A/N: Well, after a lot of quiet near the end of Part 4, we finally have something fun starting.

I KNOW RA2 TANYA IS A REDHEAD BUT YURI'S REVENGE TANYA IS BLONDE AND I WENT WITH THAT, REMEMBER THIS FOR THE FUTURE! (Also stated this back when I introduced her, and stated it repeatedly, but I still foresee at least one person questioning this.)

I just started playing Borderlands, and I really would like to know just when they got permission to rip off Varren in the form of the creature known as the "Skag". Other than the funny mouth structure (roaring blinds them, which is a bit stupid evolutionarily), Skags are just like Varren in my opinion. Brick reminds me of Grunt, Mordechai of Garrus, and Roland would be Vega (he is one of the squadron members who are sitting out the SupCom round of spawns, or at least sitting out of the squad list, but he most certainly will be seen in the continuation of this C&C series).

I know full well that the Harmony Shepard series began a bit rip-off-like, but I assure you that events will diverge significantly beginning in Second Year. I apologize that First Year was such a disappointment (really, the only important bits are probably Ch 10 and the last bit of Ch 9). Sooner or later, Harmony will snap due to her low Self-Control Rating and probably give Snape some cosmetic surgery via her fists, probably in the Shrieking Shack. She'll also be standing toe-to-toe with Dumbledore over Harry's living arrangements from Third Year onward. A final thing is that the Elder Wand will belong to someone else this time, and Dumbledore's death will be a lot less comfortable and planned, more of a drawn-out, bitter, hate-filled, painful affair.

Chapter 1: It Begins

USA, November 11, 1981

It began as a normal day.

The keyword was, of course, "began", for a phone call reached President Michael Dugan as he was handing a folder to his secretary "Mr. President? It's General Carville at the Pentagon on Line Five."

Dugan pushed the button on his phone for speakerphone "This is Dugan."

Over in the Pentagon Homeland Defence Bureau, which Carville had basically built from scratch himself after his glorified exile to a desk job after WW4 (not that he was sorry about going berserk on Stalin to punish the lunatic), alarms were blaring and red icons were showing on both seaboards of the United States, as well as many, many red symbols moving into Texas from Mexico "Mr. President, I'm afraid we have a hell of a situation down here…"

Dugan smiled at his secretary and put a hand on her arm, signalling her to leave "How bad could it be, Ben?" He thought it might be like the April Fools' prank call Carville had given him earlier that year, which had been quite amusing.

"According to NORAD, we've got Soviet aircraft coming at us from all directions and ground troops pushin' up through Mexico. I don't know how they snuck in on us."

By the tie Carville was finished Dugan's face had gone from a warm smile to an ugly grimace "You'd better double-check this with NORAD" This was about as un-amusing as that time a while back when NORAD detected a purported massive Soviet and SI nuclear strike inbound and it turned out to e a hardware malfunction. "This doesn't make any sense. I'll call the Kremlin."

"Will do." Carville stated glumly before hanging up.

Little did they know that if a lunatic trying to mind-control the world was trying to make a cover-story for establishing an installation network, he would do just about anything, including start a world war. Romanov, due to years of exposure, had slowly been worn down into taking Yuri's suggestions.

Dugan looked at the red phone labelled "Moscow", next to the phones for Tokyo and Toronto (Secure line to the Shepard sisters' offices), and picked it up. After a couple rings, an accented voice came from the other end "Da, Premier Romanov here."

"What's going on over there, Alex?" Dugan asked curiously.

"Why Mr. President, whatever do you mean?" Romanov chuckled.

"Alex, I… I have, um…" His secretary brought him the newest report of troop estimates and such "You're throwing everything you've got at us, Alex." Anger seeped into Dugan's voice "We're supposed to be allies, you maniac! I'm the one that put you into office!"

"LISTEN!" Romanov stated intensely, then muttered something sounding to Dugan like "gotta be careful there", followed by an angry "I am not your pet, Mr President." Many thousands of kilometres away from the White House, Yuri turned slightly to watch the man he had slowly corrupted go about his rant. "We Romanovs have our legacy to consider."

"I don't give a wooden nickel about your legacy. You call them off!" On the other side of the world, Romanov's face twitched several as the man who had led the USSR out of the shadow of the last war fought the presence in his corrupted mind "You call them off!" The battle didn't end in the original Alexander Romanov's defeat until Dugan said "You know we'll retaliate."

"Well don't be so sure, Mr. President." Romanov's voice stated. Yuri, next to him, picked up a telephone with several special add-ons that allowed localization of the target receiver and transmission of basic sonic attack patterns and psychic indoctrination waveforms over it. Romanov abruptly hung up as Yuri dialled out on multiple channels at once, to all the US nuclear silo installations' common command channels.

Dugan, hearing only the dial tone, put his phone down with shaking hands. He speed-dialled the Pentagon next.

"Sir?" Carville was chewing on a toothpick on the other end in agitation.


"You betcha."

"Sweet mother…" Dugan took a deep breath in "it's time to hit back. Make it happen!"

