Greetings to you, my American friends. My name is Sergei Odoshevny, and despite the boyish good looks you see before you, I assure you I am 41 years old. Hard to believe, I know, but it is the truth.
If I look familiar to you, it is probably because you saw me on your TV last year, when I stood behind my boss, Russian Federation Ambassador Aleksandr Chadov, as he asked your President Crozier for aid with the civil unrest in the south of our country.
I wasn't always in politics, though. In fact, I'd only been working for the Ambassador for a few days when I appeared with him on television. I spent some time in your wonderful country -- in 1995, I came over as an exchange student and did my senior year of high school in the state of Nebraska. I didn't speak much English when I arrived, but I was almost fluent when I left -- fluent enough to go to college in England, then to go to work for Boeing as the liaison with the American home office.
After 18 years with Boeing, my nation called on me to serve Mother Russia. I was asked to work with our military, with a Colonel Pavel Ivanov, in an exchange and cooperation program with the U.S. Special Forces. A lot of Ivanov's men didn't speak English very well, and my job was to again act as a liaison with the Americans. My work in the defense industry and twenty-three year fluency with the language made me a natural fit, and the pay was good, so I accepted the position.
I enjoyed my job -- talking with Army Green Berets, Spetsnaz, and units on both sides that didn't have names. There was a great feeling of cooperation and mutual respect that never would have happened when I was a child, back when America and the Soviet Union despised and feared each other. Our military learned plenty from the Americans, and I like to think that we taught them a thing or two.
The program was wrapping up, and I was about to be out of a job within days when we got the news that the North Koreans had attacked Inchon Air Base in South Korea. Hundreds of American Servicemen were killed, and the soldiers at our base were understandably shaken. And by "shaken," I mean "filled with murderous rage."
"It's gonna be war for sure," a young Army Ranger named Aaron Carson said as we watched the news. He was cracking his knuckles and eyeing Lieutenant Dyuzhev's cigarettes on the table in front of us. Dyuzhev nodded and slid the pack towards him.
"Help yourself, Sergeant," Dyuzhev said in his heavily accented English. I'd been teaching him, but he wasn't fluent yet.
"You may call me Vasily."
Sergeant Carson nodded and grabbed a cigarette from the pack. He lit it, inhaled, and coughed out.
"I expect you're correct, Sergeant," I said, declining the pack Dyuzhev tipped toward me, "Though I hope it doesn't come to that."
"The intelligence reports are saying that the North Koreans were backed with Chinese Air Support," Dyuzhev said, reading from his netbook.
"How reliable is that Intel?" Carson asked.
"Very. We have many agents in China. This is a first-hand report."
"Shit. That's all kinds of not good. Just North Korea, we'd beat 'em down easy. China's a whole different story."
I didn't expect my country to be pulled into the war, as well -- but it happened before the U.S. declared war on China two weeks later.
The Chinese hacked several of our Web sites, including several government and military ones, implanting messages that we should join them in their impending struggle against the Americans. Laughable, I thought. It was like when the German Luftwaffe dropped leaflets on American soldiers in World War II urging them to turn against their own nation. Did they really expect that to work? A little propaganda to make a man turn against his country, his brothers in arms?
It turned out I was wrong. I, myself, loved living in capitalist Russia. I remembered the days of Communism, of the Cold War. I had been a child at the time, but it seemed as though we never had enough food, enough heat, enough money. Once the Soviet Union broke up, things changed -- slowly, but they changed. They got worse for a little while, but as we found more and more oil money, my country gradually became a nice place to live. International corporations set up shop, and most everyone I knew was solidly middle-class or better.
It seemed a fair amount of my countrymen disagreed with me -- and a large number of those were in the Army. Just four days after the attack on Inchon (and the day after my American Military friends had been called home), Chinese tanks and planes roared across the border at the Manzhouli Sino-Russian Inter-Trade Tourist Area, but they were not alone. They were met, then escorted, by three armored divisions formerly of the Russian Ground Forces.
Some of our Army stayed loyal, and moved to repel the invasion -- but we were outnumbered and outgunned. The force we sent to stop the incursion didn't last long. In the midst of all of this, I received a call on my personal cell line directly from Ambassador Chadov, asking me to join him as he requested aid from the Americans. We left that night.
All told, roughly 45% of our armed forces decided to join the Communist Chinese invasion. America declared war just one day after we requested military aid -- the bombing of Los Angeles, the attack on Inchon, and finally the invasion of Russia had convinced them there was no other choice. China had to be stopped. President Grachev pledged all of our remaining military to assist the Americans not only in stabilizing our own nation, but in fighting the Chinese back into their own borders.
I never saw my American Military friends again, though I did hear that Dyuzhev -- now a Captain -- joined the US Army Ranger Unit Sergeant Carson had been reassigned to after both units sustained heavy losses in battle. He became second-in-command of that unit, though I have no doubt he still allowed Sergeant Carson to call him by his first name.
Such a thing -- a combined Ranger/Spetsnaz fighting force -- would have been unimaginable to me when I was a child, or even when I was a mid-level liaison at Boeing after college. We had been raised to hate and fear the Americans, and to love the Communist Ideal of the CCCP -- which, I suppose, is why so many of my countrymen joined the Chinese and North Korean forces. When an ideal is programmed into a person at such a young age, sometimes it is hard to rise above that programming.
These days, I still work as a liaison for the Russian military. I live in Tampa, Florida, and coordinate between the commanders on the ground in Russia -- what's left of it -- and the American forces run out of CENTCOM. The statisticians say we have no chance of winning, but I disagree -- the British finally joined us after the fall of New York last month, and more nations are sure to follow.
I have no doubt we will take back our homeland, but I only hope it will happen while I am still young enough to retire and enjoy it. From the way things have gone so far, we may be in this war for a long, long time -- and I am not as young as I used to be.