Imperial Staging Base A3, Northern Sector, Near the Gallian border. The day before the invasion.

Jukka was sitting near the front of what had been a school's assembly hall. The whole area had been converted by the Imperials into a huge staging post and the nearest Nordlander airfield was nestled on the north edge of this little rural village, which sat on a key crossroad. Sitting with him were several other Nordland officers. His own chief of staff was absent but with him were twenty six other battalion commanders, nine regimental commanders, three brigade commanders and the divisional commander himself. Not only that but a few Nordland Wing Commanders and Group Captains were also present. They all sat, in a large block, in their trademark blue grey air force uniforms, gently chatting away with one another. They did however, look distinctly out of place as around them was a comparative see of black, Imperial officer, uniforms. There must have been almost two hundred officers in this room, all quite senior. You could almost cut the tension in the hall with a knife. Even the youngest Imperial officer here seemed to slightly resent the presence of the Nordlanders and a few of the older ones had memories of fighting on the Nordland front in the last war. The Nordlanders, for their part, were aware of this hostility but did their best to ignore it. True, they felt like they were about to be jumped but they were not about to show weakness or uncertainty in front of old enemies or new friends. Had matters been left like this for a while longer things might have degenerated into a brawl. But thankfully, events took over.

From one of the side entrances to the assembly hall stage strode a black uniformed figure. Even a peasant could tell he was a general, the gold braid, the cape, the highly decorated belt, the elaborate rank badges, they all gave it away. As he walked upon the stage you could hear the rhythmic clack of his cane aboard the planks and as one man the whole hall rose to its feet. Before the assembled officers stood General Gregor, officer commanding the northern axis of attack on Gallia, peering out across the room from behind his formidable glasses. His reputation as a fearsome and uncompromising commander was well earned, as was his reputation for being an insufferable snob who believed in the inherent supremacy of the Empire's culture and ways. For the Nordlanders being assigned to general Gregor was drawing the short straw. Any of the other Imperial commanders would have made their lives easier. But fighting under Gregor had its advantages. Not only was he a skilled officer but being assigned to the northern portion of the offensive meant they were closer to the precious ragnite mines that Nordland so desperately needed.

Only when he had reached the centre of the stage did he invite those assembled to sit down, with a little aloof gesture of his hand. Behind him was a large map of the northern portion of Gallia and he wasted no time in getting to the point.

"Gentlemen and guests." Clearly Gregor was also going to waste no time in belittling the Nordlanders. Even the way he said the word, guests, was dripping with condescension. "As many of you will be aware, tomorrow we launch our attack on Gallia. For too long their ragnite mines and industrial capacity have been withheld from us. Their audacity in denying the Empire what it needs must now be corrected. Their forces are small, their discipline poor and their soldiers pathetic. I expect a swift and decisive victory." He sounded supremely confident and perhaps a little arrogant. But this was not without reason. Most military opinion concurred with him. But suddenly a firm and sharp edge came to his voice, almost reprimanding those before him for an offence not yet committed. "But this is no excuse to be sloppy or lazy. Everyone one of you will fight to the very best of your ability and in so doing show these upstarts, and the rest of the world, the power and professionalism of the Empire!" Gesturing behind him, to the large map, he continued. "This is the northern corridor of our advance, containing the greatest prize. The industrial heart of Gallia. When we capture this, all of Gallia will fall. His Grace, the Archduke Maximillian, will not tolerate delays on this front. I have therefore created a plan for a lightning assault across this whole region." Tapping on the heavily fortified area of Mulberry with his cane he stated, almost proudly. "I will take the seventh panzer division, the third infantry division and the twelfth infantry division here, to Mulberry. There I will lay siege to the fortifications and bottle up any forces garrisoned there before grinding them into submission. Meanwhile, a larger offensive will strike further west. Almost to the Gallian coast!"

It was at this juncture that Gregor did something that was quite unexpected for all of the Imperial officers there. Aggressively thrusting his cane at the Nordlander Divisional Commander he sharply ordered him.

