I could see it in their eyes. All around me in the hustle and bustle of the unfamiliar hallways it had risen up in them again. Everyone, from the lowliest peon to my generals and commanders, they all had it in them. Hope. I can't remember when we first lost it. It felt like we had never had it before. But when that strange thing showed up again with three thousand elite commandos from the New Aztecan Emperor's royal guard and demonstrated their apparent invincibility, even I could not help feeling as if anything was possible. Perhaps even the defeat of Asia. But there were so many things to do, and so little time.
Upon initiating operation escudo, I had sent Carlos from his safe haven in the space station down towards the African central government. They were one of the only superpowers not yet on board, and there was no one I trusted more to represent me when clearly a personal visit was impossible.
I had also been forced to pull the vast majority of my operatives out of danger as the Asian government swiftly and efficiently sorted through their population looking for spies. I had pulled all non-essential units out of the country completely, leaving only those who were relatively far from the government and military centers and still had a strong cover intact. We would have very little if no information coming from Asia.
The Asian forces had been stalled by some impossible and seemingly magical Atlantean technology that had scrambled the electronics necessary to activate their something-weird-that-the-thing-tried-to-explain launchers. The full effectiveness of this device in disrupting other Asian plans was not yet known, but since most computers then functioned through bio-engineered nervous systems and true electronics were becoming rarer and rarer, I doubted that it was in any way a devastating blow. They would have no holographic displays, no real-time video uploads (video still traveled better as an electric signal) and most importantly, no Thermospheric teleportation crap.
The thing had informed me, as if I hadn't been able to figure out anything on my own, that the Asian forces would be coming sooner or later, and that I had best prepare to repel the invasion. The entire coastline was being torn up and developed into a defensible perimeter. There were three rings, one outer ring following closely along the coastline about a hundred meters wide that was simply cleared of anything that would obstruct our gunfire, and strewn with any barbed wire, booby traps, and other ruble that would impede the invasions progress off the beach. The second ring was two miles farther inland, and consisted of a similar design. The third ring was three miles farther inland than that, and had large open areas for easy line of fire on approaching troops, as well as a forbidding palisade constructed of wood and rubble. In between each line of defense were miles op urban sprawl, a perfect landscape for our style of guerrilla warfare. Anti-personnel rocket launchers and turrets were manned at strategic locations, and overall the people began to feel a little more safe and secure than before.
Drew and Kari had plenty to keep them busy as apparently Asia was somehow able to coordinate and launch troops towards the moon, towards me, and still have the majority of their forces headed for Europe, but there was so little I could do to help. I decided to send those invulnerable Aztec warriors over to the Eastern European front, seeing that they would be needed there, but there was very little support I could give Drew. Then again, knowing him, I was doubtful he would even accept any help, and I was even more doubtful that he would need it.
Hope, even if only a glimmer, was going to be our best weapon against them. I distrusted the Atlanteans. Their technology didn't even seem all that useful in real war. But they had given my people hope, and for that I was in their debt. For now...