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Old 03-04-2015, 11:24 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Auberry, CA
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Thanks for the comment, and has anyone caught the other characters yet? A few more surprises await, and now for the next part...

0240 Hours: Federal Building, Brownsville, Texas.

Ambassador Yevgeni Makarev waited outside a meeting room. He was the Soviet Ambassador to the “Liberation Government of the United States” or so the Hall government was known to the Soviets and their allies. The Ambassador, a career diplomat, had known several members of the government before the war, during his time at the UN, and he had been appointed to his post after the government had been established in late 1985, when a Soviet victory appeared possible. Now, he knew, the dream of a Socialist America, living at peace with the world, was over. He didn't need the KGB to tell him that: the Foreign Ministry had its own intelligence operation, and they freely monitored the American and other western media. From that, the hostility towards those who had assisted the Socialist cause in America was well known, and already, there had been trials of those accused by the Americans of collaboration and treason-and a number had already been executed. Not just that, the Americans had placed everyone in the Hall government on their “Most Wanted” list, with Hall at the top. Not just that, but a price on his head-$10 million, so the story went, and corresponding bounties on those in his inner circle. Now, he'd had word from Moscow, and for once, he was eager to inform Hall and his cabinet of the news.

As he was ushered in, he saw President Hall, his Vice-President, Angela Davis, and several other members of his cabinet. Hall stood to welcome his guest. “Comrade Ambassador,”

“Comrade President,” Makarev replied. “I have some good news. Moscow has agreed to give you and your cabinet places on the evacuation aircraft.”

“To where? Moscow? Or to Cuba?” Vice-President Davis asked. She'd earned a reputation-even among the Soviets, as a cold, ruthless bitch, and from what Makarev's intelligence briefing said, the price on her head was the same as Hall's. Given the atrocities committed at her instigation, it should've surprised no one.

“Comrade Fidel, as you know, has offered you the chance to set up a government in exile in Havana.” Makarev said. “If you wish, you could set up there, or fly on to Moscow.”

Hall thought for a few moments. His dream, and the dreams of those around him, was coming to an end. It saddened him that his fellow Americans despised him as a traitor, and that they couldn't understand that his government had been trying to save America from itself. He'd seen the clips from CNN: members of Congress calling for his summary execution if caught, Fourth of July celebrations where the flag of “Liberated America” was burned on bonfires, dummies representing not only him, but others in his administration, being hung in effigy. Not to mention tape of members of the ALA, PSD, or simply those who'd cooperated with the attempt to bring Socialism to America, hanging from trees and power or telephone poles, or just being summarily shot. He looked at his cabinet. “Angela?”

“Go to Cuba. There, maybe we can continue the fight, especially with Operation Phoenix,” Davis said.

“Operation Phoenix has run its course,” Commissar Paul Franklin, the head of the PSD, said. “Apart from killing two reactionary mayors, and some intimidation, it has failed. Or haven't you noticed?”

“But the people!” Davis shouted.

“The people hate us, or does that escape you?” Franklin shot back. “Those assigned to Operation Phoenix have been either betrayed, or have turned themselves in-more likely to save their own skins. Our dream is over. It's time to save what's left of it, and get out of here.”

“Where to?” Hall asked.

“Moscow.” Franklin said. “They won't come for us there. If we go to Cuba, the Fascists will come for us-and settle scores with Castro at the same time.”

“They wouldn't dare.” This from Joel Paulson, Hall's Secretary of State.

Franklin shot back “Do you want to take that chance? If we went to Mexico, they'll come for us there no matter what. If we go to Cuba, how long would it take to prepare the invasion we know they've wanted to do since 1962, and this time, it won't be a Bay of Pigs! No! It will be all out, and they won't stop until Fidel is dug out of the Sierra Maestra, and us with him!”

“And when we get to either Havana or Moscow?” Hall asked.

Paulson replied, “We carry on the best we can. The Socialist world will deal with us, not the reactionary government in Philadelphia, and we will continue the struggle.”

“With what?” General Robert Andrews asked. He was the highest-ranking officer in the ALA. “The Soviet Army in Texas is done for. The same for the Cubans, and the Nicaraguans are finished-they surrendered en masse yesterday.”

“This isn't the only theater, General.” Davis responded. “The Soviets still have a powerful army in Canada and Alaska. They can push down into the Great Plains, and then we can join them.”

“In your dreams,” Andrews said. “I've been briefed by Alekseyev's Operations Officer. For some reason, Alekseyev won't deal with any high-ranking ALA officers himself-he's already had several shot, but I received a briefing on that front. The Soviets and our Korean allies are undersupplied, exhausted, and near the end of their strength. They may not last the winter. That front will be over by December, latest.”

The room fell silent on hearing that news. No one spoke for a few minutes. Hall broke the silence. “Comrades, I think we'll take up Fidel's offer. Not yet for a government in exile, but sanctuary. We can form such a government later, whether in Cuba, or in Moscow, if Cuba, for whatever reason, becomes inhospitable.” He looked at Paulson. “Our communications with our own mission in Havana, let alone Moscow, are unreliable at best, correct?”

“Yes, Comrade President.”

Hall then turned to the Ambassador. “Please inform Moscow of my decision.”

“Of course, Comrade President,” Ambassador Makarev said.

0310 Hours: 4th Guards Tank Army Headquarters, Harlingen, Texas.

General Suraykin looked at his situation map. All of his forces were in position, and preparing themselves for the fight ahead. Not only engineers, but his field security units had impressed every civilian who could carry a shovel, along with a number of prisoners from a nearby labor camp, and his defenses were taking shape. He knew using the civilians might count against him if he fell into American hands, but with the shortages of equipment and fuel, he had no choice. “Military Necessity” would be his defense, should the Americans capture him and put him in front of a tribunal. His Air Force liaison came to him. “Comrade General.”

