Brahma’s Missile – Part 5

27 Phalguna, 1866, Hindu solar calendar

Dayaram entered the office cautiously, carrying the breakfast tray he’d intercepted from the maid. There was no sense in anyone else being yelled at. The room was quiet, the curtains still drawn. Abilasha was reclining on the divan, the newspaper resting on her lap. Dayaram walked as quietly as possible over to the table where he set down the tray then moved to open the curtains.

As he pulled the first one aside to admit the sunlight, Abilasha said flatly, “Have you seen the papers?”

Dayaram paused then opened the next curtain. “Yes.”

She sighed. “Seventeen hundred tons of bombs. Sixteen square miles of Tokyo destroyed. One hundred thousand people are believed dead. Few of them were soldiers; most women and children.”

Dayaram opened the third curtain and moved to get her tea. “I know.”

Abilasha accepted the tea from him. “Are the Americans really Asurans?”

Dayaram sat down on the divan next to her. “I doubt that very much, Asha. I suspect they are more like hornets.”

Abilasha smiled slightly. “Very angry ones.”

The telephone rang. Dayaram jumped up and went to the desk to answer it. “Yes?”

His secretary said, “Peshwar, the President of the United States is on the line.”

“Hold on.” He covered the mouth piece with his hand. “Asha, it’s Roosevelt. Do you wish to speak with him?”

Asha’s eyes burned with anger. “Very much so.”

Dayaram was glad he wasn’t the President of the United States.  He said calmly into the phone, “Please connect him.”

There was a pause as the operators connected the calls then a tinny voice said, “Mr. Rao, is that you?”

Dayaram switched to English and said, “Yes. Is this Mr. Roosevelt? Yes? Very good. The Rani would like a word with you Mr. President.”

Abilasha took the telephone. “Mr. President?”

“Hello, Rani. How are you?”

“I am quite angry. I will be direct and to the point. If you continue to bomb civilians then Bharat will withdraw from the alliance. I will recall all my forces and leave you to it.”

“Rani, that would be most unwise. The Japanese would see it as a sign of weakness and would press their advantage. You would have them rushing into Bharat in no time.”

“That would be my problem, not yours. Bharat has a long tradition of limiting warfare to military targets. The killing of innocents is …” she shook her head, uncertain of the right word in English. “… an unforgivable crime.”

Roosevelt was quiet as he considered whether she was bluffing. “Very well, Rani. I’ll take it under advisement.”

“Take this under advisement as well. One more bombing run like yesterday’s and I will withdraw.” Asha waited for his reply. She knew he couldn’t afford to lose the supplies and support troops she provided.

Finally, Roosevelt sighed. “Very well, Rani. I’ll tell my generals to pick their targets more carefully.”

copyright 2011 by Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved