"Sir! Sir! We've got casualties! Lots of 'em! What do you want us to do?"
"Get them into that cave over there, Major!"
The general of Red Command didn't have time for this. He was too busy trying to interpret the direction this particular battle was heading.
"Sergeant! Get on the horn to headquarters! Find out when they can send us reinforcements!"
"Yes, Sir!" The sergeant quickly dialed Central Command. In minutes he had an answer, but it was bad news. "No reinforcements for at least another 6 hours, Sir! They say it's too soon!"
Too soon!? How did they expect him to fight off this enemy, anyway? The general rubbed his forehead, and studied the topo map again. Sure, his troops had acted quickly to secure the caves. They'd only had one break in their lines north of the mountains, but they had recaptured that territory quickly. However, he was very concerned. Rumor had it the enemy was making its way to Eustachian Valley. If they created a base there, this war was going to get ugly fast.
"Six hours," he muttered to himself. "That's a long time for my men to hold their own." Straightening his back, he let out a heavy sigh. One solution might buy them some time. Gravely, he looked at his sergeant.
"Call headquarters again. We need the Ghosts."
The air took on a much more solemn tone as the sergeant announced: "The Ghosts will be here within the hour, Sir."
Just then another soldier – by his behavior, obviously a private – appeared at the tent's door.
"Sir! All casualties are in the west caves as ordered, Sir. Radar has detected the source of the attack, and we're mobilizing units to counter attack."
"What are they using this time?"
"L-R-Gen, Sir. Pretty nasty stuff."
The general grimaced. Yes, nasty indeed. "All right. Anything else?"
The soldier hesitated.
"What's the problem, son?"
"Well, Sir, there's been talk about the geyser."
The general frowned. "And?"
"Well, Sir, the men are scared. They're concerned the geyser might blow while we're fighting. A lot of them have never experienced it, Sir. They're afraid – Well, Sir, you know."
It was clear even the young man was afraid. The general placed a hand on his shoulder. "Well, son, if the geyser blows, the geyser blows. There's not much we can do about that. We just need to stay focused, and pray for the best. Got that, soldier?"
The soldier stepped back and gave the general a salute that would make any CO proud. "Yes, Sir!"
With a flash, the young man raced back across the ravine, slipping a couple of times as he went. The general watched him until he disappeared.
"They get younger and younger every year," he muttered to himself.
The Ghosts arrived as requested. They were a mysterious sort called the "White Cell." No one in Red Command really understood how they did what they did, but their methods were effective. Their commander, a general decorated with many war medals, assured the general of Red Command that his men would use every chemical in their arsenal to attack the enemy, and they would win.
Suddenly, the ground started to tremble.
"It's the geyser!" the sergeant shouted, his eyes full of fear.
The tremors came in waves, rapidly, as the men scrambled to protect themselves. Then hot winds, at speeds close to 200 mph, tore through the ravine, almost sucking the general's tent into the fray. The sound the rushing gale made was so loud the men couldn't hear their own voices. Bits of debris whipped past the tent opening, dangerous projectiles that would impale anything in their path without remorse. Rain ensued afterward, drenching the entire area.
Once the wind ceased, the two generals shook hands and quickly resumed their separate duties. As the White Cell commander vanished into the recesses of the ravine, the general of Red Command barked orders at his sergeant.
"Check in with all units, Sergeant! Let's see how bad that geyser hurt us!"
"Yes Sir, General!"
The general checked his watch. A little over four more hours, and they would have reinforcements. Special forces called "Anti Hista Men." He closed his eyes and prayed. Hopefully, his men and the Ghosts would be able to hold things together until then.
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