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Another War
One problem with being out of country, let out alone out of continent, was that there were times when things called for his intimate attention. If he had simply been at the Legion headquarters in Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria, it would have been a simple matter of making his way to C2 (Command & Control) and staff on hand could have briefed him on the situation. The command elements were already in place, the computers and equipment needed to liaise between troops in the field, their logistical train, and the theater command structure.

In down town Moscow, access to that sort of facility was not exactly easy to come by. At least, not at first glance.

The day had started well enough; a few minor meetings had been arranged, and Jacques and his escorts had been heading across the city to one such face-to-face with what he hoped would turn out to be an actual, legitimate investor. It was hard to find many with money in the CCD that could be bothered to care about anything outside their own borders, at least not without some hefty strings attached. Strings he had no intention of entertaining, in most cases.

Receiving a call from an unknown Algerian number had been strange enough, but he had never been one to screen his calls. To find a rather winded-sounding Legionnaire on the line, calling from a rural gas station near Sidi Bel Abbès, was certainly more unusual. The message, however, saw his entire schedule for the day wiped clean.

Legion HQ's entire command and control (C2) system had crashed, just as reports were coming in from eastern Liberia, where Legion and Sierra Leonean forces had been working closely with the reformist forces of the Liberian government and military. A sudden build up of Nigerian, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso forces on the border with the Ivory Coast, with the Legion and Liberian field commanders agreeing it was a sure sign of an impending invasion. And then the HQ's C2 system had failed, which Commandant Tuft suspected was the result of a deliberate cyber-attack.

That had been half an hour ago. And for much of the past twenty minutes, Jacques and three Legionnaires had commandeered a preppy coffee shop which, as luck would have it, had both an excellent internet service, AND a dozen 'smart tables.' Effectively touch-screen computers as table tops.

Their initial reception had been one of confusion and arguments as Jacques' Legionnaires displaced a dozen or so university students from their seats, and Jacques had a brief, explanatory conversation (entirely one-way) as to what was happening.

They got settled in in short order, and already dozens of screens were displayed above those tables, as Jacques was plugged into the comms feeds of a dozen Legion, Sierra Leonean, and Liberian field commanders, government representatives, and an old Canadian fellow. Colonel Commandant Sauvage, honorary commandant of the 1st Legion Artillery Battalion, a rather bold name for what amounted to little more the two battery's of Howitzers and a dedicated mortar platoon. But, it also held command over the newly acquired Liberian artillery elements. A man in his late sixties, he had not only served in the Canadian military, but had worked with the very M777s that had been sold to Sierra Leone and were now in the use of the Legion.

He had answered Jacques' call for assistance, and had been training his men on the use of those guns over the internet for the past few months.

Much of the work at the moment was preliminary and reactionary in nature; Jacques had issued a series of broad orders after inserting himself into the gap in the Legion's command structure, unifying the myriad Legion and allied forces through one C2 point, namely that small internet cafe. Initial reports had been sketchy, but a picture was already being painted as recce elements reported in on the Nigerian Expeditionary Force's movement across the Liberian eastern border.

During one brief lull, as his three Legionnaires scrambled to cope with the deluge of information and requests that were pouring through the commandeered tables, Jacques turned to look at a pair of university students, many of whom were watching the four men work with open curiosity. “Is there anything you could recommend from the menu, sir?”

The young man seemed startled at first, looking from one of the monitors that showed a live video stream from a Liberian drone that was watching a column of Nigerian APCs and LAVs advance west into Liberia. “I uhh...what's going on? There?”

Jacques looked at the boy curiously, glanced at the screen that had caught his attention, then back again, “You do not follow the news much, do you? Well, I suppose in your defense, what happens in Africa does not much concern CCD news agencies, I suppose.

“Well. Long story short, I suppose. Nigeria destabilized Sierra Leone, supplying support by way of funds, weapons, and ammunition to both sides. Leading to the civil war there. And they are unhappy that I found out about it. Even more unhappy that their efforts to sick Liberia on Sierra Leone to clean up their mess failed so spectacularly. So now they have roped their cronies into invading, in an effort to further destabilize the region. You see, Liberia is one of few nations in the region that hasn't been entirely over-run by the Sahara. Abundant water, wood. Sierra Leone, abundant natural resources. Things they can make use of once they set up puppet governments. Easily done, after you kill a few thousand people.”