"Yes Sir." He nodded to a technician who shifted the channel onto the emergency channel of all US armed forces. "This is General Carville. Soviet Invasion Confirmed. Execute Long-Charge-Zero-One-Zero-Epsilon-Delta-Zero."

A Missile Silo, USA, November 11, 1981

"Have Confirmation, Missiles Primed." The Missile Command officer replied after smashing open the glass alcove on the wall with the keys that would arm and launch the missiles.

"Armed!" The other silo officer stated, inserting his key.

The phone rang, and the senior officer picked up "Missile Command." The man was not expecting the sudden apparent pressure on his skull as his brainwave pattern was localized by Yuri's global data tap network and the psychic began focusing on overrunning the unprepared mind through the nearby amplifier arrays he had directed toward the main missile control facilities of America.

"Ten seconds to launch, open the missile silos!" The other silo officer yelled at him as he pulled out his sidearm. "Jerry, what? We have to open the silos. They're gonna explode under—" Jerry cocked his pistol. "The silo doors are closed! This is suicide!"

Romanov was hearing all this over Yuri's speaker-phone, or was it his mind? What followed was a long series of explosions as America's few remaining ICBMs, those missiles with enough range to strike Russia, were destroyed. Most had already been destroyed in the last series of treaties… Most of the US Navy's Missile Submarine network had also been neutralized, though only a couple subs were sunk, the rest were cut off from communications by killer satellites removing communications satellites and by a series of tactical commando strikes on American bases, hitting all naval bases with the authorization to call for such a nuclear response. "Is it done, Yuri?"

"No, Comrade Premier, it has only begun." Yuri stated eerily as he turned around.

The skies of both American coasts darkened as vast fleets of colossal Kirov Airships drifted over them like dark clouds. Air-raid sirens went off anywhere they existed as fleets of troop transport aircraft appeared seemingly out of nowhere to drop whole divisions' worth of Soviet paratroopers onto American soil. The transport planes had been housed in secret underground hangars all over America, and more than a few Kirovs had been assembled in those hangars too. They had used private road works for runways. It was a large fault of America's capitalistic system: On one's own land, one could build just about anything, and people always assumed you had the necessary permits if they saw construction hardware on-site. Once the Soviets bought the land and built the bases, well…

In the meantime, Hovercrafts transporting troops poured onto both coasts while Dreadnought-class cruisers fired volleys of cruise missiles at any militarily important or really even relevant targets. Typhoon-class Attack Subs engaged US Navy warships and Coast Guard vessels along the coastlines while tanks, Flak Tracks, and V3 Cruise Missile TEL (Transporter-Erector-Launcher) vehicles thundered over the now-flattened barbed wire fence originally intended to keep illegal Mexican immigrants out.

For Dugan, at least, the very next phone call made was to Toronto, but the lines had been cut by Soviet infiltrators already… that meant they had to operate without SI support for at least 24 hours, especially as SI was only at DEFCON 4 right now, and had only been so for a few minutes, starting after they detected the inbound Soviet craft. How they so thoroughly evaded NORAD, no one would know until years later. However, a popular claim was that it was "just like magic." Now, this was technically not true, since the technologies merely imitated psychic energy fields that provided some degree of radar stealth, but at the time many claimed it was magic until they were proven wrong.

November 12, 1981

For Captain Mark Jamison Shepard (who didn't like him last name very much as he was thoroughly unrelated to the leaders of SI), who had just finished the experimental "commanding officer training" for commanders to use computer interfaces to order troops around and receive updates on them, the day began almost normally, right up to after brushing his teeth. Then he was summoned to a video call from a "Lieutenant Eva" regarding the current situation. Behind her, a large screen was showing many X's across the US "Commander, good morning, we've successfully instituted the President's emergency Lazarus Protocol. I'm Lieutenant Eva, the Intel Officer assigned to your command. And since you're the only Commander left alive, I guess I'm pretty lucky to have a job." She pushed a button on-screen and showed news footage of burning buildings "It appears we have suffered a full-scale Soviet invasion. Nearly all our major cities are under siege and our forces are in complete disarray." Some beeping was heard over the transmission and Eva pressed her hand to her ear speaker, a sign she was receiving a transmission. "Please stand by, Commander, we have an incoming broadcast from General Carville at the Pentagon."

She tapped some buttons and the screen shifted to a feed from the Pentagon where Carville and some others were poring over maps. "I hope you're rested and ready, Commander, because as of 0800 hours you're in control of every satellite, base, tank, airplane, enlisted man, woman and child in the eastern United States. You answer to the President, and you answer to me. Your ops officer and vital lifeline will be the Lieutenant, your point man for this first mission will be Special Agent Tanya."

Tanya, well over age fifty but still looking to barely be in her prime on the video feed, turned around from a map of New York, her current location (though she was somewhat outside the city itself) "General, I hope the Commander is up to speed because we don't have time to waste."

"I'm sure Tanya has every confidence in you, Commander."

Tanya smirked derisively "Oh, you're sure? Well it's not your life that's on the line out here." She cut the connection.