"Mr Egland. Explain the plan." By dropping any reference to rank, and not even saying please, Gregor was continuing to show immense disrespect, even distain. But again, the Nordlanders would not rise to the insult. Instead, General Egland stood up and walked on the stage. An immediate difference in the general attitude of Nordland and Imperial officers became apparent. As when General Egland walked onto the stage the Nordlanders applauded their general. There was even the hint of a faint cheer. Egland had been a hero of Nordland for some time, a brilliant commander, a father of Nordland airborne warfare and well beloved by his men. It was an awkward applause, as the rest of the room sat there in confused silence, but applause none the less. When General Egland heard the encouragement behind him you could almost see a little spring in his step, and energy to his movements, return to him. He was almost as old as Gregor, but he seemed thirty years younger than General Gregor in the way he moved, sounded and he still had a youthful vigour in his eyes.

When General Egland spoke he was also more enthusiastic than the dry yet vitriolic Gregor and unlike Gregor he was in no way keen to drive a wedge between the Imperials and Nordlanders.

"Gentlemen. You are all about to make history!" Then, after a slight pause he leaned in with a tiny smile and added. "So let's make sure we don't blunder this one too hard!" There was a little ripple of laughter from the Nordlanders, even Jukka cracked a smile and joined in. The Imperials however, remained silent. Either because they were unimpressed at such joviality or felt too awkward at all of this too laugh. A tiny titter from one Imperial officer swiftly choked into embarrassed silence as the young man tried to hide from Gregor's accusing and deeply annoyed gaze. Realising humour was not his friend General Egland returned to business. Picking up a nearby stick, specifically left there for indicating places on the map, he continued his briefing. "This is our position near the Gallain border, here. Tomorrow three airborne brigades will begin landing in Gallia. Thirty thousand men taking off from twenty airfields in troop carrying planes or towed in gliders." There was an impressed, almost disbelieving murmur from all of the Imperials in the room, besides Gregor of course. One of the reasons air insertion had been disregarded by the other nations of the world was that it had been thought impossible to practically insert large forces into the field. It appeared that the Nordlanders were determined to prove the conventional wisdom wrong.

"The Nordland third airborne brigade here, at Barge." He tapped the town of Barge on the map, a vital river crossing town due south of Mulberry which sat on the first major river between the Imperial border and the Gallian west coast. "The second Nordland airborne brigade here, at Velgern." Again, he tapped on the map to a town directly west of Barge, which also sat on a north running river and which marked the second major water way between the border and the coast. "Finally, the first airborne brigade here, at Fouzen. One hundred and twenty four miles behind enemy lines." Another murmur of disbelief went around the hall and though the Nordlanders present all already knew the plan even they were still slightly shocked. Sixty miles was considered a deep drop by their standards, but to go more than twice that distance was seemingly suicide. Every man there pitied those assigned to the Fouzen drop. Too many things could go wrong and Jukka, indeed every Nordlander there, knew that General Egland would never have suggested such an audacious target. Jukka suspected that it was Gregor's idea to go that far, it would certainly match the general's reputation, especially since it was Nordlanders that would be taking the risk. But despite all of these worries Jukka and General Egland were both putting a brave face on things.

"The job of the airborne boys will be to capture the bridges and key defences in these three areas." Then, gesturing out to the assembled Imperial officers he stated excitedly. "Your job is to punch a hole through the Gallian defences here." He said, tapping at a location near the border. "And then drive like hell, up the roads, linking up with each airborne brigade on the way." Pausing for a moment, to draw in everyone's attention and to emphasise his next point, even clenching his fist to demonstrate how essential it was, he continued. "Speed, is the vital factor. The plan is to reach Barge in four to five hours, and Fouzen in four to five days. That gentlemen is the prize!" Tapping Fouzen on the map once again he added. "The industrial might of Gallia. Kick off for the armoured advance will be at ten thirty hours tomorrow morning, with the airborne element going in at night. The first battalion, first airborne regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ylioja will be the first in Fouzen." Leaning slightly to the side, and whispering to a fellow officer and old friend Jukka whispered.

"I'm the first into the fire again I see." But he was interrupted in his semi sarcastic grumbling by the general, who looked him dead in the eyes and cried out jovially.

"What do you say to that Jukka?" Rising gently Jukka simply smiled and said.

"Delighted sir, truly delighted." Another ripple of laughter went around the Nordlanders and though the Imperials had learned not to laugh, a few cracked amused smiles. Oddly though, others looked angrier than ever. But general Egland was not done yet, still smiling the general added.

"Now I have selected you to lead us, not only because of your extraordinary fighting ability. But also because, in the unlikely event the Gallian's ever get you, they will assume from your filthy pipe that they have captured a wretched farmer and immediately send you on your way." More laughter went around the group, even Jukka laughed at himself and he seemed genuinely pleased and happy for a few moments. Turning his attention to the Imperials General Egland lowered his tone slightly, addressing them more seriously.

