“Regiment E, flanking maneuver, NOW!” I shouted. My troops responded obediently, and tried to rotate to the enemy’s exposed side.
Unfortunately, it looked like that weak spot was just a façade. As Regiment E approached the enemy’s supply lines, suddenly Berserker-class mechas emerged from the ground – they had been camouflaged!!
I should have sent surveillance drones over the area first, I thought as the enemy mechas fired artillery rounds into my soldiers, decimating them.
Unfortunately, it appeared that I’d fallen into a trap. Once my central division saw the devastation of Regiment E, their will broke and they collapsed under the main enemy assault. Armored troopers burst through and started running towards my command position. I buried my face in my hands – it was over; I had failed. I waited for the end.
Suddenly, my surroundings went dim.
“Simulation complete. Assessment score: 64/100.” A young girl in full military uniform appeared beside my VR chair. Although she was short in stature, she carried herself like a warrior. Her crimson eyes assessed me from under a pristine general’s cap.
“You were doing well, right up until the end,” she said. “Better than before.” She adjusted her red and black coat, and then continued, “You fell for my trap, but that was just a setback. The real reason you lost is because you broke under that unexpected challenge and weren’t there to provide guidance and reassurance to your remaining troops. So, unfortunately, I cannot give you a passing score.”
I felt exasperated. Over and over, I had run these battle simulations against her. And each time, I came up short. “I feel like giving up. I’ll never be able to defeat you; you’re like a Megami of War!”
“I prefer the term, Megami of Military Strategy, but that’s beside the point,” she said. “Your objective is not to defeat me in a simulation; it is to develop yourself into an effective leader and strategist.”
I knew that there was no one better from whom to learn these qualities than with her. She guided generations of my ancestors through the ages. Her contributions towards key battles were well-documented in the industrial, computer, and modern eras. No matter what maneuvers or technical advances the enemy used, she figured out how to adapt, and to ensure that the troops did not lose heart at critical moments.
And even further back in the mists of time, legends about her persist. They say that once upon a time, she was a medic’s assistant who got stranded on the battlefield. Rather than accept capture or execution, she picked up a weapon from a fallen comrade, organized the scattered troops around her into a cohesive unit, and survived the battle. She received numerous battlefield promotions over the next few years, and reached the rank of general by the end of the conflict.
“Why do they call you, ‘The Cherry Blossom General?’ ” I blurted out.
She took a cherry blossom that she always kept in her lapel and stared at it, reminiscing. “I only appear during times of strife, when my people need me. But I’ve never seen the eras of peace that follow my intervention.”
At that moment, I felt bad for her. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to experience so many generations of war. “Well, we’re at peace right now!” I said. “You finally got to experience it.”
She looked up, and gave me a sad smile. “That’s right, and we need you to be prepared in case anybody comes around here trying to disturb our peace! Ok, you’ve had a bit of a break – time to get back in there and retry this scenario.”
“Yes, ma’am!” I shouted, and pulled down the VR headset.