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» The General - Chapter 11

Annapolis was the scene of utter chaos and destruction. Bodies were everywhere, not a single building was left undamaged and both sides were desperately holding on to what little they had left. Yet, with little or no reserves left the American forces crawled forward inch at a time, leaving more dead and wounded on the way. American air support, which had been ever so helpful earlier in the engagement, had slowed to a drip, as sorties in Washington where given top priority. It was reaching into the early evening; each side was now trying to positioning to deliver the knock out blow to the other. Klimec, due to some fancy recruiting and rallying had gathered a force of 200 soldiers for one last attempt to break the Soviet lines. On the other side Vladimir, who was now in personal command, had gathered a handful of tanks and a hundred or so conscripts, most of them non-essential sailors that were converted into infantry. Klimec had planned to avoid the city and try to cut-off the remaining Soviet forces by destroying their resupply route, a single bridge spanning the Chesapeake Bay. If victory in a battle was determined solely on planning Klimec would have won in a route, however, timing was not on his side. Unbeknown to Klimec the Russians were also bypassing the city and in a bad stroke of luck for the Americans, the two forces rammed head long in to each other, neither side expecting it. Despite having a very low caliber of infantry the Russian tanks more than made up for their short comings. The American force was totally unprepared for armor and they lacked the armament to deal with it. After a brief clash the American force was in full retreat sustaining amazing casualties. Meanwhile, Klimec, who watched in horror at the unfolding events, sat motionless as the Russian tanks rolled towards his position.

Conrad too was watching the battle, he had arrived some twenty minutes earlier and was hopeful that Klimec's plan would succeed and his force would not have to take the brunt of the action, but after the route he knew the 27th Marine would be put in harms way for the second time today and although no order was given, it was understood that the attack was to begin, when Conrad lowered his head in disappointment.

Shells were now exploding all around him, Klimec still sat motionless as the tanks grew nearer and nearer, his staff had gathered everything of importance and was urging the Captain to leave, however, he still just sat there listening to the shells and watching the tanks. Then when the end seemed near the lead tank suddenly exploded killing several soldiers near by. A second later the next closest tank exploded in a similar fashion, and then another and another, until there was just one tank remaining. Several humvees appeared from the left and dashed into the chaotic Russian infantry, tearing them apart, their weakness shown the make shift Russian infantry force was in full route and a moment later the bridge which had seemed so impossible to destroy a few hours ago lit up the dusk sky in an orange fireball. A lone Soviet tank ventured from the brush and was slowly creeping up to where Klimec was positioned. Klimec still didn't fully understand what had just taken place, the tank then stopped a few feet the Captain and out of the hatch came General Conrad, much to Klimec's surprise.
"I can handle it from here, Captain." Conrad said. Klimec was still dumbfounded. "Don't just stand there looking like you've seen a ghost and salute your commanding officer." Klimec complied, slowly, as Conrad crawled from the tank and sat down where the Captain previously was.
"There are still several buildings with Russians in them, sir. Should we take them out now?" Klimec asked.
"They ain't going anywhere, if anything they'll probably surrender by day break. Our boys worked hard today, we'll back off tonight and if need be we'll take them out tomorrow.

*    *   *   *   *   *

"Where is your bottle of wine, Comrade General?" General Timoka said with a smirk. Vladimir said nothing. "Not only didn't you succeed in crushing American resistance, you've managed to trap half an army division with no hope of relieving them."
"Remove yourself from my presence, Timoka, before I shoot you." Vladimir responded.
"Yes, I know you can kill your own people, but it's the killing of the other side that is your problem." Vladimir knew he had been beaten, and badly at that, and that taking his anger out on his fellow General wasn't the answer. "Perhaps next time you speak with Romanov, you can suggest that we sue for peace, that way we can save Russia from complete destruction."
"You coward, we are far from beaten, and we still have a few tricks up our sleeve." Admiral Heulizi then entered the room.
"It is time Vladimir, your next assignment awaits." Heulizi barked.
"I'm going to Chicago, Timoka. There we will destroy the Americans for good." Vladimir responded. "You are to stay here and hold on to the remaining area, as long as possible. And I don't have to remind you that no Soviet general has ever been taken prisoner, be sure that streak continues. Is this clear?"
"As clear as a bottle of vodka." Timoka responded. Timoka knew what Vladimir had meant, fight to the last man and allow no one to be taken prisoner, however, he had other plans and committing suicide was not one of them.

