Somewhere in North Korea …
“… I’m just asking, that’s all,” the General said to his counterparts. “I mean, if we truly care about our people …”
“What you’re suggesting borders on treason,” the eldest of the group snarled.
“I’m not suggesting any such thing,” the original speaker said. He looked around at the rest of the group of nine Generals. “I’m just saying that things are escalating out of control. Possibly, that is, out of control. And, that maybe it’s time that we step in and … try to …” He locked eyes with several of the group. “… maybe, do something about it.”
“We’ve tried talking to him,” one of the others reminded his colleague. “He is very stubborn.”
“A quality he shares with his father and grandfather,” the eldest said. “And I believe that ‘determined’ would be a more appropriate word. It a mark of the greatness of his line.”
The others shuffled in their seats nervously, each wondering why he in particular had been invited to this little unofficial conference.
“You have his ear,” one of the others said, normally one of the quieter among them, answering the unasked question from his seat. “He trusts you. If any among us, if anyone anywhere, can reason with him –“
“He trusts me because my devotion is total,” the elder man barked. “I was a lowly Private and was plucked out of obscurity by his grandfather. He trusts me, because I trust him.”
“Then prove to him that his trust was not misplaced,” the quiet man said, rising to his feet. “Do you believe that the Kims were divinely appointed to lead our people to greatness?”
The old man rose, stretched himself to his full height and stuck out his chin. “I do, with all of my soul.”
“And do you think our greatness will be fulfilled by embarking on a nuclear war with the United States?”
There was stone silence for a moment.
“I will hear nothing of treason,” the old man said.
“It is not treason to try and save one’s country,” the quiet General said softly. “Jong-un is the Chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, but he does not act alone. He comes to us for advice and counsel.”
“And then he does what he knows is right! It is his divine privilege.”
The other seven watched at the two men debated, not daring to speak up.
“And what do you think will be the end result of challenging the American President, Trump?” the younger man asked softly. “Do you think he will back down?”
The old man glanced around the group. “No. He will not.”
“Do you think he will strike first?”
Again, a moment of silence. The old man pondered the question, a very serious one. “I do not think he will. He is not the crazy man his news media proclaims him to be. His desire is to force Kim’s hand, to make him, as the Westerners say, shit or get off the pot. He will insist on Kim backing down, capitulating completely. He will only strike if we strike first.”
“And will Kim back down?”
For the third time, silence.
“No, he will not,” the younger man said. “The moment of truth will come, and Kim will order the weapon launched. We will be called to the bunkers. And when we emerge, we will find our beloved country reduced to a radioactive parking lot.”
“I expect that you have an alternative to propose,” the eldest of the Generals said.
“Indeed, I do,” the soft-spoken man said. He began to pace around the table. “The next time he calls us all together, I will wear my sidearm … and shoot him.”
There was a collective gasp around the table.
“Then, the logical thing would be for one or more of you to shoot me,” he continued. “After which, you can announce to the world that the beloved Kim was assassinated, but that his assassin was killed as well. At that time, you can declare a state of emergency and a one-month period of mourning for the great leader. Quietly, behind the scenes, you can reach out to China, America, and the other nations. Begin dismantling our nuclear program, open diplomatic relations, and negotiate for assistance so that the country can get back on its feet.”
“And leave ourselves defenseless?” the old man asked.
“You know as well as I do that America is not our enemy,” the soft-spoken man said. “Her people are very sympathetic to our plight, as are our brothers to the South.”
The elderly General nodded. “And you would willingly give your life to do this?”
Again, the old man nodded. Then he drew his sidearm and aimed it point-blank at the other man. “Why wait?” he asked.
“Or,” one of the others began, slowly getting to his feet. “We could try this.” With that, he also drew his sidearm and shot the elderly man in the head. With a look of surprise, the old man dropped to the floor.
With looks of shock all around, the group of eight generals rose, looked at their colleague on the floor, and then around at each other. The freshly minted murderer replaced his weapon calmly.
“I think we've all entertained the same idea,” he said. “Until now, it's been a fantasy. With the world situation as it now is, the time has come to choose. Either we save our nation … or burn with it.”