"She's the best there is." Carville chuckled "But you'll get along better with the Soviets. You'll get started immediately, first stop, New York. The Lieutenant will give you the details."

Not long ago the Soviets made an amphibious landing on Manhattan Island and are using their ground troops to systematically take over the city. Another large Soviet transport fleet is inbound within several hours, carrying mostly vehicles and soldiers, they plan on using the supply base they've just established in the area to support quick deployment of their additional forces onto the mainland coast. Fortunately we still have a hold of Fort Bradley, but out com-link has been severed. If you can get Agent Tanya into Bradley she will re-establish the link and you can use the local production facilities to produce more hardware for your soldiers. Good luck, Commander."

The objective was to blunt the Soviet invasion and destroy the major but poorly-defended supply base the Soviets had scraped together in the area, thus reducing the pace of their invasion, given most of their really heavy equipment had yet to come ashore and needed more specialized facilities to support them. Mark estimated that destruction of the supply base could put the Soviets back at least two or three days, if not more. There were also four Dreadnought-class missile cruisers in the waters near Liberty Island, where Tanya's insertion point was going to be. Apparently the Soviets were trying to destroy or capture the Statue of Liberty, but the Patriot Missile battery on Liberty Island and the local guards were doing an adequate job of resisting, entrenched as they were.

Tanya was deploying herself via a "liberated" civilian speedboat coming in fast from New Jersey. Light flak batteries on the dreadnoughts swivelled over as they detected the approaching threat and began throwing up columns of water around the rapidly-approaching boat until it slewed around, presenting its broadside, and blew up under several seconds of on-target sustained fire. It was a few moments later that three C4 charges detonated along the flank of a dreadnought and the ship began to flounder. Dreadnought-class cruisers were designed to withstand damage ABOVE the water line, as Typhoons were supposed to take of water-borne threats and they had anti-torpedo decoys and active anti-torpedoes to defend underwater. Naval mines had been considered out of date by most factions for years, and the anti-torpedo bays could seek out the mines too so it wasn't a problem. They were not intended to take high explosive charges, especially below the waterline and to three of their five watertight compartments. The ship began to capsize even as the next ship was C4-ed. The others tried to move, but the floating missile batteries were designed to be a cheap, easily deployed option for MCV warfare, so that meant, due to their decent above-water armour, they didn't have much in the way of speed. Tanya, having dived into the water as she turned her speedboat sideways, sank or began to sink all four of them before swimming off in a quick, powerful stroke toward the nearby Liberty Island to aid the GIs in defending it.

However, as soon as the paradropped Conscript mob had been mown down by Tanya's AR (Assault Rifle) and the guns of the GIs, a V3 tactical ballistic missile slammed into the badly damaged Statue of Liberty and it collapsed with a thunderous groaning of failing steel and twisting copper. It took roughly five minutes for all the GIs to report that they were alright (or report that others were KIA) and in those five minutes, Mark received news that the V3 launcher responsible had just been taken out by an air-strike, though most of the fighters available were occupied trying to wear down the fleet of incomprehensibly durable airships coming in slowly over both coasts. Maybe that was the whole point of the airships, to be a bunch of huge distractions, but they couldn't afford ignoring them given the huge bombs the airships could drop. Apparently they found Fort Bradley too small to divert an airship squadron to deal with… big mistake. Since the airships were most powerful in numbers, given their main defences against missiles and aircraft were onboard close-range flak guns and incredible durability, it was almost remarkable to find them quite vulnerable when alone to really massed fire from conventional fighter jets or even ground batteries. The higher the yield of the SAM, the better the results.

Tanya and the GIs she'd just picked up were boarding some just-"acquired" civilian shipping i.e. every remaining workable ship docked at Liberty Island plus some boats Tanya's commando squadron had commandeered from the mainland earlier and ran in on the other side of the island while Tanya had been distracting/sinking the dreadnoughts. They sailed over to the location Mark designated for them, since most of the closer routes seemed to be blocked, according to the picture satellite recon was painting. He guided them through the battered streets of New York, helping a handful of GIs hold off two squads of Conscripts. Tanya was exhibiting her usual absurd kill power by taking down four soldiers per second with one bullet each from her AR, trading clips with inhuman speed when her current one ran out. Recon said there were three M60A1 tanks that had lost contact somewhere north of Fort Bradley, so Mark sent Tanya off there after she reached Fort Bradley and brought the data linkups back online with spare parts she had brought. He also had to coordinate putting GIs in the buildings surrounding a nearby Soviet paradrop zone after taking out the Conscripts defending it. They would be able to take out the Soviets as they dropped, and they did just that.

It took an hour for Tanya to locate and establish communications with the three lost, banged-up tanks north of the fort. They had held out against Soviet attacks since the invasion started, and were running low on supplies. The tanks, once they returned to Fort Bradley, with Tanya hitching a ride, reported sighting, along their way back, a serviceable bridge which could lead to the Soviet supply base nearby. After establishing sniper coverage of the bridge, Mark sent a squad of engineers to secure the bridge and search for any explosives the Soviets may have booby-trapped it with. It took some time to secure the bridge, but in the end he sent his GIs and his only three tanks over it, ordering the tanks to eliminate the V3 TEL vehicles terrorizing and wrecking New York. They also took out the lightly armoured machine-gun turrets at the front end of the supply base while the infantry advanced to take out the Soviet infantry and conquer the base. Ideally they could capture stuff that could provide good insight to the new, once-secret Soviet technologies.

