“To the United States of America,
This is a formal declaration of war. Your insistence on shutting down my nuclear program threatens the peace and well-being of my country in the face of US and South Korean threat. Moreover, your false and aggressive accusations against me harm the stability of our relationship–which you seem to care little about. Rather than settle these disputes through diplomacy, you have chosen the violent path. If I have to fight to protect my sovereignty, I will.
P.S. Eat shit.”
China set the paper down and gave North Korea a deadpan look. “I don’t think he’ll appreciate that.”
At China’s disapproval North Korea shrugged his shoulders lightly. “It’s a working draft.”
They were alone in a small office with an oak desk and a wall of bookshelves lined with novels and works by famous academics.They sat across from each other as they engineered the beginnings of a world war.
“I’ve talked with America,” China said. “He isn’t going to war until he knows exactly how much of a threat you pose.” He looked his friend in the eyes. “Do you really have a nuclear stockpile?”
“Enough to kick his ass.”
“That’s not a number.”
North Korea paused and a quietness began to settle in. The longer he was silent, the more anxious China became and the more anxious China became, the harder he tried to hide it. Finally, the Korean smiled. It stirred a chilling terror in China’s chest and formed a knot in his stomach, wiping that stiff frown right off his face and causing his eyes to widen slowly.
“How many nuclear warheads do you have, North Korea?”
No response, just that smile.
“North Korea, how many nukes do you have?”
When North Korea said nothing again, China decided that World War 3 must absolutely never happen.
The smile that North Korea left the office with faded quickly when a tall, intimidating woman blocked the doorway back into the meeting room. When he moved to the left, she moved to the left. When he smiled apologetically and tried moving to the right, she mirrored his smile and and moved to the right. When he tried to gently push past her, she pressed herself up against the doorframe so he couldn’t.
“Russia,” he said with a hint of desperation, backing off from his impossible mission.
He cleared his throat quietly and looked up at her, his eyes crying out with a small plea. “Did you want something?”
“Hm? No, I don’t think so.” On cue, her face lit up. “But since we both seem to be here right now by pure coincidence, why don’t we have a chat?”
And then he was dragged back into the office, passing China along the way. North Korea knew when the man saw them go in together that anger was bubbling up inside him–the grimace was a dead giveaway. But China said nothing, only walked back into the meeting while North Korea began to wonder about how easily stress could cause aneurysms.
And there he was again, sitting across from a world power with just a desk and tension between them.
“I don’t want your nukes.”
“Alright. What do you want?”
“To help you.”
“Is that right?”
Russia leaned closer, moving as gently as she spoke. “North Korea, you don’t realize how powerful you truly are. For the first time in your life, you don’t have to feel afraid.”
He scowled, maybe without realizing it. “I was never afraid.”
Russia nodded. “No, no, you’re right. Not afraid, just worried. But now you’re the one making them worried. America, Japan, even–China.”
“For as long as you can remember you have been pushed around and manipulated by them in their conquests for power, haven’t you?”
“They think they can walk all over you and hurt you because, why? Because they are bigger and richer. Because they have their egos and god complexes and this imaginary notion of ‘exceptionalism.’ But you’re sick being trampled on, aren’t you?”
North Korea shifted uncomfortably. “But, Russia, you–”
“Aren’t you sick of it?”
“But look at you now. Look at where you are standing, and where they are standing. The game has changed. You are a threat, and as a threat you don’t earn their respect, you demand it.’
“Respect…” The word came out softly. Too softly.
“North Korea, do you know what to do to people who hurt you?” Her tone changed from something tender to something dark. “You make them regret not getting rid of you when they had the chance.”
“You want me to go to war.”
“Is that how you want to make them regret? No matter what you chose, I can help you. America has many friends, but I don’t have to be one of them.”
“In helping me… you make great friends with a well armed nuclear weapons state who can, and will, challenge the power and authority of some of your biggest competitors.”
“Politically, yes, I can’t deny that there are benefits. But there’s more to it.” She stood and North Korea watched her carefully as she moved around the desk. “When I first got to know you, when times were different and I was able to be a better mentor to you, you were naive and spontaneous. Any new country would be. But, you were fiercely determined. You had a fighting spirit, ambitions, and bold ideals that scared others. They were afraid of your passion.” She stopped moving when she was close enough to touch him.
