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"Maritime Assault" - a farce




Afternoon, the First Day
A government office in Toronto

Minister Null, Chief of Canadian Defense Forces (Naval), Lord of the Ocean Sea, pondered the Prime Minister's question. At length he shook his head. "It's another example of American foolishness, sire. They see terrorists everywhere.â ? He sighed - a ponderous, self-satisfied sort of noise, replete with the sardines he'd had for lunch.

The PM gagged and touched a scented hankie to his nose. "But they seem so - so certain, Null. This trawler went missing from Iceland a week ago. Could it not be off our coast?â ?

"Of course it could!â ? boomed the rotund Sea Lord. "A band of purported religious zealots COULD have commandeered the vessel and ROWED it to New York by now - a more likely target, I might add, than any seaport of ours.â ? He waggled a pudgy finger under the PM's bulbous nose. "The Icelandic authorities assure me that the so-called trawler is, in fact, a garbage scow. Whether lost in some accident, as the Icelandicks - Iceludnores - ah, Icenooks, believe, or stolen by tee-totaling Talmudic terrorists, as the Amis insist, the scow could hardly have survived the weather in the North Atlantic.â ?

"You can't imagine how relieved I am to hear that, Null. Dubya was on the phone an hour past, insisting that the ship was approaching the coast even now.â ?

"Amazing! Simply amazing. A regular nervous Nellie. And did he explain how he deduced that this garbage scow was off our coast?â ?

"National technical means. One of those murky Americanisms.â ?

A nattily dressed aide leaned down and whispered in the Sea Lord's ear. Null stifled a laugh. "It's a euphemism for satellite reconnaissance, sir. As if we didn't have recon satellites of our own.â ? The aide whispered anew. Null frowned. "You don't mean it? None?â ?

"I'm late for my lessons,â ? muttered the PM, rising from his desk.

"Not those hand-wringing, brow-mopping, Sniveling classes, sire?â ?

"No. I finished those last week. Bottom of the class, y'know.â ? The PM swaggered just a little as he escorted Null to the door.

"Capital! Capital, sire! Bottom of the class.â ? The Minister frowned. "But what class are you taking now?â ? He counted on his fingers. "Groveling to Self-proclaimed Minorities; Apologizing for Western Civilization; Blaming America for Everything Wrong with the World; Inflating Mole-hills; and - let's see - Sniveling for Fun and Profit. What's next?â ?

"Spinal Flexibility!â ? crowed the PM, ecstatic at one-upping his most outspoken minister. "And it's being taught by an American. A Liberal. A Flaming Liberal, if my sources are reliable.â ?

"No! I'm jealous, sire. Think of it. A Flaming Liberal, right here in Toronto. Who is it?â ?

"The master himself. Slick Willie.â ?

"Oh, sire,â ? moaned Null. "Too bad the press of duty keeps me at work. I'd give my left - well, I'd give somewhat to be able to attend.â ?

The PM slapped Null on the shoulder, eliciting a pained grunt. "Never mind, old man. I'll hold up the honor of Canada.â ?

"Bite your tongue, sire! You've fallen into the old way of speech again. Honor, indeed!â ?

"Sorry. Sorry.â ? The PM made a slight bob with each 'sorry'. "It's those dead white male behaviors coming back again. I'll have to report for a remedial spinal tap.â ?

"Not to worry, sire. Mums the word.â ? Null shook his shaggy head. "You should have that old spine out, sire. Then you won't be tempted with the ancient euphemisms.â ?

"I'm sure you're right, Null. I'll talk to my Social Worker.â ? The PM eyed the Sea Lord for a moment. "You're sure about this vagrant garbage scow? It can't be carrying a load of crazed Marxists toward our shores?â ?

"Religious zealots, sire. You're mixing up your murdering thugs again. Too much time talking to Dubya, I'll warrant.â ? Null patted his PM and gave him a gentle shove. "Enjoy your class, sire. There are no terrorists heading our way.â ?

Patrol Boat "Cuddlesâ ?
Fifty kilometers off Cape Harrison

Sub-Lieutenant Earl braced himself and focused his binoculars on the passing vessel. "It's of Icelandic registry, Guns. I can't make out the name.â ?

The afore-mentioned 'Guns' noted the contact in the log. Since the tiny patrol boat was armed with nothing more than a shotgun (birdshot rounds, of course) for warding off the occasional amorous sea lion or ravenous polar bear, Petty Officer Bossi's usual duties involved recording infrequent ship sightings in the log. He consulted a shipping list. "Nothing from Iceland listed, sir. What's the lubber doing here?â ?

"Lost, like us,â ? lamented Earl. He shouted down the hatchway. "Padraig! Any luck with the engine?â ?

An elderly, grease-coated Artificer climbed up from below. He glanced at the distant ship and shrugged. "Not a blip, your honor. There's fuel in the tank. She turns over, but won't do nothing else. I'll drain the batteries if I crank any longer.â ? He spat over the side and lit a cigar. "Who's the trawler? Can they give us a tow?â ?

"No response from our signal,â ? said Earl. "I've called Daphne Base. Someone will be along in a few days to tow us in.â ?

"Daphne Base!â ? snarled the mechanic. "I remember when we had proper call signs, like Groper and Deadbeat and Fang.

"Just be glad it ain't Inuit month,â ? said Bossi. "My jaw gets sore on those handles.â ?

Earl scanned the trawler again. "I see a name now. Sorp Skip #12.â ?

The PO ran a finger down the shipping list. "That's a garbage scow, sir. Reported stolen or lost nearly a week ago. Near Iceland. How did it get here?â ?

"Well,â ? muttered Earl. "They're moving slow, but they don't look lost. On that heading they'll be in the vicinity of Cartwright by late tomorrow.â ?

Padraig snorted. "Cartwright? Who the h*ll would want to go there?â ?

A hollow boom echoed over the choppy water. "They're signaling,â ? said Earl. "Maybe they are lost.â ? He noted a puff of white smoke forward of the scow's bridge. It blew away on the wind just as a second boom rolled across the sea.

"Signaling, h*ll!â ? shouted Bossi. "They're shooting at us!â ?

Earl crouched as a shell struck the water fifty meters to port. Metal whined overhead and a thin sheet of spray covered the patrol boat. He focused on the scow. "Why are they shooting at us? We're Canadian.â ?

"That proves it, sir,â ? said Padraig. "They're lost. Think we're Americans.â ? He chucked his cigar overboard. "I'll have another go at the engine.â ?

"I see a camel,â ? cried the Sub-lieutenant. "Two camels!â ?

"Camels, by God!â ? exclaimed Bossi. "What are they doing?â ?

"Puking over the side, from the looks of it. Gah! Green puke.â ? Earl slumped against a bulkhead, looking ill.

"Steady, sir.â ? The PO stepped into the boat's tiny bridge and returned with a cup of tea. "Try this. It does wonders for tender tummies.â ?

"Thanks, Guns. Better call Daphne Base. Tell them we've spotted anarchists making for Cartwright.â ?

"Anarchists?â ? queried Daphne Base. "You lads been drinking? You must mean monarchists. Some of those lads may have stolen that Icenook boat.â ?

"I think that's Icelandic,â ? said Bossi. He spelled the term phonetically. "And these something-ists have fired a mortar at us about ten times. Nothing close. We've suffered no worse than a few ricocheting bits of metal and a passing nausea for the Sub.â ?

"Tea's good for that,â ? said Daphne Base. "Are the scow crew, designated as a probable oppressed minority group, still firing at you?â ?

Bossi eyed a sliver of steel protruding through the bridge wall. "Aye, Daphne Base. That last round was close. The b*stards are getting lucky! Only thing saving us is that it's d*mned hard to fire a mortar from a small ship.â ?

"Now, Cuddles. Be careful of how you refer to your alleged assailants! They can't help it if their parents weren't married.â ?

"Right. Sorry, Daphne Base. Shrapnel can make a man lose his bearings, PC-wise.â ?

"But is it really shrapnel, Cuddles?â ?

A shell exploded no more than ten meters to starboard. Earl's tea cup shattered. Several ugly shards of steel bounced across the deck. "My tea!â ? cried the Sub.

"It's shrapnel, all right,â ? replied Bossi. He peered at the scow, now less than a 500 meters away and still headed as before. "Daphne Base, I believe these are real terrorists.â ?

"You can't be sure,â ? said Daphne Base, primly. "That's a call for Higher-Higher to make.â ?

"Maybe so. But these lads are dressed in long white gowns and they're all capering about waving AK-47s. That, taken with the camels, makes me think terrorist with a capital T.â ?

"I'll pass your observations along to HQ,â ? said Daphne Base. "If you're wrong you can count on extended cultural diversity training.â ?

"Aye, Daphne Base. I'll call when these diverse lads get out of range. If we survive.â ?

Secret Defense Base
321 Rue Morgue, Montreal
(next to Big Jacque's Pizza)

"Sir! Sir!â ? An excited corporal handed a message flimsy to Brigadier Che. "Daphne Base reports an attack on patrol boat Cuddles.â ?

Che laid the flimsy on his desk and smoothed it. "Why do we print important messages on such delicate paper?â ? he groused.

"Tradition, sir,â ? replied the corporal in a shocked tone. "Without tradition, what would we be?â ?

"Americans, probably.â ? Che took out his reading glasses and perused the message. "It says the attackers have been temporarily classified as probable oppressed minority.â ?

"Yes, sir. Standard procedure. That way we can alert the diplomats. They like to practice their hand-wringing and apology scripts in advance of any possible groveling, sir.â ?

"Twenty-plus mortar rounds have been fired at Cuddles. I don't think these lads are looking for an apology. They want blood.â ? Che thought for a moment. "Kick this message up the chain of command, Corporal. Classify it as a warning of a probable terrorist attack.â ?

The corporal paled. "Can you override the oppressed minority designation, sir?â ?

Che sighed. "I'd have to check the Procedures Procedural Manual of Procedures to be sure, lad, but last time I looked, these gee-gaws on my shoulder boards indicated a command job. I'll take the chance. Forward the message as I said. Send in the Executive officer.â ?

"Sorry, sir. The Exec is vacationing in Cuba.â ?

"Right. I forgot. Send in his backup. Colonel what's-his-name. Infanteer?â ?

"Yes, sir. Right away.â ? The corporal tried to retrieve the message flimsy. It puffed into a thousand pieces and drifted toward the return air duct. "Blast! Sorry, sir.â ?