"Now, maintaining the speed of your armoured advance will no doubt be tough going. It's a good road, a wide road, with plenty of side paths. But it's a long way to go and the enemy will doubtless try to stop you at various points out in the country. But no matter what, you must reach the first airborne in ninety six hours! Now gentlemen, this will not be the easiest operation we have ever engaged in, but I still wouldn't miss it for the world." He was about to engage in a little further explanation, but General Gregor thought this had gone on long enough, the key point had been explained and he wanted this grinning buffoon off of his stage!

"That will be quite enough Mr Egland." Interrupted General Gregor, walking forward once more and with an expression that clearly showed that the Imperial General had run out of patience for this man. "Return to your seat." Resisting the urge to give a comedic sigh to his own troops Egland returned to his position amongst the other officers before Gregor wrapped up the meeting, half eyeing Egland with obvious suspicion and contempt.

"Men, you all know your roles. More specific instructions will be forwarded to you through your chiefs of staff. Return to your units, make your final preparations. I expect us to bring Gallia to its knees tomorrow! Dismissed." There was no room for dissent in his authoritarian tones, and certainly no time for questions. Gregor left the stage with surprising speed for a man near crippled, it was as if he had somewhere more important to be. Though Jukka had to wonder, where was this man going in such a hurry? What could be more important than preparing the invasion?

Regardless, this meeting was over and already various officers had begun to file out and back to their respective posts. The Nordlanders all still seemed to be in a little huddle, talking to one another, shaking hands, laughing. But Jukka, perhaps foolishly, got it in his mind to try something a little more adventurous. Looking about him Jukka was scanning the Imperial officers for unit and rank badges. He knew exactly who he was after, the Colonel who would be commanding the lead regiment of the 4th panzer division. This was the man who would be commanding the tip of the Imperial armoured spear, this was the man who would be riding to Jukka's rescue and who ultimately held Jukka's life in his hands. Jukka was a firm believer in the idea that a man tried harder to save someone he knew more than a mere stranger that he was order to retrieve. Even a hand shake and a brief conversation usually radically increased your allies resolve to come and get you when the bullets started flying. Usually Jukka like to try and eat with his fellow officers and soldiers. But for now, simple introductions would have to do.

It did not take long for Jukka to identify the right man by his insignia. The imperial officer in question was a man named Colonel Joachim Ebner, dressed in the same black uniform as all of his counterparts, complete with the tiny cape that Jukka thought made the man look a little ridiculous. But the Lieutenant Colonel kept his amusement to himself as he walked straight up to the slightly imposing figure and, mindful of the fact he was addressing someone who was technically a senior, said casually but with an appropriate hint of deference.

"Colonel Ebner, I am Lieutenant Colonel Jukka Ylioja. One of the paratroopers you will be pulling out of Fouzen. I understand you are leading the armoured spearhead."

There had been nothing particularly offensive or antagonistic about what Jukka had said, or the way he had said it. But after the Imperial officer regarded Jukka for a moment, a look of obvious suspicion and slight dissatisfaction came across the Colonel's face. It was the kind of menacing looking face that you did not want to be dissatisfied. The Colonel was obviously slightly older the Jukka and would defiantly have been a veteran of EWI. The man was hard jawed and also hard worn by his years. A slightly weathered and battered face hinted at a hard and eventful life, a small scar across his cheek further reinforced this impression. His brown hair was short cut, purely for function, and his hazel eyes currently looked rather annoyed. They were staring at Jukka's chest for several long and heavy seconds before flicking up and gazing the Nordlander right in the eyes.

"Those medal ribbons, on your chest, I recognise some of them. That one there is the Nordland war medal for EWI, and that one is the Allied Victory Medal from that same war. Whilst that one is the Infantry Order of Gallantry. So, you fought on the Norldand front on the last war." This conversation could now go one of two ways and the next sentence would decide which path it took. Either the officer in front of Jukka could attempt to establish some form of levity based on the common hardship of the Nordland front or… "I lost good friends on the Nordland front. I wonder if you were responsible for any of them." That was about the worst opening Jukka could have envisaged and he felt his heart sink a little bit in his chest. He could hardly blame the Imperial Colonel, the loss of comrades always stung and to be asked to work with those who may have taken away those dear to you was no easy request. But this man needed to learn that these wounds were felt by both sides.

