General Jefferson Davis came into his office rather irritated. The announcement his daughter had made the night before that she intended to marry a gentleman of color had upset him and his wife. Though things in the last fifty years had changed drastically in The Confederate States Of America, because of pressure from the rest of the world, a white woman marrying a man of color was not yet socially acceptable, and his wife was deeply concerned what it might do to their social standing in the community. Jeff did not particularly worry too much about those things. His concern, of late, was the drain on his troops from the war in Iraq. Though it was proceeding satisfactorily and the insurgency was slowly being worn down, the troops assigned to this struggle were needed elsewhere, The Confederate States were providing troops and officers for eight peace keeping missions, and even with their country's vast manpower, and economic resources it was becoming a strain.
The door buzzed and Jeff snapped "Come in!" His aide, Major Lee, entered.
"Sir!" he snapped, "President Jackson is on the phone. He asks to speak with you immediately!"
Jeff sighed, and picked up the phone as his aide withdrew. "Good morning, sir!" he greeted. "How may I help you today?"
"By doing something you're not going to want to do!" the deep voiced president answered. "Bush is asking for more troops in Iraq. The Union is way over taxed. They need more support. I told him we'd find some people. I'm putting out a request that senior volunteers report for duty. I want you to assign them to base duties here in The States, and send the young men over to help the boys in blue. And before you say it, I know! We're just as strained to the limit by the attack on 9/11 as The Union was. Seven hundred of those people that died in The Trade Center were citizens of The Confederacy! Establishing peace in The Middle East is our Godly duty. We cannot forsake our northern neighbors in this cause!"
Jeff sighed. "I know, Mr. President!" he answered, "I know. If we get enough volunteers I can fulfill your wishes, but if we don't it's going to be extremely difficult."
The President 's voice came back loud and clear. "I believe in our veterans. I believe they will rally to the call, that they know how important this struggle is. Those we need will come. Oh, I got a complaint here. A Sgt. Mary Chestnut, she says she's being denied her right to serve, that she has been relieved of her duties and is being returned to the states, and she wishes to remain with her unit until it is rotated home, which is why another two months. I know regulations, Jeff, and I know how you stick by them. Even though the lady is pregnant, two months isn't going to make that much of a difference. Let her finish her tour of duty with her comrades."
"I'm sorry, Mr. President," General Davis came back, "I understand the young woman's feelings, but I would not violate regulations in this matter. I have skipped any disciplinary action. But violating regulations and not reporting her pregnancy was a major offense, which the lady could be court martialed for! I'm sorry, Mr. President, honor will not permit me to violate the principles of my conscience."
The President sighed. "Very well, Jeff. I can't ask you to do something that is against your conscience. Get to work on those reinforcements as quickly as you can, will you?"
"Certainly!" Gen. Davis answered. "Oh! Congratulations, sir, on your son being accepted in the seminary! First Speaker your family's ever had, isn't it?"
"It sure is!" The President answered. "And I can't tell you how damned proud I am of that boy! Except for my ancestor back in the war of liberation who everyone believes had the powers they've never manifested themselves in my family since! The boy could go far, he could go VERY far! Well, I'll leave you to your work. See you at the victory celebration."
"Be there!" Jeff answered.
There was a click as the connection was broken, and Gen. Davis hung up the phone. He had barely done so when there was a flash of light. Suddenly there was a strange officer standing in the room. One arm was in a sling, a rough bandage was wrapped around it. His clothes were tattered and torn. He looked half starved. He obviously tried to speak but then collapsed. Davis was shocked for a moment, then pressed his intercom button and screamed "Lee!"
His aide came running, looked at the scene, ran back outside, picked up the phone, dialed a number, and screamed "We need medical assistance at the General's office immediately! Snap to it!"
He came back in, knelt down beside the General who was now trying to tend the officer. "Who is he, sir?" Lee asked. "How did he get in here?"
"I haven't the foggiest!" the General answered, "But I have a very frightening feeling we had better find out. I have a TERRIFYING feeling we had better find out!"
The medics arrived, and quickly went to work. Finally one of them announced "Sir, we have to get this man to the infirmary."
"Proceed!" the General ordered, "Proceed!"