"No matter, corporal. I've seen it. The thing was flimsy, after all. Tradition, you know.â ?

Che lit a cigar and began pacing. He tried to remember what military options might be on hand in the vicinity of Cartwright. Nothing occurred to him. A gray-haired colonel knocked at the open door and stepped in at Che's come-in gesture.

"You wished to see me, sir?â ? asked Infanteer. He was short and thin, with an impressive beak and a general air of a seedy time-server about him. Red blemishes across each cheek indicated a tendency to imbibe in strong spirits.

"We've got a terrorist attack on our hands, Colonel.â ? Che sketched out the situation as he knew it. "What have we got in Labrador? A couple of fighters would be nice.â ?

Infanteer frowned. "No fighters closer than Kosovo, sir.â ? Infanteer walked to a wall map and studied the Maritime coast. "The Liberals sold the rest to some South American government, if I recall correctly.â ? Seedy time-server or not, the colonel knew his stuff.

"Ships?â ?

"In the Persian Gulf, sir. Both of them.â ?

Che joined Infanteer at the map. "Well, what have we got? How can we hit these clowns?â ?

Infanteer smiled at Che's gaffe. "Careful of your ethnic characterizations, sir. You never know when the Bureau of Prohibited Speech might be listening.â ?

"I had the office swept this morning.â ? Che tapped the map. "Don't we have anything available?â ?

"Nothing, sir. The lads in Kosovo and Afghanistan are all engineering and humanitarian aid types. We couldn't get them back in time anyway. What about the Americans?â ?

"We'll have to ask, I suppose, but my information is that their troops are all deployed, from Chile to Iraq to Taiwan to Korea and everywhere else under the sun. Navy too. I wonder if they have a few fighter-bombers available?â ?

"Probably not, sir. They junked all their bombers, A-10s and AC-130s in order to afford new air superiority fighters. Warthogs and Hercs aren't pretty enough for the Air Force.â ?

The corporal rapped at the door. "Sir. Patrol boat Cuddles is following the alleged terrorists. They managed to get their engine started. The scow is still on course for Cartwright.â ?

"Thank you, corporal.â ? Che sat down. "At least we can keep tabs on the blighters. Any chance the Cuddles is armed?â ?

"Patrol boats are forbidden to carry anything but a shotgun,â ? replied Infanteer. "And nothing but birdshot for ammunition. Their old M-2 machine guns went to the scrap yard long ago. Can't have peaceful Canadian citizens exposed to the shape of lethal weapons, you know.â ?

Che stared at the map. "Why Cartwright? What's there to interest the terrorists?â ?

"Nothing, sir. I think they're just heading for a place to blow up. The Amis have cut off a lot of funding to the various radical groups. This bunch must be on a restricted budget.â ?

"Well, they have a mortar,â ? mused Che. "That seems to be more than we have.â ?

"There is one possibility, sir.â ? Infanteer touched the map at Paradise River. "I know of a small group of ex-infantry types who took their mustering-out pay and set up for fishing and hunting guides near Paradise River. They guide when they can, work odd jobs for the Fisheries people and spend a lot of time drinking. I might be able to contact them, sir.â ?

"But what good could they do? They have no weapons.â ?

"Guides can still own and carry rifles, sir. They have to check them at the local RCMP office in the off-season, but they should have them now.â ?

"I'd forgotten that. My question still stands. What can they do?â ?

"A few infantrymen with rifles could be very handy at Cartwright, sir.â ?

"You're right. See what you can do. Should you and I draw weapons and head for Cartwright?â ?

The Colonel studied the map again. "I'd suggest Corporal Monkhouse and myself for the expeditionary force, sir. You need to be here - keeping the pols off our backs.â ?

"Yeah. What about Daphne Base? Any troops there?â ?

"No, sir. Two retired school teachers in an old NORAD compound. I think they have a shotgun and a box of rubber bullets for driving off the occasional wolf or polar bear.â ?

"I might have guessed.â ? Che reached for the mauve scrambler phone. "I'll see what Defense has to say. Get things organized, Colonel. Report back before you leave.â ?

"Yes, sir. I wonder if we have any funds budgeted for air travel? We'll never make it by car.â ?

"Private automobile travel is proscribed anyway,â ? said Che. "Regulations require deployment via public transit unless travel by other means is authorized.â ? He grinned. "Consider such travel authorized. Try not to get arrested along the way.â ?

Infanteer saluted. "Once more into the breach. I hope there's only one boatload of garbage.â ?

"Now who's abrogating the Public Speech laws?â ? Che waved the Colonel on his way. He spoke into the handset. "Get me General Muskrat. Yes, it's important enough to interrupt his monthly tiddlywink tournament.â ?

Defense Ministry
Damp, smelly underground bunker

"I can't believe it,â ? moaned Sea Lord Null.

"Can't believe what?â ? asked General Muskrat, Grand Platoon Leader. "I assure you the threat is real. Terrorists are heading for Cartwright.â ?

"Not that. I can't fathom General Che's overriding the oppressed minority status of the alleged attacking force. You can't imagine the paper work involved in such a thoughtless act!â ?

The Prime Minister read the last flimsy and shoved back in his chair. "Terrorists! Attacking us on my watch! It isn't fair. It's just not fair.â ? He glared at Minister Null. "You assured me this was a figment of American paranoia.â ?

