Operation Lightning Bolt

Major Ketvertis listened to reports from the radio operators around him, marking his map of the city and issuing quiet orders to his troops. In his war room, the chatter of distant gunfire sounded like a TV battlefield with the sound turned down. The volume spiked and then quieted as a lieutenant entered and stood at a fidgety attention. Ketvertis snapped off a quick salute. "Yes, lieutenant?"

"The opposing force, sir. I... I think they're from Udija."

"Of course they are, lieutenant. We made up Udija for this war game."

"I know, but... the people assigned to be subversives and invaders... they're not speaking Lithuanian."

Ketvertis narrowed his eyes. "They'd better not be speaking Russian."

"No, sir, I speak Russian, and they're not."

"Are you telling me someone made up a language for the war game?"

The lieutenant looked around. "All I know is they're speaking a language we don't understand, and it's unnerving everyone."

A radio operator turned. "Sir, the opposing force just fielded tanks."

"They aren't supposed to have tanks for this exercise!" Major Ketvertis' face grew red.

"Reports of tanks with the Udijan flag on," said another operator.

"Maybe General Vasinas gave them tanks to surprise me," he mumbled. "But a language?"

A nearby explosion shook the building. "My God," he shouted, "what's going on out there?" Ketvertis stormed out of the building. The street was red with the light of fires glaring off clouds of smoke hanging over the city. Gunfire strobed against those same banks of smoke. "What is going on?" he cried.

"Sir," said the lieutenant, "I think Udija is invading." He looked up into the sky where a military plane streaked overhead. "And they're winning."