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Posted on Apr 2, 2005 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 05] – Operation Icebox of Death

By A J Summersgill, Jim H Moreno and Brian King

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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 5 – Operation Icebox of Death

The sun beams down benignly on a beautiful blue sea as soft waves gently ripple up to a tranquil golden beach. Birds fly about without a care in the world, and then drop lifeless into the sea as a large Motor Torpedo Boat thunderously appears from around the coastline, its twin .50 calibre machine guns spitting out random death. On the beach, someone falls to the ground choking.

The boat pulls up to a large wooden pontoon where a tall, dark figure stands waiting. Aboard the vessel, General Menace, caked in fresh mud, resplendant in full battle dress and carrying a heavy haversack berates the gunner for wasting valuable ammunition as he spies the figure standing on the boat dock. Literally bouncing in excitement, Doctor Sinister watches as the General clambers off the boat.

Five minutes later, in the Island Of Fear Tropical Cabana Pub’ & Amusement Arcade…

Doctor Sinister: Good to see you General! I want to introduce you to my latest (and most brilliant) plan for world domination.

General Menace: But of course, Your Benevolence. I’m most anxious to see what has inspired you to bring me back early from my training exercises, once again.

I knew you would be! You are always most receptive to my ideas!

(Skips over to the bar, grabs something and places a towel over it as the General walks up behind him)

Underneath this soiled bar towel is the answer to world domination!

(The General pauses, holding his breath.)

Well, General? Are you going to ask or aren’t you?

(Sighs) Very well, My Liege. Please show me what you have underneath that bar towel, that will help us attain world domination?

I thought you’d never ask!

(Doctor Sinister throws back the towel to reveal – a rather ordinary glass of ice-filled water.)

TA-DA!

(Tired and weary.) Bravo My Master, you’ve invented ice water. I shall immediately recall all spies and covert ops. Forgive my sarcasm, Sire, but I just don’t understand how a glass of cold water will allow us to conquer Earth.

General, have you no imagination? It is not the water, it is the ice which will make us invincible! I have envisioned using one of Earth’s greatest natural weapons to wreak havoc upon our enemies, by developing a floating platform made from secret ice-based materials which we, uhh, devised in the laboratory recently. I propose to float a ring of ice around Great Britain and starve the entire country until they submit to me as their leader. Here now, look at this.

A picture of the British Isles framed in a toilet seat?

No no no no no. NO! It’s ICE! A ring of ice! An impenetrable barrier!

Sir, I really think I need to sit down for a bit.

Can I get you a drink?

Scotch. And make it two.

Barman! One Shirley Temple for the General if you please! With one of those little umbrellas…

(Another sigh) Thank you Sir.

You see, my plan has been made possible through our intelligence services, for we have a captured enemy spy on the island that provided us with this miraculous material!

We have a spy here? Now?

Oh yes, would you like to question her?

Well, My Lord, I’m not really into interrogations. I’ll wait to read the official report.

Oh don’t be silly, this is more of a social visit. She has already told us all we need to know.

(The General grabs his drink, and follows the good Doctor to a small tiki hut, which is doubling as the interrogation chamber for this island. When he walks in, he is greeted by a near empty room containing a small table with some tea cups, a beat-up briefcase, a small doll in the far chair, and some other non-essentials. Nothing that would indicate a prisoner, or interrogation…)

Your Supremacy, I think we are in the wrong hut.

What? Oh don’t be ridiculous. Please sit down.

Interesting. Are you aware that this doll has what appears to be a burning cigar in it’s hand? A rather fine brand I might add…

(Coughs) Ahhh, yes, a filthy habit – it must be a holdover from our conversation earlier. Let me just get rid of that.

Well, yes, I could dispose of – oh, you’ve thrown it out of the window.

Where were we? Yes, this is the spy we captured. (Doctor Sinister points at the doll.)

The doll?

Yes, the doll.

(General Menace gulps down his drink in one take, then stares at the doll.)

I see you find it as intriguing as I do. Her tag says her name is “Miss Smarty Pants”, but we caught on to her game pretty fast, since she couldn’t destroy her briefcase before coming ashore.

Right. How foolish of her.

In it, we found plans for a massive Aircraft Carrier made from this super strong ice-based material called “Pie Treat”. The printing on those plans was somewhat water-smudged, but my scientists are confident they have deciphered it all correctly. Anyway, this Pie Treat will allow us to build –

Sir, if I may interject, I’m sure the scientists are wrong. I believe those plans in fact referring to a substance called pykecrete, created by an Allied scientist named Geoffrey Pyke. The Allies had drawn up plans to use this very same material back in World War II to construct invincible and unsinkable ice Aircraft Carriers which were intended to give the Allies supremacy of the seas.

Ahhh, so you’ve interrogated our spy already have you? I can see that I’ve underestimated you once again General…

Not at all, Your Magnificence, these plans have been around for about 60 years. Not only did the plan never really get off the proverbial drawing board, but it was deemed so expensive that it was shelved in favor of building a fleet of conventional ships instead – ships which still helped the Allies win the war I might point out. And, while your plan is quite brilliant of course…

Of course…

…your execution of a blockade of the British Isles remains a few cubes short of a full tray.

Do go on.

Blockades traditionally are fairly ineffective due to the large areas that must be covered and the great number of potential holes that often spring up, not to mention the lucrative business of running through them. Throughout history, a blockade could be something as simple as surrounding a castle and attempting to starve out the enemy without a fight, to a high seas blockade, such as the Union blockage of Confederate ports, which did eventually have some success as the American Civil War progressed. The Germans tried twice to blockade Great Britain just as you are proposing, but using U-boats and surface raiders to enforce their will upon the Islands. They of course failed. Even serious efforts such as the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948 was nullified by a fantastic air re-supply effort called the Berlin Airlift. The successful blockade runners were hailed as heroes and the plan backfired on the Soviets. So, My Lord, you can see-

That we will be the first modern success story!

No, I was going to say that we will be the laughing stock of the Union of Supervillains if we pour all, or any, of our money into this plan. Not only is the plan itself suspect, but I seriously have to question the motives of whoever dropped that doll in the water for us to find. I think these “secret plans” were planted – designed to get us to waste our hard-embezzled dollars on a ‘white elephant’.

A White Elephant you say? I don’t follow you. There are no Elephants around here. We had them all exterminated. But that gives me an idea. As for you young lady, come with me.

(Grabs doll and throws it into a small closet filled with other dolls)

If not a ship of ice, how about an Elephant of Ice! We’ll kidnap one of those professional chain-saw wielding ice sculpture artists to shape it and hollow out the inside for a place to hide our soldiers in, and push the massive ice sculpture…

Where’s that Barman? I need another Shirley Temple. Make it a large one, and no ice!

Isles.

A J Summersgill, Jim H. Moreno and our very special guest-writer, Brian King

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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