"Sire,â ? said Muskrat. "Can you contact Dubya? We need help and there's no time to argue.â ?

"All right. All right. But must we stay in this horrid place? I have a perfectly wretched looking red phone in my office that connects directly to Dubya. I feel so - so closed in down here.â ?

"It's an Emergency Bunker,â ? explained Muskrat. "We've not had funds to maintain it for years.â ? He chuckled. "However, since the terrorists probably won't make it to Toronto, I suppose we could adjourn to friendlier surroundings.â ?

Thirty minutes later, ensconced in a comfortable leather chair and sipping a hot toddy, the PM picked up the fabled ugly red phone. He nodded to Null and Muskrat and selected 'speaker'. An operator answered. "Your nickel, start talking.â ?

"Um - this is the Prime Minister of Canada. I'd like to speak to Dub - ah, the President.â ?

"Sure, you an' every other tinpot dictator wants to talk to him. Well, it's no use. Sooner or later the Marines will be there to liberate your country. You can whine to them.â ?

"Liberate? This is the Prime Minister of Canada! No tinpot anything! Let me speak to Dubya!â ?

"Canada?â ? They could hear the operator speaking to someone else. "What about Canada? Is it on the 'Invade' list or the other one? Okay. I got it.â ? The operator came back on the line. "Sorry, sir. Hang on a moment. I'm sure the Prez will speak to you.â ?

The PM stifled an angry response and concentrated on a soothing mantra. Null sipped his tea and wondered it he'd still have a job tomorrow. General Muskrat tried to think of where he might have stashed an infantry platoon - or even a squad - during the last budget cutting frenzy.

Dubya's voice crackled over the speaker. "Good afternoon, Mr. - ah, Mr. Prime Minister. What can I do for y'all? Make it quick. I gotta attend a Senate hearing in a few minutes.â ?

"Mr. President. So good to hear from you.â ? The PM explained the problem vis-à-vis the alleged terrorist attackers and the lack of Canadian military capability.

"Jeez, ah, Mr. Prime - er - Mr. Minister. My boys are kinda swamped right now. Stomping on dictators and smashing terrorist cells, y'know. Lemme check my calendar.â ?

"Mr. President, I'd hate to have to tell the Canadian people that America failed us in our hour of need.â ? The PM still had that old stump speech memorized. He'd always known it would come in handy. "You have to help us.â ?

There was a long silence. Then the President spoke again. "Who is this, really?â ?

Before the PM could respond, the operator came back on the line. "Deposit three dollars for another five minutes.â ?

"But - but this is the Prime Minister of Canada! I'm on the red phone!â ?

"Oh - the red phone. Well, that's different. Deposit thirty million dollars in US currency, sir. That will bring you up to date for your 'Oh God! Please Help Us!' subscription.â ?

"Preposterous!â ? snarled Null. He broke the connection even as the PM whined, "I don't have that kind of money just lying around.â ?

"Forget the Americans!â ? cried Null. "Generals Muskrat and Che have the situation well in hand!â ? He turned to Muskrat. "Don't you, General?â ?

Muskrat tried to swallow the lump in his throat. Null was an accomplished political infighter. His statements were intended to deflect blame onto the soldiers, as usual. "Um - we have some options - ah, to pursue. I'll contact Che and see how things are going.â ? He fled the room.

Minister Null spoke soothingly to the distraught PM. "There - there, sire. The soldiers will figure some sort of strategy. And if they fail, we'll admonish them severely and make sure the reprimands stay in their permanent files.â ?

Guides-R-Us Business Office
Paradise River Bar & Grill

Ex-sergeant O'Leary joined Scarlino and Ghost at their usual corner table. "It's just the three of us, lads. All the rest are out with clients.â ?

"Or drunk,â ? said Ghost, nodding toward the rookie, Aguilus, lying in a sodden heap against the back wall. "He ain't crawled out of the bottle since they cashiered the lot of us.â ?

O' Leary shrugged. "Hard lines, mates. But we can't wait for him to sober up.â ? He explained the situation regarding the apparent terrorist strike at Cartwright. "Colonel Infanteer and one corporal are on their way, but that's all there is - save us. He wants us to load up and go down there. If we leave within the next few hours we can be there easily before morning. Last ETA on the garbage scow was noon tomorrow.â ?

"How much ammo we got?â ? asked Scarlino.

"About four boxes between us,â ? replied Ghost. "That ain't much to repel an invasion.â ?

"It ain't an invasion,â ? said O'Leary. "It's a hit against an easy target, eh? The ragheads must be planning on a suicide mission.â ?

Ghost glanced around. "Watch what you say, mate.â ? The Bureau of Prohibited Speech (BPS) was known to have a long reach. Ghost assumed the Bureau had monitors in the Paradise River Bar & Grill.

"Bollocks!â ? snarled O'Leary. "Let's get our gear and mount up.â ? He punched Scarlino lightly. "Make sure that rig of yours has a full tank.â ?

"Jeez, sarge. It's only about 60 kilometers to Cartwright.â ?

"Fill it anyway. No telling where we'll end up, eh? Them terror boys might land somewhere else along the coast.â ?

There were inevitable delays as the lads worked in the late evening Sub-Arctic twilight, not the least of which was the BPS officer who turned up with a warrant for O'Leary. "You was recorded making deleterious comments about a certain ethnic group, O'Leary. I'm to arrest you for Public Disparagement of a Recognized Minority Group.â ?