Well, that was the theory. Reality tended to be rather different… what they found in the War Factory schematics was that the Soviets were fielding a high-powered 115mm, 55-calibre main gun (the power level of the gun was estimated by looking at the design to be only somewhat under that of SI's WTC-110-65 series, and even then mostly due to barrel length) on their new tank design, the T-75, along with composite armour and reactive armour technologies. M60-series tanks could be fitted with reactive armour, but they weren't designed with composite armour in mind. The conclusion was that the Allies, except the Germans, were at a disadvantage in protection, which was particularly horrible for French AMX-30 tanks but relatively okay with the heavily armoured British Chieftain tanks. The Allies, also except the Germans, were also at a disadvantage in firepower, particularly in sabot technology.

In other words, as soon as that operation was concluded and the engineers reported in, Carville threw up his hands and told the other surviving generals that "Fuck national pride, we need to buy some tanks from Shepard" Just like I've been saying for the past twenty years, back then was more so that we could try to figure out their ceramic composite advances… but now we need them "to fill in the interim. Put more pressure on the damned design teams for anti-tank weapons, will you? Get them working on a new tank design, too. Damn it, at this rate we'll be starting from basically scratch, especially if they think SI's vehicle designs are too old to be worth imitating…" He had learnt the hard way that ordering a design crew to imitate someone else tended to not work out well, and he didn't have time right now to persuade hundreds of people to do something that significant of their own will.

He had just finished coordinating the amalgamation of several divisional units not yet engaged completely with the enemy (and which were still capable of fighting) into the improvised III Corps in northern Colorado when more bad news came in. A few minutes ago, at 0500, a large force of Soviet Tanks had been spotted near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. That meant III Corps had to head south to engage, but they couldn't afford the Soviets finding all the secrets in that place, or killing all the cadets upon seeing the forces of III Corps approaching. Well then, Tanya had just reported back that their mission in New York had been successful, so he immediately sent her packing for Colorado Springs.

A few hours later, he was having a phone conversation with the President as Mark Jamison Shepard caught some sleep before having to take remote command of the forces in the field again. The soldiers and tanks in New York had effectively smashed nearby Soviet presences and supply stocks, but after losing a tank to Tesla Troopers in the city, they retreated. Every tank in that operational region was valuable, as I Corps had only a handful of tanks, fewer than the standard SI Field Division (which has a bit over 750 tanks).

"Mr. President, the Europeans will be asking for our help before too long." Carville held up a hand as Shepard's video link activated, signalling him to be quiet.

"We don't have a choice, Ben, I know that the guys you worked with last time are all retired by now, and you'd rather trust Shepard with our country's future than the Europeans, but we need to ask anyways, any help is invaluable at this time. Besides, Shepard doesn't keep very many division at home."

"…Yes sir, I'll take care of it." Carville put the receiver down, rubbed his eyes tiredly (he hadn't slept the previous night, coordinating several battles and smaller skirmishes as the assorted American units pulled together to form the three Corps-designated but nearly Army-sized units that could currently be used for offensives), then sighed. "It ain't right, we shouldn't have to beg for help from anyone." It seemed to Mark that he didn't like it based on the pure technicality of begging, and had no problem with asking. "Premier Romanov's got that whole continent shaking in their boots." He clicked a button on his projectors and turned it on before bringing up the appropriate file from his computer. "Romanov's sending his bulldog general Vladimir in for our airbases, his forces are romping through the country like an angry bull at a Texas rodeo." There was a desperate undertone to Carville's voice now. "At 0500 this morning, we detected a large force of Soviet tanks assembled near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs." He showed a recon photo of said tanks.

"Sir, urgent transmission from Agent Tanya in the field!" It was just when Carville was giving Mark an aerial photo of the general base layout and such that Eva alerted both Mark and Carville to said transmission, just before patching it through.

The blonde was as to-the-point as ever "It looks like the Commies have captured Colorado Springs, General."

"Why the hell did you wait till now to contact us? We can't let Vladimir take that airbase!" The research there is above even my clearance level… Hannah once told me by back-room meeting that they were probably experimenting with psychic-based technologies there, but… still, can't let the Soviets find it, and they will given enough time in the area.

Tanya rolled her eyes "With all due respect, sir, we've been a little busy."

"Commander, get Tanya out of the hole she dug for herself and make her useful, would you? I'm sure she would appreciate it."

"The hell—" Carville clicked something on his computer "We seem to have lost Tanya's transmission." He said lightly, then grew serious "Go to it, Commander."

Mark nodded, then switched his attention to the combat situational display screens that rendered the battle area and forces involved, making war almost like a video game, as if the bigwigs behind the scenes didn't already think of it as a game… he thought bitterly.

For reader information, to understand the geopolitical situation at the time of the events described by this Archive, we the authors have included this basic description of where the various units SI commands can be found in the world.

Current SI Theatre Deployments:

2 Field Divisions (1st and 2nd) in the Socialist Republic of Korea (Note: currently a hell of a lot more democratic than the military dictatorship down south). SROK SDF has four Armoured Divisions and eight Light Infantry Brigades active, with a small navy of a few Corvettes, some subs and many Patrol Boats (Attack Boats, basically, with assorted load-outs). Good air force. No Ballistic Missile Sites present, but does act as a supply harbour for some of the North Pacific Missile Submarine Fleet.

2 Field Divisions (3rd and 4th) in Palestine. Palestinian SDF has three Armoured Divisions and six Light Infantry Brigades active, plus a small navy. Strongest air force in the region, with the latest of the F-1958 Arrow series. Has Short-Ranged Ballistic Missile Silos capable of striking within about 1300 kilometres reliably (up to 1500 km depending on conditions) which is enough to hit anywhere in Iraq, most of Turkey, almost all of Egypt, and definitely anything closer than that. Mostly a deterrent though, and only installed because the Soviet Union had objected to putting Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Silos there. It was well known that the IRBM was a bit of a blind spot in most missile defences.

1 Field Division (5th) in Algeria. Algerian SDF has two Armoured Divisions and four Mechanized Brigades (Light Infantry doesn't garrison a vast desert area well, and militia does most of the patrol duty anyhow). Small navy, more for anti-smuggler duty than combat. Acceptable Air Force.

1 Field Division (6th) in Cameroon, which has become by far the strongest industrial, economic and military power in the area, fielding three Armoured Divisions and nine Light Infantry Brigades. By far the best navy and air force of the area. Location of several Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Silos. These, at 5500 km range, have enough range to hit anywhere within Africa and can strike within Europe as far as England (London is at the extremes of the warhead range). Can in theory strike at the Ukraine, anywhere in the Arabian Peninsula, and even western/central Iran and the easternmost tip of Brazil.

3 Field Divisions (7th through 9th) still stationed in Germany, scheduled for permanent recall in 1985 due degrading Wehrmacht-SI relations, particularly as the German Chancellor doesn't like Shepard very much after the Munich Olympics embarrassment, and Von Esling has retired. Retreat of these forces had been conducted in stages since the end of the Vietnam War.

6 Field Divisions (10th-16th) stationed in Canada. 15th and 16th Divisions have never seen real war, 14th Division has not seen a major war. SI currently possesses the fourth strongest navy after the US, Soviets and British, and a majority of it is stationed in Vancouver or Halifax. Two nuclear-powered Heavy Carriers are slated for launch in mid 1983 and commissioning in late 1984. Warship Construction has replaced most of the aging fleets already in all of SI's Client State arsenals and its own, but the Carriers have yet to be replaced.

Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 13, 1981

Tanya's eyebrows shot up at the sight of jetpack-equipped troops coming over a nearby cliff and joining them. Somehow, they had managed to, despite most scientists claiming it was impossible with current technology, create such hardware for the troops to use. Perhaps this was the sensitive technology that was supposed to be in the Air Force Academy? Well, according to her earlier recon of the captured Allied base, it should be easy enough to, with the insulated wetsuit she had, swim that big pond near the base to avoid the automated Sentry Guns the Soviets had set up along the main approach paths to the Academy. She could then sneak in over the side wall, kill the handful of guards on duty, and destroy the two Flak Cannons so that the "Rocketeers" as they called themselves could eliminate other defences, if applicable. From what intel they had, Sentry Guns weren't able to shoot at aerial targets flying at any reasonable altitude, it was just not within their design parameters. That was excellent.

Before she'd even told him what she thought, Commander Mark (so Tanya's mind, and most others for that matter, dubbed him to avoid mental double-takes regarding his last name) instructed her to do exactly what she'd thought. Great minds thought alike, it seemed.

Things went quickly after Tanya swam the pond, taking out Conscripts almost continuously with her silenced assault rifle and grenades before storming the main Academy building where she knew prisoners were being held. Thankfully, she managed to kill the Soviets before they could kill more than a few of the many hundreds of prisoners (most of the cadets had been rushed into the front lines already). The pilots were ordered to the Harriers parked on a nearby Air Force Command Post's four landing pads, and lifted off one by one, forming up before heading east on Mark's orders to take out some of the Soviet Ore Miners in the ore fields east of the base. The Soviets couldn't bring all their supplies with them, so they had to field-refine some ore and manufacture some—mostly machine parts—on their own, which was classic in MCV Warfare. SI thought this was incredible at best since field-manufactured hardware quality was usually rather lower than factory-manufactured gear. However, they too often moved units in the form of crates instead of complete goods just to save space, in fact, they had pretty much started that "some assembly required" trend of mobile warfare.