The pair of students, and many of the others in the room, stared at him in confusion for a moment. Except one, a young woman who was nodding along as if she understood. “Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire are allied with Nigeria, mostly due to debt and bribery. Benin is the only nation in that region that is both democratic and not in Nigeria's pocket.”
A truncated line from a text book, likely.

Jacques smiled and gestured to the young woman that had spoken up, “Who is the current president of Benin, and what is their foreign policy regarding conflict in the region?”

The girl went wide-eyed for a moment, then closed them tight and waggled her fingers in the air as if trying to sort through her thoughts, “President Derrick Fasano. From umm...Togo, somewhere? Benin has a long standing policy of opposition to any of Nigeria's foreign interests, as they still suspect Nigeria of being behind the mass crop death a few years ago?”

Jacques flashed a charming, impressed smile to the young woman, “Would you care for a job? As it turns out, I am in need of an adviser on African political affairs. I assume you are majoring in something related?”

She seemed startled again, and glanced at one of her friends for a moment, then nodded slightly, “Political sciences. We just finished a module on Africa. Ummm...what would I need to do?”

He tapped one of his men on the shoulder, and a short discussion later a new screen popped up above one of the tables, showing a rather beleaguered looking woman standing in a pleasantly adorned wood-paneled room. “Mr Danjou? I take it your offices in Algeria are up and running again?”

“Sadly, no, Mademoiselle Karthika Narang. But, if she is willing, I have my liaison officer.”
He looked from the Indian woman, a volunteer to the Legion's cause to bring a lasting peace to the region, and current Legion 'diplomat' in Benin, “Assuming this young lady is interested in the opportunity?”

He looked at the woman, who stared at him wide-eyed for a few long moments, clearly unsure what to do. “I do not mean to rush you, Miss...?”

“Karina. Uhh...Karina Rao?”

“Mademoiselle Rao. But lives are in the balance.”

She froze, eyes locked on the display of Nigerian and Burkina Faso forces advancing into Liberia. A brief war of emotions crossed her features, before she finally cleared her throat and stepped forward, taking Jacques' hand, “Uhhh...I'll do my best?”

“I know you will. Mademoiselle Narang will bring you up to speed, and explain what I'll need of you. Thank you.”
He gently urged her towards the waiting screen, and the two women began discussing the situation.

He glanced at the displays again, then back to the crowd of university students, some of whom were still recording the goings-on live on their social media feeds, Wallets held up and some babbling excitedly. His gaze landed on a pair, an idea coalescing in his mind. “You two. What are your majors?”

Another young woman lowered her Wallet briefly to glance at him, then flashed a grin, “Journalism.”

“Social Sciences. Uhh...International Law mostly?”
The young man was a bit more hesitant to respond.

“Journalism. Excellent. Care to be a war reporter, from the comfort of a Moscow cafe?”
She went wide eyed, then nodded eagerly.

“International Law? Damnably handy, when in the middle of this sort of thing. Can't exactly reach my lawyers at the moment. I need someone liaison between myself, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, to start drafting up a unified declaration of war. And a formal request of aid from Benin.”

The young man glanced at his journalist friend, who waggled her eyebrows at him and jerked her head towards the table Jacques was indicating to, clearly encouraging her friend to do it.

“Uhhh...Yeah? I mean, guess it'd look good on the resume maybe?”

Jacques laughed and nodded in agreement, “Would give you a leg up over your class mates.”

Within minutes, many of those once balking and upset university students were gathered around the tables, sharing the work load with Jacques men. It would be hours before HQ would be up and running again, and there was too much work that needed to be done too soon. He glanced at the pair of baristas standing at the closest end of the bar, watching the strange goings on. Then he pulled out his credit card, “Start a tab, would you?”
Three hours later, two hours after the beginning of the Nigerian-led Expeditionary Force's advance and the collapse of the Legion command-and-control capacity in Algeria...

