Eleven days had come and gone in December. The war still raged on above the ground without a visible end. Airstrikes seemed inevitable. Even Durgen seemed to be having problems.
His last message had been really cryptic, even for him. Had he been betrayed? Was his forces suddenly pinned down on their home turf? What had he meant by going ghost?
Tillamook Fleischer was the first to contact me about a truce. Till was the head of the privatized air force. He knew a good opportunity when he saw one. And he now saw one.
We were actually winning the war on the ground. It wouldn’t take much to beat us into submission from the air, but he had no desire to do so. So he offered us his services. The best of the best.
The federal privatized army knew it could not win against such air superiority, so they also asked for an alliance. With their addition, we quadrupled in size. The privatized Marines were next. And what had been the National Guard and the reserves followed soon after. The privatized army had deserted their masters and with it, the Navy as well. And all the sea based defenses.
The corporations were in freefall. They had just lost substantial numbers of soldiers. With broken toys and no reinforcements, they had to know that their time was limited. But they doggedly fought on.
In the near-daily communications I received from my field commanders, it seemed the same trend had also hit their fields as well. Even the once great French Foreign Legion now sided with us. At this rate, we would be victorious by the Fourth of July. Only the diehards were still in their pockets of resistance.
I sat in the living room of our bunker-apartment when Margot came in. She looked over at me. “Been in long?”
I smiled. “No. But I am here for the rest of the day. I gave orders to not disturb me unless it was important.”
She smiled back. “Are you missing something, Soldier?”
I chuckled. “Yes. I am missing your beautiful company. And meals with you.”
She came over and sat on my lap. “I can easily remedy that, Soldier.” She turned and straddled my lap. “How is this?”
Our lips met. I slowly extracted myself. “Mmm. Mmmm.” I retreated. “Let’s eat first. No need in spoiling our appetites by having dessert first.”
She play-slapped me. “Spoil sport.”
I grinned. “Pizza?”
She nodded. “And garlic bread. Oh, and ice cream. ”
I watched her as she headed to the bathroom. “What do you want on the pizza?”
She didn’t attempt to turn around, but headed on into the room. “Everything. I am as hungry as a horse.”
The door closed. I turned my attention to ordering the pizza. I pushed the com button. “Yes. This is Dan–yes. I would like to order a pizza with everything on it. Yes. And Ice cream. Yes. Forty minutes?” I smiled. “But remember. You’re on the clock.” I chuckled, letting him know I was just joking.
She returned in short order and looked over at me. “So?”
I tried not to smile. “They said they were all out of pizzas with everything on them.”
She slapped me. “You’re lying. I see that little smile.”
I relented. “It’ll be here in forty minutes. Ice cream and all.”
Forty minutes seemed to fly. In no time, we were enjoying a pizza, breadsticks, those little hot peppers, and ice cream. She smiled over at me as she feasted on the pizza. “So what is on my soldier’s mind? Thinking about those in the field?”
I nodded. “Yes. But not the way you are thinking. Christmas is around the corner. There should be a lull in the fighting and I was thinking about what we should do for the men.”
She stopped chomping for a moment. “Why not hold another feast? I mean, they got to see your generosity through the Thanksgiving feast you held.”
I looked over at her. “Yes, but there should be more. I would like them to be able to spend time with their families, if they have families, on Christmas Day. And have presents. Christmas hasn’t been Christmas for a God-awful long time. Not since they banned presents and decorating. And even the observance.”
She winked at me. “I see what you mean. If we are to bring back the old ways, we must also bring back those days that had meaning.”
I smiled. “Exactly.”
She grinned. “Leave the presents to me. I will gather some of the women here and we will figure out a way to create enough to take care of everyone. hell. I will even ask Simi if she knows where we can find some presents as well.”
I shook my head. “What would I do without you?”
She sat up in mock seriousness. “Without.”
We laughed together for a while, then returned to our feast. I couldn’t help watching her out of the corner of my eye while she ate. She was the most beautiful thing in my life. How I loved her.
Her head came up, curiosity in her eyes. “You never explained something to me. I mean, it really doesn’t matter, but I have just been curious.”
I looked over at her. “What is it, Dear?”
She smiled. “Just exactly what is your relationship with Simi?”
I smiled sadly. “She is my sister. I took her in when mom and dad died. She was only a teen, and I in my late twenties, but she had no place to go. I had just only opened this sanctuary and needed others to help me run it.”
She nodded. “You were just getting over the death of your son. You had risen from homelessness.”
I looked away. “I rose from homelessness because of the death of my parents, not because I found a way to make money. I was the eldest and I inherited this building when it was still an actual corporation. I stripped the corporation away and replaced it with the library, movie restoration foundation, and arts preservation company. I hid it behind the guise of a corporation when my son took his own life.”