The ex-sergeant waved the muzzle of his custom 'ought-six under the agent's nose. "No you ain't, bub. I'll be back in a couple days and you can arrest me then.â ?

"Dang it, O'Leary,â ? blubbered the agent. "You ruined my first arrest. I was gonna let you off with an admonishment. It would look good on my record.â ? BPS officers were granted sweeping powers of arrest, judgment and punishment in the belief that swift justice, even if misguided, was better than incurring the expense of manufacturing evidence for jury trials.

"Well, log the arrest and write up your d*mned admonishment! Drop it in my mailbox. I'll read it when I get back, eh? Now git!â ?

"Thanks,â ? murmured the agent, wiping his eyes. "I shoulda thought of that myself. I'll remember your cooperation the next time you besmirch a recognized minority under the protection of the BPS. I owe you one, eh?â ? The still-sniveling agent wandered off into the night.

"What does 'besmirch' mean?â ? asked Scarlino.

"How the h*ll should I know!â ? snapped O'Leary. "Let's get this show on the road.â ? He stomped into his cabin to pack an extra set of CADPAT.

Ghost nudged Scarlino. "He knows. It has to do with sex and polar bears.â ?

"But what's that got to do with minorities?â ?

"Many men claim to have had sex with polar bears. Once they tell the tale the bears hunt them down and kill them. The few survivors are a recognized minority.â ?

Scarlino nodded. "How does that relate to 'besmirch'?â ?

"If you kiss and tell, that's besmirchment. Female polar bears don't like being talked about in bars and such. They besmirch the tale-teller's butt.â ? Ghost chuckled and began tossing gear in the back of the truck.

"But . . .â ? Scarlino shook his head and mumbled, "Got me again, you b*stard.â ?

"Careful, mate. I could be part of a minority.â ?

"You was once in the Army. Does that count?â ?

"Probably. But it don't matter, eh? I'm pretty sure my parents was married.â ?

Sunrise, the Second Day
Patrol Boat 'Cuddles'
Forty Kilometers NW of Packs Harbor

"Ring up Daphne Base,â ? said Sub-Lieutenant Earl. "This lot is still on course for Cartwright.â ?

"Roger that,â ? said PO Bossi. "Same speed?â ?

"Same speed. ETA Cartwright about noon. We got any troopies in position there yet?â ?

"I dunno. I'll ask.â ?

Artificer Padraig crawled up out of his hole. "Fuel's gonna be tight, skipper. Every time I figure it we either run out about ten kilometers off shore or we barely make it to the dock.â ?

"We'll know when we get there, I guess. I wish we had a decent weapon aboard.â ?

Padraig lit a cigar. "I keep a box of double-ought buck handy - just in case. But that ain't gonna be enough to tackle the scow.â ?

The Sub nodded. "You better break out the buckshot. It might be needed.â ?

"Too true.â ? Padraig grinned. "Maybe if we run alongside and show them your Fisheries badge and a nice smile they'll give up.â ?

Earl laughed. "They'd sink us with a couple RPGs before they ever saw the badge.â ?

"If Higher-Higher is classifying these lads as an offended minority they might have a company of professional hand-wringers on hand as greeters. It ought to confuse them, at the least.â ?

"That's 'oppressed' minority - not offended minority.â ?

"You couldn't prove it by me, sir. How do you tell the difference?â ?

"Well . . .â ? The Sub became serious. "Oppressed peoples suffered at the hands of imperialists in the past. You know - like the Irish. They was oppressed by the English and - oh, everyone.â ?

"That's funny. I don't feel oppressed. What are the symptoms?â ?

Before Earl could fabricate an answer, Bossi returned. "Daphne Base says there are two groups of soldiers headed for Cartwright. One might be there already.â ?

Earl blew a long sigh of relief. "How many troops?â ?

Bossi snorted. "Three followed by two more. A squad.â ?

Even Padraig, that oppressed Irishman, was appalled. "Five men all told?â ?

"Five. Three are ex-infantry from Paradise River. They'll have hunting arms only. Some colonel named Infanteer is flying in with a corporal. Word is those two will bring an M-60 and an old M-14 out of Surplus Stores.â ?

"Nothing wrong with an M-60,â ? said Padraig. "But a few anti-tank rounds would be more to the point. One could even wish for an artillery piece or two.â ?

"Artillery?â ? lamented Earl. "All traded off for a few German limos, from what I hear.â ?

Bossi shook his head. "Limos? I thought those were scout cars.â ?

The Sub-Lieutenant's laugh was bitter. "They are. The pols use them for scouting out hookers.â ?

Air Newfie Flight 103
Near Black Tickle

Colonel Infanteer huddled in his seat and tried to ignore the baleful glances of the other five passengers in the ancient Dakota. He knew it was a Dakota, the military version of the Douglas DC-3, because several layers of interior paint had worn away to reveal US Army Air Corps lettering at various places. Corporal Monkhouse sat nearby, cradling his M-60. Infanteer was laden with an M-14 and several bandoliers of ammo. Both men had additional boxes of ammunition close at hand. Judging from the other passenger's reactions, none had ever seen an armed soldier before. All huddled at the front of the cabin, well away from the two men.

"Will this thing get to Cartwright?â ? asked Monk, shouting to be heard over the engine noise.

The Colonel shrugged. "It's been making it to a destination longer than we've been alive.â ?

Monk's reply was a weak smile. He didn't appear to be convinced. Infanteer closed his eyes and tried to relax. They'd been on the move since the previous afternoon, first via an ancient CF helo, which managed to get them to Quebec before a series of failures threatened to become terminal. From there they cadged a lift from the ex-CF pilot of a small provincial carrier, which took them to Red Bay. The local Air Newfie agent agreed to let them on board flight 103 to Cartwright via Mary's Harbour, William's Harbour and Black Tickle. So far Infanteer had avoided telling anyone about the pending terrorist attack. He didn't want to end up in the custody of mental health professionals.

The brief night had come and gone while they waited at Red Bay. Infanteer checked his watch. Unless he'd missed a time zone, it would be about 10:00am when they arrived in Cartwright. The airline maintained a schedule but it was a work of fiction.

"What do we do when we get there, sir?â ?

"Repel boarders. Get overrun. Find out it's a false alarm and go home.â ? The Colonel shrugged. "Something we don't expect, I imagine.â ?

"Yeah.â ? Monk settled into the seat and closed his eyes. "That's the Army way, sir.â ?

Cartwright Harbour
Not far from the crab factory

O'Leary jumped down from the truck and saluted. Infanteer returned the highball and extended his hand in greeting. "You're not in the CF anymore. No need saluting.â ?

The ex-sergeant shook his head. "Begging your pardon, sir, but most of our little force is civilian and they need to see us as professionals.â ? He indicated the gaggle of men and women surrounding the truck. Some carried hunting rifles. Illegal rifles.

Infanteer waved at the waiting group and walked down off the road toward the harbor proper. O'Leary followed. "You're right, sergeant. O'Leary is it? Tell me what you've done here.â ?

"O'Leary it is, sir. I've got Ghost and Scarlino with me - both ex-corporals.â ? He stopped and pointed out the rough road paralleling the shore. "I've had the locals rig five trucks with sandbags on the cab floors, steel plates to protect the drivers and sandbags in the beds. Sort of rolling bunkers - only with no overhead cover.â ?

"Capital, Sergeant! So we can react to the terrorists, no matter where they land?â ?

"That was my intention, sir. If the b*stards land across the inlet or very far down the coast we'll be left high and dry. But it was the best I could come up with. Will we get reinforcements?â ?

"No. Our closest reinforcements are in Kosovo or in the States, more likely. Last I heard, the Americans didn't have any real combat soldiers available on short notice.â ?

"I'd take cooks and bakers, sir. If we set up proper with the right weapons, the bad guys don't stand a chance.â ?

Infanteer nodded toward the sandbagged truck and motley group. "Does this look like anything set up proper? It's up to us, I'm afraid.â ?

O'Leary focused his field glasses on the harbour mouth. "Tide's on the make, sir. They should be in at high water. We've been in touch with the patrol boat. They can contribute a shotgun to our arsenal. The scow is armed with a mortar and RPGs, along with automatic weapons, so our lads can't even get close enough to ram.â ?

The Colonel used his own glasses to examine the bay. "Lots of ice floes out there. Maybe they'll run into one and sink themselves.â ?

O'Leary chuckled. "Not likely, sir. Even they wouldn't be that dumb.â ?

"True. Let's go finish setting up our defense force, Sergeant. We can put Monkhouse in one truck with his M-60. I've got an M-14. Should we put a single soldier in each truck or maybe concentrate a few in one vehicle?â ?

"I say one to each, sir. Even with the M-60, we lack the firepower to hit them head on. I had planned on more hit and run.â ?

"I think you're right. Let's set it up that way and see what happens. Do we have any comm?â ?

"The locals have simple walkie-talkies, sir. Did you bring anything?â ?

"We have a single satcom unit. I should report in to HQ. Anything you want me to tell them?â ?

"Have them send in that Quick Reaction Force we've all heard about, sir.â ?

"A paper force, I'm afraid, Sergeant. Budget restrictions, you know.â ?

"Is that anything like constipation, sir?â ?

"Exactly. Constipation of the imagination. A blockage called 'It can never happen here'.â ?

"Tell them to get ready, sir. Once we get rolled over, the bad guys will keep going until they're killed. Someone has to be ready to do the killing.â ?

"I'll mention it, Sergeant, but I don't think blood and killing is a normal part of their day.â ?

"True, sir. When did our War Ministry become a Defense Ministry?â ?

"I don't know. Is all this a failure of semantics?â ?

"I don't know that word, sir. But things are really ****ed up, eh?â ?

Secret Defense Base
In the office of General Che

Che huddled in his chair, phone pressed to one ear. "Right. Right. I'll see what I can do. A couple things are moving, but nothing will happen until long after the terrorists reach you. Okay. Good luck, Colonel.â ? He dropped the phone into its cradle, then uttered a string of vile words.

"Sir.â ? A middle-aged woman spoke from the doorway. "I can't continue in this assignment if you insist on speaking in such filthy terms.â ? She was from the temp agency. Monk's replacement.

"Sorry. I'm a little upset. Terrorists are going to strike a Canadian town and all I have to defend it are five poorly armed soldiers.â ?

