War and Honour | Guy McGivern

 


War and Honour

Guy McGivern

The Mutually Assured Construction Award


General Jenson marched into the room with the swagger of a man with an actual army behind him. Sitting at the table, he smiled at the man opposite who had almost as much power.

‘General Kingston, this is unorthodox. Do you have surrender terms?’

Kingston smiled. ‘You have superior numbers and equipment General but read a history book if you think that’s enough to win a war.’ He slid a dossier across the table. ‘I called you because there’s a threat beyond our border dispute.’

Jenson considered him and noting the serious tone, flicked through the dossier. He looked up.

‘General, you might think I’ve never read a history book but rest assured I know disinformation when I see it.’

‘I have more.’ Kingston pulled a recorder from his pocket. ‘This will be tough to hear.’ He pressed play.

‘Jenson is our biggest weakness. Calerenian independence was our predecessor’s mistake and I want both the unoccupied zone for that oil and Calerenia back. Jenson needs gone first. He’s obsessed with saving lives and such nonsense. They’re soldiers, they signed up for this. When he returns from meeting that second rate Kingston, I want him ended.’

Kingston pressed stop, observing Jenson. ‘Personally, I think calling me second rate was a cheap shot.

‘Why bring this to me?’

‘We were born in what was the same country and although on opposite sides now, you’re an honourable man. Your President? Not so much. Page ten, that’s my proposal.’

Jenson studied it. ‘How will we know the other sticks to this?’

‘Your life depends on it. I’ll move first and send proof.’

*

‘Ah Jenson, come in, did he go for it?’ The President of Angloria asked, puffing a cigar.

‘Yes, he thinks I’m going to kill you before you kill me. He’s going to kill his own President, who was planning a biological attack on us. Tell me, how does this all help us?’

‘Kingston assassinates their President. Vice President Collins assumes control, the same Collins who agreed to give us control of the unoccupied zone. In time, we expose Collins as a traitor and move to take Calerenia back.’

Jenson’s phone vibrates with a picture of the Calerenian President, dead. A second picture shows Collins dead. ‘You think it’ll play that way?’

‘You’re an idealist Jenson,’ said the President, gazing out a window.

Jenson cocked his handgun. ‘And you’re an idiot, late President,’ he said, pulling the trigger.

*

Jenson stopped Kingston before facing the cameras. ‘You should know, the evidence you had was fake.’

Kingston smiled. ‘I know. You aren’t the only one wise to disinformation.’

‘But you still made your proposal?’

‘I believed you’d do the right thing.’

Both Generals faced the cameras and announced to their respective nations that hostilities were over. The oil would be extracted by both nations with the profits split evenly.

 

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