Valley

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The Major looked out the window of the manor house not quite believing the beauty of the valley below. Although this was hardly his first time staying in the Green suite of rooms, the view from the bed never failed to amaze him. Compared to his rooms at home it was paradise. But then, it was paradise compared to a lot of places on the planet.
 
Then the thoughts of his mission came crowding in and he got out of bed to better focus on the issue. A quick call down for breakfast followed by a brisk shower and he was ready for the day.
 
The desk in the sitting room had a comparatively pedestrian view looking as it did out over the courtyard of the manor house. Still, it was enough to be a distraction he didn't need, especially when his heart really wasn't in the task at hand. He turned away from the view with a sigh and set to getting things done. He turned on the computer and screen and, using his one-time access code, signed into the heavily secured systems the army used for just about everything.
 
The mission... Ah, what to do? He really didn't want to go to war with the neighbouring country but, when the prime minister and commander in chief says that there's a need, a simple military man pays attention. So, how to get the desired result without endangering too many of his soldiers or, for that matter, too many civilians on both sides? That was the key question. And a question he didn't yet have an answer for. But, he needed to come up with an answer - the cost of the recon mission alone demanded that he not go back to HQ without a plan in hand. The official explanation for the recon mission was, of course, anything but what it really was. The phrase "military exercises" historically covered a lot of sins. Present day was no different. So, the military exercises were being carried out on the plains on the other side of the city while he played at temporary HQ and tried to make up workable plans for the coming excursion.
 
The Major reviewed his orders, the ones committed to memory. They were simplicity itself. Come up with a plan to attack the neighbouring country and capture the people working with the latest advances in biotech. His fake orders, the ones committed to paper, were what he had shared with his sister, the Lady of the manor and her husband, the Lord. They weren't fooled, of course. They had both known him for too long to think that any military exercises he might be involved in would be carried out with no ulterior motive.
 
He knew he needed to make the exercises look good, at least good enough to make his officers think that the exercises were real exercises. If anyone in his command even thought that the exercises weren't real he'd have some rather uncomfortable explaining to do. So, in the interest of getting everyone's attention, he had authorized live-fire exercises for the day. Even now, isolated in his suite of rooms in the manor house he could hear the crump of shells as they walked across an imaginary enemy's lines. As if the view wasn't distraction enough...
 
As he reviewed the take from the high-altitude drones, the bones of the plan slowly took shape in his mind. There would be a largish cross-border excursion in the direction of their manufacturing centers. Call that the 'excursionary force'. That would, of course, be a diversion. The real mission would be very quietly carried out by a legal and small entry though one of the existing border portals. Call that the 'mission unit'. The exit for that unit would be covered by the retreating excursionary forces after they were repulsed by the enemy. And as much as the Major wanted to be part of the mission unit, he knew he would need to keep himself out of the operations and in overall command of both missions. Being who he was, that limited his enthusiasm for the whole thing. There was nothing quite like being on the ground, right in the thick of it.

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