*    *   *   *   *   *

Dawn broke on the Eastern US seaboard, and an eerie quiet filled the airs around the Washington area. In the city itself, fighting was contained to a few skirmishes between forces built up in buildings, the Soviet tanks were silent as with most of their other vehicles, and the Soviet commander in charge had issued strict gasoline conservation orders to keep what little fuel they had left. The Americans were fighting the same problem, except for the occasion jet sortie, all tanks and motor vehicles were quiet as a church mouse. In Annapolis, however, the situation was becoming very complicated.

Rather than drive all the way back to Baltimore, Conrad had spent the evening in the field with Klimec and a few other junior officers just outside the city, which was all but ruins. A little after 0250 in the morning a blaze of gun fire that ended just as quickly as it had begun. Conrad wanting to know why he was so rudely awaken he sent a NCO to figure out what had just taken place. After what seemed like the longest five minutes ever, the NCO returned with a Sergeant who had been apart of the action.
"So what the hell went on, Sergeant?" Klimec asked.
"Well, sir. We was sittin there trying our best to keep are eyes open when, outta nowhere some twenty-five or thirty Russians came out of their holes, yelling some commy shit. So we let 'em have it before they got any closer." the Sergeant responded in his southern accent.
"Were they attempting to surrender or making a charge." Klimec questioned again. The Sergeant paused formulating his answer.
"Well, it was pretty dark, sir."
"So you purposefully shot men trying to surrender, right? We are Americans we don't do that, we let the commies do that but we are better than..." Klimec said really laying into the Sergeant, but he was stopped by Conrad before he could finish.
"Sergeant, are there any Russians that you did capture?" Conrad asked.
"Oh yes, sir. We caught five of them bastards trying to make a run for it, we made damn sure they ain't be running away now, sir." the Sergeant replied.
"Good, bring them here." Conrad finished. The Sergeant again disappeared and fifteen minutes later he arrived with five Russians, all privates.
"Here they are, sir." the Sergeant shouted out from his jeep.
"Good, line them up over there." Conrad ordered. After his task had been completed, Conrad turned to a private nearby. "Soldier I need to inspect your weapon." And without question the private immediately handed his rifle to the General, who without hesitation turned around and began to empty the clip at the direction of the five Russian prisoners. After he had finished, he turned back to the soldier whose M16 he had borrowed as if nothing had happened. "Hmm...your rifle seems to stick after the eighth and twenty-first rounds, be sure to fix that ASAP. Dismissed." Conrad then began to walk back to the command tent and then stopped after a few steps, "We are fighting to survive, to win. I'll do it however I have to. I expect to hear nothing more of this." He then paused and continued on to the command tent. Moments after Conrad had settled into 'his' command tent, Klimec came storming in.
"What the hell was that?" Klimec shouted.
"You'll have to excuse me Captain, but I don't know what you are speaking of." Conrad replied. "That stunt you just pulled outside. Blowing away five Russian prisoners with some private's rifle. Remember?"
"Of course, I remember, however, unlike you I am treating it as it should be...nothing."
"How can you say it's nothing, you just broke the Geneva Convention."
"Oh, take a look outside. We are fighting a war, we are trying to survive. Cram that bureaucratically nonsense up your ass because I will have none of it."
"But rules are rules, sir.
"Are you that dense, there is only one rule in war: kill or be killed."
"But, to justify cold-blooded murder? and to allow those men to get away with it too?
"You saw what uniform they were wearing. It's not like the hundreds of thousands of civilians that have been killed by the Reds. Besides a guilty man's conscience is a small price to pay for the survival of our country, don't you agree?"
"Still, what you did is wrong and in violation of the code of conduct of a US Army officer. Regrettably, I am going to have relieve you of command and place you under arrest for you actions." Conrad just stared at Klimec, not with anger or hate, but with an extremely perplexed look, almost mocking the captain.
"Who the fuck do you think I am? I'm not some church boy that you can scare with your bible thumping bullshit. I am the Commander of Eastern US Forces, the most determined and successful outfit on the face of this planet. Now if I was you I'd forget that this incident ever happened or my dear Captain you might find yourself at the wrong end of a firing squad." In deciding to confront the General as he did, the reaction that Conrad gave was not that of what he had expected. He thought, from viewing his record, that he could take advantage of his youth and inexperience, as Klimec was eight years Conrad's senior. But obviously by Conrad's words he was not so easily bullied and thought better of trying to proceed with his idea.
"I'm sorry, sir. I guess I'm tired and frustrated. I didn't mean anything by it." Klimec said lowering his head.
"Everyone makes mistakes, just be sure to learn from them and for goodness sakes try to get some sleep." Conrad replied. And what amazed Klimec more was the gentleness that Conrad reacted with after almost losing it a few moments earlier, so he did as he was instructed.