" line! Add umm...add 100? fire for effect." Andre, a student with a minor in geography, and a good mind for maps and distances, had quickly found himself working as the liaison between Liberian drone operators and the Legion 1st Legion Artillery Battalion. With the help of Colonel Commandant Sauvage, young Andre had managed to grasp the importance of not only knowing how to read a map, but to truly understand it.

"Add one-zero-zero! Aye! Splash in four-fife!" There was no video link to the 1st L.A.B., and the sound of three M777's carrying out a fire mission were load over the audio feed. The video feed from the Liberian drone that was on display showed a trio of Nigerian Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) advancing in a tight column along a narrow back-country road, and the dissipating column of smoke from a single 155mm round that had hit ahead and left of the advancing column.

At another nearby smart-table, Metod, a Slovakian student majoring in international law, scrubbed his hands through his hair in apparent exasperation as he tried to iron out the wording of the official wording of the joint war declaration, while struggling to get agreements from Liberian and Sierra Leonean counter-parts. There had been a brief argument over including, at least notionally, representatives from the Guinean Restorative Government, but had agreed in the end not to, as the rebuilding efforts in Guinea would be likely be years before any unified government was truly established there. The lad had a dozen different screens open, and even a hard-cover text book, which sported dozens of dog-ear'd pages as he struggled to keep up with his 'qualified' African counterparts.

Karina Rao sat in one corner of the room, back to the wall, and her Benin-based counter part, Karthika Narang, sat in the office of President Derrick Fasano and some of his own advisers. She paused briefly, staring towards Andre's table as the thunder of 155mm howitzers barked off his audio feed in the rather bustling cafe.

Jacques stood in the center of the room, leaning over a table that displayed a map of north-eastern Liberia. Even with the unchecked spread of the Sahara Desert, the region was still densely forested, something which had played to the advantage of both the Liberian defense forces that had sided with the people against their own government, and the Legion forces that had moved in to assess their capabilities. Officially, at least. Nigerian intelligence had failed to realize just how much of the Legion's forces had been moved into the area, expecting an aggressive move by the Nigerian/Malian 'Expeditionary' force.

Real time markers indicated Legion/Liberian positions, and Liberian drones had managed to keep track of much of the Expeditionary Force's advance. "Mademoiselle Tamboia. Prog-Rep on those defensive positions?"

Placida Tamboia, a rather tomboyish young Italian woman, working on a major in construction engineering, palmed her Wallet and looked over at Jacques with a rather harried expression, "They can hear the front line, the on-site foreman is getting spooked. But, they're almost done."

He nodded slightly and offered her a comforting smile, "Well, our forward elements will be falling back to that location in a few minutes. Have them wrap up and withdraw."

She nodded and turned away to resume speaking to the foreman in Liberia. She had been tasked to lead a mostly volunteer civilian work force in building a earth-works defensive line that ran along what passed as a major highway, little more then a wide, hard-packed dirt road through the Liberian jungles. That line was going to brunt the Nigerian-led advance, which had already been bloodied on its advance along narrow roads and through the dense woodland.

Artillery strikes had boxed in the Expeditionary Force's advance, as had a series of ambushes and hit-and-run attacks on their rear echelon and logistics lines. Strikes that had been written off by the Expeditionary Force commanders as the work of stragglers. They hadn't bothered tracking those strikes, hadn't bothered trying to get a picture of what was happening as their forces advanced.

In three hours, some three thousand Nigerian, Malian, and Ivory Coast troops had advanced into Liberia. Tanks and IFVs had led the assault, with soft-skinned trucks and supply vehicles following behind. They had taken dozens of Liberian villages quickly, only to find many already abandoned. And believed that to have been because of the recent upheaval in the Liberian government.

They had found scattered Liberian military forces, which had retreated only after the Expeditionary Force had gathered enough forces in place to over run their prepared positions, which only slowed the Liberian advance and bolstered their confidence. They had ignored the Liberian drones; the country had no artillery, after all. And there was no fear of a coordinated response; the Legion facility in Algeria had been crippled by means of electronic warfare.

Two hours into the advance, the first signs of resistance had begun. By the third hour, reports were swarming in of Liberian forces in full retreat, and of scattered contact reports in the rear. And the artillery strikes had begun. But they had been sporadic, inaccurate, and seemingly ineffective. When entire platoons stopped responding, it was assumed due to poor radio reception; a common fault that had only worsened as the Expeditionary force had advanced deeper into Liberia.

Edited by Jacques, Mar 6 2017, 07:20 PM.
Nox was busy with his father - neither one of them would speak one word to him about what was going on. He hated being treated like a child. Specially from a boy no older than he was. It was truly pissing him off.

Cruz was fuming by the time he had reached Kyber Kafe, one of his university hangouts - well everyone's hangout really. The tech was great and the coffee was drinkable.

Cruz had arrived just before things hit the fan. He was still ordering coffee when the whole room turned into a war table. Cruz watched as things started and he watched his friends get pulled into doing odd jobs. But the one thing Cruz saw was the inefficiencies of the tech being used. Particularly since he'd seen Sage's computer systems and what he and Aurora had been working on.

The two of them had been bouncing ideas off one another for days and there was code flying between both of their computers through the hours of the night. It really was unique to have a friend like Sage. Nox ignored them when the started computer talk. But he rarely left the room, was funny while he listened. His sister was smart too - Cruz wished he could have met the other twin, the three of them probably would have been fast friends.

Cruz shoved one of the military men out of the way. "Let me do that." Cruz plugged his wallet into the desktop display and used it's holographic display and brought up all the logistics in three dimensions with all the information - troop movements, battles in real time.

Cruz dropped into the desktop computer a simple program and called Sage on his wallet. "I need help you think you can give me our little pet project on this desktop machine?"

Sage didn't respond but Cruz knew he'd pushed the code through the connection. The table should handle the power, his wallet would handle the movement display and they could control all the pieces at one time. None of this trying to. They had a signal, they could keep it going.
To a casual observer, Jacques' involvement in the organized chaos that had overtaken Kyber Kafe seemed minimal. He would move between the various work stations where Legionnaires or their newly recruited university counter-parts would update him on their tasks, and would give input or direction. He trusted his subordinates, knowing that they could do their jobs without him.

Of course, much of the data stream that passed through their various work stations also passed through the HUD of his Landwarriors. Live feeds of the hectic combat in the Liberian jungle where Legionnaires were attached to Liberian platoons, in what had been the early stages of a unified training program between the newly aligned Liberian forces and the tattered remnants of the Sierra Leonean military, and the Legion itself, of course.

Updates from the lead elements of the Liberian forces as they occupied Placida Tamboia's newly built defensive line, and their immediate supply requests. Evacuation orders from settlements in the region, and the ever-present lack of transports for the task. Hundreds of Liberian civilians were still evacuating the region, despite the fact that Jacques' Legionnaire-attached Liberian military forces had already started days earlier.

Needless to say, the build up of the Nigerian led 'Expeditionary Force' hadn't gone unnoticed.

Legionnaires in F3LIN suits had been laying in wait, seeded throughout the jungles of north-eastern Liberia, and had begun hitting the Expeditionary Force's stretched supply lines and soft-skin vehicles, as well as actively jamming their communications through captured radios.

Colonel Commandant Sauvage had worked hard to find the perfect place to site the Legion's M777s, and those long-range guns, coupled with Liberian drones and FOFAC's (Forward Observer/Forward Air Controller) of the Liberian military, were able to subtly control the Expeditionary Force's advance straight towards the earthwork defenses the Liberian military had 'retreated' to.

The Liberian military's logistic and supply systems was painfully outdated; the software it relied on was entirely incompatible with what the Legion used, and decades of incompetence and neglect had only worsened the issue. Where dozens of supply trucks existed on paper, most had been found to be entirely serviceable or simply didn't exist.

Efforts had been made to appropriate the necessary vehicles both for ferrying troops and supplies to the FEBA (Forward Edge of Battle Area), but also to assist with the evacuation of civilians from the same area.

