Mr. Sensitive

March 8, 2014

Operation Tiger Beat – Diplomatic Preliminaries

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 12:30
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The time is nearly upon us.  I have promised Jenny for years that she will be able to move into a finished basement on her thirteenth birthday, and I now have just over four months to keep my promise.  The circumstances under which I made the promise and my reasons for doing so escape me at the moment, but no matter—I gave my word and that’s what matters.  There are spiders involved, and so this will be a military operation—Operation Tiger Beat, because


Katie has graciously agreed to act as my chief-of-staff—even as she is ordinarily above my station—and she has committed to have operational options prepared for our joint review no later than March 31.  I’m not yet in a position to set detailed objectives or to assign theater and unit commands, but I can certainly begin to address the diplomatic and security concerns that will arise.

I’m speaking, of course, of the fragile peace between the Pfaff Empire and the Yard Dominion of the Spiders.

This will seem to the Dominion like an unbearable provocation.  The German remilitarization of the Rheinland in 1935 will inevitably be invoked, and the obvious dissimilarities will beignored.  The most significant difference is the fact that we are under no treaty obligations whatsoever as it regards the disposition of the basement and are fully sovereign there to no less an extent than in the office where I write this.  Permanent occupation and development of the basement will, nonetheless, be alarming in the extreme to the Yard Dominion.  All it would take is a silver-tongued(?) politician or two stirring up the old enmities to take us to the brink of war.  I continue to believe that full-scale war is unlikely.  Nevertheless, I don’t expect cooperation, and the forced eviction of all squatters and transients—eight-legged and otherwise—will be a messy affair, no two ways about it.

I believe that the Dominion’s level of military readiness is roughly comparable to mine—which is to say, awful.  I had a terrible summer and fall—domestic turmoil and nothing to do with spiders (so far as I know)—and the same period was a muggy, buggy bonanza for the Dominion.  To make matters worse, I failed to clear and clean the basement ahead of winter, as I normally do.  The same problems I already alluded to were to blame for that failure, but of course it would do no one any good for me to say anything more specific about the nature of those problems than I have.  The point is that had I targeted a late fall launch for Operation Tiger Beat, the spiders would have had an unmistakable advantage.  And yet, I can only assume they have had a terrible winter, the deepest and most unrelenting that I can remember.  They will have incurred terrific casualties, and for all any of us know there may be more winter weather yet to come.  The bottom line is that while neither they nor I will be rebuilding our forces from scratch, we’ve each suffered setbacks such that undue adventurism is hardly to be expected.

There is one undeniably compelling reason for the Dominion to exercise restraint: once Operation Tiger Beat is over, I will withdraw combat forces and they’ll have Jenny again manning the marches of the Empire.  Why does that matter?  Because Jenny already spends hours every week in the basement, listening to music and singing and skipping around like a crazy person—and there have been no incidents.  Jenny isn’t alarmed by the fact that spiders are probably watching her from every dark corner down there.  Jenny isn’t terrified that several divisions of spiders will descend from the underside of the deck and breach the poorly-sealed basement door, less than five feet away from their deck stronghold.  If I had to sleep in the basement, I would have to burn down the deck.

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