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Posted on Jan 31, 2008 in Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 37] – The Enigma Variations

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

We were twins, separated at birth. Well, not quite birth, we were about twenty. And we weren’t exactly separated either…he went one way, I went the other. It was an argument about a £10.00 note if I recall correctly…

But, Excellency, aren’t you a clone?

In this body? Yes. But there was an original model once.

Ah, yes, of course.

Look, we’re straying from the point – the thing is, I happen to KNOW that TSI has infiltrated our organisation here – and they are taking a very active interest in our time experiments.

How do you know this Sir?

During our trip back to 1582 – I’m fairly certain I recognised one of the King’s courtiers – he was a henchman of Saintly. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was he who caused the entire mission to go awry.

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I see.

Recently, we’ve detected strange encoded transmissions between TSI agents in the field – the net is closing on us General. (Looks shiftily to one side) The thing is, I had intended to do something about it – I was going to get the lab’ boys to knock up a piece of equipment that can decode enemy transmissions.

Ah, a bit like the machine used by the Allies in World War II to decode Enigma transmissions?

Precisely that. But I don’t think I’ll be doing that now…

Oh? May I ask why not Sir?

(Looking the General in the eye) Well, it wouldn’t have been fair would it? I mean…with such a piece of equipment, we would have been able to know exactly what Saintly’s men were up to.

But such a thing would exceed your normal brilliance my Lord! Surely we should be proceeding as fast as we can with this project?

No no General, I’ve made up my mind…to use your own words, it would go against “all the rules of fairness” to know what my enemies are up to. I suppose we’ll just have to play the game, and if you or I should happen to be killed, well, you’ll be dead and…well…I’ll be cloned so I’ll be alright as it happens. C’est la vie.

(There is an uncomfortable silence)

Magnificence, I’m quite certain I don’t want to die, and I’m sure the cloning process must be expensive…

So?

Well, as they say my Lord, all’s fair in love and war.

(Tentatively) I see. So you are now FOR this project?

(With conviction) Whole-heartedly my Lord.

A project which would allow us to possibly wipe out our enemies?

Yes indeed your Excellency.

So…you are quite happy to “cheat” your way out of a very certain real death…but you aren’t prepared to allow me to cheat in an online computer game?

Well, hang on a minute…

No no no. You are either in favour of the whole deal, or not at all. Because the way I see it, you seem perfectly OK with the idea that it’s alright for me to know what my real-life enemies are doing but not to know what my pretend ones are doing online?

But…I mean, if this TSI mob’ are really after you, erm, I mean, us, we need to know what they are up to don’t we? I mean, where would the Allies have been without the Colossus computers at Bletchley Park to decode the German U-Boat Enigma transmissions, or if they couldn’t hear the Wehrmacht talking to itself?

I don’t know General – you tell me. Frankly I’m rather confused with your attitude over this matter. But never mind, I’m sure the TSI operatives will be humane when they catch you. And torture you. And kill you.

(There is another uncomfortable pause)

(Haltingly) My Lord, I clearly made an…error. Yes, yes I agree that we should commence this project as soon as we can – and I also agree that there is no fundamental difference between trying to stay alive in both real life and online.

Then you’ll help me?

To build the decoding machine? You bet Sir!

Excellent. And you’ll assist in devising a program to give me an edge online?

Well, first things first my Lord…

Yes, quite, I have a game this evening, we can get started on those cheat programs right now!

But…but…

Yes?

(The penny drops) Hang on, there is no TSI spy at all is there? This whole story was cooked up to paint me into a corner to help you play a damned computer game?!

(With heavy sarcasm) Oh dear, I appear to have been rumbled. No, there is no spy, we’re quite safe – but now that we’ve proved the point, let’s get cracking…

Now hang on a minute…you can’t compare the two, for one thing…

(The two men leave the room, arguing vociferously. Unseen behind them, a hand appears from behind the sofa on which they have been sat. A hand holding a safari hat…)

Will Doctor Sinister get his way?

Will the Battlefield 2 community ever recover from the experience?

And how hard is it to learn Sunshine of Your Love anyway?

Don’t forget to tune in to the next awesome episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill and Jim Moreno.

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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1 Comment

  1. when are you going to write more of the Incorrect Art of War

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