Twenty-Five Days Of Christmas: A Christmas Tale, Chapter Thirteen

Just when things seemed to be getting bleak and hopeless, A strange whine filled the air. Supersonic thunder announced the arrival of a new participant in the battle. The whine, I realized was their odd cannons and guns. Their sudden entrance into the atmosphere and their speed kept the roar from dying. Our reinforcements had arrived. Or, at least, part of them had.

I watched the cannons and mech toys explode as if they had no armor at all. With no air support, the enemy was vulnerable. Even open. Too open.

And our new allies were quicker than the ground forces. Weaving, they were agile enough to easily dodge each volley of plasma or ion energy thrown in their direction. Suddenly, each of our snipers were able to get off the killing shot–taking out each general outside our gates. A mass surrender was inevitable as the ground troops, now without mech help, were basically helpless to defend themselves. But this was only four armies.

I looked over at Simi, who’d appeared out of nowhere. “Send the jumpers. We need to take the rest of the outpost commanders.”

She nodded wordlessly, then vanished the way she had come. I watched her go. I knew that our brig would be dangerously filled to near-capacity, but we had to take the outposts and widen our base. The closest four towns would do nicely, since they had been so kind as to send their whole garrisons in an attempt to “restore order”. I chuckled to myself.

Lilli smiled. “I see this is amusing to you. Mind letting me in on whatever secret you’ve been keeping?”

I looked over at her. “That was proof that our allies are closer to being here than I thought. If we station a unit of their soldiers at each outpost, we may be able to link all the defeated outposts to our base for easier access.”

She nodded. “And basically play a military game of chess, moving our own men from base to base.”

I smiled. “Yes, now you’re getting it.”

A pilot appeared, his face hidden by a breather mask. “You General Hargis?”

I nodded. “I am.”

He saluted. “Aerospace Commodore Alyx Parvenue. I was told to report to you as soon as I could.”

I looked him over. He couldn’t have been more than eighteen. “Kind of young for a Commodore, aren’t you?”

He shook his head. “We are started in our respective branch of the military at an early age. Sort of like the ancient Spartans…though not in such a harsh manor. Those who are taught through the military are bred specifically for service, just like our law enforcement, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and techs. everyone else is allowed to be whatever they wish to be. Any who leads a squad is known as a Commodore. Just as any who is in command of a unit in the grounders is known as a Lieutenant. And so on.”

I smiled. “So you have a status report to give me?”

He nodded. “The first transports to arrive will be techs. They will be installing teleporter units in your bases. This includes every outpost you take with our help. These teleporters will allow free movement of troops from one sector to another. Our ground units, including the mechanical equivalent of cavalry, will be arriving shortly after the techs. But they will be disembarking near targets. We arrived first because we are faster.”

“Our main ships will remain above earth as observers. Their weapons are not operational beyond space, but they have more aerospace fighters and pilots in the case that they are needed.”

I was suddenly glad they were on our side. After seeing the devastation they had wrought upon the unsuspecting besiegers of our city, I was relieved at their alliance with us. “Thank you.”

He looked me in the eye. For some reason, I felt as if he was grinning under that breather. “No problem. His eminence, Minister of Trade, Meloch Horadge will come down once the battle is over to talk about the trade agreement that was discussed by yourself and Minister Ilvack.”

I looked at him, slightly bewildered. “And he is?”

The pilot chuckled. “First Minister of Defense and War. It was he to whom you were speaking when you contacted us.”

I smiled. “I see. We are in your debt.”

He shook his head. “Not at all. Just doing our duty.” He saluted me again. “We were instructed to take orders from you and your commanders while helping you. Besides. I was having fun up there. We don’t often get to fight anymore. We’re mostly a defense system, not a war machine. All differences have been taken care of among the colonies and our government is both strong and benevolent. We elect a peer every two years, despite their social or economic standing. Our wise men serve as our council. And the people really are the governing body. We control every aspect of the government, no matter our age or rank.”

I nodded. “Sort of like a Utopia.”

His eyes beamed with pride. “Yes. A Utopian Democracy. But with teeth. And we have been attacked before. Both from earth’s corporations, and from extraterrestrial interlopers. and both were soundly defeated.”

I looked away, partially in thought. “Maybe, when this is all over, your governing bodies could come and help us set up a similar system here.”

He nodded. “I will mention it in my report to Minister Ilvack and he will pass it on to the council. I think it would be a wonderful idea.”

I bowed my head. “Thank you. We’ll speak again. But for now, go get some rest. We resume tomorrow, but on the offensive.”

He returned the bow, then took his leave. I watched as the enemy soldiers were being brought in. I went to meet the soldier who was leading. He saluted. I saluted him back, then turned my attention to the captives. “Is there a Browning Threadwell among you?”

One of them stepped forward. “Who asks?”

I looked at the insolent soldier. “The commander of this city.”

He looked at me defiantly. “I am Browning Threadwell.”