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Posted on Mar 31, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 28] – In the Shadow of Infamy

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

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Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. Although his original secret island base was seemingly destroyed, the Doctor spent some time on the run and now occupies the defunct Mount Cheyenne facility in Colorado where he still plots to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats, cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs and people who say "yes" all the time.

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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. Narrowly escaped the apparent destruction of Sinister Island and runs the Cheyenne Mountain facility with his lord and master. Has a penchant for cigars and Alyssa Milano.

EPISODE 28 – "In the Shadow of Infamy"

Hilltop palm trees sway in a steady breeze as the sun beats down on an idyllic island scene. As small eddies of dust swirl up into the air, a black Humvee, decorated in the typical Sinister style with black highlights and black striping, crests the hill along a dirt track and stops at the summit. Far off in the distance the sea laps the sandy shore, and below the hill, some two miles distant, a natural inlet is surrounded by low buildings.

At the wheel of the Humvee, General Menace switches off the engine. He turns back to speak to his lord and master, sat in the rear seat.

General Menace: Well my Lord, here we are at last. (Doctor Sinister opens the rear door of the vehicle and steps outside. The General joins him – to see that the Doctor is wearing an incredibly loud bright orange Hawaiian shirt. The General shields his eyes from the glare as he fumbles to put his sunglasses on) Erm, nice shirt your Excellency…somewhat different from your normal style?

Doctor Sinister: I thought I would try and blend in with the local inhabitants General.

That’s commendable your Magnificence, but I’m afraid the eyepatch and the robotic arm still kind of give the game away. Me, I just wore my summer battledress.

I thought you might say that General, so look what I had made for me… (The Doctor turns to hide his face from the General as he fumbles with something on his face, and turns back to look at the General once he has finished) Ta-daaaaa!

Oh my…a Hawaiian eyepatch? And…it matches your shirt perfectly…

Great isn’t it! Never let it be said that I can’t go incognito.

No my Lord. It’s kind of fortunate we had our own plane to get us here, one look at you and the authorities might have mistaken you for some kind of deranged lunatic. (Under his breath) Which…of course… you are not…much…

(Completely oblivious) Magnificent view eh General?

Oh yes your Illuminousness – we’ve got a real vantage point over the entire facility.

Good, perhaps now we can work out why H.A.T.E. suggested this little field trip.

Well, I can only imagine he, erm, it wanted us to follow up on some basic historical lessons – after all, if we’re going to conquer the world, we need to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Indeed General. I just hope my cats are OK.

They are fine sir, I left instructions with two of my finest men to ensure that they were fed and..erm…entertained regularly. Last time I saw your cats however they were amusing themselves by trying to eat the metal infiltration spiders H.A.T.E. invented.

Well, as long as they are happy. I wish I could say the same for myself…

Sir?

It’s my robotic arm – it’s been playing up lately.

Bit of a twinge?

Not quite. I woke up the other morning to find my arm scribbling down notes on a pad. By itself.

I see. This is somewhat alarming.

You’re telling me, the day after that I awoke to find that it was finishing a Rubik’s Cube. Two days later I found myself dreaming of eggs and bacon to find that I was stood at the cooker and my arm had rustled up a full English breakfast for me. I wouldn’t mind so much but I hate mushrooms.

(Stifling a laugh) That’s so weird your Excellency – perhaps we should get maintenance to take a look at it? Have you a spare?

Not since we fled the island base, no. There’s more…I sometimes hear voices in my head at night…almost as if…no, it’s nothing. Let’s get back to the field trip – perhaps you can tell me what I’m supposed to be looking at?

Well my Lord, what you see arrayed before you is the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. It’s a central base for the US Pacific Fleet.

Don’t say it like that.

Like what my Lord?

I can hear it in your voice – even when it’s not written down I can tell when you drop the "u".

Drop the "u" sir?

Yes, you Americans are all the same…none of you can spell…

I’m, sorry….I don’t follow…

It’s H…A…R…B…O…U…R – not H…A…R…B…O…R. Honestly, it’s really not that difficult…

It’s always been spelt without the extra "u". That’s American English for you.

Bah…it’s just sheer laziness if you ask me…why do you need to go around ruining a perfectly good language?

But…it’s more efficient to lose irrelevant letters…that extra "u" just isn’t needed…

Well it’s not good enough – I’m telling you now, when we take power, I’m going to have all your American books changed to proper English spellings…

As you say my Lord…

And I want all those roadsigns changed as well.

Indeed…but if we might return to reality for a moment…perhaps we should consider the mission at hand?

Ah, yes. The Harbour. Presumably we’re here to work out some kind of attack plan are we?

Well, it’s been done before…

It has? Interesting…

Oh yes, on December the 7th, 1941, carrier-launched planes and midget submarines operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an attack on the base here.

Midget submarines? Where did they find the crew?

Errr…I don’t follow.

