Seattle is scattered across a rugged and uneven terrain surrounding tree-covered mountains with snow-capped summits that pierce the canopy of clouds being pierced by golden rays of Sun giving way to the bright blue sky. The winding roads that bound the densely populated patches were paved like a spiking pulse. Roads ascend into 45-degree slopes and twisted along a bumpy plateau before suddenly giving way to a sharp descent. The storm of rockets launched by the besieging forces battered the city inundating the roadways with rain-filled craters.
The lumbering tanks and loaded APCs sent into to deliver the finishing blow were bogged down in the narrow rubble choked avenues. Heavy vehicles trying to escape fire slid down muddy slopes into the wet sands of the shorelines of the lake. Shock troops moving up the steep grades were vulnerable to all manner of small arms fire. The fight for Seattle quickly came to a standstill. The battling armies who not more than three weeks ago had been brothers in arms were reluctant to go any further with the fight.
Reconnaissance crafts silently circling in the sky were observing the dissolving lines in real-time. Shortly after the ceasefire, the war zone had turned into a festival. Tank crews sprawled out on top of the mammoth machines and basked in the rays of the gentle spring sun that warmed the slightly rain-chilled air to a pleasantly mild temperature most of the soldiers had never experienced in the various regions of the vast country they were pooled from.
Even among the colossal guns standing tall facing their human targets in the hills, the atmosphere among the young soldiers was relaxed. Music blared from communications equipment, and makeshift tetherball sets were made out of verticle cannon barrels.
Generals Haig and Halderman, the commanders of the opposing forces, camped outside, could see their very brief and relatively cordial civil war was coming ending. They could either end it on their terms of their fraternizing soldiers would end it on theirs.
Haig always had a flair for the dramatic and suggested the top of the space needle was the most fitting place to end their war. Haldeman and Haig had known each other since their days at West Point nearly forty years ago. Haldeman knew Haig intimately. The fact that Haig hadn't take it upon himself to strike down the landmark, a rather obvious observation post spoke volumes to the more level headed and grounded General about how serious Haig's threat of "total devastation" actually was. The theatrics were already causing Haldeman profound irritation. Still, so far, casualties had been light on both sides, and for the time being, the risk of a broader civil war on US soil seemed to have been mitigated.
Haldeman and his aid de camp sat waiting in the lounge. The General decided to ease the tension with a pre-talks beer. His aide-de-camp, a young, fresh-faced Luitenant, respectfully submitted it might not be a good idea to consume alcohol before negotiations. Haldeman scoffed and raised the point it would help him to be relaxed and, besides, reminded his dutiful aide that he was a general. If he wanted to have a beer before conducting peace talks with the enemy, then that was his business.
Haldeman took the last sip of the golden-brown brew leaving only a thin layer of foam at the bottom of the glass when he was informed Haig had arrived. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and buttoned up his uniform. Haig stomped into the lounge being trailed by his own aide de camp as well as the guard detail posted outside the door as they repeated their pleas to the General to wait outside.
Haig was decked out in full combat fatigue. He stood perfectly erect and stared down Haldeman with an icy gaze. Haldeman did his best not to roll his eyes. Despite his appearance, it was evident by his polished boots and pressed uniform he hadn't spent much time in combat.
"You're looking well, Mike," Haldeman said with a faint smile.
"That's General to you," Haigh said coldly.
"Fine, my apologies General," Haldeman said, remaining amicable.
Haig's face contorted into a snarl, and he kept his unblinking eyes fixed on his adversary.
"Shall we begin then?" Haldeman suggested ignoring Haig's display of hostility.
"It's ok," Haldeman said to the guards and waved them out of the room.
Haig sat down first, and Haldeman sat across from him. Their confidant lieutenants stood a few feet behind their respective generals and sized each other up.
"My offer is simple. Lay down your arms, relinquish your command, and maybe you can avoid the dishonorable discharge as well as the charges of treason," said Haig.
"Treason charges?" Haldeman said skeptically
Haig cocked his head. "The level of insubordination here is downright criminal," Haig said sternly. "When you disobeyed a direct order from Central Command, you forfeited your command!" Haig was working himself into a frenzy. "You proved to be a disruptive element not at all capable or willing to perform your duties during this time of profound national crisis!" Haig was shouting now. His puffed-up cheeks burned red with swelling rage. "You're incompetence as a commander, and your dereliction of duty has caused…
"General," Haldeman calmly attempted to interject.
"You have turned your back on your sacred duty as an officer in the United States military!" Haig shouted over Haldeman.
"General Haig," Haldeman repeated louder this time.
"You are a poor excuse for a man and an officer when all this is over I'll see to it that you're….
"Mike, Mike, Mike," Haldeman repeated in a soothing tone." Please just take a deep breath, and let's try and be civil to each other Haldeman pleaded as he put his hand on Haig's.
Haig withdrew his trembling hand and struggled to regain his composure.
"Mike," Haldeman said softly. "Please don't pretend. I know what this is about."
"No, you don't. You have no idea," Haig's voice trembled.
"I know you were hurt, and it probably added insult to injury that I never gave you any real closure," Haldeman said. "But I really need you to understand it wasn't easy for me either."
"Bullshit," snapped Haig.
"Mike, we both have families now. Maybe if we did a few things differently back in the academy, all of this wouldn't have happened, but it did, and now we have to deal with it. Just like we have to deal with the commitments to the people in our own lives. I do love you, Mike, but the chance we had is long gone."
The oppose aide de camps exchanged confused glances from across the room while General Haldeman grasped General Haig's hand and slowly massaged it.
"Believe me, I have my regrets, but this is just where life's taken us, and I'd really love it if we could drop all this and still be friends," Haldeman whispered.
"Yeah, right, "friends," Haig scoffed.
The astounded junior officers exchanged exasperated shrugs. Unsure of how to react to this reconciliation
Haldeman softly smiled. "I know it's a lame breakup thing to say, but we've been friends for forty years now, and I couldn't imagine you not being in my life at all.
Haig looked down at their clasped hands on the table. "I guess I was scared that's what would happen," he said sniffling.
"Me too," said Haldeman, "but as long as we're open and honest, it doesn't have to end..dishonorably."
Haig quietly nodded. Tears welled under his shut eyelids, and a single drop made a streak down his cheek.
Haldeman continued to sooth Haig, unaware of the two wide-eyed military aides staring with quiet disbelief.
"Can we put this behind us?" Haldeman finally asked.
Haig wiped his eyes and nodded. "Yeah," he said, a faint smile broke across his face. "Yeah, I think that would be for the best.
The commanders stood up and tightly embraced each other. "Cmon, let's have a beer out on the catwalk the view is amazing," Haldeman suggested.
"Sounds lovely," Haig smiled with a twinkle in his eye.
The two young officers watched speechlessly while their commanders walked side by side out one of the glass doors out onto the breezy observation deck. Neither was sure what to say. The battle was over.