The sudden input of a new program to the system didn't go unnoticed. His gaze landed on the new-comer, one of the students that had been hanging back and watching things unfold. One of his men eyed the young man a moment, then glanced Jacques' way with an amused shrug and shuffled a bit farther from Cruz's side, letting the lad get to work, and instead turning his attention to trying to bring their field elements up to speed on the new capabilities.

Jacques soon found himself standing behind Cruz, studying the displays and relaying what information he had been personally tracking onto the displays. Markers indicating known and suspected Expeditionary Force movements, overlays of the fields of view from Liberian trackers and F3LIN equipped Legionnaires. Friendly troop positions, evacuation routes, reserve forces, projected fire-missions for the M777s.

What had originally seemed like a hastily assembled defense quickly began to resolve into a comprehensive strategy. The Expeditionary Force's advance into Liberia had started on a wide, bold front, and had quickly devolved into a narrow column that led straight into the defensive line, and more importantly a series of pre-sited grids for artillery fire missions.

The flanks of the Expeditionary Force were ringed by strategically located Liberian and Sierra Leonean platoons, waiting to pounce on the soft-skin rear elements, and their rear had already been entirely cut off by F3LIN equipped Legionnaire sections. It was only a matter of time before the trap was fully sprung.

"Mademoiselle Tamboia? You can begin work on the next project. We will need suitable arrangements to house the Expeditionary Force after it surrenders."
There was no doubt in his mind on the result of the pending operation; the Malian and Cote d'Ivoire forces would capitulate quickly enough, once they realized their situation. The Nigerian forces were better equipped and supplied, but decades of corruption and desertification had sapped the morale of their troops. Likely, a few of their officers would fall victim of 'Enemy Action' before they began surrendering.

The young Italian woman seemed momentarily confused, then realized that Jacques had already forwarded the information; establishment of three POW camps to house the various national elements of the Expeditionary Force.

"Mademoiselle Rao? Has President Fasano's government agreed to our request?"
His gaze shifted to the Political Sciences major who was working with the Legion's representative to the Benin government.

She looked up from the display she was working through, and her conversation with Karthika Narang, the Legion's diplomat in Benin. "Oh! Yes, they're just putting it to the final vote in Parliament now, but it's a foregone conclusion at this point. They'll be able to provide military police to guard the camps, and are willing to help with medical and humanitarian aid as well."

He nodded, modestly relieved by the news. He had been confident that the Benin government would agree to function as a neutral third-party. It had been a delicate effort to get Karthika Narang in place before the Expeditionary Force launched its attack, but he could never have allowed her to begin the negotiations until after that attack had begun, else risk tipping off that he had already known of Nigeria's plan.

He returned his attention to Cruz's work, and the real-time map overlay especially. "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, the father of modern warfare, in a sense. He was the first military commander to truly understand and embrace the defensive capacities of modern weaponry. Understood the importance of fluid plans of engagement. The means to allow room to maneuver and interpret orders for lower ranks. He gave his grand intent, not iron-clad orders, and so his field commanders could make best use of their troops to achieve that objective."

"A brilliant man, not to be confused with his idiot nephew, Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. He believed in strict rules for military organization and in detailed orders with no room for deviation. He believed in discipline and blind obedience, denying his commanders any chance to improvise or adapt the plan to the changing battle space."
It was a clear example of what was playing out on the real-time display. The Expeditionary Force had clear, direct orders and intent. The Legion-led defensive was fluid and ever changing. Even with the Nigerian cyber attack on the Legion's C2 systems, the forces in the field had been able to adapt and carry on with their objectives, with a clear picture of the over-all intent and a level of trust in their comrades and fellow field commanders to see it done.

"This is an impressive program. Is it proprietary? I suspect my Quartermaster would be very interested in it, if it's for sale."
The Quartermaster was a traditionally named military position. The person in charge of supplies and logistics.
Cruz listened to the man in charge speak to him about plans. His grandfather made him read many books on philosophy of war - his favorite had been Sun Tzu's Art of War. He said it was a good thing to understand. Cruz had been young when he'd first read the book, he still had a paper and ink copy of it lying on his bed side table. The binding hadn't been opened in years with a digitized copy sitting on his computer within easy search capabilities.

He could offer a few quotes that meant something to him, but one stood out. "A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates." He spoke to himself - but loud enough others could have heard.

But Cruz shook his head when asked if the software was for sale. He hadn't thought about it. It wasn't exactly his. "I didn't write it. And I honestly don't know who you would talk to find out. A girl who hunted monsters wrote it for her brother." Cruz shook his head at the thought of Nox needing more high powered technology to do his work - it seemed above him - he never planned anything, it was all about experimenting. But Sage had said it was for her brother so unless they had another, Nox was the only one. "Our mutual hacker friend is working on it now, I just started tinkering with it myself. I can put you in touch with him. He's in Moscow for a indeterminate amount of time. They might be willing to sell."

If they weren't Cruz would talk him into it. Two freelance programmers who develop the next greatest program adopted into the world first because of war - software wasn't a billion dollar industry for nothing. Sage could be set for life and not have to hack again - if the price were right it would be all he'd have to do. Cruz only wish he could take credit, his grandfather might not be so proud of him, but this would be a dream. Maybe he could adapt it to medical equipment.
Edited by Dorian, Mar 16 2017, 06:07 AM.
"Sun Tzu. An apt enough quote. Misconstrued at times; some take it out of its context, and believe that tactical command must be ever held by the highest ranks. That subordinate commanders must do only as they are directed by their betters."
It was fine example of the difference between Moltke the Elder and Moltke the Younger.

"As with all things related to philosophy, it is ever open to interpretation and debate. I believe it means that once the plan has been begun, one must instead rely heavily upon his subordinate commanders. Provide them with your intent, not a plan. Plans are seen as set in stone, intents are open to interpretation. Knowing your intent, they can then strive to make best use of their own troops, and respond to changes in the ebb and flow of the conflict."
As he spoke, signals from those very commanders in the field were flowing into the make-shift C2 station.

Liberians troops were fully established on the defensive bulwark, and were heavily engaged with the lead elements of the Expeditionary Force. Flanking elements of Liberian and Sierra Leonean troops had confirmed that the enemy's rear echelons were indeed bunched up along the narrow jungle roads, struggling to stay behind the armoured advance elements that were engaging the Liberians.

And F3LIN equipped Legionnaires had struck and cut off their retreat; cratering charges had been sited and detonated, leaving the roads back to Cote d'Ivoire impassible to vehicle traffic. And those same power armoured Legionnaires made the jungle itself impassible to dismounted infantry.

Word of those Legionnaires was already working its way up the line of the Expeditionary Force's advance, as survivors fled deeper into Liberia and the believed safety of the heavy armour elements that had led the advance.

What those survivors didn't know, and those armoured lead elements were starting to learn the hard way, was that there was no safety to be found. Two of the Legion's Type 90 main battle tanks commanded high features to the rear of the Liberian earthworks, where their superior range held dominance of the battle field. Coupled with the battery of M777s, the Nigerian-led Expeditionary Force quickly found itself under assault from all sides, with their only avenue of retreat cut off.

Captured Expeditionary Force radios were used to give false, hectic reports or to simply jam their frequencies with dead air. With poor communications and a lack of standard operating procedures between Nigerian, Malian, and Cote d'Ivoire forces, what reports made it to their commanding officers made the picture seem far more bleak then it was.

Jacques nodded slightly as Cruz spoke; he filtered through his forces reports and updates, funneling the necessary information to the various work stations around the cafe or to commanders in the field, "Well, let your friend know I would be interested in paying."
He had no context for 'a girl that hunted monsters,' dismissing it as some private investigator perhaps.

Indicators on the real-time map started to mark friendly troop movements; they were closing in on the flanks and rear of the Expeditionary Force, coordinated with artillery strikes from the M777 battery, and sections of Legionnaires in F3LIN suits and the out-dated heavy FELIN 2 kevlar body armour that the Legion had been famous in Africa for, began to appear on the front line, bolstering the Liberian forces there.

