BY A VALVE-CONTROL STATION ON THE DRUZHBA PIPELINE, SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF BRYANSK
... two men looked at each other with grim faces.
"So the pussies from the west think that murdering our leaders will make us cave in," said the first.
"They've miscalculated," said the other, a large rugged man in the uniform of a Russian Army general.
"Will there be war?"
The general looked thoughful for a long, long time. "Maybe." he answered, "For now, we will stop selling them our oil."
"They say they don't want our oil. They say they want to live on clean energy."
"Yes, and when they want to go from one place to another they will sprinkle fairy dust on their cars and fly," the general spat in disgust. "They're going to run a society of 400,000,000 people on windmills and water wheels? All the windmills in Europe wouldn't light up the south end of Dusseldorf."
"Yes," said the other with a smirk. "It's interesting that the flow in the pipeline hasn't slowed down since the change."
The general looked towards the pipeline, and the flow control building, and nodded. "Shut it down," he said.
A SIMILAR STATION, ON A SIMILAR PIPE, SOMEWHERE NEAR POSOF, TURKEY
... a man was careful to keep his breathing under control. With precise movements he attached the wires to the detonators, checking and double checking the connections he made. Satisfied with his work, he put his tools back in his pockets.
As he completed the final, irrevicable step and activated the timer, a tiny LCD display began counting down. A look of shock came over his face, and then amusement. After all these years of flawless engineering, he was about to meet his end through a stupid rookie mistake. He had set the timer for 20 seconds instead of 20 minutes.
In his last seconds he thought about his girlfriend Anna, one perfect day last July, when they had gone on a vacation in the capital. He thought about her standing in front of the the Cathedral of the Archangel Micheal, her long hair blowing in the wind.....
EDF CRISIS COUNCIL, IN AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION NEAR BRUSSELS
... the professor completed his briefing to the Council, "Severe shortages will begin within 15 days. During that time you will still have options. After that your only options will be to go on your knees, either to Moscow or to Washington, and beg for oil."
The Chairman turned to the Foreign Trade Minister. "The Arabs are still friendly?"
"As long as we have cash, the Gulf Arabs will sell us anything we want. But with most of the pipelines blown it means nothing. And with Russian puppets ruling in Cairo, it's not likely we'll get permission to use the Suez."
The Chairman turned to the room. "The motion before us is that we occupy the Suez in order to secure oil shipments from the Persian Gulf." He paused for a minute. "Lest anyone ever claim that they were misinformed: make no mistake. There will be no namby-pamby carnival like in 1956. This will be real war, with real costs and casualties, and if we give it anything less than 100%, we will fail. Debate?"
Debate continued for hours, but the result was inevitable. The vote to seize the Suez Canal was 11-4 in favour.
Faction representing the Alliance: Earth Defense Forces (governing about 75% of Europe) with insignificant token support from various other Alliance nations.
Faction representing the Confederacy: Egypt, with real and tangible support from Russia, and minor support from non-Gulf Arab states.
Map: Middle East
Escalating, as the war rapidly grows
Chained, mobility being crucial
No Fog, as both sides have excellent satellite imagery
All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost