IMPORTANT: If you have not read Brothers in Arms: Eastern World Exploding, please exit this story and read it

IMPORTANT: If you have not read Brothers in Arms: Eastern World Exploding, please exit this story and read it. This is the sequel and may not make much sense if you didn't read the first story.

Summary: It is the February 2012, roughly one year and two months since the Second Korean War ended. 5th squad has long since return to their homes and started to return to normal lives, but continue their status as reservists. US President Michelle Smith Crane must set her sights on the US Presidential National Election in November. The Soviet Union is currently going under changes with its new Politburo. Japan is currently enjoying their new status as a world power and the most dominate navy in the West Pacific. With China licking her wounds from their losses in the war and North Korea in no position to be any threat, the world turns its attention to Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Yugoslavia, with Serbia as its leading nation of the Socialist Federal Republic, demands that what they call a 'sham' government in Kosovo step down and rejoin Serbia as they should. Kosovo openly declares it will not falter in the face of Serbian aggression and requested backing from their NATO allies get the Yugoslavians to back off and to protect the rightful sovereignty of Kosovo and protect it from genocidal tactics used by the Serbians. Yugoslavia requests aid from their closest ally, the Soviet Union, to send troops to pressure Kosovo. As all of NATO and the USSR begin to face the reality that the Third World War may start in the chaotic Balkan Peninsula, 5th squad and many other familiar faces prepare for the worst. What will be come of Harima and his brothers and sisters in arms as they enter a new and strange world thousands of miles from home?

Rated Mature: Extreme Violence, Extreme and Graphic Language, Offensive Statements, Graphic Descriptions of War and War Crimes, Adult Themes, Sexual References

Well people it's here. The sequel. Now I've taken some inspiration from Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising in that this story doesn't not immediately jump to war. I also would like to think that returning readers would be patient for a little bit. Besides there will still be action and I think a lot of you enjoy reading about civilian life. Like with my last story, this first chapter will be a history summary. Get ready to learn about the history of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Yugoslavia. You'll also learn about the Turkish Ottoman Empire, a little about Rome, World War I, World War II, a war or two I made up, the Yugoslav War, Bosnia War, Kosovo War, Serbia-Croatia War, and several other wars that happened pretty much at the same time. I know some of you are European so you guys may already know about the history of the Balkans, but the average American probably couldn't find it on a map (southeastern Europe). This is for their benefit so bare with me while I educate my countrymen and women (if I have female readers cause I suspect I don't have many).

As usually I didn't proofread this too well, but I'll get to it one day long with proofreading my last story.

I don't own any trademarked or copywrite item. Please tell a friend and leave a review. If you know any of my other readers be sure to tell them the sequel is up.


Chapter 1: History of the South Slavs

"There were and always will be, eternally, migrations as there will

Always be births for life to continue.

Migration exists.

Death does not exist!"

Migrations by Miloš Crnjanski, Serbian author

2100 Hours; February 5th, 2012; Shinhachi Residence, Kirkland; Washington State, United States of America

Colonel John Saito Shinhachi sat at his desk and looked at his computer screen. He was preparing a report for the idiots in the Delta Force intelligence wing's office. The lazy bastards wouldn't pick up a freaking text book or the book he recommended. It was a good book called The Serbs by Tim Judah (1).

There were the rustle papers and he looked up at his fiancée Emma Hannah Heckler. She was going to be 22 this year and so would he. They planned to get married after they completed their final year at Seattle University. Emma was fast asleep and snoring lightly. She caught a cold early in the week, but still worked on her manga. Currently, she was brainstorming for new ideas and Jack new better than to get in her way and tell her to get more sleep. Emma was strong willed and Jack had taught her martial arts and use of firearms a little too well. Plus Emma was related to the Heckler family of Heckler & Koch, the German weapons producers that were only rivaled in Europe by the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale de Herstal and the Russian company Izhevsk Mechanical Works. That boiled down to her being able to acquire top of the line guns.

Jack sighed and looked at his report. If this didn't get a clear picture to the intel wing he was going to report them to the Counter-Intelligence Field Activity (CFIA) for gross incompetence. This was supposed to be for new officers and operators that would be deployed to the Balkan Peninsula.

"The origins of the Socialist Federation Republic of Yugoslavia go back centuries to Roman times.

They were called the White Serbs and they came from northern Europe with the rest of the Great Slav Migration. It is not entirely clear what triggered the Serbs movement south or why, but they and another group called the Croats moved south with other nomadic tribes. Before the migration southward, little is known about either the Croats or Serbs. The Croats are believed to have come from the Carpathian Mountains and the Serbs are known to have come from western Poland.

They arrived in 630 AD in southeastern Europe, a mountainous region known as the Balkan Peninsula or Balkans. This land was ruled by the crumbling remains of the Eastern Roman Empire which was being called the Byzantine Empire at this point.

The Serbs over the next few decades were being Christianized by the Byzantines who were Orthodox Christians. They settled in the black mountains or as they called it "Montenegro". They made a few small kingdoms like Raška and Zeta across modern day Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Serbia.

The Serbs found themselves repeatedly at war with their neighbors, particularly the Byzantine Empire even though they were technically under rule by the Byzantines. Raška emerged as the first united Serb state that we recognize and its leaders search for ways to make it independent from the Byzantine leaders who ruled from Constantinople, today called Istanbul.

The Croats during the mid-7th Century were Christianized by Pope John IV who sent an abbot named Martin to the Principality of Dalmatia, the Croats established kingdom. The Croats too lived under Byzantine Empire, but they made agreements to fight the rising Bulgarian Empire.

For the next few hundred years the Balkans went through several wars.

In 1166, Stefan Nemanja is the first major leader that emerged from the Slavic tribes that pretty much dominated the Balkans. The fact the Slavs outnumbers the Byzantines worked in their favor, but they never united.

Nemanja rose quickly and like Raška leaders before him tried to take on the Byzantine Empire. He was defeated and force to surrender. He was made a puppet king under the Byzantine Emperor's rule. However the emperor died and Nemanja launched a quick uprising that seized Zeta, Kosovo, and parts of modern-day Macedonia. The Byzantines were unable to reclaim their lost lands.

For the Croats, in 925 AD, the Kingdom of Croatia was born. The Croats fought with the Byzantines against the Bulgarians. From their victory in Bosnia, the Croats established decent relationships with the Byzantine Empire. In 1072, Krešimir IV leader of the Croats assisted a joint Serb-Bulgarian uprising against their Byzantine masters.

It is very important to note that alliances and sides can change very quickly in the Balkans if it is in their benefit.

In 1074, the Byzantines launched a vicious campaign to attack the Croats. Krešimir IV's reign ended and the Croats returned to Byzantine rule for two centuries. This was with great resentment because the Byzantine were Orthodox and the Croats were Catholics from Abbot Martin's work on behalf of the Pope.

In 1093, Ladislaus I, a Hungarian king was left the throne to parts of Croatia after some of the regional leaders were killed. He led the Hungarians into north Croatia to claim his throne. In response, the Byzantine emperor, Emperor Alexius I attack the Hungarians. In 1102 the Byzantines were defeated and Croatia was made part of the rising Hungarian Empire, but with their own king. The Croats enjoyed a certain autonomy from their ruling nation.

By the 1300s the Byzantine Empire was defeated and placed by new and greater threat, the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

The Serbs, and the rest of the Slavs, were unfortunately divided between various feudal leaders who did not unite quickly enough to fight the massive and highly advance Ottoman war machine.

The most powerful of the Serb leaders, Vukašan Mrnjavčević, led his army against the Ottomans and was killed in the Battle of Maritsa in the year 1371. The Turks were like no other invader the Serbs had faced. They were not Christians, they were Muslims, which greatly upset the Pope and the Serbian Orthodox Church and most of Europe. The Ottomans also had a regular army, which was unusual for its time when most militaries were made up of mercenaries. The Ottomans also made a much larger use of gunpowder than the European armies they faced. The Turks had infantry firearms and cannons. Some cannons were able to fire projectiles the size of a golf ball and the largest could fire shells the size of trashcans.

In 1389, under strong Hungarian encouragement, a combined group of Bosnian and Serbian soldiers in the Battle of Kosovo fought the Ottoman armies. The Serbs gained an early advantage in breaking the Ottoman's left flank, but failing to break the center and right flank. The Ottomans, who wore less armor than the Serbians, were able to maneuver faster and crushed the Serbians and Bosnians with the center and right flanks that the Serbs had failed to destroy. Kosovo marked the beginning of Ottoman domination of the Balkans that would rule for the next few centuries. Many Serbs fled Kosovo and over the years Albanians would slowly occupy Kosovo. The Ottomans would crush the Kingdom of Hungary and push deeper into Europe.

In 1402 the Ottoman Turks were distracted by Tamerlane, a Mongol leader who attacked from deeper in Asia. Tamerlane was one of the last leaders of the falling Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan. Afterwards the Ottomans would return to invading Europe until their defeat by the combined forces of Austria, Saxony (German state), Bavaria (German state), Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth, Franconia, Swabia, and Zaporizhian Sich at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

Afterwards the northern frontier of the Balkans was made into a buffer-zone between Christian Europe and Ottoman occupied Europe. The irony is that the Balkan factions were never more united in their fight against the Ottomans until the World Wars of the 20th Century.

In the 1700s the Austrio-Hungarian Empire took on the Turkish Ottoman Empire which like many empires before was crumbling with age. In the Dubica War (1788-1791) the Ottomans were weakened even more and no more wars were fought until the next century, but the Ottomans still control Serbia. After multiple revolutions the Ottomans gave semi-autonomy to Serbia in 1829 and Greece full autonomy. In November 1849, northern Serbia was annexed as part of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire.

In 1877 the Serbians found themselves fighting along side the Russian Empire against their old enemy the Ottoman Turks. In turn the Russians helped the Serbians with their struggle against the Ottomans.

It should be noted that the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War marks the beginning of the long standing relationship between Russia and Serbia. Serbia has a long history of backstabbing its allies when convenient and never stayed in long relations with other nations, but they have remained loyal friends of Russia even after its transition to the Soviet Union. Although they had a falling out later on, and the Soviets are far more powerful than the Serbians, they stayed about as close as Serbia had been with any other nation.

Russia and Serbia share a common idealism called Pan-Slavism, united Slavic World. Eastern Europe has generally been long behind Western Europe in technology, science, and culture. The Slavs have often been made to feel inferior by the West or Ottomans and subjected to their rule. The idea is that the Slavs of the world, which would be every country east of Germany and west of the Ural Mountains and north of Greece. Russia and Serbia have historically been the most ambitious. They were also both Orthodox and shared a desire to crush the Germanic nations like Austria, Germany, and England. By association with England, we the United States are included.

By the 20th Century the Balkans was highly unstable. The Ottomans had withdrawn mostly back to Turkey. Austrio-Hungary was facing anarchist attacks, which we today would call terrorism, on a huge scale. Tensions in Europe were rising and the Serbians weren't helping as Europe turned into a bomb waiting for something to set it off.

Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitriević had ordered Serbians to assassinated Austrian heir to the throne Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Chotek. On June 28, 1914, both the Archduke and his wife were killed by a single man with a revolver and the world would never be the same.

This would be the equivalent of if the Irish Republican Army were to assassinate a member of the British Royal Family or if Soviet KGB agents were to assassinate our President. It would be an act of war that would get a totally enraged response.

The Serbians had started World War I which would be unmatched until September 1, 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and started World War II. Russia would come to Serbia's defense, another note of the two nations' closeness. This would later trigger Germany into war followed by France, Belgium, Holland, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, and near the end the United States.

In 1918 the Balkans were for the first time completely free of foreign rule. They formed a constitutional monarchy with the Serbian capital of Belgrade as its capital. It would be called the Kingdom of Yugoslavia or the Kingdom of the South Slavs. It incorporated Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Serbia (which included Kosovo and Montenegro).

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was plagued by corruption and outside influence. Countries like Great Britain manipulated Yugoslavian politics because they feared they may set off a second great war. Even today the Europeans fear the Balkans could set off mass violence. Serbia thinks this is unfair, but they did start a world war in their attempts to rid Austrio-Hungarian control.

In 1943, the forth year of World War II, Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavians soon learned that the Nazis hated many of the people living in the Balkans. Nazi doctrine considered Slavs, gypsies, and many others who lived in Yugoslavia as "undesirables" and shipped many of them off with Jews to camps. Known as the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" by the Nazis, they started working towards mass liquidation of the groups they deemed undesirables. Known as the Holocaust today, it would live a lasting impact in the Balkans that makes German-Yugoslavian negotiations nearly impossible. (2)

In all fairness Germany has not made many efforts to deal with Yugoslavia, but in fairness to the Germans strongly dislike the Soviet Union and its allies.

In 1945 the Soviet Union invaded the Balkans to drive out the Nazis. Unlike any invasion before, the Soviets were Slavs like the Yugoslavians. It did not even come across as an invasion to the Yugoslavians, but was seen as liberation by their Russian friends.

In 1947 the Soviet Union invaded West Germany and attacked the newly formed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (3). Under pressure from Stalin, the Yugoslavians joined Soviet troops pushing to attack a broken and exhausted combined force of American and British soldiers in Munich. In December 1947 the Soviets found themselves fighting not just Americans and British, but the newly formed Bundeswehr (Federal Forces) of Federal Republic of Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany was not a recognized nation by either the Soviets or NATO, but NATO was desperate and allowed thousands of German soldiers to defend their prized city of Munich. Around Christmas the Germans were given fuel that they were denied by NATO for the early stages of the war. With the fuel the Germans were able mobilized a panzer division that had been sitting idle outside of Munich with nothing to power their armor. The Yugoslavians were thrown back by a huge German lead counter-attack and were pursued out of Germany and across Austria.

In 1953 Ivan Ribar, who was in charge of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since its foundation, was replaced by a Croatian man named Josip Broz Tito who would probably be the strongest leader the Balkans ever saw.

It is once said by a Serbian that Tito "warmed them like the sun". Tito liked the Soviets, but didn't want to be subservient. They formed their own version of communism sometimes called Titoist-Communism or Titoism. Tito was powerful because he was able to keep all the factions of Yugoslavia united under the motto:Bratstvo i Jedinstvo (Brotherhood and Unity).

Tito and Stalin did not speak much after the breakaway of Yugoslavia from the USSR, much like China's falling out in the 1950s and 60s. Tito however did strengthen Soviet-Yugoslav ties with the passing of Stalin and the coming of later Soviet leaders who were more willing to coexist with Yugoslavia in an attempt to unite the Slavic nations. Between the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), the Warsaw Pact (WP), and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), they had achieved Pan-Slavism.

The SFRY started break up in the 1980s as the USSR and USA headed into economic slumps.

Upon Tito's death, ethnic tensions rose and reached the boiling point.

Serbian President Slobodan Milošević is considered the beginning of the end of the SFRY. He started an ethnic cleansing against non-Serbs in Yugoslavia. Ethnic cleansing was not phrase not in use at that time but would become common place in describing what was to follow.

Milošević started a campaign of genocide in the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo. Kosovo was over 90-percent Albanian and barely 9-percent Serb. The Kosovars resented being ruled and pretty much oppressed by the Serb minority. They attempted to protest and were violently assaulted by Serbian soldiers and police. Many Kosovars were kicked out of the government for being Albanian and were replaced by Serbs. As Milošević's campaign turned violent the Kosovars revolted. Serbia responded with armed force.

In 1991 Croatia had pulled fellow Croatians out of the Yugoslavian Army and forming Croatia's own military. Slovenia and Macedonia declared independence from the SFRY. What was left of Yugoslavia, which was Serbia-Montenegro, started to engage in open combat with the Croatians.

The Socialist Republic of Bosnia & Herzegovina was a melting pot and once was a prime example of "Brotherhood and Unity". Its capital Sarajevo once held the Olympics and was a jewel of the Balkans. The Slavs that had been converted to Islam by the Ottomans were concentrated in Bosnia. Many Croats lived in the northwest and Serbs across the north and east of the country. Slavic-Muslims found themselves becoming the victims of a horrific campaign led by the Serbians. Muslim men were arrested and murdered. Women were raped systemically, literally entire regiments were sent in to capture a town and rape women. Muslims condemn abortion and would have the child, even if the father was the mother's rapist. The Serbian's logic was that these children would not be Muslims, they would be Serbs. The international community was horrified in ways even the Holocaust hadn't done.

