The Bear Awakens

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    General William Reid was highly annoyed. A lowly staffer had dared to wake him up, interrupting his afternoon nap. He'd been very comfortable lying in his favorite spot, a hammock stretched across the barrels of a decommissioned battleship gun battery.

    Reid's dream had been so exciting, with his hand on the Valkyrie touch command screen and the world on fire. Without rules or superiors, he'd been free to turn his opponents into plate glass and restore Aelir Kelander's glorious Dairghazburian Empire!

    "What the fuck does this asshole want? A situation in Crazishire? Why the fuck is that worth getting up for, when isn't there a situation in Crazishire?"

    Grumbling to himself and flipping off the staffer, Reid suited up and headed to the main meeting room. He was the last one there, but really couldn't give a damn. It was blatantly obvious who was the brains behind the military?at least until he glimpsed the Valkyrie control console in the center of the room. Oh, how he longed to use that device! Devoy was a motherfucking genius for thinking up such a piece of art. The touch screen with its map of Europe and deadly capabilities called to Reid?he must use it today, he must find a reason to fire that shit up.

    The debriefer was some non-military type from the Office of the Aelir and not well-spoken. "Blah blah blah nobody cares blah blah blah ok now the actual news!" thought Reid. Duxburian satellites had picked up a fleet of Halsbergian ships and a fleet of Inimician ships sitting off Crazishire's Sandy Island, boxing in their navy. "Sandy, really? The shit's practically a block of ice."

    It wasn't immediately clear why this confrontation had developed, but it was clear that all participants risked a shooting war. Without knowing their intentions, this was a particularly dangerous situation.

    Reid offered his opinion, that Inimicus and Halsberg coming out into offensive positions far from home represented a potential threat to the Dominions, one that needed to be nipped in the bud. General Kol pointed out that the DU did the same thing all the time, ironically against Davishire most recently. However, Reid noted the main issue being Inimicus and its position as a neighbor to the DU.

    Eventually, the others came around to Reid's view, including Steward Maximillian.

    "Very well, then what do you propose our course of action should be?" he asked.

    "We should probe Inimicus, to figure out what level of threat it actually presents and to figure out who its allies are. There are three things we can do,

    First, close the Strait of Mortec and the Chirez Canal to their military vessels, leaving their fleet stranded at sea. A fleet separated from its home port will eventually break down from lack of specialized maintenance.

    Second, park our boomers, Burkes, and amphibious assault ships offshore.

    Third, pivot a portion of the Eastern Grand Army to the Kaasian/Inimican border. We could also land the Northern Grand Army in northern Neo-Venetia for a second land contact point."

    Of course, Reid had ulterior motives for a probe, like those natural gas deposits and fishing grounds in the Suez. In the future war for resources, he'd accept no challengers. To stand between a Duxburian and a needed resource would be like standing between a bear and its salmon. He could almost taste those resources.

    "Alright, I will authorize this under the condition that it's a probe for information only," said Maximillian. "You are not to start any actual conflict, or it will defeat the entire point." However, he loved the idea of closing the Strait of Mortec to non-allied military vessels. The Suez was Duxburian territory and there was no need to tolerate any kind of threat passing upon its waters. He wouldn't mind keeping it permanently that way, they'd been far too permissive in its administration.

    The Steward granted permissions for Valkyrie and Reid stepped up to the command screen and console at last, eyes like a kid in a candy store.

    Watching the meeting from a hacked ceiling camera, Brandon Devoy couldn't help but laugh. "Why not just ask them why they're in Davishire and what their offensive intentions are going into the future?" While he knew all too well that military force was important, it seemed like a waste of time here.

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    General Reid signed into Valkyrie and was presented with a massive map showing the real time GPS locations of every unit in the Duxburian military. Zooming in automatically expanded groups out into their individual components and zooming out consolidated them again. He could choose to deal with whole grand armies, or individual soldiers if he wanted to. The power and flexibility was mind-blowing.

    He picked an individual soldier at random and drew a line on the screen indicating that he should walk 10 feet to the left. The order was automatically generated and sent to an officer nearby. Reid only had to wait 28 seconds before he saw the GPS dot move 10ft to the left. Reid now drew an arrow back.

    "Ahem." The Steward wanted Reid to stay on target.

    Reid scowled like an assault dog that had just been yanked back on his leash.

    He turned his attention to the Duxburian navy. His first move was to instruct all fleets to load up their amphibious assault ships. That would take the most time, so it had to be done early. Next, deploying the Mortec submarine fleet to the Strait of Mortec, pretty much right in front of their home port. The air base complex at Mortec was on standby in case of the need for air support.

    He moved for Fleets 3, 4, and 5 to head to a new position in the open Atlantic near the opening of the Red Sea to ensure that it couldn't be blocked against his country. Fleet 7 was in Chirez, he deployed it in defense and instructed the Suez fleet to join it via the Chirez Canal. Fleets 8 and 9 should remain in defense positions along the Suez coast.

    Now to actually probe Inimicus?Fleets 1, 2, and 6 to a position 12 miles offshore of Inimicus, with additional air cover from the Alverian Naval Air Station. The deployment would feature 60 Burke class DDGs, 7 Ticonderoga class cruisers, and 40 Ohio class converted SSGNs, defended by 36 SSKs, 60 SSNs, 5 Supercarriers, and 2 helicarriers. With Burkes carrying 90 missiles each, Ticonderogas 120 missiles, and converted Ohios a whopping 154, Reid had a launch potential of 12,760 cruise missiles.

    This was the most destructive assemblage of firepower to ever deploy from Duxburian shores, and it was his to command and control! Reid was absolutely ecstatic. THE POWER? how was he going to give this up at the end of the mission?

    There was still Dromund Kaas, too. Reid zoomed into western DK and selected the Duxburian 7th Army to pivot around and deploy at the Inimican-Kaasian border. The 8th Army would be in support. Air cover would be provided by the DK western division.

    Satisfied with his moves, Reid relinquished control, but couldn't help thinking that the Steward was useless and that he should always be in control. The rest of the room was useless too, they were just a bunch of talking heads. Yadda yadda yadda, all medal, no metal.

    With Valkyrie's automatic transcription and automatic transmission of the orders, those guys didn't even need to be here, sitting in a huge square around the command system.

    Reid waited impatiently as nothing really happened. There would be no instant gratification with these moves. He really hoped for a confrontation, though. 40 SSGNs in a firing line would be a horrible thing to waste.

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