Taking a moment to compose himself, check his thoughts, and make sure he did not say anything too foolish, Jukka eventually replied in gentle but firm tones.

"We all lost people in the last war Colonel Ebner. Someone in this very room could have pulled the trigger on the shot killed some of my own comrades. Certainly someone who wore a uniform not too dissimilar to your own did. The Nordland front was desperate, and bloody, and cold for all of us. But we were all soldiers, we all did our duty to our nations and by our comrades." By this point the conversation was starting to gain a little attention from Nordlanders and Imperials alike, a small circle was starting to form around what threatened to become an ugly confrontation. But Jukka continued regardless. "I do not bear a soldier any ill will for simply doing his duty. Now we are merely doing our duty for our nations once more. But now we are allies. Therefore I will fight alongside you and for you with all the determination and conviction that I would for a fellow Nordlander. I hope I can rely on you to do the same. There are going to be lots of good men in Fouzen, for many it will be their first real fight. They are going to need you Colonel."

If Jukka had been hoping for an instant alteration in Colonel Ebner's attitudes then the Nordlander would be sorely disappointed. Colonel Ebner's expression did not soften, but at least it did not get worse either. With a firmly frowning brow Colonel Ebner said in a tone which was as dissatisfied as his face.

"Do not question my determination to fulfil my orders. General Gregor has order me to reach Fouzen in ninety six hours. So I will reach Fouzen in ninety six hours. But I do so because of General Gregor. Just have Fouzen ready for us when we arrive." With that Colonel Ebner left, turning his heel without so much as a good by and striding smartly out of the hall. Jukka wondered if he had made a poor decision in trying to establish some sort of understanding between the Nordlanders and the Imperials, but he failed to see any other alternative. A lack of dialogue would only entrench animosity and such dislike and distrust would threaten to get both Nordlanders and Imperials alike killed.

Regardless, the situation was as it was and there was nothing he was going to be able to do about it for the moment. He began to file out of the room with the rest of the Nordlanders, a pat on the shoulder from General Egland seemed to say both, good luck and nice try, at the same time but the two did not need to speak. The effort had been a failure and they both knew it. Jukka remained in a solemnly reflective and slightly dejected mood until he had walked a little way down the road outside of the school house.

He was in the process of lighting up a comforting pipe when the voice of Erling caught his attention. His chief of staff was running up the road towards the Lieutenant Colonel, a slightly happy look on his face.

"Colonel!" Called out the Major, it only took a few more moments for Erling to come up to Jukka's side. Jukka for his part had a look of semi amused curiosity on his face. No one was shooting and there was no scheduled P.T. so why was the Major running up so urgently? "Jukka! It's Gunnar! He's out in the hangers now, overseeing the fitting of his plane! Telling the ground crew how to operate a bomb loader! Come quick. I think someone's going to hit him over the head with a wrench any minute!" With an almost boyish laugh Jukka quickly burst into a run himself, following Erling down the country roads and out to the edge of town, pausing only to properly identify himself at the airfield check point.

When he eventually arrived at the hanger, hot and slightly out of breath, the scene that was presented to him was exactly what the thought it would be. A brand new plane had two engineers working on it, stained by oil and grease. Standing slightly off to the side was a pilot, in full, off blue flight suit, flying gogles on his forehead, respirator hanging around his neck, and looking very dissatisfied with the whole state of affairs. The voice of an engineer from beneath the plane could just be heard calling out.

"Will you just shut up!... Squadron Leader….Sir." The ground crew's obvious anger seemed to fade away as he remembered the fact he was addressing a senior officer. More normally Jukka would have been quick to enforce respect for rank but with Gunnar, well he could understand what drove the crewman to such frustration. Squadron Leader Gunnar Lauritzen was a difficult man to get along with and right now he was demonstrating that fact by answering the crewman with his own frustrated reprimand.

"Am I going to have to do that myself? The undercarriage suspension pressure needs to be at seven thousand psi, not six thousand!" Gunnar's tone made it sound like he was trying to explain something simple to a child that he had long ago lost patience with. Then again, the engineer sounded just the same when he barked back.

"On the old HL 32 MRF maybe! But you put it that high on the HL 35 you'll bounce right off of the tarmac!"