Unfortunately, Soviet War Miners were nimble enough to occasionally avoid some of the missiles thrown at them, mostly by using terrain objects, but the Harriers, still wrecked one of the abominable machines and damaged two more, which ran for home. The planes were under-loaded (only two air-to-ground Maverick missiles each) due to a shortage of live ammunition stores at the Academy and the sabotage of the Air Force Command Post ammo manufacturing facilities by the Soviets. For obvious reasons, most of the aviation hardware at the Academy was in the form of training shells and paint missiles. These were laughably ineffective against any real targets…well, with the exception of one Harrier pilot who managed to get a Soviet tank to ram and basically total a lightly armoured Flak Track APC. This was pulled off by firing paint missiles at it, which resulted in the tank manoeuvring wildly while the vision slits and external cameras were blinded by paint. Annoyingly, War Miners could survive a shot or two to the ore compartment with little trouble (though most of the ore load would literally "fall off the back of the truck", or rather "fall through the sides/back of the truck").

However, the ore fields were no longer covered from Rocketeer by the Flak Track that had just been destroyed by ramming, and it would take some time before another could be brought up from the Soviet base, which was much further from the field than the Allied base. The Soviet commander wasn't dumb enough to leave his ore field unprotected, but a happy coincidence resulted in the other Flak truck being broken down for repairs (it got whacked by a Maverick missile right on the flak cannon turret). Therefore, the Rocketeers were sent after the two Miners still operating in the area while they were vulnerable. The grenade launchers and submachine guns of Rocketeers were able to tear apart just about any target with sustained fire, after all.

While the flyboys were getting some exercise, Mark had deployed another Chrono Miner to help the one already at work reaping the ore mounds piled up near the automated drilling platforms west of the base. In the meantime, his War Factory was working hard to assemble tanks form the materials the Ore Refinery was providing. The specifics of how the rapid assembly of plain metal plates into complicated vehicles was done was highly classified, though many field commanders commented that it was "almost like magic", so Mark didn't have the clearance to know. Still, that didn't mean he couldn't build an army from it. It took several hours before he could assemble an attack force of several dozen tanks and headed eastward toward the Soviet base. Using flanking manoeuvres, cross-fires, and two anti-tank mine-layers from schematics Tanya had spat up from her connections (in other words, her cousins had given her some schematics to use if she felt it necessary to win a battle, though these schematics were half a generation out of date as per almost everything SI actually sold to other countries), he managed to destroy the Soviet presence in the area. Despite only being able to muster half the number of tanks in the field, even with assigning all the cadets with any vehicular training to tanks and engaging from relatively close range, Mark still managed to defeat the Soviet forces in the sector within a few short hours and evacuated all personnel safely over the next two days.

In the next couple days however, while Mark was taking III Corps southward, grinding through Colorado, Washington DC came under full-scale Soviet siege, forces from the southern (Virginia) and northern (Maryland) landing zones converging on the American capital city. SI was mobilizing its forces, with two Field Divisions included in the militia and National Guard (with a few Army, Air Force and Marine units) defence of the Washington/Oregon Line. The two Medium Carriers, ancient but still functional and well able to brush off even three or four cheap-deployment Soviet dreadnought cruisers even with both sides in range of each other, in the Pacific were conducting air denial as best they could against the massive armoured Kirovs that seemed to either distribute damage over themselves or simply use anti-gravity in addition to their massive propellers. So far they, along with the shore-based SRBM Defence batteries (in other words, extremely heavy surface-to-air missiles), were managing to prevent Kirovs from penetrating northward into Canada, but they couldn't shoot down more than a few of the ones invading America south of the Washington-Oregon Line.

It hadn't seemed to make much sense to install Short-Range Ballistic Missile Missile Defence batteries along a coast where the only Theatre missile launchers possibly in range were ships, but it turned out that inventing and installing ultra-heavy surface-to-air missiles, as TBMD, TMD (Tactical Missile Defence), and terminal-phase ICBM defence (this was the stated reason for the system's installation). Unfortunately, though every other type of missile could be defended against with reasonable reliability by SI's assorted classes of Missile Defence units and probably by their Soviet and American counterparts, the latest designs of Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles fielded by the Soviets could often, according to simulations, leak through the umbrella of all factions. It wasn't because the umbrellas sucked, it was because the overly expensive missiles were as good as their price suggested.

These missiles could strike at 1000 to 3500 kilometres, and the main reason they were so dangerous was because the current Soviet design was basically a souped-UP ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) with several additional thrusters ready to use even in the terminal flight phases. It also mounted suites of active sensors and could conduct evasive manoeuvres mid-flight, eve in the mid-course phase of un-powered ballistic flight. This made the kinetic kill vehicles used by all factions for ICBM mid-course interception inefficient at best, and it also made terminal interception times particularly short due to the missile's ground-hugging powered final approach. The missile was also equipped with an Iron Curtain system and capacitor, which meant absurdly large amounts of flak power would be needed to take it down, or multiple hits with very heavy AA missiles. Given consecutive hits were difficult on the hypersonic, low-altitude object (often less than one kilometre above ground level, approaching on an oblique angle of attack) were difficult at best, it wasn't hard to figure out what the problem was.