Well. midgets aren’t exactly common you know, they’d require special uniforms as well, sort of child-size combat fatigues…

No your Superiousness, the submarines were just very small, the crewmembers were regular size.

Ah, that makes more sense. Because I don’t know of any shops where one can buy army boots that small…although the Build-A-Bear Workshop chain does sell some neat military uniforms for teddy bears…

Please, your Excellency, perhaps we could concentrate on the events of 1941?

Oh, very well. You said there was an attack?

Yes, as a result of mounting tension between the USA and the Japanese Empire, the Japanese Navy launched an all-out attack on the fleet stationed here at anchor. As a result of the attack, the US lost 5 battleships, 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers, and 188 planes. Down there, that’s what they called "Battleship Row" – the Japanese planes found the heaviest American warships all lined up neatly for their torpedoes. It was a devastating attack.

Aha! The killer blow eh?

Well, not exactly my Lord.

Oh, stop being ridiculous – it sounds like the US lost most of their fleet – this undoubtedly explains the dominance of Japanese electronics these days – no doubt the US had no choice but to surrender immediately.

My Lord, I sometimes wonder if you’ve got even a basic grasp of world history – of course the US didn’t surrender, in fact they immediately declared war on the Japanese.

Utter madness – I mean, it’s not as if they stood much of a chance.

I beg your pardon?

Oh, come on, it stands to reason, the Japanese must have wiped the floor with the Americans. I mean, after all, this is the same nation that produced the Nintendo Wii.

The what?

Haven’t you played it? Oh, you must…I reached Pro’ level in Wii Sports Bowling just the other day. If it weren’t for my arm problem I was thinking of having a Wii remote built into the circuitry.

I think we’re straying from the point…

Ah, yes, your fantasy that with most of their Pacific fleet lost, the Americans fought back…

My Lord, the USA had the largest industrial capacity in the world – by attacking the States, all the Japanese did was to awaken a sleeping giant. Their defeat was inevitable. The attack on Pearl Harbor wasn’t as conclusive as it might have been…the most important American ships had left port for exercises.

I see…and they were?

The Aircraft carriers my lord. World War 2 essentially saw the end of the Battleship as the primary capital ship of any fleet, from that point on, the aircraft carrier would be the ultimate weapon – with the ability to project power over a much greater radius. And the Americans still had their carriers. That single factor was instrumental in helping the US to assist the rest of the allies in winning World War 2 and hastened the destruction of the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany. You know…suddenly I think I know why H.A.T.E. sent us here. You had that plan to launch a simultaneous pre-emptive strike on all the major world powers as a show of strength…

Ah yes, Operation Hammer – the plan is quite genius if I might say so myself, we declare war on the entire planet, launch airstrikes all around the globe and everyone backs down when they see how far we can project our power all at once – it can’t fail.

On the contrary…

…Yes yes, it’s clear to me now, H.A.T.E. wants us to learn the lessons of Pearl Harbour – namely, don’t allow your enemy any lucky breaks. The Japanese allowed the American carriers to survive, and as a result, they lost the war. We must ensure that our plans are watertight General…double check our targets and ensure that we achieve maximum impact wherever we strike!

My lord, with respect, no, that’s not what H.A.T.E. is trying to tell us. Operation Hammer was basically a massive bluff on your part – you’d commit our entire air force to worldwide attacks, in an effort to appear much more powerful than you truly are…but as the Japanese discovered after Pearl Harbor…they’d bitten off a lot more than they could chew. Once the Americans entered the war, they outproduced and outfought their enemies with masses of equipment, manpower and superior technology. I rather suspect H.A.T.E. is trying to tell you that your plan is a bit…silly.

Silly?

Well, yes, we don’t have nearly enough manpower to fight a major war, your grand gesture would turn into a damp squib within hours once we were located. If history teaches us anything, it’s to know your limitations – look at Hitler, he invaded the USSR and lost all that he had gained. The same thing happened with Napoleon, even the Roman Empire overstretched itself at times. No my Lord, we need to be more subtle in our plans…small bites at the cherry, not grand gestures.

Well why couldn’t the damned computer have told me that in the first place instead of insisting we fly out here to play tourist?

Oh, you know H.A.T.E., he’s a bit cryptic at times. Besides, we could do with a vacation.

That’s holiday, not vacation General, honestly, I really must do something about this strange vernacular of yours…

Yes my Lord.

Come on, let’s take a tour of the facilities, we might pick up something interesting…I’ve been thinking about revamping those plans I had for the five-mile long battleship…did I ever mention that to you?

(The two men head back to the Humvee…with Doctor Sinister’s robotic fist clenching and unclenching frantically)

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Will our two heroes be able to relax and enjoy their holiday or will more weird and improbable things take place?

What on Earth is wrong with Doctor Sinister’s robotic arm?

And who sells Hawaiian eyepatches anyway?

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

A J Summersgill and Jim Moreno.

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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Visit the Incorrect HQ for more episodes!

Pearl Harbor

Build-a-Bear Workshop

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