On November 27, 1991 the United Nations passed US Security Resolution 721 stating that Yugoslavia was breaking up and beyond help or international intervention. Most countries not inclined to help Serbia. Peacekeepers were authorized to deploy to Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo to intervene in Serbian acts of war crimes. Soldiers, primarily NATO troops, arrived and engaged Serbian soldiers. The United States launched a massive air offensive against Serbia. By 1992 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was no longer considered a sovereign nation and its members were granted independence.

In 1999 Russian troops arrived in the Balkans with the promise they would prevent Kosovo from breakaway from Serbia. They were quickly rebuffed by NATO who outnumbered the Russian peacekeepers.

In March of 2002 Montenegro and Serbia broke up into two separate nations.

The International Court in Amsterdam, Holland, demanded that Serbia and Croatia turn over men responsible for genocide and mass-rape in Bosnia and Kosovo.

In 2008, the United Nations ruled that rape was a war crime in a category of its own as a result of the atrocities in Bosnia. It is considered equal to genocide.

On February 17, 2008 the Republic of Kosovo which had been under UN rule and protected by a NATO coalition since 1999. In mid-June of 2010, Kosovo was made part of NATO ensure its survival and in February 2011 Kosovo was allowed to join the European Union with Albanian. Foreign troops are being withdrawn to only 8 regiments. Both Serbia and Russia claim Kosovo's independence was not legal by international law. Being part of NATO makes Kosovo difficult attack without drawing out all of NATO and being part of the EU gives them strong economic and political ties to more powerful European allies.

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia lasted as long as it had because of Tito. Yugoslavia was not a united collection of socialist states like the Soviet Union. It was basically a loose confederacy that only worked with a strong leader that all were willing to cooperate with. They did not have strong Yugoslavian nationalism. People were more loyal to their individual states. Yugoslavia also did not have a centralized economy like the USSR or EU.

Yugoslavia was also once supposed to be a buffer-zone for the Soviets. While it would not stop Germans coming across the Polish border or the French and British sailing across the North Sea and into the White Sea, it would discourage the Italians, Albanians, Greeks, and Turks. By the 1980s, the East and West felt secure enough that Yugoslavia was no longer of strategic importance. As Yugoslavia fell apart, the Soviets saw it more as a problem than something for national defense.

Finally, Yugoslavia's in-fighting shows its internal weakness and the contempt the states had for each other, particularly Serbia and Croatia.

(Following events appear from my first story)

In late-July 2010 while NATO was locked in the Korean War (June 25, 1950 - November 25, 2010) (4), Ante Mikosvič, President of Serbia, declared war against the former-Yugoslav states. While NATO was locked in war in Asia, the Serbians formed a coalition with the Montenegrins and invaded Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia.

By the time the war had ended, Mikosvič had formed a military-dictatorship similar to that in Burma or various parts of Africa. The State Department has noticed the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viktor Grigoryevich Menzhinsky, is visiting Belgrade often in the past year…"

Shinhachi paused. This file was for the people in Ft. Bragg. They wouldn't have as high security clearance as they need to know some details. They knew Menzhinsky was merely a puppet and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) thought he was a lapdog for someone in the Standing Politburo. The General-Secretary, Minister of Defense, Minister of the Committee for State Security (Minister of the KGB), Minister of Interior, and Minister of Foreign Affairs were the Soviets Standing Politburo and most powerful men in the Soviet Union. If they wanted to get anything done, three of the five men would have to cooperate.

Shinhachi was a counter-intelligence officer by nature, he was trained to hunt and eliminate spies, traitors, double-agents, internal-corruption, and protect assets and contacts from foreign espionage. He was also familiar with being an analyst and field operations. He was good at gathering intelligence on spies and their assets. Thank god this kind of intel gathering wasn't his job, but his subordinates. He was just analyzing it.

'Was Menzhinsky in the KGB's or General-Secretary's camps?' he wondered. Someone had penetrated the Politburo. The asset couldn't give much intelligence on what they were doing, but he could talk about the personalities of the ministers and the factions the Politburo was divided into. It sounded like he was a trashy gossiper, but this kind of information was useful. It told them the General-Secretary Josef Ivanovich Penovaski and Minister of the KGB Nikolai Semyonovich Nevsky did not get along. He told them that the Minister of Defense was loyal to Penovaski so the military was backing the General-Secretary. Minister of Interior Vladimir Eduardovich Alekseyev was too smart to pick sides at this time and Minister Menzhinsky was too empty-headed to make his own decision. The future of the USSR would come down to a cautious politician who knew the Soviet game well and an empty-headed gasbag.

The KGB was meeting with the Serbians too and some German assets reported they were seeing if Yugoslavia could still be a buffer-zone.

Shinhachi wrote a note: "SFRY-USSR pact?"

He thought about that. Kosovo was also an issue. Nevsky seemed to agree that Kosovo was part of Serbia and this was another example of Westerners taking advantage of the Slavs. "Kosovo will be issue."

He went back to reading the rest of his report. "The Soviets appear to be renewing their relations with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is not clear of their course. The Balkans has the appearance of stabilizing, but this is false. The tensions are now hiding under the surface. The Yugoslavians are conducting intensive military training and some upgrades of their armed forces, they are flexing their muscles. It is not clear if they intend to go to war with NATO. It is also not clear if the Soviets intend to use them for purposes of war. Currently the Soviets have no militaristic or economic benefit to going to war with NATO. Only Yugoslavia was a benefit by fighting NATO for Kosovo, or to their point of view at least. The Soviets from an international point of view could justify fighting for Kosovo because its independence does not follow normal UN guidelines. This is not to be seen a confirmation of imminent Communist aggression.