The next mornings staff meeting wasn't anything unusual, except that Klimec was avoiding Conrad at all costs. The situation was still the same, the Russians still controlled most of central D.C. along with Delaware, south of Dover. As they were adjourning, a MP came running in.
"Sir, we got a Russian who came to us under a white flag. He wants to speak to the commanding officer about surrender terms."
"Well, bring him in, Klimec can handle the negotiations. I was never good at that." Conrad replied. He then retreated to his room where he planned to write his wife and take a nap if at all possible.

The negotiations for the Russians surrender had been going on for nearly eight hours between a Major Treaoleav and Captain Klimec, without any breaks.
"Why did you come to us if you are not ready to surrender, Major?" Klimec finally asked.
"As I told you before, Captain, I am authorized to give such concessions, perhaps if we let our superiors talk, they can work something out." the Major responded. Klimec had been ordered not to leave the room until every last Russian in Delaware had surrendered, but as he could see the negotiations were going nowhere he decided to roll with the Major's idea, at least to allow him to go to the bathroom. Arrangements were made for the two Generals to meet the following day in Dover, nobody outside the people directly involved were to know about it and each General was to accompanied by two guards.

Conrad had reluctantly agreed to meet the Russian general, but it seemed the only way to get them to surrender. Conrad had arrived first to a small bombed out beach house a few miles southeast of Dover, while waiting for the Russians to arrive he was pondering how he knew the name Timoka, it sounded so familiar, yet he couldn't put two and two together. He sat there pondering the name for a good twenty minutes before the Russians finally arrived and like running into a brick wall it hit him when Timoka entered the room. Sub-Colonel Peul Timoka, Conrad had met him a few times during his stint in Moscow some eight years ago. He wondered who he'd made friends with to climb so high in the Soviet army as he was nothing more than Defense Minister Caukov's errand boy at the time. He even remembered buying Timoka a drink after a Communist rally, and that he didn't have a good stomach for alcohol. Conrad was also concerned that the Russian might recognize him, but that was doubtful in Conrad's mind. Conrad also knew he had the advantage, he knew his opponent, personally at that. He figured a few minutes of bargaining and then he'd really lay it on the Russian, so he could get back in time for lunch. They saluted each other and then sat down, each at the opposite side of a table that had been prearranged. The two guards positioned on either side of their respective General.
"General Conrad, are these guards really necessary, I'd feel more comfortable talking in private." Timoka said in his Russian accent. The guards were put in by Klimec to ensure the safety of his CO, but Conrad knew Timoka, or at least he thought he did, and against protocol waived off his guards, as did Timoka a few seconds later. After the guards had disappeared, Conrad began to speak but was interrupted by Timoka as soon as he guessed the coast was clear.
"General, I was instructed to meet with you by a friend of mine. I don't know how she knows you but she said that you could help me out." Timoka said quietly.
"Who? And with what?" Conrad asked.
"Yleana Armosov." Timoka responded. Conrad immediately perked up, but he tried his best to hide his knowledge of that name.
"Who is this Yleana, General?" Conrad asked trying to hide his interest.
"Yleana is Defense Minister Mockta's secretary, working in Moscow, of course. When she learned of my intentions she told me to find an Adrian Conrad and that he would be able to help me out. I assume that you are Adrian Conrad, no?" It was all starting to make sense for Conrad, Mockta was Timoka's uncle, by marriage to Timoka's aunt; though Conrad thought he was still in the KGB. That's how he must have gotten his promotions. And then there was Yleana. Yleana Armosov is a name that Conrad hadn't heard in sometime, not since he left Moscow six years ago. He didn't want to reveal who he was or give any clues away so he decided to tread softly.