"What town is that, sir?â ?

"Cartwright. On the Labrador coast. Do you know it?â ?

"No. Never heard of it.â ? The woman shrugged. "Labrador is a long way from here isn't it?â ?

"Yes. A long way.â ?

She nodded. "I don't know anyone in Labrador. Watch your language or I'll go home.â ?

"Right.â ? Che rubbed his tired eyes. "Get me General Muskrat on the phone.â ?

He briefed Muskrat on the current situation. "Any chance of some air support, General?â ?

"None. The Americans won't answer the PM's fancy red phone. The operator keeps braying about an access fee or something. I think their fighters are dropping smart bombs on terrorist cells in every corner of the world, except here.â ?

Che's head began to ache. "That's dumb. Surely they've kept some home.â ?

"That's what I thought, but - well, you know how impetuous the Ami can be.â ?

"We better start planning for the next skirmish. Our lads in Cartwright are going to go under.â ?

"I've alerted a couple of Reserve units, but getting them off home base will take a week.â ?

"A week? The terrorists could be in Toronto by then!â ?

"Don't be such an alarmist, Che. Once they get to Montreal you know they'll ask for immigrant status and settle down to train terror cells right here.â ?

"True.â ? Che stared at his wall map. "So what do we do?â ?

"Try to organize some forces. Hope for a miracle.â ?

"Hope for a miracle? Is that a recognized tactical plan?â ?

"It's doctrine.â ?

Last Dance
Cartwright Harbor

Infanteer watched as the garbage scow rounded a distant island and headed into the bay. He picked up a miniature walkie-talkie. "They're here. Maybe thirty-forty minutes out.â ?

O'Leary responded. "We're ready. Ready as we can be.â ?

The satcom buzzed. "Colonel Infanteer here.â ?

"This is the good ship Cuddles, Sub-Lieutenant Earl speaking.â ?

"Good to hear from you Cuddles. Are you still trailing the scow?â ?

"Affirmative, sir. Sorry we can't be of more assistance. We'll stand by. It might keep a few of the blighters off you. I'll move in if we see an opening. Otherwise . . .â ?

"Yeah. Otherwise just report the disaster.â ?

"Sorry, sir. If we only had a decent weapon. Hello - what's this?â ?

Infanteer stood up and trained his glasses on the scow. "What's up Cuddles?â ?

"I don't know, sir. Some of the terrorists jumped overboard!â ?

"Calm down, son. What happened just before that? Is there a fire? A weapons accident?â ?

"Ah - no - no accident. They brushed past a large slab of ice, but I can't see any damage. Wait! There goes a camel! We're moving closer, sir. People are running all over the scow!â ?

"Careful, Cuddles. They may be trying to lure you in.â ?

"I don't think so, sir. Some of the men in the water are crawling out onto ice slabs. This is amazing! More men just jumped in the water!â ?

O'Leary's truck stopped alongside Infanteer's. "What do you make of it, sir?â ?

"I'm in the dark as much as you, Sergeant. Why would they abandon ship like that?â ?

"Fire. Flooding. Gas fumes.â ? O'Leary focused his binoculars on the scow. "Jeezus Jones! A polar bear!â ? He grinned at the Colonel. "There must have been one on that ice slab they brushed past. A few float down on ice floes every year.â ?

"Polar bear?â ? The Colonel examined the terrorist ship again. "Good God! I see it!â ? He picked up the satcom. "Cuddles, there's a polar bear running amok on the scow!â ?

"I see it, sir! It just knocked a man over the side! It's after the other camel! Oh! It's got it! The bear has cleared the decks! What shall I do, sir?â ?

Infanteer paused to accept a cigar from O'Leary. "Start picking up prisoners, son. We'll launch boats from here to do the same. Don't pick up more than you can handle.â ?

"But, what about the bear, sir?â ?

"Leave him alone. We'll see about getting him a medal later, eh?â ?

Mwahahaha I‘ve been immortalised!

What inspired this Old Guy??

I love it!
I do this stuff for another forum and thought it might fly here as well.

My sense of humor doesn‘t always jive with others, so I try to be a little careful.

Sorry, Major. This was a Canadian affair.

Che -- you mean you‘re NOT a general?

Actually I suppose in this bizzaro world, I‘d be an admiral!

This is great, Very funny, not just because I‘m in it!
Post more if you have them!

That was brilliant!

Keep it up...Publish or perish!

(I‘ve always wnated to be the owner of a montreal jazz club-good luck working that in!) :D :blotto:
That was priceless. Made my day thanks.

Definately need more, Slim‘s Montreal Jazz Bar, and maybe you can work Baker in as the official keeper of the red phone in DC.

:D :D
Mewata Armouries
Calgary, Alberta

The CSM looked, as all CSMs hope they do, concerned. "We really have to loan it out?"

The RSM nodded solemnly, casting a quick glance at the company clerk who may or may not have been sitting in earshot. "No choice, they need it out east."

"East," the CQMS snorted. "They‘re the first to get everything. They need our ground radar unit like a hole in the head."

"Well," the RSM replied, "Orders and orders. For what it is worth, the units out there have sent a lot of their equipment to Gagetown."

"What‘s in Gagetown?" the CSM asked.

"Nothing," the RSM said. "But FedEx charges less money to ship weapons from Gagetown to Afghanistan than from Ottawa."