For those readers who do not know too much about the classifications, Theatre Ballistic Missiles can strike from 300 to 3500 kilometres, with Short-Ranged BMs hitting at under 1000 kilometres. Medium-Ranged BMs had ranges between 1000 to 3500 kilometres. Intermediate Range BMs could hit at 3500-5500 kilometres. ICBMs hit at over 5500 km. All Sub-Launched BMs are ICBMs. It is worth noting that every type of BM is capable of pulling shorter ranges (right down to, unfortunately for the Americans, self-destructing in the silo or on the launcher, be it by detonating their warheads or not).

Mark Shepard was happy that SI was helping the local militias tying up most of the Soviet forces on his right flank so that he could smash III Corps, which he had commandeered with Carville's approval, into their rear left flank after bypassing most other Soviet forces in the area and smuggling (This was one of his claims to fame) seven divisions' worth of men and materials onto the California coast. Carville had taken direct command of I Corps and was warding off Soviet attack after Soviet attack, using satellite communications to coordinate defensive sallies and external attacks southward from the New England region which was still under Allied control. He knew from what Shepard had announced that she was actively recruiting again and forming eight more Field Divisions (effectively half again her current total Army strength), with two more of the six divisions she had in Canada committed to battle already on the New England front, bringing her reserve down to only two divisions. Spec Ops and Black Ops cells throughout the countryside were organizing resistance movements and whipping militias into shape, inflicting casualties on the Soviets and slowing them down.

Secretly, Hannah had told her Germany garrison units to withdraw immediately. For lack of better terms, she soon, after getting an indignant phone call from the man, told the German Chancellor that "You were on me for so long to withdraw the rest of my troops, now you got your wish, see you later." She knew it wouldn't buy any favours with the Europeans but those three divisions were critically needed back home so she couldn't afford those niceties. The 7th through 9th Divisions' officers had been young men in the army back in World War Three, so they had seen war, but most of the soldiers were on four-year tours of duty and were fresh faces. It was time for them to all move back over the sea. The families of the officers might want to come too…

Those three divisions may not be the bloodied war machines they had been at the end of the last World War, but they would still be more than combat effective enough to inflict heavy losses on the Soviets. The T-75's current composite armour, from what reports were saying, was still not completely up to par with Generation 2.5 SI composite, let alone the Generation 3 they were using now. Of course, that might have had something to do with the total thickness of the interleaved ceramic tile layers involved too. The new Soviet gun also compromised cost with power well, with more than decent reliability and a fast autoloader, whereas SI had honed its WTC-110-65 series to maximize power and reliability at a slight cost to the maximum firing rate and with quite a high price tag.

The T-75 was equipped with a cheap, unimpressive engine that gave it even lower speed than the M60, but perhaps this was more due to the fact that the underside was armoured against mines and the top-side armoured against mortars and small bombs. That did not mean it was immune to those threats by any means, but it did help… and it slowed the vehicle down. This meant that T-1962s, even the earliest versions, or even T-1955s could run circles around them. However, it also meant that the T-75 could be easily manufactured in the field-deployed War Factories the Soviets had brought and their numbers could grow quickly. The Allies were determined not to let things get too out of hand though, which meant that they were sinking Soviet shipping as much as possible and trying to destroy the economies of Soviet bases on American soil.

It was a couple relatively quiet weeks (II Corps was fighting the Soviets in ) before the next bad news came in, the Soviets had advanced into Washington DC after using their new Apocalypse Tanks to break through the defences. The entire perimeter collapsed soon thereafter and President Dugan announced to a startled and alarmed America that "And in short order, we will all, young and old, pledge allegiance to our new leader, Premier Romanov of the USSR."

Apparently, unlike the paranoid garrison commander who had barely managed to scrape together a division of uncompromised survivors near the Jefferson Memorial, Dugan and Carville had dismissed the claims of psychic influence at NORAD as bullshit. Some say said garrison commander was crazy, but later he got a medal for ordering his troops to meditate and lecturing them on resisting voices inside one's head telling one what to do. Well, it was a lot less bullshit than what it sounded like, or so it seemed given the less paranoid or those who didn't take the possibility seriously didn't have time to put up resistance before being brainwashed. Carville's next video chat had him reclining in a leather armchair with his loafer-clad feet up on his desk and stirring his coffee mug with a small Soviet flag "Commander! Your perfoemance in Colorado and Oregon was pretty darn impressive, but things have changed since you've been away fighting. The war is over! What I've come to realize is that the Communists and us want the same thing."

