General Wang sat at his handmade, polished mahogany with cherry wood inlaid desk. The high glossy shine made it appear that the desk had a glass top. The cool air from the air conditioner was cascading over his body from the vent directly over his head. In his left hand he held hand rolled Cuban cigar while the other hand was gently swirling a glass of 21 year old Poit Dhubh scotch. The ice was softly clinked the sides of the glass. The privilege of rank thought the general.

The General’s office, like the man himself was spotless. He had all the proscribed photos on the walls. As a General in the Chinese army he was given some latitude as to his office decorations. His personal possessions were very few indeed, most were on his desk. These were just small mementos from his rather undistinguished career. The only large personal item was the wet bar with the built in humidor.

Just moments ago he ordered one of the two aging APC’s and a 10 man unit to go out on patrol around the remains of the two bridges and the power substation. He was not sure if he should send the second one to the site of the destruction of his former command. He needed to clear his mind and think. He also ordered that the Doctors Porters be taken to their new field. He glanced at the computer printout centered on the desk blotter, the site apparently held some promise.

General Wang placed his drink on the thick cut crystal coaster. The cigar he put on the edge of a large cut crystal ashtray from the same pattern. He stood up and adjusted his uniform, smoothing out any winkles. The use of a soft brush removed any ash that might have fallen onto his uniform. After insuring that all of his medals and ribbons were straight and spotless he finished his drink and extinguished the cigar. He pressed the intercom button. “I am heading to the storehouse.” The general did not wait for a reply for there was no need to the young aide to give a reply.

The storehouse was a large building at the rear of the base near the fence line and next to the boat house and dock. The building had no windows but had three large delivery doors. The building like the rest of them on the base, were made of poured concrete, block and mortar, the roof was made from steel. The exterior of the building was covered in a heat and radar absorbing composite material. The composite material was to keep the prying eyes of the various spy satellites form spotting the building from space.

The storehouse was where all of the valuable items that the troublesome Doctors and students had unearthed. Within the storehouse was a second building called the vault. This room was especially built to house the really expensive items. The walls of this room were 2 inch thick steel. Computer controlled environment and special lighting. This room was the general’s destination.

General Wang left his outer office and headed towards the stairways that descended to the tunnels that connected all the buildings on the base. These were not the rough and dirty tunnels of a mine. These tunnels were also made from poured reinforced concrete. Each tunnel was clean, painted and kept spotless, until recently that is.

This base with its buildings and the tunnel network were build using convicted criminals from various prisons around china. The General with the use of a large fund from the chairman had bribed the wardens for the use of their prisoners. Most of the prisoners were on death row for various crimes.

All the materials used in the construction of the base had been supplied through various outfits, organization, groups and companies that had ties to the Committee. More bribes were spent on the importation of the material.

At the end of the construction most of the criminals had their sentence carried out. Lt Zhou had overseen that bit of work personally. With all the costs of the manufacturing, shipping and bribes that went into the building of this base. To the chairman and the committee the cost was worth it. Within a month of its construction the base had paid for itself.

the influx of the mercenaries that were sent to supplement his own troops, there was not enough beds to go around. So the over flow of men were relegated to the tunnels. This led to the stench of unwashed bodies and trash that assaulted the general’s sense of smell when he opened the door to the stairwell.

At least the barbarians had not taken over this section yet thought the General. He made his way from the admin building to tunnel one, which ran north to south. He had to pass through several fire doors to get to tunnel 6 which ran from east to west. Once in tunnel 6 it was a short walk to the door to the stairwell that led to the storehouse.

He opened the door to the stairwell and proceeded to climb the stairs to the storehouse security door. The smell of urine struck him hard. This people are pigs he thought. They should be lying in their own filth like real animals do, his thoughts continued.

At the top of the stairs was a state of the art security door. The general methodically typed in his ID and password and then pressed enter on the keypad built into the door. A small slot opened on the box located above the keypad. He pressed his face to the slot making sure that his eyes were peering straight into the optical scanner. The door clicked open and with a slight push the door opened fully.

The storehouse was filled with item from the many different ages and dynasties that had ruled china. The item ranged in size from bits and pieces of pottery to large intrickrely carved statues to even larger than life animals.

There were literally thousands of pieces of artifacts kept here. Statues carved of stone, marble, or cast in bronze. Other item were small enough to be kept in locked glass cabinets like statuettes, plates, and bowls, arrow heads to spear points. Personal items also were there. Scrolls, books, letters, jewelry and clothing had been found. These items had been restored, cleaned and tagged. Each item was for sale on the black market.

The General made his way among the open spaces, the shelves, and the cabinets to the northwest corner of the storehouse. Here was the vault. This was where the general kept the really expensive items, the ones he had not reported to the chairman or his committee. This was his retirement fund.

When the general got to the door of the vault he placed his left hand on the palm reader. The scanner hummed to life from the heat of his hand. The protective cover on the doors keypad slid up. Again the general repeated the process of typing in his ID but typed in a different password. The security door’s computer then opened the slot on the optical scanner’s box. Again the general pressed his face onto the slot and made sure that he was staring straight ahead so that the scanner got a good read of his eyes. The door to the vault opened with a small click and a hiss as the pressure was equalized.

General Wang stepped into the vault, turned on the lights and shut the door. There before him was an antique desk. On both sides of the desk positioned on pedestals were two jade and gold dragons. The craftsmanship that went into making such things of beauty was breathtaking. Each dragon stood about 7 foot tall without the pedestal.

Beyond the dragons the general’s gaze fell on glass display cabinet filled with death masks, weapons from ancient rulers, the mummified remains of two such rulers one in a jade suit of armor, the other in his royal robes. Rare and intact porcelain and pottery, some with the contents still sealed inside, lined the shelves. Then there was the rarest of the rare, manuscripts, done by hand and beautifully preserved.

General Wang took a seat at his desk in what he called his sanctuary. He opened one of the drawer of the desk and pulled out a rare bottle of 150 year old scotch. He poured himself a small glass and sipped at it. He let it burn its way past his throat. The scotch settled in his stomach with a fire of its own. Wang knew he needed men. Men that would follow him, and not the two buffoons leading the mercenary scum that had come to his base and acted like they were the master here. Wang’s own garrison troops, over a thousand men lay dead about a field four miles from where he now sat.

His men had to have been wiped off the face of the planet with the use of cruise missiles and satellites. Nothing else made sense. The Chinese space federation had made claims that they destroyed the Russian and American space assets at the onset of the war. They also made claims that they were denying the space lane above china to them. He knew now that that was a lie. The proof of that lie lay scattered about a field, or on the road and railway lines not far from where he now sat.

The American marines were on their way to scout out this base. Damn that air force General, if he had just launched his fighter before the American spy plane had gotten into china thing would have turned out much better. Too bad that fool of a General could not be executed more than once thought General Wang

Somehow the American had found out about this base. He needed more men if he was going to live to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He knew he could not trust the mercenaries because they worked for the chairman and his money. And he did not have enough men to repel the marines much less hunt them down.

Wang also had to deal with the 2 assassins that were with the marines. He needed to offset the large number of the mercenaries that were here now. There were almost 400 of the animals crowding the tunnels now. He needed people that would only follow his orders. But where get them he thought to himself.

The General downed his drink and straightened his uniform. He opened the vault door and turned off the lights and made sure the door was securely shut after he exited the vault. Wang hastened back to his office. He had an idea as to where he could find the troops he needed so badly.

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