General Timmy Frink shook his head at the chaos he saw through the lenses of binoculars. He was less than enthused about what was going on in his target zone.
“Get on the horn and get someone at that Free California radio station,” General Frink ordered his radio operator. “Tell them to broadcast a demand for a Japanese surrender. Civilians are to clear the streets as best they can. Got it?”
“Yes, sir,” said the operator. He went to work tracing the station’s radio frequency and placed the demand on every radio station based in the city. Resistance fighters heard the orders and hunkered down in place. USA was painted on the stolen vests and flak jackets they wore. Hopefully that would be enough to avert friendly fire as they waited for the Japanese response and the expected American assault.
They were caught between the two forces with no place to go.
Richard and Patrick Ito studied the growing situation from their own perspective places. The city had taken up arms against the occupying forces, but if the civilians maintained their positions, the chances grew that they would be accidentally mowed down when General Frink invaded the city limits. Something had to be done to forestall that. A solution seemed out of reach, but they still had to try to do something more.
Heading for the area that Free California should be broadcasting from just off shore, Patrick Ito theorized that, if he could get to the station, he might be able to help direct traffic in the right direction. That might help with friendly fire.
Dropping the soldier he had knocked out to help clear a doorway into a bolt hole, Richard rushed out of the city, searching for the general with his inhuman speed. He appeared suddenly at the man’s side, causing a stir.
General Frink held up a hand to cause his troops to pause. “Mr. Quick, I presume,” he said calmly.
“I need all the radios you got,” Quicksilver said without preamble. “We get the city guys in the loop, things will go a lot easier for your troops to do their jobs.”
General Frink instantly saw the plan of action. The problem was that they didn’t have that many radios to spare for the effort. He gave it a second of thought before deciding. “Get Admiral Keel on the horn, Dilbert,” Frink told his radio operator. “Tell him to get every man-portable radio he’s got ready to be delivered to the Resistance people in town. Got that?”
“Yes, sir,” said Dilbert, bending over his headset and talking urgently.
“The admiral is on the Dakota in the harbor,” explained Frink, pointing toward the ocean. “He can get a helicopter to drop anything he can scrounge right here.”
“Tell him to put the stuff on the deck of his boat,” said Quicksilver. “I’ll pick them up as soon as I take what you can get me.”
“I don’t think the Dakota is considered a boat,” said Frink, getting a nearby captain to gather as many radios as could be spared.
“Boat, ship, whatever,” said the speedster impatiently. “Give me a frequency to tune the radios to, and we’re in business if you have a city map.”
“Got one of those,” said Frink, indicating the detailed map folded in his pocket. “Tell your guys to keep it on channel three for general stuff.”
“Let’s get this show on the road,” said Quicksilver, watching for his needed equipment. As soon as he saw the captain approach with two privates carrying a box, the speedster and the supply of radios vanished in a small cloud of dust.
Captain Kim Takamura watched as position after position fell to the Americans. He desperately wanted to hold out, but he knew that was no longer an option without the Manhunter. It was time to signal a retreat from the City of Angels.
Ordered explosives to be set, he and his men organized an orderly retreat north to Sacramento. He was not going to leave valuable intelligence behind for the Americans to go over. Captain Takamura made sure the destruction was carried out before beginning the pullout. Two platoons were already gone and another decimated by the suddenly armed and dangerous civilian population of what he had once thought of as human shields.
Captain Takamura left his mechanized forces as a rearguard as he loaded himself into a helicopter and joined the retreat from the air. Other gunships took up a formation on either side of his command helicopter, heading north like giant birds. Fighters assembled to fly as cover for the slower gunships as they went.
Los Angeles had been the linchpin to Southern California, and it had been lost. Captain Takamura watched the burning city recede, aware he would be soon fighting in another city against the Americans. The sleeping giant was awakening again.
Peace had fallen on the city as the various celebrations had come and gone. General Frink’s troops had passed through, pursuing the fleeing Japanese forces. Part of the U.S. Navy blockade had sailed along the coast, shelling the routed army from off shore. The rest had remained behind until they had to sail north.
Two men walked the streets silently. They had taken part in the fighting for their home and were enjoying the return to being citizens under their own flag. The brothers paused in their walk as they looked at a bonfire of Japanese flags and torn-down flyers on the street in front of City Hall.
“At least the bodies are being interred,” Patrick Ito said quietly.
“They don’t deserve it,” Richard Ito replied.