Eva decided enough was enough and switched the viewing screen to show her operations room, with Carville's TV screen there blinking out as she cut him off. "I don't think we need to hear any more of that." She pulled up a schematic of some sort of tower-like device instead "It appears that the President and even General Carville are under the influence of a Soviet Psychic Beacon. It's a mind-control device developed by this man." She pulled up a photo of a freaky-ass guy with a moustache and goatee, wearing leather gloves holding a teacup and saucer. He was bald, with a weird tattoo on his forehead and wearing some sort of device on his head. Mark thought he wouldn't mind giving the man some cosmetic surgery a la nuclear warhead. "This is Yuri. Our intelligence sources now believe that Yuri and his Psychic Corps are the ones who were responsible for compromising our defences before the invasion. Right now the Soviets control much of the population in the area. Oh, don't worry, Commander, I'm not red yet." She winked at him with a smile, and Mark wondered momentarily whether or not she was flirting with him. Nah, it wasn't possible given the war, right? "Intelligence has not yet determined the exact location of the Beacon, and as a relatively passive device, it cannot control those whose minds are prepared. Due to these facts, you can be sure it will be heavily guarded by the Soviets. I can link you to all the unaffected troops in the area, use them to destroy the Beacon. With the Beacon destroyed, the President will be free to secure to a safer location."

"Do I have any back-up? Is SI sending anything to help?" Mark asked.

"They are grinding their way into the northern Soviet attack force, but they cannot sustain their offensive for long, they can only keep a corridor open through the air-space with many SEAD" That meant Suppression of Enemy Air Defence "sorties and periodic tank sweeps. It will allow us to evacuate the President to the north, but they do not expect to be able to be able to sustain combat for longer periods of time, they simply do not have sufficient forces, even at their expected kill-to-death ratios, to handle all the Soviet forces in the northern sector without depleting themselves into combat ineffectiveness. Our northeast sector forces are still recuperating from the last Soviet offensive against them. You're on your own for this one. Fortunately, though, there are still scattered groups of survivors in the city and the garrison the local commander managed to round up at the Jefferson Memorial is not exactly small."

"Alright, see you later, Eva." Mark sighed before he got the tactical linkup and began directing his forces. This would be a long, hard slog, especially since the troops were forced to mow down the civilians the Soviets were sending flooding toward their base, and that meant ammunition supplies were a bit difficult to deal with.

A/N: Must use "Ain't no rest for the wicked" sometime, perhaps in a song-fic (at least, the first chapter will be a song-fic) set in the future of this series?

If you want some RA2 in-game numbers (and reality figures) to compare the seven main tanks in the war, here they are (Tank Destroyer is modified, T-1955/1962 latest models practically made up from scratch, note that reality does not yet follow game mechanics, and things are NOT balanced!): Note that in reality all the tank guns can pull precise range up to 3-4 km, max can go well over 20 if a hill is used for additional angling and fired in artillery mode

Game M60A1 Grizzly: 700$, 300 HP, 65 Damage, 60 Cooldown, 7 speed, 5 range, 8 sight, 0:28 build time.

REALITY M60A1 Grizzly: 48 km/h on-road, 35 cross-country, 105mm gun fires every 6-8 seconds (manual loading). 2 general-purpose machine-guns, 1 coaxial.

Game T-75 Rhino: 900$, 400 HP, 90 Damage, 65 Cooldown, 6 speed, 5.75 range, 8 sight, 0:45 build time.

REALITY T-75 Rhino: 45 km/h on-road, 32 cross-country, 115mm gun shot per 4 seconds. Two heavy machine-guns, one coaxial.

"Game" (Damage modded from 100 to 130 per shell, price and time up) T-80 Apocalypse: 2000$, 800 HP, 130x2 STS (Surface-To-Surface) or 50x2 STA (Surface-To-Air) Damage, 4 Speed, 5.75 range ground, 8 range air, 6 sight, 1:20 build time.

REALITY T-80 Apocalypse: 30 km/h road, 21 cross-country, 140mm cannon volley every 6.5 seconds. Grizzly will not survive alpha strike unless reactive armour equipped. Two external heavy machine-gun mountings remote-controlled from inside.

"Game" T-1955: 1200$, 550 HP, 100 primary damage, 60 cooldown, 9 speed, 6 range, 9 sight, 0:60 build. Secondary damage for 40mm gun is 15 (different damage type, more anti-infantry), 20 cooldown, 5 range, or for flamethrower effectively 1 damage with 1 cooldown, 1.5 range.

REALITY T-1955: Up to 75 km/h on-road (or tracks will be damaged), 45 km/h cross-country. 110mm cannon per 4.5 seconds (auto-load). 40mm gun can fire 5-round volleys at an interval of 2 seconds (manual load by gunner) and flamethrower is continuous attack. Two heavy machien guns, one coaxial.

"Game" T-1962: 1000$, 400 HP, 100 damage, 60 cooldown, 9 speed, 6 range, 8 sight, 0:50 build time.

REALITY T-1962: Up to 72 km/h on-road (without track damage), 50 km/h cross-country. 110mm cannon per 4.5 seconds (auto-load). Coaxial and topside heavy machine guns.

"Game" (health-up, time-up Tank Destroyer) T-1965: 900$, 600 HP, 150 damage, 70 cooldown, 5 speed, 5 range, 8 sight, 0:45 build time.

REALITY T-1965: Similar speed to T-1962, 150mm cannon per 5 seconds, two top-side remote-control machine gun turrets, can punch through any known tank, even the front armour of Apocalypse tanks if firing at just about any angle of depression.