Chapter 1: The Mission

   On 12 April, 2025, The former North Atlantic Treaty Organization officialy repurposed their intials to become the current North Atlantic Tactical Organization. This made the organization an independent entity, controlling the entire Western hemisphere’s armed forces. NATO operated under UN order only. Once an attempt at a moderating peace assembly, The UN became more of a meeting grounds for grievances with MexiCanAmerica, at best. MexiCanAmerica’s representation at the UN permits them overwhelming voting and vetoing powers, and most of their actions are forever held up simply because enough western countries always vote with MexiCanAmerica.
   Former American, MexiCanAmerican, and now NATO special forces officer Liutenant Hugh Lombart thought he had seen it all. He was in an invisible unnamed military force of just more than a thousand. The force was comprised of many nationalities from all parts of the western world. Each soldier had received ‘offers’ to join in the mail, and ordered to assemble on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake bay, on the very day NATO changed its name. This was their first assembly.
   Hugh was middle-aged and had indeed seen more than his fair share of the worst scenes the world had to offer, during his long military career. And he knew, more than anyone, that the more power his boss had, the worse his missions would be. But he was really interested if MexiCanAmerica really had become as powerful as he thought.
   Hugh shuffled through the crowd of commandoes to the point where they were each to individually receive instructions, one by one, and through a computer prompt. The order had specified a house on the southernmost peninsula. A narrow strip of sand, only wide enough for 2 men to pass, battered on both sides for 100 yards stood between Hugh and the only computer terminal on Tangier Island. Yet it was full of commandos, fully geared and often just walking to their knees in water to get by. What a ridiculous fucking scene, Hugh thought as he swam his way around it with ease. He stepped on shore expertly at the very front of the line.
   “Hey, mind if I go ahead? My wife is pregnant, I want to go call her,” Hugh said completely unconvincingly.
   “Well, you did just totally submerge yourself in water right before a mission, so I believe you. Go ahead,” the stranger said. “I’m in no hurry.”
  The old Jedi mind trick. As the soldier before him left the small brick, windowless building, Hugh entered with a little more precaution than he usually would have in such a situation. There was one glaring white LED light bulb at the center of the fragile looking roof. On the opposite wall, Hugh saw a bundle of wires coming out of a hole that was maybe too large, and leading up to a flat screen in front of him. He closed the door behind him, per orders. Large letters printed “NATO” clearly and boldly. The Cray company had exploded in the past decade due to the massive restructuring of the Internet. Supercomputers were in huge demand, and Cray was happy to grow. Hugh touched the screen and a prompt told him to insert his International ID Card and provided an arrow pointing to the card slot. He inserted his ID card, and instantly an obviously pleased face appeared.
 “Hello Hugh, you can call me Nate. You will be going on a mission different from all my other soldiers, as I have selected you as the best. It’s the most important one of all, but I am sure if anyone can do it, you can.” the strange wheeling voice said. It wasn’t a totally unidentifiable strain of English Hugh had never heard before.
 “What do you mean if it can be done?” Hugh proposed.
 “Oh it will be done, whether you do it or not, but I know you will follow your orders regardless. You are to go to Washington D.C. and get further orders from the most powerful entity in the world.” Nate replied.
 “Who is that, the president?” exclaimed Hugh, following with a burst of laughter. The face paused for a second.
 “You will find out otherwise. You will be the first to, actually. I placed the address of your destination in the memory on your ID card. You must arrive there sometime within the next week. I have taken all precautions to keep the identities of the members of my service incognito, but I cannot foresee everything.” Indeed he had done well, a nuclear weapon could have gone off on Tangier Island that day, and no one would have ever noticed saved the crowd of soldiers and perhaps the face on the screen. With that, the NATO logo returned, and Hugh left the hut, and Tangier Island. He rather enjoyed walking through the ghost town that was Tangier that night, content to stay on that island and wonder about the strange mystery.
“Am I really the best soldier? What are they going to do with me?” and a fear came over him, for this was likely, from the start, to be the worst mission he’d ever been on.

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