He flicked on the TV at 6 a.m. to catch the morning news broadcast, and the possibility of further developments in this most recent North Korean horror story.
Kahn quickly noted that the young woman reading the story was doing little to capture the magnitude of its content, breezing through it with the levity of a schoolgirl.
“A very good morning to you, and welcome to the Morning News Block for November third, two thousand and thirteen … Our top news story this morning, North Korea have set a date.
“Broadcast to the world just hours ago, in the form of a bold ultimatum, it seems North Korean military leaders have demanded, full and complete, control and leadership, of the world’s land mass, and by extension, the population therein.
“And as per this document, read over international television and radio, as earlier broadcast, only hours ago, should, the North Korean military come up against interference, or, in fact resistance of any kind or, or if they feel full cooperation is not being given, in this audacious takeover, they will not hesitate to, quote, use force, against their latest foe, the United States, suggesting, that this tiny Asian nation, uphold the belief, that the United States of America, are ultimately in control of, the entire western world.
“The rest of the world, that is to say, everything, excluding, North Korea, and China, who seemingly, have already pledged their unity to this, intended, indiscriminate supplant, reportedly, has until the first day of the New Year, two thousand and fourteen, to decide what action it’s going to take, and how it chooses to react, to this apparent, crisis, before the North Korean military, start, quote, using force.
“And while this simple morning newsgirl is unclear what exactly is meant by, ‘using force’, one thing is for certain, North Korea certainly know how to make a fuss, however farcical it may seem to the rest of the world.
“This is Miranda Gold, wishing everyone a pleasant morning and a great day to follow – more news in a few minutes.”
He turned it off and tried to bring the real essence of the story, the harsh sobriety that the newsreader had so clearly missed, to the fore of his mind: North Korea didn’t just want a few extra blocks of land to accommodate their swelling population, they wanted the world. What’s more they were demanding the world; he had no doubt in his mind that they were serious and he knew any nation who took them lightly, would surely do so at their own folly. The broadcast gave the impression that North Korea as a whole felt aggrieved or mistreated, but the things they were claiming to do and the way they were intending to go about it, was disgraceful. To stand up and inform the world that a takeover at their hand was imminent and that everyone was expected to simply capitulate on their terms was ludicrous. The only thing Kahn could think they might have been hoping, is that the rest of the world’s great military powers would share similar sentiments of incredulity, do or say something provocative thereby, however unwittingly, starting a war. It made no sense that they were threatening to specifically ‘quote, use force against the US’, should the rest of the world not fully cooperate; so perhaps that was the intention – perhaps North Korea were simply agitating the mix until somebody gave them a reason to fight. If this was the case, that was no longer just belligerent, that was pugnacious. To be fair, he thought, none of it really made sense, and he struggled to decide if this was due to the newsgirl’s flippant interpretation of the facts, or simply because the story did make no sense. Maybe everyone was overreacting. Maybe North Korea’s words were being taken out of context, or blown out of proportion; maybe the whole thing was a hoax. No, that was daft. He had been following the story on radio and television for days. Assuming then that everything he heard in that news story was accurate, one thing of which he was certain, they could not do this; it was downright ridiculous that they thought they could.
The phone was ringing. He answered it. “Kahn..?” His mother sounded worried.
“Yes Mum, thank you, I’ve heard the story.”
“About the bombing?” Her voice was trembling.
“About the potential bombing, yes.”
“Potential? Oh, Kahn, baby, no, it’s much worse than that…”
“No, I just heard the story five minutes ago, Mum, with North Korea acting all self righteous, claiming that unless they receive full cooperation in their takeover, they’re going to use force – which I assumed meant bombing – against the US … The country’s deluded, Mum, they can’t do that.”
“Kahn, that was hours ago -”
“No no, it saw it just five minutes ago.”
“The news report might have been, but the ultimatum, as they called it, was delivered hours ago…”
“Oh right, so I mixed up my timeline, what’s the deal then?”
“Kahn, baby, there was an immediate backlash – what’s that? – no honey, I’m – yes but I’m – are you still there, Kahn?” Seemingly his mother was still learning how to hold two conversations at once.
“I’m putting your father on.”
He could hear the phone being placed on a hard surface. Seconds later he heard rustling as it was being picked up; then came the reassuring tone of his father’s voice: “Kahn, my lad, how are you – how’s the house?”
“I’m fine, thank you, a little confused, but otherwise fine – oh and the house is still standing, thank you very much for asking.”
“Good to hear … Kahn, I’ve been privy to some information through work…”
“Yeah, about that, aren’t you normally in the mile high club this time of day?”
“Normally, son, I would be … But NZ Airlines have been hit with a no fly…” His father was trying to tell him something, but seemed to be having trouble finding the words; yet another oddity.
“Dad … What’s wrong?”
“Oh shit, son, it’s those bloody North Koreans,” his father sounded as if he was ready to burst into tears, “they’ve gone and dropped a bomb.”
“What? On who?” Kahn was stunned.
“That’s the thing, they had their little outburst three or four hours ago – personally, I think they were looking to start something right there and then, you know, by saying that – then of course America took affront, as America do, they issued a verbal retaliation, which apparently pissed off that pillock Wanton, so what does he do, the fat prick, he goes and blows ‘em up.”
“What?” Kahn was beyond stunned, “There is no way that happened, I mean, I would’ve heard about it – why haven’t I heard about it?”
“It happened less than an hour ago, the press release has yet to be issued, I mean, it’s all over the Internet of course, which is how NZ Airlines came upon it, as you know, son, us high flyers are always first to get the big news – particularly when errant missiles and such are invading the airspace…” his father trailed off with some forced laughter.
“Oh Dad, I don’t know what to say … So, what happens next?”
“Keep your TV on Kahn, TV Three should be on the ball by now, they should have permanent coverage of the mess in America and … You haven’t got Internet, have you?”
“No, I keep a notebook, I find it’s less hassle and more reliable than a computer.”
“Maybe it is son, maybe it is, but at a time like this the Internet is invaluable – news stories are updated every quarter-of-an-hour…”
Kahn flicked back on his television set. The picture he saw could have been out of a Terminator movie – dust and rubble lay everywhere, dazed citizens staggered about like movie extras; in the background the wailing cadence of a siren could be heard. “Dad,” he said, “I’m on Three, this report is coming through live, it looks pretty messed up – you say North Korea is responsible?”
“Well, to be fair, they haven’t yet confirmed it and no one’s taken responsibility, but you can be pretty damn certain those commie bastards are behind it.”
“Yeah, but what about China, I mean, I hear they’ve pretty much joined forces with the Koreans, which must have made them pretty damn unstoppable…”
“Yep, you’re right,” Kahn could almost hear his father shaking his head in dismay, “those commie pricks are now a veritable military juggernaut.”
To hell with loneliness, I’ve just killed more of them. It was brilliant. There were heaps of the idiot monkeys all standing around, chattering as they do, but there were a few off to one side. They were chattering to each other, laughing about monkey exploits or something, so I crept up about 5 metres away, hiding behind a tree with two pocketfuls of ammo, and I chucked one of the rocks at one of them. In hindsight it was pretty stupid, because it might have done nothing but piss him off, but it knocked him out! Dead set, he just went down, like a sack of North Korean shit – which, incidentally, is exactly where he ended up. Anyway, so his buddy’s looking around, thinking, what the hell just happened, so I threw the other one and sconed him too. Tell, you what, it was one helluva rush. More tomorrow night I reckon.
Still keeping the pride, K.