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Posted on Nov 22, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 24] – Fore!

By A J Summersgill, Jim H Moreno and Brian King

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Starring:

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Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. Although his secret island base has seemingly been destroyed, the Doctor still plots to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

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General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars. Narrowly escaped the apparent destruction of Sinister Island with his lord and master.

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EPISODE 24 – "Fore!"

It is late. A Police cruiser grinds to a halt alongside another car under the blare of a million stars on a nondescript strip of New Mexico highway. Two figures emerge from within, each possessing a swagger of confidence and authority. Their silhouettes are backdropped against the moonless sky as they calmly walk toward the other car. One, obviously the senior of the two, silently passes signals to his partner and the two move in with rehearsed military-like precision. These trained professionals have marked their quarry and are moving in for the kill…

…and far away in the desert, we find Doctor Sinister and General Menace, bags in hand, slinking away from their now captured Police cruiser.

Doctor Sinister: I really don’t see what the fuss is about. We could have held out fists of cash and we could have bribed our way to freedom once again.

General Menace: Begging your pardon sir, but not everyone in this country is corrupt – although I’m still not sure how you got that last officer to give you his Police cruiser. It seems…fishy.

Nonsense! He was simply a greedy henchman of the local potentate. Result!

Regardless, we have to make it over a few more hills and put that car totally behind us before they think to widen their search.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk in the dark overloaded with bags and my precious felines?

Actually, your magnificence, I am the one carrying all the baggage – so yes I do.

Excellent, then I needn’t spell it out for you. Carry on!

(General Menace is too tired to respond)

I just love a good walk under the clear skies of the desert. We should implement some deserts on our next island base.

(General Menace rolls his eyes wearily)

I could use a short rest though. I prefer to use hover chairs for these sorts of jaunts you understand.

(General Menace is caught by surprise when the good Doctor immediately stops in front of him, causing him to trip on a rock, fall flat on his face, and proceed to toss both cat crates far into the night)

Noooo! My beloved cats! (The Doctor steps on Menace’s back as he bounds in search of the crates)

(Talking directly into the dirt) Thank you sir, I’m fine… (The Doctor responds but is virtually inaudible) Sorry sir? Are you alright? Sir?

(The General only hears a cool night breeze in the local scrub and begins to wonder how he could possibly have lost track of one of the loudest men he knows…)

(A little louder now) Sir?! Your Magnificence?

(The General runs around frantically, shouting for his lord and master, before collapsing against a rock. Minutes go by, then an hour – suddenly, in a flash out of the darkness a golf cart arrives with the Doctor at the helm, and two cats next to him on the front seat)

We have arrived! General, I am saved! No more walking tonight.

(Not sure whether to be upset or relieved) Indeed sir, and…where were you just now?

Well, would you believe it, the most fantastic thing happened, there I was, wandering around, when, with great serendipity, I stumbled upon a means of escape. This cart shall carry us to freedom!

(Confused, the General squeezes himself into the back seat of the cart, with his feet upon the luggage, while the Doctor and the cats sit up front in comparative comfort)

Your Excellency, I’m not sure how far this electric powered cart will carry us, even if there were a place where an evil supergenius and his loyal general could call "freedom."

Really general, you are quite the sourpuss tonight. You aren’t still upset about leaving that bundle of cigars back in the Police cruiser are you?

What!? There were cigars in that cruiser – the one we drove for nearly 24 hours?

I didn’t think it was important, but apparently the cruiser was used in a Police operation seizing a number of boxes of Cuban Cigars before we acquired it. Can you imagine the luck?! But seriously, when we had to abandon it, hard choices had to be made about what we could carry.

But…but you carried nothing! And, and… (The General’s face reddens, but he is unable to voice the anger without incurring serious bodily harm…and as he seethes in the back, the cart pulls up next to a structure. The Doctor is singing to his cats as he parks the cart next to an obelisk)

My Lord. (With great frustration, and almost tears, the General has had enough) I just want to go home. I don’t care about Police, UFO’s, secret bases, or high tech weaponry. I’m tired, and I’ve come to accept the fact that even in prison I can probably get a good cigar.

Come on! You aren’t quitting on me again are you? We are on the cusp of victory over our enemies, now is when I finally NEED you with me.

What does that mean? That you didn’t need me before?

(Oblivious) This obelisk thingy is fascinating…I wonder what it is.

(The General looks at his surroundings as the glow of sunrise permeates the night and a wry smile washes over his face) Oh delightful, as usual we’ve stumbled onto something that is of no use whatsoever to our current plight. Your genius has led us back in time to 1945.

1945? My God! I’m the greatest genius of all time; I’ve procured a time traveling GOLF CART!