“Russia, you don’t have to lie to me. I know–”
“I knew that you were not like everyone else. You were going to be great. I want to see you become everything you should have become before terrible external forces took that away from you.” North Korea just stared at his lap and said nothing. So Russia reached out and gently brought a hand to his shoulder. Once again her voice waned into a tender lull. “You’re in pain, aren’t you?”
“What?” He looked up at her and was unable to mask his alarm.
“it’s okay to hurt. You have a very heavy weight on your shoulders, and every right to be resentful.” She opened her arms, inviting him into an embrace. “Come.”
As he sat there, with bright, misty eyes and hands in his lap, he felt like it was 1948 again; it was a time when Russia was warmer and closer and life was still beautiful and hopeful. But that feeling lasted only a second. Then he was back in the office again, staring at a distant friend and her outstretched arms.
“Come,” she said again. “Find comfort in my warmth of my motherly bosom and know that you may be hurting, but you never have to be alone.”
And he did.
Back in the main room the G7 had disbanded, leaving America, North Korea, China, and Russia to ‘talk it out’ and hopefully prevent a nuclear disaster. China asked his ally aside for a private chat while the other two did whatever it was former mortal enemies did.
“What did she tell you?” China asked, not chancing a look at the Russian in question.
“We just talked. As friends.”
“Alright. What did she want? Weapons?”
North Korea shook his head.
“Some sort of alliance, then?”
“Something like that.”
China shifted to the edge of his seat. “Don’t trust her.”
The Korean hummed. “Oh. You two aren’t friends?”
“It is purely political, and largely because it scares America.” Then he closed his eyes, probably trying to suppress a sigh or will the impending brain trauma away. (At least, that’s what North Korea guessed). “Did Russia say the thing about her warm, motherly bosom? Did she try to hug you?”
“Did you do it?”
“Damn it!” North Korea jumped at China’s sudden enthusiasm. “It might already be too late.”
Suddenly, North Korea felt small. “What the hell does that mean? ….China?”
But China wouldn’t say.
A few chairs down, America and Russia engaged in an equally productive quarrel.
America turned to face the unamused Russia, whose crossed legs and crossed arms told him she wasn’t in the most cooperative of moods. “Why do I get the feeling that you did something really antagonistic?”
She half-sneered. “Did you ever consider that maybe I act like an antagonist because you expect me to?”
“No, I think it’s because you’re a sociopath. But if you do it because you don’t want to disappoint me, I’m flattered.”
“Of course you are. You’ve always wanted my attention. It’s no fun being the hero if the villain isn’t watching.”
“Your words, not mine.” A pause. “I don’t know what you two did in there, but if you decided to side with North Korea in, like, any way–that’d be pretty bad. For you, not for me.”
Her lips curved into a smile.
“If our lives could be a movie,” Switzerland began as WW3 pieced together on the other side of the room, “it would be an action movie. Starring me.” Three German-speaking countries sat around him. Austria listened with crossed arms to hide her interest. Liechtenstein was nearly on the edge of his seat. Germany thought about all the better things he could be doing, then decided there wasn’t actually anything better to do.
“There would be a sexy shower scene,” Switzerland continued. “Starring me.”
Germany scoffed. “Nobody wants to see that.”
“Speak for yourself,” Austria told him.
Liechtenstein agreed. “Yeah, Germany. Jeez.”
“I would be the hero. Liech would be my sidekick. Austria would be my badass partner.”
The microstate whined. “How come she’s the partner and I’m the sidekick?”
“They’re the same thing. It’s just semantics,” Switzerland assured him. “Germany would be the comic relief character who dies by the end. But the death ends up being funny so nobody feels sad or misses him.”
Europe’s economic superstar just sighed.
“Hey, there!” A sudden, near-by, and very Australian voice called out. “Got a minute?” The four startled movie stars turned to the women standing confidently with both hands on her hips. “We heard that World War 3 was kickin’ off over there between America and the North Korea guy.” She snickered. “Well, that sounds like a lotta fun, but South Africa has this bonza idea.”
The woman next to her stepped forward and gave them a bright smile. “I say it’s about time we got ours. You in?”