"A rookie might!" Replied Gunnar, with the same speed he demonstrated behind the controls, but with less discretion. "But I need to feel the runway under me for night and bad weather landings! We do fly in the dark you know!"

It was at this point that Jukka, supressing the urge to laugh at this oh so predictable scene, decided he had to intervene. Though he lacked specific knowledge of the technical details of aircraft he thought a compromise was the best bet here.

"Crewman, do you think six thousand five hundred is safe?" Jukka was the image of calm and reason here, even though he was the one person who had no idea what he was talking about. A fact that Gunnar was keen to remind the Lieutenant Colonel of.

"Jukka! When you learn to fly a plane instead of just fall out of one you can open your mouth! Until then keep it shut!" Gunnar had apparently forgotten all about rank, as Jukka had superiority. There was no hint of a sir or even the tiniest hint of deference. For Gunnar, when he was in a mood, there were two kinds of people. Ace pilots and know nothing peasants who could get out of his way. The engineer however, seemed a little bit more affable, doubtless keen for a way out of this mess.

"Six thousand five hundred is pushing the tolerances, but she might just be landable." With a grumble of annoyed resignation he added. "I can do six thousand five hundred." But Gunnar was in no mood for compromise who, raising his voice to a near shout retorted.

"Seven thousand or I'll find a ground crew that knows their business!" But the engineer had some spine about him, coming out from under the plane he stood up, looked Gunnar square in the eyes and said with almost intimidating understatement.

"This plane does not fly without my sign off. Six thousand five hundred or your grounded Squadron Leader." There were several seconds of tense silence before a grumble from Gunnar signalled compliance. Jukka almost wanted to clap, no one stood up to Gunnar and got away with it! He was certainly smiling his approval at the engineer when the man pointed at Jukka firmly and demanded.

"Put that pipe out! There's aviation fuel around here you know." Unwilling to argue with a man who could go toe to toe with Gunnar, Jukka swiftly complied. He looked almost embarrassed as he did so and, truth be told, he should have known better any way. He had forgotten the most basic safety procedures due to all the excitement.

But now all the entertainment was over, and Gunnar was clearly in good health, Jukka would waste no time. Walking right up to the pilot Jukka looked as though he were about to hug the man, rather than shake his hand, but Gunnar just stood there, arms folded. So, Jukka had to settle for a hardy pat on the back, standing next to his old friend and joining him in staring at the plane.

"Gunnar! How have you been? I haven't heard from you in months! Wrapped in the arms of some new woman I see." Jukka was jovial and warm but Gunnar was still sulking. Jukka knew from long experience that one of the best ways to lighten his mood was to talk to him about his planes, or his women as Jukka jokingly called them. Certainly Gunnar seemed to care about them a great deal more than any female that Jukka could call to mind and he pitied any future wife of this brilliant pilot. Gunnar would always be married to his planes first. It took Gunnar a few moments to warm up but eventually the man managed to crack a smile. Fixing his green eyes on the fighter before him he didn't even look at Jukka. Instead he simply cast his eyes over his new favourite toy. She was a surprisingly long creature, and sleek, with an impressive wing span. Slightly squared wing tips marked her out as something quite distinctive. He main body was gently tapered though, a look completed by the razorback cockpit design. Her top and sides had been painted in a loose, blurry pattern of mixed green and arctic grey to better conceal her from above, whilst her underside was the kind of grey you might expect to see in the skies on a rainy day. Without bothering to turn to Jukka he simply began.

"The Halseth and Lindvig 35 Multi Role Fighter. The finest MRF I've ever flow. Out of the factory she's a little sluggish on the yaw but a bit of on field tweaking and she flies like a dream. Grease monkeys here weren't happy when I ordered them to make the alterations on all the planes in my squadron. But I got them to stretch a point, mostly. The prototype flew damn near perfectly when I tested her. It was almost like there was no machine between me and the sky. But I understand they made some slight tweaks for the factory model, ease of production apparently." The way Jukka said the words, ease of production, conveyed his contempt for the idea. He was an artisan and the idea anyone would make any kind of compromise when it came to the art of flying offended him. "Still, as production models she goes she's damn fine." He continued, his tone picking up. "Ten meters wide, nine meters long you would be amazed at the amount of armaments H and L can pack into this thing. Two twenty millimetre machine cannons in the wings, strong enough to punch through light armour, two thirteen millimetre machine guns in the nose, mountings for three three hundred pound bombs and best of all." It was at this moment that he gestured to the munitions even now being wheeled in and said with a triumphant tone. "Ten AP rockets!"