(Sarcastically) Indeed my lord. You are now standing in the year 1945, and the precise date, unless I’m mistaken, which, you know, I’m not, is July the 16th. In fact, our the precise location is Trinity Site New Mexico. Any minute now we will be vaporized as the United States tests its first nuclear weapon. You see that tower there, the bomb is on top, ready to be detonated to the amazement and wonder of scientists of the Manhattan Project. Congratulations. We will be the first people to be wiped out by an atomic weapon.

(Doesn’t see a tower, but continues anyway) Incredible! Astonishing!! Do you know what this means? We can steal that bomb right out from under their collective noses – and once again hold the world ransom as we rebuild our island base. You are simply brilliant tonight General. Do carry on!

(Slightly taken aback) Well, yes, of course, we will need a crane and a massive flatbed hauler to take away the "gadget" as the first bomb was called. (Looks at his watch) Yes, at precisely 05:29:45 AM today the Atomic Age will officially begin.

Then we only have a few minutes to steal it! What are you waiting for? Get moving General!

(The General makes no effort to move)

General, I don’t like this insolence. It’s not like you at all…we have to MOVE!

(General Menace puts his feet up, slings his arms behind his head and suddenly has a big smile on his face)

General, why that look? Why are you smiling in this most crucial of moments? We are almost out of time! Do you want to die?

You really couldn’t run this operation without me could you?

What? Uhhh, that’s total, utter nonsense. I don’t need you.

You could get the bomb yourself?

Of course I could! How can you doubt me? Me – the greatest genius the world has ever seen. Why, if I wanted to I could just go and snatch it and throw it in my pocket. I have Scientists working on grape sized nukes back at our base, not to mention the miniaturisation ray…

Your Scientists WERE working on those things, until our base was destroyed; and I wonder just how close those "Scientists" were to inventing such devices. Your Scientists didn’t even have nuclear power figured out did they?

Really General, what HAS gotten into you? Stop it. You are scaring my cats.

Oh nothing. Let’s just say I have made some realizations tonight about this organization. (Begins walking off into the desert)

But…what about the bomb? We can’t just leave it.

Don’t worry, it will always be here – at least the radioactive parts.

(The Doctor is clueless)

Well, OK then, what about this cart, we can make good our escape using this!

(The General halts in his tracks, issues a long sigh and trudges back to the cart before clambering back on board. At that moment, large floodlights flash on, drowning the Doctor and the General in blinding light)

THE BOMB HAS GONE OFF! Cuck and dover! Erm, I mean, duck and cover! (Swoops up his cats, and dives into the sand)

(Not flinching) No my Lord, those are truck lights. I’m afraid we’ve been caught.

Caught? In 1945? But I can’t go to prison in 1945, they don’t even have basic sanitation.

(Sigh) Oh for… We’re not in 1945, I was only pulling your leg. This obelisk is a monument to the first atomic test. I’m afraid to break it to you, but time-traveling golf carts don’t exist. This thing is only used to show visitors around the site.

(Rather sheepishly, the Doctor lifts his head up from the sand. A group of men slowly walk out into the light, and towards the General, and the dust covered Doctor lying on the ground. They appear only as black silhouettes in the glare of the beams of light. One walks up to the General and whispers something, and then moves away back into the mysterious group. A flash of the Sinister Incorporated emblem reflects off the man’s overcoat)

Man: We tracked you guys on television. We don’t have much time. (To the Doctor) Your Supremacy, we have a situation "prepared" for you to help rebuild your empire.

Wait? Did you say television. We are on television?

Man: Oh definitely, the whole world is following you. In fact the ratings of many cable news channels have gone off the charts as your story grows (oddly the same is true of many of the world’s comedy stations). Many believe it was the BBC that provided that fake Police officer and cruiser so that you could escape the Alamo. They filmed the whole thing, including the Doctor’s crying and tantrum when he thought he was captured, and before he gave all his money to the actor playing the Policeman.

Well that explains a few things.

(Laying on his stomach still) It was staged?

Man: (Nods grimly) Yes, you were picked by the networks the moment you arrived on Staten Island. We’ve been desperately trying to hook up with you ever since but you keep moving around the country.

IT WAS STAGED?

Man: There is no time to explain further. I’m sorry I have to do this my Lord but we must get you to safety…

(As the gang of black-clad men don gasmasks, our two heroes and their feline companions are put to sleep by gas grenades)

* * *

(Some hours later, in the cab of the 18 wheeler carrying this secretive bunch along with their captured guests…)

Driver: Where are we taking them again?

Man: Upstate New York. There is something special planned for them. It should be…Wonderful.

(As the truck plows into the sunrise, it passes a pair of Police cruisers parked next to the road. On the hood of one lay 2 content Police officers smoking some of the finest Cuban cigars this side of the Rio Grande)

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Where are our two heroes being taken now?

Have they really been on reality television all this time?

Or is the whole thing being made up as it goes along?

Find out in the next wonderful episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill, Jim Moreno and our special guest author, Brian King

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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