Wei Down South
The very thought of it grated on Wei Tsu Tin. There was no denying it, his new command was a definite demotion. In his heart, Wei knew that he bore the responsibility for the massacre of his men in Arizona. As any good PLA general would do, Wei had deflected the blame. He’d had poor intelligence. His men were too lightly armed and poorly trained. They were weak and sickly. Wei had a dozen reasons for his numerous defeats in Arizona.
In the end, Wei’s “reasons” had been seen as excuses by the Central Command and he had been re-deployed to the deep south of the United States. His command had shrunk by nearly seventy-five percent and his autonomy had been severely restrained. Virtually every movement, every decision, required approval from Central Command. Anything outside of Wei’s direct orders had to be submitted in a written request. With the lack of communications infrastructure, written requests could take several days, or even weeks, to receive approval.
Wei’s hatred, for the United States and its people, for his own command structure, for life in general, simmered like a Georgia swamp in the summer sun.
As Wei’s disgust percolated, he plotted. He needed a way to put himself back on track, to regain the respect of his command structure and peers. He needed a way to put himself in a position to avenge his losses. He needed a bold stroke to reinstate his honor.
Rumors of a camp filled with American holdouts filtered up to Wei from FEMA workers and Red Cross volunteers. These militants, holed up in the Okefenokee Swamp, had resisted all attempts at “assimilation”.
Assimilation was Wei’s mission in Georgia. He had been assigned to the small city of Valdosta, an out-of-the-way place not far from the Florida-Georgia border. An intentional slight, in Wei’s mind, after his Phoenix assignment. Prior to the crash, the population of the entire Valdosta metropolitan area had not exceeded 140,000.
There were suburbs of Phoenix with nearly that many people! Wei bemoaned the loss of his former command.
Wei snorted in disgust. Valdosta reminded him of one of his early posts back home in China. Flat and uninteresting with a slack-jawed and uneducated population, the world would have been better-served, in Wei’s mind, if towns like Valdosta – and the little rural village where Wei had assumed his first company command – were wiped from the map rather than assimilated.
The thought sparked an idea. What if … Valdosta, and its assimilation holdouts, ceased to exist? What if this dump of a place was wiped off the map? Wei knew he could paint the picture – the reason for the … cleansing – any way he wanted. As long as there were no survivors, he would be restored to his former position – congratulated by his peers and commanders for heroically doing his duty. There might even be a medal in it for him.
Wei looked down at the left breast pocket of his dress uniform. It was covered in ribbons and medals – accommodations for a career built on the backs of others as well as Wei’s innate ability to ingratiate himself to his superiors.
One minor stumble. One little slip and this was the thanks … Wei’s anger rose in his throat. He wanted to scream. He wanted to kick and throw things. His eyes gleamed as he squinted at the map on the far side of his office – formerly the office of Valdosta’s mayor.
Wei strode across his office and ripped the map of the Valdosta area from the wall. The town and the surrounding area would be a smoking rubble when he left … victorious.