September 8th, 1939 Manila, Philippines 6:18 AM September 8th was a day that began much like any other, and a date after which nothing would be the same. The sun rose over Manila. Old men in barong tagalogs opened their small shops, and every tita hung her washing, much like any other day. Douglas MacArthur leisurely sauntered into his study, a kimono draped over his pyjamas. He propped his feet up on his desk, half awake, but content. Here sat MacArthur. General MacArthur of the United States Army. Field Marshal (and the only one!) of the Philippine Army, adviser to Presidents Roosevelt (although he might not care to admit it) and Quezon. Retired until four months ago, he was once again the big boss and head honcho of damn near everything between Pearl Harbor and China. Willoughby's intelligence reports of something significant going on in Japan were probably the usual bunk, and all this fuss was purely political. Who better than MacArthur to tamp down a tense situation? Who else would be capable of controlling things at peacetime readiness? American eyes were on Japan. The Japanese were showing all the signs of preparing for a war- they were overhauling their navy and refusing to back down on their occupation of Manchuria- ostensibly to liberate the Manchu people from their cruel Han masters. Headlines made much ado about terrorists and militias attacking Japanese outposts and emphasis was made on how their equipment was of German or Soviet manufacture. At the same time, this was not the aggressive Japan of ten years ago- they cracked down on radical army officers, and signed the 1935 and 1937 naval treaties which few expected that they would. They were also signing trade agreements left, right and centre- any Texas oilman who wanted a free hibachi dinner didn't have to look hard to find one. They were also getting very cozy with the Brits- from impressively generous contracts with British companies to a delegation at King George VI's coronation that swept the tabloids- what was Willoughby doing reading tabloids anyhow? MacArthur knew that the Japanese are no fools despite what some may think at home, and must not be underestimated. The only colours MacArthur sees are red, white and blue! Still, it never hurt to be cautious. Therefore, MacArthur, the Collossus of the Pacific, would ensure that the Philippines would be untouchable. Admiral Ernest King commanded a mighty fleet based in Subic Bay; his flagship, USS Montana, was the most powerfully armed ship in the world. King was a real son of a bitch too. MacArthur liked that in a naval commamder- those sorts were usually even tougher on the enemy than they were on their own sailors. MacArthur had developed a working relationship with King; while he was not always easy to get along with, a stiff drink and a chance to blow off some steam did wonders for King's mood. Despite King's voracious appetite for expensive brandy and women, he drilled his men and ships hard, and made damn sure he knew what to do if the Japanese made a move. Then, some jerk decided to shatter the peaceful mood by honking their horn right in front of his house. The car's right passenger door opened up, and a very nervous Marine corporal peeked his head out the window, scrambling to get out and open the door for his passenger. He was too late. An especially annoyed Admiral Ernest King threw the door open, his shirt rumpled, his tie draped around his collar, untied, and a wedge cap at an impossible angle atop his head. King must have been really mad, thought MacArthur, because he didn't even stop to yell at the driver. MacArthur rolled his eyes. It was way too early to deal with this. He shuffled to the door and waved his hand to Jean upstairs when she poked her head out, letting her know it was best to stay in their bedroom. He opened the door, and as King was about to open his mouth, MacArthur motioned him into his study and closed the door. "Now, Admiral King, what's..." "You believe this shit?!" roared King, waving a a news paper with one hand, and rifling through a satchel with his other. "Did you drive from Subic, or did you fly?" asked a bleary MacArthur "No, I rode a goddamn camel; what the hell does it matter?" "Cigarette?" offered MacArthur, lighting one of his own in a jeweled holder. "Very fucking funny. Those goddamn Japs!" "And what, my dear Ernest, have our Japanese friends done now?" inquired MacArthur, his cool giving way to concern. "Read this" said King, his nostrils flaring. MacArthur read, while King narrated anyway. "Yesterday, some goddamn Jap battleship, the Hyuga blew up" MacArthur was uncharacteristically at a loss for words, his brows furrowed as he read the paper, raising an eyebrow as King looked on. "Hyuga. See, we name our battlewagons after states- well, not Kearsarge, but that rotten tub barely counted as a ship anyway- the Japs name theirs after the sound you make when you see the chow they dish up; seaweed and tentacles and shit like that" "Goddamn it, Ernie! Are you fucking serious" "Damn straight, Mac! The Japs are saying some kind of terrorists did this! And not just any Chinese terrorists. Chinese Nazi terrorists! What a load of shit! And they just declared war on the Krauts!" "What?" was all MacArthur could manage. King, calmly as he possibly could, pointed to a passage "Just... just read this" A communique from the Imperial Palace reads: "September 7th, 1939 is a day which will live in infamy. On this day, the Empire of Japan was attacked by Chinese warlord-led terrorists from the Steel Helmet Clan (Stahlhelm-Ost). By means unknown, they smuggled a bomb onto the battleship Hyuga and detonated it. Our brave sailors, with their superior training and selfless dedication, saved their ship from a catastrophic explosion which would have killed the entire crew, and visiting sea cadets. This dishonourable attack has claimed the lives of twenty-one Japanese sailors. Never shall we forget that these heroes gave their lives for our beloved country on this day. Their spirits shall rest peacefully now, their warriors' duties fulfilled. Their names shall live forever! It is immediately obvious that this attack was perpetrated at the behest of the terrorists' German masters. Their propaganda decrees that the Han Chinese are the true Master Race of the East, and they are ordained to rule it all. These are not the words of Chinese warlords- lies such as these are so vile, they could only come from Goebbels. Evidence in the form of German equipment discovered in Manchukuo, and propaganda such as this can mean only one thing- a trail of treachery weaving its way to Berlin! Naturally, Hitler and Ribbentrop will deny this, but the world knows their words are lies and their assurances are meaningless. The cowardly invasion of Poland is proof positive that the Nazi regime cannot be trusted. Fight on, brave Poles! The spirit of the Winged Hussar lives on in you as the spirit of the Samurai lives on in us! It is now clear that this is a dastardly attempt to open a second front in the East, so that Germany's position will be advantaged in Europe. Not so! We see through such facile trickery, as do our allies, Britain and France. Let it never be said that Japan has even once forsaken her friends! Together, our great empires will purge the terrorists from China and bring about lasting peace and prosperity! Not one Nazi jackboot shall set foot on the territories which rely on our protection, from Hsinking to Hong Kong! Our ships and aeroplanes are ready to repulse any attempt at invasion of our home. Our soldiers will fight to the last and never yield so much as a grain of Japanese sand! Conspicuously absent is any word of condemnation from Mao and his band of communists. Should they too be found responsible, then they too shall feel retribution! The Rising Sun will reveal their hideouts and blind them where they stand! We fear nothing and no one! We will not be cowed by these dishonourable actions! Any hope Japan's enemies have that we will not react swiftly and justly are in vain. I will not allow the House of Yamato to be shamed by weakness and indecision at such a crucial time. We have no choice but to declare war on Germany. Prime Minister Konoe and the Diet are in unanimous agreement. Our resolve will never waver as we march forward to our inevitable victory! Dai-Nihon Teikoku Banzai! His Imperial Japanese Majesty Hirohito" "Jesus Christ, Ernie. Does Kimmel know about this? And what about- " "They know" said King cutting MacArthur off "Now, how about that cigarette?" "Goddamn. An old soldier just can't fade away" muttered MacArthur "Never mind fading away" said King "Put some goddamn pants on and get in the car, we have a call with the President, and I'm not talking Quezon."