Chaos reigned among the Expeditionary Forces, as the disparate forces began to splinter and loose their cohesion. Malian troops were trying to launch a desperate break-out to the north. Cote d'Ivoire forces were abandoning the front line and pushing east, down the force's axis of advance and back towards their own border, only to run afoul of Nigerian forces trying to push them forward, and F3LIN Legionnaires advancing up their line from their rear.

Edited by Jacques, Mar 17 2017, 08:25 PM.
Cruz nodded at the commander's words. "I believe the same, as does my grandfather. You can't know what's going down in the trenches if you aren't there." Cruz smiled. "It's also why every break during school he made me work in every department of the company. He did it as a young boy, as did my father." Cruz didn't relay the fact that his father had rebelled early and that instead of Dorian Vega being VP of some department or another he was an officer in the CCDPD and a member of some radical group that hunted monsters. Cruz was still wrapping his head around that last bit.

Cruz didn't know much about what was going on. He was being tech support. He could monitor reports and help shuffle things around quickly. What he wouldn't have given to be able to do what Sage did when he was in his prime state. To have the ability to think something and make it happen almost instantaneously - that had to be glorious. But that power came at a great cost - one that could lose Sage his life. And to Cruz that was such a waste of a great mind.

Cruz hoped Sage and Nox would agree to sell the software. Maybe the three of them could start their own little business and sell the software. Cruz knew that it was powerful and he intended to start making it useful for Jivana technologies. Could you imagine a screen that help you not only see the problem but dissect it for you? Sure there were already systems like that, but this if programmed correctly and updated consistently it could save lives after a scan of a body. The potential was endless and Cruz intended to capitalize upon it.

"I will speak with them as soon when we are done here." That was providing Nox was actually home he suspected he and his father were up to something and that it might be bad. He didn't' know what - but Sage would be home - he never left the house - Not even when Cruz wanted to bring him to class to see some of the things he was learning.

But there was one thing for certain about the whole experience - Cruz was learning a great deal about war. He didn't understand a great deal, but he was catching on fast.
"Mr Danjou? I have General Igbo on the line?"
One of the students-turned-command staff seemed rather confused, and was looking to Jacques to sort the situation out.

"Ah. I assume he was indeed chosen to lead the Malian elements?"

"Uhhh...yes Mr Danjou?"

"Good. Put him on the screen here, if you would please."

The Malian military forces involved with the Expeditionary Force made up much of the rear elements; his military had few armoured vehicles, and as such most of their troops were loaded in the now trapped soft-skin trucks and transports that his Legionnaires had advanced upon.

The man on the screen stood in a a military command center no where near that battle ground. He was sweating and clearly enraged, but seemed to be trying desperately to hold it in check. In the background, junior officers and staff were arguing over conflicting reports from their troops in the field, what few were still in contact with them at least as more and more comms channels were being jammed.

"What the fuck do you expect to achieve with this god-damned..."
The general's bark was immediately cut off by a signal from Jacques, and the student awkwardly cut the feed, hanging up on the Malian general.

"When he calls back, would you mind feeding him the live view from the F3LINs? That should encourage him to think before he speaks again."

The student nodded, and jerked in surprise when, indeed the General phoned again moments later.

Malian troops, after a single failed break-out attempt, were already surrendering in droves. Dozens had thrown down weapons, as F3LIN equipped Legionnaires advanced through their position, and Sierra Leonean troops swooped in to take control of the prisoners.

"And when General Pemphermo calls, do the same please. Once he realizes the Malian rear guard has surrendered, he will likely do the same."

Jacques glanced to Cruz again and smirked, then made an exaggerated gesture of looking at his watch, "I suspect the Nigerian ambassador will stop by here in person to accuse me of international terrorism or some such, in short order. By now, I'm sure they know where I am."
A glance to the journalism student whom had been maintaining a live feed over social media of the entire event thus far.

"Your grandfather is a wise man. You cannot understand the plights and desires of those who have entrusted you to lead, if you have not been where they stand."

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