"The Abomination of Desolation? That has a nice ring to it" "The state media is brushing it under the rug but the unofficial news outlets are having a field day. The 'Midnight Blue' speculates the new Rebel weapon could extend the war by a year or more." Supreme Commander Patterson scoffed and again lifted the newspaper for inspection, tilting his head slightly to allow his eyes proper focus through the square lenses perched on his nose. "I wouldn't mind it ending sooner so long as it was on agreeable terms." Not really interested in the Brenodi article, the elderly soldier dropped the paper again to his desk and returned his attention to the High Commander standing before him, "How is the THUD?" "It was long gone by the time the Brenodi flyers arrived but we're still having trouble with the transmission." "150 tones is a lot move" The High Commander nodded in agreement, the Tactical Heavy Unit Destroyer was more a land ship than an armored vehicle, working through its teething problems had proven difficult to say the least. Patterson continued, "What of the islands?" "We've finally been able to bring the Imperial island hopping campaign to a standstill. It took quite a lot of doing, they have a rather talented young Commander leading the charge-" "Boinkin?" Patterson interrupted, his brow wrinkled in thought. "Borodin" the High Commander corrected respectfully. Patterson nodded, "Thats right, he slipped out from underneath us on Revma Island didn't he? Slippery bastard. I take it the Navy finally did its job?" "Indeed" High Commander Phelps confirmed. "As they approached the mainland our forces were compressed enough to sufficiently halt any further advancement. He'll need major reinforcements to make it through the pickets." "Damn good too" Patterson observed standing from his desk, "We can't spare the forces for another front" Phelps nodded but did not respond while his superior, the mastermind of the entire war effort, leaned forward to look out the thick armored window. Supreme Commander Patterson was old, far too advanced in years to have the fate of an entire people riding on his shoulders, but to his credit he bore his cross well. He was generally good natured, stern but fair, freely dispersing compliments or criticism depending on which was needed at the time. He arose every morning at 50 and often worked late into the night, sometimes forgoing sleep altogether if a crisis presented itself. He was tall with the remnants of white hair gathering around his ears and the back of his head with none covering his crown. His skin, what could be seen poking out from the traditional Jekotian military garb, was worn and weathered, first from years in the Jekotian army, then from years in Imperial labor camps. The war began a year after his release. "How is the line holding?" High Commander Phelps responded instantly; he always prepared extensively for the morning briefings. "Sporadic artillery fire has continued but the majority of Brenodi forces have been diverted north as planned. Their progress has slowed significantly entering the Paneh region and it appears they have split their main force into five smaller groups in an attempt to deal with the locals. If the rate of casualties remains constant we can expect to hold them in that area for another six months at least." "Six months..." the elder echoed stoically, "The new medium tanks we procured from the South are forming up. We expect it will take another four to six weeks to receive the entire order, another two to four to retrofit the units with newer weaponry and then an additional two to four for training." Phelps paused to recheck his math before summarizing the figures, "We should be able to field 30 new armored divisions in four months time with complementary numbers of infantry units to support them." "I am aware of the timeline Commander" Patterson's words were laced with heavy emotions, his eyes fixated on some feature of the landscape far beyond. "Our forces will launch from the Line, cutting off the bulk of the Brenodi forces and force them to the negotiating table." He took a deep breath and turned to face his subordinate, "But will they listen? Or will we be forced to butcher the men trapped in the Badlands?" The elder man, clearly not expecting a response, returned to his window and the unseen object far beyond. "That will be all Commander"