Yugoslavia is definitely no friend of the United States. They dislike us for taking Kosovo from them and intervening in the genocide of non-Serbs. The United Kingdom is also considered an enemy because of their interference in Serbia and Yugoslavian politics and their association with the US. Germany and Yugoslavia seem to share a mutual hate. The Yugoslavians refuse to let go of the Holocaust and move on. The Germans distrust allies of the USSR and were outraged by Serbia's war crimes. Germany also accepted many Slavic-Muslims who were escaping persecution in the Balkans and got first-hand accounts of the injustices.

NATO member states are probably not going to start overly friendly relations in the near future unless there is a sudden and radical change in the Yugoslavian leadership, which based of past examples is a strong possibly we cannot rule out.

For more information review files: 10-1K31-B931, 10-1K31-B932, 10-1K31-B932, and 10-1K31-B933.

Colonel Shinhachi, John S."

Things seemed so stable when the revolution was being fought in Russia compared to this. He leaned back in his swivel-chair and stared at the ceiling. NATO had shown it was powerful in the Korean War against China and North Korea. Yugoslavia was mediocre, but the Soviet Union had trained to fight NATO for as long as NATO had trained to fight them. Both sides' tactics, weapons, training, thinking, and organization was formed to counter the other. The Chinese had recovered their land forces from the war. Their navy was nowhere near ready for another war. They air corps was at its former strength, but proven it needed improvements and expansion.

He shut down his computer and locked his files. Jack lay across his desk and drifted off into sleep while thinking about the Soviet Union.

Emma awoke some hours later the next morning. It was Saturday. She leaned back and stretched. Her whole body was stiff. She looked over and saw Jack slumped across his desk. It was sometimes hard to tell if he was sleeping or dead. Jack was chronic-insomniac and needed medication to sleep… unless he worked himself to the point of sleep.

Emma draped his trench coat over him and headed to the bathroom. She opened the cabinet and pull out an orange prescription bottle. Pulling out a pair of blue rectangle-frame glasses and looked at the label. It was Concerta, a similar prescription drug to Ritalin for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). She put it back. She took Conerta, but it was Jack's and he was on a different dosage from her. Finding the correct one Emma took her the small capsule.

She went back into Jack's office and over to her desk. She liked working near him, even if he did kick her out when he made top secret phone calls. She soon learned that the Japanese-style doors and walls had been soundproofed so it was impossible to know what was happening.

There was a light tap at his office door to the hall. Emma opened it and was greeted by Jack's niece, Jennifer.

"Aunty Emma, is Uncle Jack awake?" she asked. Jennifer since Jack and Emma announced their engagement called her "Aunty".

"He's sleeping. I think he was working late."

The 6-year-old looked deep into Emma's eyes. "You must have been too. Your hair looks awful."

"Thanks," said Emma wryly. Jennifer tended to be too honest, but that was normal for a child her age. Emma's soon-to-be-niece skipped to the stairs and headed downstairs. Emma went into Jack's actually bedroom. He went back into the bathroom and turned on the shower.


0705 Hours; February 5th, 2012; Oval Office, White House; Washington DC, United States of America

"Now Madam President, although we lost the Vermont Primary, your overwhelming victory in the Iowa Caucus seems to bode well," said Theodore Banks, campaign advisor for United States President Michelle Smith Crane.

President Crane nodded as she read a memo. Every four years the US Presidential Election was held. American presidents when elected serve a four-year term. The first President, George Washington, served only two terms in office before retiring. Afterwards, presidents follow the tradition of serving no more than two terms in office with the exception of President Franklin Roosevelt who was elect four times and served over 12 years in office until his death in 1945 during his fourth term. After Roosevelt's death, it was added into federal law that presidents can serve no more than two terms.

President Crane was nearing the end of her first term and up for reelection. It didn't seem possible that she would have to run a country and a reelection campaign at the same time. The Independent Party was small and there were only two other people running against her in the Independent primaries.

The whole process was complicated. From January and until June the parties would be running primaries and caucuses. They would go state by state until they covered all 50 states and the US territories like Guam and Puerto Rico. For each state won, based population, candidates would be awarded delegates. Democrats got delegates based the percentages of votes won. Republicans winner would get all the state delegates. Independents followed the same system, but that was because they were such a small party (4). The party didn't even exist in some states and territories. Some states had closed primaries in which people could only vote for candidates of the party they were registered. Many had open primaries in which people were free to choose. Texas could actually vote twice because they had both a primary and caucus, known as the Texas Two Step.

"Ted, what are my chances?" she asked putting down the memo.

"Your opponents aren't trying to undermine you, Madam President. They are just trying to make our party look more like the others." He noticed Crane pick up another memo. "Would you like to do this later?"

"No, finish up. I'm just trying to get a million things done before I go to Moscow."

"Yes, ma'am."

Western leaders were invited to Moscow for sporting event. The USA and USSR national hockey teams were going to play against each other. The first match was scheduled for the 8th in Moscow and the second in Washington on the 16th. Hockey was not the point of this match, it was to get Soviet and American leaders in the same room. The match was merely an excuse to justify this meeting and to keep public attention else where.

She was nervous. This would be the first face-to-face meeting with General-Secretary Penovaski. She had only met with the Russian's ambassador and ambassadors from the other Soviet states like the Ukraine, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.


