator.

Then let’s do it…


Will our two heroes manage to prevail against all the odds?

Will the map of the Rocky Mountains need to be redrawn when they are finished?

And how long have the writers been working on this story arc anyway?

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

A J Summersgill and Jim Moreno.

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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