Even Jukka looked impressed and surprised, the concept of the armour penetration rocket had been discussed for some time. Far smaller than bombs, theoretically more accurate and almost as powerful for their allotted task, armour piercing rockets were a holy grail of Nordland weapon manufacturing. The problem was accuracy, it only took a few meters before all the test models flew off randomly. But now they were putting them into the field! Were they ready? Indeed, Jukka felt compelled to ask this himself.

"Are these things field worthy? How's the accuracy?" His tone was dripping with the same disbelief as his face. He was impressed, but this seemed too good to be true.

"They are fine for a few hundred meters." Assured Gunnar. "But you have to be rock steady when you fire them. If you're banking when they go off you might just blow off your own wing. Not for rookies but my guys can handle them." Gunnar was known as a demanding but discerning squadron leader. He picked his pilots carefully and his sterling reputation meant command often allowed him first choice. Beyond that he trained them hard, with constant flight drills, tactical lessons and battle practice. But more than that he also encouraged ingenuity and originality. If you needed a set of pilots to pull the rabit out of the hat it was Gunnar's boys you turned to. "The enemy armour will run and hide when they learn these things are in the sky!"

Gunnar let off a small chuckle. He always found the idea of tank busting amusing. So many people thought those lumbering lumps of iron were the be all and end all of modern warfare. But Gunnar was convinced his boy could pick off even the heaviest tanks like they were swatting flies. "She's future proofed as well, should other nations start putting meaningful fighter power in the sky. With a top speed of four hundred and ten miles an hour, a maximum height of thirty seven and a half thousand feet and the manoeuvrability of a flea this thing will rule the sky for years to come!" Suddenly the happy, affable Gunnar was back, grinning like a school boy, giddy with excitement at his new toy.

Jukka was just as happy to see the smiling Gunnar back as Gunnar himself was. Giving the pilot another few pats on the back Jukka said cheerily.

"Come on Gunnar, there's a lovely little place selling some half decent coffee back in the centre of town. What is more they have the prettiest little waitress you ever did see. Not that she's anything compared the fearsome kind of bird you like to indulge in." Jukka, Gunnar and Erling all laughed merely at the idea and began walking out of the hanger side by side. Turning to Erling, Jukka gave the man a little prod in the ribs with his elbow. "I don't know what you are laughing at! I see the way your eyes followed her!"

"The plane or the waitress?" Asked Gunnar, with a tone that suggested that Gunnar would not have been in any way disapproving if Erling chose the plane. Though his raised eyebrows and cheeky smile betrayed his true sarcasm.

"Take your pick." Replied Erling, playing up to the idea with a comedic shrug of his shoulders. Another ripple of laughter went through the group and the weight of the coming war suddenly seemed very light indeed.

"Come on." Pressed Gunnar, pushing Jukka in the back slightly as if to drive him forward. "Jukka, you're buying." His tone made it clear that this was no suggestion, but rather a plain statement of fact. With a little surprised, and slightly offended laugh Jukka was compelled to ask.

"Why me?" His tone was dripping with mock offense and an exaggerated plea for pity, but he did feel slightly hard done by.

"You get paid more than us." Joked Gunnar, all be it accurately. Erling joined in with a slightly muted laugh, as if he didn't want Jukka to catch him chuckling. But the Major was grinning like a Cheshire cat with clear amusement, eyes wide open in slight disbelief that Gunnar had been so bold. Jukka meanwhile, took the whole thing in good spirits.

"Urgh, it's always the money with you." Said Jukka, obviously amused rather than irritated. "Fine but you owe me." He added, waving a finger at the Squadron Leader, but still smiling slightly.

"Well, since I will be leading your fighter escort and close support tomorrow how about I keep you alive? Will that settle the debt?" Beneath the humour was an utterly empty threat, but a threat none the less. A slightly defiant expression on Gunnar's face, eyebrows raised, asked Jukka just what the Lieutenant Colonel was going to do about it. There was a pause for a few seconds before Jukka grinned so wide his face threatened to crack and he burst out in a hearty chuckle. Patting Gunnar on the back he exclaimed.

"That just about ought to do it." Said Jukka, prompting all three to laugh once more as they walked off into town, the old boys, together again.