1505 Hours (UTC +3); February 5th, 2012; Kremlin, Moscow; Moscow Oblast, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic

United States Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5): 0705 Hours; February 5th, 2012

The Kremlin was an ancient fortress/castle built in 1330s by Czar Ivan Kalita or Ivan I, the first Czar of Russia. It was surrounded by tall red brick walls and guard towers at regular intervals that were probably better recognized than the inter complex. The Kremlin was a name linked with government power like the White House in the US.

Here in the Kremlin three different governments had passed through. The Czars who had built the Kremlin, the French who briefly occupied the Kremlin when Napoleon invaded Russia in the 19th Century, and finely the Soviets (5).

The south side overlooked the Moscow River that flowed through the middle of the city. The northeast wall overlooked Krasnaya Ploshchad (Red Square). There were gates on each wall. A few uniformed guards from the Red Army stood there. There was also normally at least one KGB agent. They merely asked for papers or IDs. Sometimes the grounds were open to foreign tourists. The outer security was for this reason not great.

Inside were more checkpoints with much more heavily armed guards. Hidden out of sight were also some tanks and armor personal carriers. Additional AA-vehicles and SAM launchers were also hidden. In a very real sense, the Kremlin was still a fortress of old Russia with many modern weapons.

Tourists were allowed to visit some of the old historical buildings on the south side of the compound like Kremlin Palace where the Romanovs once ruled. The Council of Ministers building was one the northeast side next door to the Arsenal. Visitors were rarely allowed near the place where the Politburo convened. It was easily the most heavily protected building with its own special guard unit and numerous KGB agents and GRU agents.

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic, or the Soviet Politburo, convened in one room. It was a dark room with wooden walls and floors. Some of the younger candidates in the Politburo quietly joked that the ministers were as old as the tarnished gold fixtures. The room was a little shabby with age, but they strongly opposed any new conveniences being installed. Despite the Soviets hate for the Czars and imperialist Russia, they loved their old buildings. Party doctrine justified it by saying it was made by the Russian people so it was a symbol of the workers greatness.

"Comrade Ministers and Comrade General-Secretary, we are going to be the hosts of thousands of visitors to our great Rodina (Mortherland)," said Anatoly Sergeyevich Kalyayev, a candidate for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Candidates were part of the Politburo. They operated the departments of the ministries. They were not members of the Standing Politburo and could not vote.

Kalyayev was in charge of overseeing international sporting events that the USSR participated in like the Olympics. He was in charge of event coming up on the 8th of February.

"And security for the event?" asked Minister of Defense, a title also known as Marshal of the Soviet Union, Anatoly Pavelovich Nergetov. As a military man, his primary concern was security.

"We are coordinating with our comrades in the Second Directorate," said Kalyayev. The KGB's Second Directorate was a counter-intelligence division for political control and security of Soviet citizens and foreign visitors.

"What of security for the VIPs, Comrade Candidate?" asked Minister of Propaganda, Lev Andreiyevich Voroshilov. Voroshilov was a voting member of the Politburo. "It would look awfully bad for the Rodina if our guests die at the hands of Chechen terrorists or counter-revolutionaries."

"That may be better asked to Comrade Minister Nevsky," said Kalyayev. 13 of the 14 ministers and 8 candidates turned to face the head of the KGB.

"No harm will come to the Americans," he said simply with smile that made some men shiver. Senior members of the KGB scared lower politicians. The Politburo was untouchable from the outside, but Nevsky and his candidate were on the inside.

"And the Germans? What about the British, Dutch, French, and Japanese? What about the Kosovars?" asked General-Secretary Josef Ivanovich Penovaski tilting his head to the side. Penovaski had an odd way of moving. His movements seemed more like twitches and his eyes did twitch at odd moments. It was hard to say who scared people more, Penovaski or Nevsky. It was some comfort that the General-Secretary tried to be a little friendly, but not with the KGB.

"The Kosovars?" asked Minister of Agriculture, Taduesz Jaruzelski. Jaruzelski, as a Pole, was the first man on the Politburo that wasn't Russian in a long time. As far as anyone could remember, Stalin had been the last non-Russian. Some members of the Politburo objected to some man from Krakow, Poland, was in charge of feeding the Soviet Union. He was silencing some objection with the amount of work he was putting into preparing for the spring planting.

"Da, Comrade Minister Jaruzelski. They are the guests of the Albanians," said Kalyayev reviewing his notes.

"There is no rebuffing them?" asked Minister of Transportation Viktor Pavelrovich Krivitsky hopefully.

"Nyet (no), Viktor Pavelrovich. We cannot bar the Kosovars if they are some else's guests," said Penovaski giving Krivitsky a glare that made Russia this time of year feel quite warm by comparison. "Besides, they will only go as guests of someone more powerful. Do we say no to the German? Or maybe the British? Or the Americans?"

"What about the Japanese?" asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Menzhinsky.

"Vitkor Grigoryevich, isn't it your responsibility to know that as Minister of Foreign Affairs?" asked Minister of Interior Vladimir Eduardovich Alekseyev with a raised eyebrow. Menzhinsky was regarded as the Politburo's village idiot by the ministers.

A young lieutenant junior placed a bottle of vodka in front of Alekseyev. The meeting wasn't top secret and some aides and wards were coming in and out of the Chambers of Ministers bring food and drinks.

"Spa-see-ba (thank you)," said Alekseyev curtly without looking at the man as he withdrew to the corner. The man only titled his head a little in acknowledgement and gave no expression. Many of the guards and aides whipped their faces clear of expression in the presences of the ministers.

"What about emergency medical care?" asked Nergetov.

