Sergeant Enterprise
by Henry T. Smith
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Question: What is wrong with the peacetime armed services?

Answer: They cost a lot of money to run.

Politicians use the armed services as footballs, playing on prejudices to whittle them away to an ineffective and irrelevant minimum. Discontent grows in the services as pay scales and equipment fall short of modern requirements despite frequent protests from those told to do a job with inadequate means.

Yet people are glad enough to see the nation's fighting men around in times of crisis.

Perhaps the ideal solution is to lock them away in a form of suspended animation between emergencies. Or is it?

Suppose control of our armed services were taken out of the changing hands of changeable politicians. Suppose they were allowed to help pay their own way. Suppose enterprising soldiers, sailors and airmen were allowed to use their expertise and their expensive equipment to make a profit for both themselves and the nation.

Question: What would happen to any group which tried to put such a revolutionary design into effect?

Answer: Those concerned would be locked up as heretics.

But suppose no one beyond a small group within the services knew that it was happening?

Operation Life-Preserver began with a campaign of blackmail and corruption at the Ministry of Defence. In the meantime, other operations carried out by Sergeant George McAndrew and his allies put parts of France on a war alert while building up the group's reserves of cash. And then McAndrew found enemies knocking at the gates of his new home. Life had its challenges, and its rewards.

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Created for Romiley Literary Circle by HTSP Web Division, 10/12 SK6 4EG, Romiley, GB. Sole RLC, 2005