"I see," the CSM said. "Corporal D!"

"Sir?" the company clerk replied, pretending not to have heard the exchange.

"There‘s a large green box down in the old Weaponeer room, grab another troop and carry it up on to the parade square. We need to mail it to Montreal."

"Yes, sir...um, do you have the key?"

"Check with the Commissionaire," the RSM said, in a brief moment of nostalgia. "Oh, wait," he stopped himself. Those stalwart defenders of Canadian armouries had long ago been replaced by plastic number pads. "Well, somebody has to have a key."

"Yes, sir," the clerk replied again with a look at his watch. 2012 - by the time he made the rounds of the RQMS, Kit Shop, battalion headquarters, Recruiting, Area Support Centre orderly room, Militia Training Detachment, Operations WO, and, perhaps just for fun, the orderly rooms of the King‘s Own and the Medics, it would be time for dismissal.

The clerk walked out onto the parade square as the CSM called out, "Check with the OC and the 2 i/c, maybe one of them has a key."

"Yes, sir," the clerk replied. "They wouldn‘t happen to be in an O Group right now, would they?"

"It is Wednesday night," the CSM replied. "But I think they‘re actually in a Co-Ord Conference."

"Yes, sir."

"Check when they get out of the Co-ord, but they have an O Group right after that, followed by a briefing, a summary trial, and possibly a media scrum. Come back at 2315."

The clerk wandered off onto the parade square, a beehive of activity. He could worry about the key later, first step was to find someone to help carry the box. Whether or not the object was a two man lift, the buddy system was always the way to go. The sound of missed notes floated up from the basement where the cadet pipe band was practicing.

The clerk grabbed ninty9 by the shoulder. "Hey, are you busy?"

"Well, kinda," ninty9 replied. "We have lectures on Human Rights and a briefing on weapons of the Danish Navy. First we have platoon battle drills, I‘m late for that as we speak."

"You‘re late?"

"The CQMS didn‘t show up to issue the weapons so we had to wait for his storesmen." The clerk looked back blankly. "They had to find the key."

"Seen," the clerk replied, noticing now that the young soldier was festooned with ammo boxes, a C6 slung on one shoulder and a Carl Gustav on the other. "You had to draw for the weapons det?"

"No, I am the weapons det...we only have five people in the platoon....you know, final exams, and the playoffs and all."

"Well, I guess you can‘t help," the clerk said, stepping off towards the ASC.

He beckoned to the Recruiting Sergeant as he paced across the square, a long stick attached to a set of keys jangling tantalizingly. "Nope," the sergeant replied before even hearing the question. "These aren‘t the keys you‘re looking for, try the builing OPI."

"I thought that was you," the clerk replied, but the Sergeant continued on his mission. He probably had a new joke he read on the internet to share with the Ops Warrant.

The Area Support Centre was another beehive of activity. The clerk motioned to one of the clerks behind the counter. "I need a key to the old Weaponeer room, and - get this - they want me to like, lift something." The other clerks shook their heads knowingly.

"Well," the other clerk replied. "The rooms downstairs are all unlocked anyway so you won‘t need a key."

"How about some help carrying something up the stairs?"

The room filled with laughter, and the rustling of papers grew to a crescendo as the clerks reached for the chits. "Back," the chief clerk replied, pointing to his lumbar region. His rucksack sat atop his locker, barely recognizable under two inches of dust.

"Boots," replied another. "Fallen arches."

"I have my Class BA Contract right here," replied a fourth clerk. "It clearly states I‘m under no obligation..."

"Quite alright," the company clerk responded. "Thanks anyway."

He retreated from the ASC and walked towards the basement stairs. "Not so fast," a high pitched, sultry voice called out.

"Yes," the clerk asked, turning to see a pimply young boy. "I hate when they do that," he moaned to himself.

"You can‘t go down there."

"Who are you?"

"I‘m the RSM of the King‘s Own."

"I think you mean the King‘s Own cadets, yes?"

"Ummm...yeah...anyway, you can‘t go down there."

"Why is that?"

"They are ripping asbestos out of the walls and installing a sprinkler system, as well as tearing down two classrooms in order to make four classrooms."

"I see." The clerk thought hard for a monent. "I thought there were four classrooms down there already?"

"Yes, Corporal," the cadet replied. "But that was two years ago. They needed to use the capital construction budget up - this is what they tell me - so last year they changed it into two classrooms, but they really need four, and since if they don‘t use up the budget this year, they won‘t get any money next year...."

"Look, I need to get a box from downstairs, can you help me carry it? No one will even know we were ther...."

The clerk stopped short as the cadet pulled out a chit. "I‘m hoping to be a clerk when I join the Militia," he said, the braces on this teeth glittering in the dim light of the stairwell as he forced a grin.
Mr. Dorosh,

That‘s funny as ****. Probably all armies get into such snarls -- especially in peacetime.

In Vietnam we just stole whatever we needed. It always appeared to me that the supply system was intended to operate that way. Only those with initiative and a lack of scruples got the goods. Everyone else went without, as well they should.

This is phenomenal. I think you should send the story to the National Post as a comment on the operation of the Government, vis a vis our armed forces and the current terrorist threat. It is well written.

You‘ll need to change the names to protect the guilty, but it‘s good.