"I am Adrian Conrad, but I'm sorry General Timoka, I don't know that name 'Yleana', but perhaps I can help you anyways."
"Of course General, what I am trying to do is get out of Russia. I can't tolerate the corruption and decadence in the government, my family is constantly being scrutinized by the KGB and secret police. The nation is gripped by fear, they only do as they are told to avoid the death camps in Siberia. Can you help me?" Timoka said desperately. Conrad thought for a minute, this isn't something you usually hear out of the mouth of a Russian General, but Yleana must have had some great deal of influence in the General's actions and wondered to what means she went to, to persuade the General to join the American cause.
"So, General what can you offer?" Conrad asked.
"Anything you want. Just make me disappear so that the KGB never finds me or I'll end up dead and that's something I don't want to be."
"Well perhaps, you could give me a sample of what you know." Conrad asked trying to squeeze as much out of his victim before he gave in.
"Well, I can tell you where the next attack is planned for."
"Okay, but what's inn it for you?"
"As I told you General, I want to free my country from the fear that grips it. If the KGB ever found out I was talking to you I'd be dead, no matter. So I have everything to lose.....Can you help me." He asked desperately.
"So how are we going to pull this off?" Conrad conceded, not sure if he could trust the General or not, but what he did trust was the work of Yleana, so for that he'd risk it. The exit was perfect, each General leaving swearing at each other and the guards none the wiser, however, Conrad was wiser as he had been supplied with Soviet positions, so even the 27th Marine Battalion, could take on the two Soviet Regiments and Timoka would be help cause disorder as well.

Conrad arrived back just after lunch, which to his dismay he'd missed. He was met by Harrison, who'd just arrived from New York. "So how'd it go General?" Harrison asked.
"That fool, should have surrendered while he had the chance, Harrison. Now I must destroy him. Take a look at these plans we'll be executing them tomorrow at 0500." Conrad replied.

The next morning, the 27th Marine accompanied by the 15th Armored, platoon strength, executed Conrad's attack plan, the Russians who were about at Brigade strength or about 7000 men, where completely taken by surprise, with the help of General Timoka. After the battle, the Marines were escorting prisoners to a proper place, Conrad stopped by to observe the process.
"So did we get anyone important." Conrad asked the NCO in charge.
"Sir, apparently the Russian general committed suicide before we got there along with his officers. We took about 2000 prisoners, but nothing special out of them."
"Where's it at?" Conrad asked and the Sergeant pointed in the direction of the Russian Headquarters and after a short twenty minute drive in his jeep, he arrived at the headquarters.
"Where's he at?" Conrad asked.
"In the back room." a Lieutenant responded who was in the process of sifting through rubble and documents looking for something useful. Conrad disappeared into the back room. "Hey he's still got a pulse, call an ambulance." Conrad ordered. The Lieutenant stopped what he was doing and immediately went to find an ambulance. Conrad then checked to see if the coast was clear and then went over to where Timoka was lying.
"I guess you were serious about defecting." Conrad asked Timoka who was lying motionless on the floor.
"So, I did good General?" Timoka replied refraining from moving.
"Yes, Peul, very good."

» Chapter Twelve

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