-14-

The People’s Liberation Army of China was bent on conquering. They knew that this was their time. Sure a lot of their cities were destroyed. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of their people had died. They still had hundreds and hundreds of millions of people left.

They took Taiwan first. This was calculated. Neutron Bombs had left little structural damage and all those pesky Taiwanese were now dead. The one’s that weren’t had two options. Become part of the People’s Liberation Army or die. Quite a few people took the bullet instead.

Admiral Zheng-Li was pleased with his fleet.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) didn’t have a large fleet, but the Admiral knew it was more than adequate, even with the damages they suffered during the initial American bombardment. The damn committees. The Central Military Commission had seen to it that PLAN wouldn’t be seen as an aggressor creating a political or a diplomatic statement, potentially creating unbalance in East Asia.

It took a long time before they’d let him have an aircraft carrier.

When he finally got one, it was converted into a casino and a tourist theme park. The Varyag, a 67,500 tonne, Russian Kiev-Class attack carrier, complete with baccarat tables, slot machines and roulette wheels was at his command, and he knew that it’s removal from the harbour in Macau would come as quite a surprise to the Americans.

It was a clever tactic he thought. They had the combined North Sea, East Sea and South Sea fleets. The sneak attack had paid off. First strike was theirs.

He walked along the hallways. Past the gift shops, the change machines, the discotheque and bar, surveying and saluting to the men. He had a fine crew, he thought. Eager. Young. Fearless. They were ready to set foot in the New World. He was felt like Columbus with 65 calibre cannons, missiles and atomic weapons. He couldn’t wait to roll out his fighter jets.

He thought about this as he dropped Yuan’s into a slot machine.

He knew somewhere a history book was being written about this event. The accident that spawned the war was taken to their fullest advantage. He knew: Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Annapolis, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Boise, Boston, Salt Lake City, Miami and Denver were completely irradiated. He saw THE BIG BOARD. Their victory would be glorious. The Chinese had waited since 1776 for this.

He was closing in on the Marianas. He’d always wanted to set foot on Guam. They’d blast the hell out of the American imperialists.

He rejoiced at the thought of landing on the shores of America. He wanted to see Graceland. He hoped it was still standing. No nuclear warheads had targeted Memphis that he was aware of. He hoped he could shoot out one of Elvis’ TV’s and get a white jump suit for himself.

Shake, Rattle and Roll. Viva Las Vegas. Don’t step on my blue suede shoes. Rock-a-hula-baby. I can’t but help falling in love with you. You ain’t nothing like a hound dog. I’m so lonesome I could just die. Money, honey. Uh, huh. Oh, yeah. Thank you, thank you very much. Elvis has left the building. Admiral Zheng-Li would like it in Memphis all right. He already had a map on how to get there.