"It is being seen to," said Minister of Health Hatya Molotov Pelshe. She was the first woman in the Politburo. "I am putting special orders that doctors are to reframe from drinking in effect. Or be punished."

"That may be difficult my dear," said Krivitsky. Pelshe smiled politely, trying not to show her disgust for this sexist attitude she'd been getting from some of the ministers. The candidates didn't even use her correct title unless the General-Secretary was around.

"I am more than capable of handling it. Making it Party Policy means they risk going to the Gulags. I'm sure state doctors will be willing to sober up a little more if it means being at the mercy of the KGB," she said giving small hints at her contempt for Krivitsky.

"Of course, Comrade Minister," said Krivitsky with a smile. He said 'comrade minister' like it was a highly amusing joke to refer to her an equal.

"Well, Comrade Minister Pelshe seems to have things under control," said Alekseyev stoically. Pelshe nodded in thanks. Alekseyev was one of her few friends. He seemed totally indifferent to her gender as long as she worked. That was probably why he hated Menzhinsky.

"Very well my Comrades. We will break for now and reconvene after lunch," said Penovaski getting up and heading for the door. "Da svee-dah-nyah (good-bye)."


0700 Hours; February 5th, 2012; Tsukamoto Residence, Yagami; Kanagawa Prefecture, Federation of Japan

A tall, slightly intimidating looking man rolled out of bed and onto the floor. He rose and stumbled to the dresser. He was a cold morning and judging by the clouds snow was coming.

He pulled on some khakis and a white T-shirt. He opened his sock drawer and pulled out a pair of plain white socks. In the corner of the drawer was a leather holster and inside was a Colt M1911A1 .45 semi-automatic handgun.

Harima Kenji looked at the gun for a moment. He was trying to remember the last time he cleaned it. Not famous for his memory he figured he ask Mai or Yakumo. He looked at himself in the small mirror on the wall and was greeted by his intense black eyes. His hair was combed forward instead of keeping it slicked back like he did in high school. He was 20-years-old as of December 1, 2011 and would be 21 this December.

Kenji headed downstairs to the living room were three women of varying ages were watching a talk show. The youngest was in a brown long-sleeve blazer with red skirt and a sailor-style collar. The next oldest was untying her hair from a ponytail she normally tied it in when she cooked. The oldest, that looked didn't look or act as old as she was, was eating the omelet.

"Ohayō, Onii-chan," said Harima Mai. She still kept her black hair in the thick braided ponytail. She had green eyes with blue specs. Kenji had taken her back with him from Korea. Mai had no living family she knew of and was granted asylum by the Japanese government. She had also changed her family name from Li to Harima. Mai was 12-year-old and would be turning 13 this year.

"Ohayō, Kenji," said Tsukamoto Yakumo kissing her boyfriend on the head before taking a seat under the heated-table. She was 18-year-old and would be 19 this March. Her shiny black hair reached the small of her back, longer than she kept it back in high school. Her red eyes were shifting between her food and the TV screen.

"Ohayō," said Kenji to both. A small meow alerted him to Iroi, Yakumo's cat. The black cat had a cross shaped scar on his forehead. Kenji scratched the cat behind it's ears briefly.

Tenma waved cheerily and turned back to the TV. Tenma was literally a day older than Kenji, she was 20 and would turn 21 on November 30.

Kenji originally lived with his cousin, Osakabe Itoko, in her apartment. During the war Itoko had gone off with the special forces and left Mai with the Tsukamoto sisters. Since Mai had made herself at home and Kenji was now dating Yakumo, he was allowed to live in his room/studio.

"Yakumo, do you have classes today?" asked Kenji as he started on the rice.

"Hai (yes), morning and afternoon. Kinyobi (Friday) is pretty busy for me," she said in her quiet reserved voice. "Did you need something?"

"Iē (no), just wondering. I think Haruki's dragging me to some museum in Yokohama," he said. Yakumo head enrolled at a college in Sagamihara, a city east of Yagami. She was aiming for a business degree and to take some law courses. Although she hadn't said as much, she was hoping to learn how to protect herself and Kenji from corporate businessmen and women in the manga industry. Kenji was fairly well-known in the Kantō District by the editors. They also knew he wasn't business savvy in the least. Yakumo felt a small pang of rage at the idea someone would take advantage of the man she loved with all her heart.

Kenji was reading a copy of 'Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu' (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). Kenji liked see what other authors wrote and had what amounted to a manga library in his room.

"Tanigawa Nagaru is genius," he muttered. He admired imaginative men and women like Tanigawa, author the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu. Kenji himself was in the middle of a series he started last year. Like most of his works it was based off his own life experiences about a delinquent who fell in love and went to a high school full of strange and unusually people. School life mangas were Kenji's specialty.

Breakfast was quiet and uneventful as ever. Tenma would shout loudly and chatter animatedly about what was on TV. Yakumo would gracefully eat and respond to Tenma's comments. Mai would read the newspaper that no one else bothered reading, but she liked keeping up with world events. Kenji would keep a scratchpad nearby to make notes or sketches if he got random inspirations.

Considering the war that had turned their worlds upside down, all four of them valued the peace.

With breakfast done, they cleared the table. Yakumo and Tenma grabbed their bags and headed for Yagami Central Station and head for school. Mai left for Yagami Elementary School where she was a 6th Year. Kenji started washing dishes. He liked being useful and the others usually had to leave early. He didn't have anywhere to go. Being an artist gave him a lot of liberty and he just needed 8 more pages to finish the next volume. Yakumo was looking over and inking in the last 5 pages. For once he was ahead of schedule.