“Yes, what is it, Comrade Colonel?”

“We can give you some air support. Not much, given how short of fuel we are, but we can give you some helicopter sorties, and maybe some ground-attack aircraft,” the SAF Colonel said.

“At least it's something. How about air cover itself?” Suraykin asked.

“I'm afraid that's not possible. General Petrov says we're hard pressed as it is, keeping the Americans away from the airlift. That has priority over everything else,” the air force officer said.

“How about aircraft from Mexico?”

“The Americans are mounting strikes into Mexico itself, not just here. They're very active over Northern Mexico, and we, along with the Cubans and the Mexicans themselves, are trying to hinder that, Comrade General.” the Colonel replied.

General Suraykin paused. “I see. Still, do what you can, and at least my men will see some of our aircraft overhead. Even if it's for the last time.”

“Comrade General,” the man said.

Suraykin dismissed him. Well, now. At least the Air Force will help us out one last time. Too bad it won't be enough, but maybe, just maybe, they'll give the Americans something to think about. Maybe not, but we'll have to try. He thought for a moment about his family. His wife had died when he was a Captain, attending the Freunze Academy-and had left him a daughter. She was now a student in Leningrad, attending university there. Word had come back that many officers and even some Party officials who had urged a settlement of the war were congregating there, because the climate in Moscow was becoming very unhealthful for those with such an attitude. At least my Natalya is safe, he thought. He'd written one final letter before moving into his current position, but given the airlift's problems, he had no idea if it would make it. Suraykin set that thought aside, and headed into his tent. A few hours' sleep, before things got interesting, was what he needed.

0345 Hours: Hidalgo, Texas.

Major Mendoza was with his First Battalion, which was dug in where Texas Route 336 entered the Hidalgo city limits. The glow of burning vehicles could still be seen to the north, where the Mexican 111th Brigade had been shot to pieces. And the occasional shot from a tank gun or a Bradley's 25-mm chain gun could be heard, as Mexican diehards were mopped up. Mendoza turned to Captain Bernardo Santos, who commanded First Battalion. “Why don't they come, Captain?”

“Perhaps they ran low on ammunition, Comrade Major, or had to refuel?” Santos replied. “In any event, we can make it hot for them, when they do come.”

“That's true, Captain,” Mendoza said. “You've deployed your force well.”

“Thank you, sir. We're as ready as we can be.”

The phone rang in the battalion command post. It was Captain Gonzales from Regimental HQ. Santos handed the phone to the Major. “Yes, Comrade Captain?”

“Comrade Major, there's a Mexican Captain here. He's rallied about three hundred or so men from the 111th Brigade, and they're willing to fight. What are your orders?”

Mendoza was surprised. “How many, Ricardo?”

“About three hundred. Along with four tanks, a couple of assault guns, and even a battery of 76-mm guns,” Gonzales reported.

“I'll be right there.” Mendoza hung up the phone and went to his UAZ jeep. A few minutes later, he was at the regimental HQ, in the Hidalgo City Hall. Captain Gonzales was waiting for him, with a Mexican Army officer alongside.

“Comrade Major, this is Captain Miguel Esteban, 3rd Battalion, 111th Brigade.”

Esteban smartly saluted, “Comrade Major,”

Mendoza returned the salute. “Your men are willing to fight?”

“Absolutely, Comrade Major. Most of my unit is gone, scattered to the winds, but I've managed to rally some survivors from the brigade. My company is here, and the others are a polyglot force. And we want to fight, Major,” Estaban said, with tears in his eyes.

“What happened to your brigade, or do you know?” Mendoza asked.

“My company was bringing up the rear, guarding the brigade's supply and maintenance echelon. A storm of fire blazed up ahead, and before we knew it, vehicles were exploding left and right. I've had no contact with anyone in brigade headquarters, the artillery battalion, nothing,” Esteban said.

“So what do you have, exactly?”

“I have my company of about 150 men, truck-mounted, with all of our heavy weapons-no antitank missiles, but we do have the B-11 recoilless rifles, and RPGs. I've managed to round up four T-34s, two Su-152s, two Su-100s, and a battery of ZIS-3s. It's not much, but it's something,” the Mexican officer said.

“All right,” Mendoza said. “My regiment is weak on the east. If you could take your force here, to the intersection of the Highway 281 spur route and this local road, FM 2061, and establish some position there, it would be a help. Be in position and ready by 0630.”

“Yes, Comrade Major! We'll be in position and prepared to fight,” Esteban said proudly.

“Go, then.” Mendoza said, and the Mexican officer saluted and went off to position his unit. “Well, Ricardo?”

“Comrade Major, why do I have the feeling that something bad is about to happen?”

“I know what you're feeling, Captain. Still, we have to do our duty. Are the engineers finished?” Asked Mendoza.

“The bridge is wired. The main firing point is on the south side of the river.”

“Good. If we're pressed, we'll fall back to the river, get across-by whatever means, and then blow the bridge in the Americans' faces. They won't get a bridgehead here if I can help it.” Mendoza said.

To the north, the company team that had inflicted such frightful destruction on the Mexicans was moving east. The rest of the battalion task force was preparing to attack Hidalgo from the north, but this particular company had found an unpatrolled gap in the Cuban defenses, and exploited it. Once they reached U.S. Highway 281, they would move south, to a junction where 281 turned south to follow the Rio Grande, while a spur route of 281 went into Hidalgo and the International Bridge. It was taking a little bit longer than expected, but the company commander reported to her battalion commander that she would be in position by 0530. And those Cubans are in for a shock, she thought. And we'll chase Fidel's boys across the Rio Grande, all the way to Monterrey.
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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