He checked his watch and decided he should head over to the dojo where Hanai Haruki lived. He grabbed his coat and scarf and headed out the door. Kenji sat on his motorcycle and put on his helmet. He secured the scarf so it didn't go flying around and get snagged on something.

It was slow going at first because his street hadn't been plowed yet, but once he got the main road it was faster going. The motorcycle had been his father's, Harima Hiroki who died in a car accident due to bad weather. He checked the conditions. Kenji may act reckless, but he was actually a very careful driver. Surviving a war too also encouraged him to not get killed.

'Plowed after the last snow fall. Sand and salt is on the ground. Traffic is light so the road might be cold. It could have refrozen in places,' he thought. He settled on cruising at a 20km/h instead of the 30km/h speed limit.

He reached a traditional single-story Japanese-style building with a low sloping roof. He slid off his bike and approached the entrance. To his surprise there were at least 8 students who braved the snow. They must have been college students since elementary and secondary school students were in class by now. A few recognized Kenji and bowed. He was a regular visitor and some knew he was a war veteran.

"Any of you seen Haruki?" he asked.

"Hanai-sempai is over in his quarters," said one of the students.

"Arigato," he said walking out of the building's back door and heading for the private grounds where the Hanai family lived.

He knocked on the door.

A man in his early 50s opened the door. "Ah, Kenji-kun, what brings you here today?"

"Felt like seeing what Haruki was up to, Hanai-sama," said Kenji to Hanai Shinji, Hanai Haruki's father.

Shinji grinned in a knowing way. "Oh, I know what you mean. He's in his room. I'm sure you two have a lot of work to do."

"Uh, sure," said Kenji as he kicked off his shoes in the entrance hall. It was hard to tell with his sunglasses, but his eyebrows were raised and was a little unnerved.

He headed upstairs and knocked on Haruki's door.

A man of equal height and muscle tone was in front of him. He had neatly kept hair and trick square-framed glasses.

"Yo, Haruki. You said 8:30 right?" asked Kenji checking his watch. It was 8:17, but it was over an hour to Yokohama and they might as well as go now.

"Kenji, just the man I wanted to see!" said Haruki so enthusiastically that Kenji nearly fell over.

"I didn't know you wanted to see that damn museum so badly," said Kenji trying to remember what museum it was again.

"Huh? Oh, that. We're not going," he said with a wide grin. "We have a lot of work ahead of us if you so wish to accept the challenge."

Kenji's ears perked up at the word 'challenge'. He couldn't resist people challenging him even if he had no idea what it was. He puffed himself up and declared, "Bring it on old buddy. I can handle it."

"Great. I asked Mikoto to marry me last night and you're going to be my best man. We have a wedding to plan," said Haruki clapping Kenji on the back.

Kenji stared blankly. 'What did he say?'

"I was thinking we can ask Yūki-san about her wedding," said Haruki. Yūki Tsumugi was a former classmate of theirs. She was now Natsuyami Tsumugi and lived in Kyoto with her husband's family. "Of course, we'll need to pick a day when we both a few days off. Maybe next weekend?"

Kenji was just piecing together what was happening and what he was just roped into. It occurred to him that Haruki took advantage of Kenji's willingness to jump on any challenge. While was happy for his best friend, former enemy/rival, he couldn't help, but say one thing.

"I'm a former fucking delinquent, manga-ka, and soldier! What the hell do you think I know about wedding?!" he demanded.

Haruki's smile faltered a little. Then it came back. "We can do it. This can't be harder than fighting an entire regiment of Chinese. Think of it as a challenge."

He sighed. Life did seem to take sudden turns and ask Kenji to do things he never thought he'd do.


So ends the first chapter of the sequel. I hope you are starting to get an idea of what this story is going to be like. I'm not going to jump to war immediately. The world is at peace right now and I'm slowly going to work towards war. The history of the Balkans is pretty complex… and violent. The early history is a little confusing to me, but I think I covered the basics. People have written books on just one group over the course of a century let alone roughly 1,400 years of history. As usual with me, I try to have some informative parts, some drama, some action or suspense, and comedy. I love action and information, but I also enjoy a good laugh. That's one reason I've pick School Rumble, I thought I could make them serious, but still keep the comedy.

Join me next time as Kenji finds himself being called to service for a completely different task. I'll be reintroducing other School Rumble, Bleach, and other anime characters from the last story in the next few chapters. I'll also be bringing back the characters I created too and new ones are to come as well.

Respectfully

J. H. Kamiya

Appendix

1. The Serbs: History, Myth, and Destruction of Yugoslavia is a real book written by a man named Tim Judah. It is a very good book that that talked about the history of the Serbs and Croats from Roman times to the Kosovo War.

2. I'm a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and I know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to the Holocaust. 11,000,000 were murdered over the course of four years from 1941-1945. Yugoslavia, Poland, and Germany were the countries hardest hit by the Holocaust. Yugoslavia was home to many groups the Nazis targeted. Poland before the war had the largest Jewish population in Europe, between the Nazis and later the Soviets its Jewish population is either dead or relocated to Israel and the US. Germany lives with the shame of the Nazis crimes and has built the largest memorials to those who died at the hands of the SS.

3. This is a fictional war from the previous story. NATO was not formed until 1949 and never engaged in open war with the Soviet Union in Germany. Yugoslavia therefore had no involvement.

4. The Independent Party is a political party I made up. I think there is a small political called the Independents, but I don't think they have anyone in the federal government like Congress. For some of you European readers, your used to having several political parties, in America we only have two.

5. In real life, a fourth group can be added. The President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, rules from the Kremlin. The Duma might also be in the Kremlin.