war & citizenship
book 2 in the adventures of the liangs series
Hello, my name is Admiral Luu. The story I am about to tell you travels from San Francisco to the Middle East, for two reasons: war and power. Actually those two things are the same. Okay, I’m going to stop yakking and move on to the story.
A San Francisco flag snapped on the balcony. Commuters honked. A radio sat on a shelf. The room was filled with books. “Time to wake up,” said Mayor Liang. “It’s time for you to take the Standard Citizenship Test.”
“Why?” Mrs. Liang asked.
“Because you’re undocumented. That’s why you’re just an unpaid intern.”
“Just get the book.” Mr. Liang opened his drawer and took out two books. He handed Mrs. Liang one of them.
Mr. Liang flipped through the pages. “Okay,” he said. “What rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who was President during the Korean War?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why not?” he asked. “I don’t have a General Education Development diploma.”
“Okay, you’ll get your education.”
Car horns honked on the street outside. Voices chanted. People united, if Earth is divided! Mr. and Mrs. Liang ran to the balcony with their binoculars. They looked down.
“I see ants,” said Mrs. Liang.
“I disagree,” said Mr. Liang. “I think they’re protesters.”
“Get the tank.”
“Remember, I’m driving.”
“Are you ready?” Mrs. Liang said.
“Yes,” Mr. Liang replied.
Mrs. Liang climbed up the ladder and plopped down on the seat as Mr. Liang started the engine. They stopped at United Nations Plaza.
“Are we at the League of Nations Plaza?” Mrs. Liang asked.
“Yes. Remember it’s United Nations, not the League of Nations.”
United! United! People chanted.
Protesters ran everywhere. Some of them threw rocks at the tank. People pepper sprayed ts windows. Cannons flew into the air. Mr. Liang turned the tank around, and they scuttled back to City Hall.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. A shore patrol officer checked his watch as he stood guard at the entrance to the registration office. Mrs. Liang walked up to him. “Welcome to the US Navy,” said the officer.
“Are you sure it’s the Navy?” asked Mrs. Liang.
“Just knock the door.”
Mrs. Liang looked at the sign. Welcome to the US Navy. It’s 9:45. All buses go to the California National Guard HQ. Tap. Tap. Tap. Knock! Knock!
“Come in,” I said. “I’m Admiral Luu.”
“I want to join the US Navy,” said Mrs. Liang.
“Give me your information.”
“My name is Mary Liang, I live at 1 Polk Street.”
I gave Mrs. Liang the forms, and we both filled them out.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Come in,” said Mr. Liang.
I opened the door. Silence filled Mr. Liang’s office. He was signing tax return checks. “Comrade,” I said, hugging him. “May I talk to Mary Liang?”
“Yes, go to the door on your left.”
“Are there any warnings I should take?”
“She’s actually part of a sacred communidad.”
“But she’s Chinese, so she can’t be.”
“Go in and see.”
“How is the 82nd Airborne?”
“Fine. They’re working at the shipyard, preparing for deployment tomorrow as ordered, though you’re second in command. ”
I opened the door, swaggering in front of Mrs. Liang. I gasped. Guns were everywhere. On the walls. On the ceiling. “Hello,” I said. “Hi,” said Mrs. Liang. “Did I forgot something?”
“Yes, your military identification card and uniform.” I gave her the card and her uniform. “Join the 82nd Airborne at the Hunter’s Point-Daly City Shipyard tonight.”
Vroom, vroom. Screech. Clink.
“Prepare for the ceremony,” said Mr. Liang. Chairs clinked. Water splashed. Rain poured down.
“Sir,” said a man in a khaki uniform. “Seaman Blue requesting postponement.”
“Show must go on,” said Mr. Liang. “Hurry up.” Chairs slipped. Officers trudged. Mr. Liang raised a banner. The rain stopped pouring.
Cars and buses lined up at the shipyard. People sat down quietly. Soldiers and medics marched to the aircraft carrier. I walked to the podium, escorting Mr. Liang past a row of news cameras.
“Today is a special day,” said Mr. Liang. “I’m going to be at war.”
“Now,” he said. “My cousin, Bobby Liang, mayor of Daly City will temporarily take People cheered. The Shore Patrol escorted us to the ship, blocking civilians and reporters asking questions.
Chinooks lined up at the runways. Soldiers embarked. “Take off your patches,” said Mr. Liang. “We’re now the Operational Bravo-Detachment 9017, Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.”
Soldiers put on the new patches. We flew across the Pacific and disembarked at the Af-ghan-Iran border.
“Admiral Luu,” Mr. Liang said to me. “Here’s your new uniform. You’re still second in command, but you’re Sergeant Major.”
Boom. Boom. Boom. Buildings crumbled. Civilians fled the city. Tanks rolled over the debris. Dust flew through the air. Paratroopers landed on the road. They inspected the buildings, raised American flags. Mr. Liang’s troops cheered, but he did not. I walked towards him, staring at the dead bodies. There was sadness on his face, but glory, the same look I had seen when he watched the mayoral election returns. He stood on a pile of rubble.
“March to Qom!” yelled Mr. Liang. Our troops left the city.
Vroom, vroom. Tanks and trucks rolled onto the tracks leading to Qom. Soldiers walked beside them. Mr. Liang turned to me.“We’re heading this way,” he said, “because there’s no military there.”
“Except the Iraqis and the British,” I said.
“How do you know?”
“There are the Brits!” yelled Mr. Liang. “And Iraqis!”
Soldiers cheered from approaching tanks, hopping to the ground. “Major Camp,” said a stocky man, shaking Mr. Liang’s hand. “I’m leading the Iraqi-British Campaign for the Battle of Qom.”
“Specialist Liang,” said Mr. Liang. “I’m leading Afghan-American forces with my assistant Sergeant Major Luu.” He pointed at Mrs. Liang who was knitting behind him. “And over there is my wife, Private Liang.”
Fshh. Fshh. Leaves rustled. Soldiers looked into the forest bordering the road. Major Camp entered the green maze. Mr. Liang’s troops followed. Birds chirped. Camp’s troops found a box, opened it: a weapon for mass destruction, a Teller-Ulam.
“Nuke!” yelled Mrs. Liang. “Honey,” said Mr. Liang. “We need your yarn!” Mrs. Liang attached the string to the fissile sparkplug. The soldiers scurried to the train yard. Mr. Liang tied the yarn to the safety pin, yanking it from the grenade. He threw the metal egg into the forest. A cloud mushroomed out of the greenery, cottoning the sky. Trees collapsed. Major Camp’s soldiers inspected the area.
“Safe,” said Major Camp. “No damage, but retreat.”
“Back to the train station,” Mr. Liang yelled.
Soldiers set up camp on the platforms, exploring the station. They split into two groups. Mr. Liang’s troops stayed at the station, Major Camp led his to battle.Iranians walked along the road to Qom, escorting tanks. Soldiers scurried through the sand, pointing their M16s upwards. Bullets flew everywhere. Civilians ducked. Iranians wandered around, searching for Ma- jor Camp’s troops. Major Camp looked up. A plane soared through the sky, dropping bombs on a nearby tank.
A soldier rushed to Major Camp. “Phone,” said the soldier.
“Fire!” yelled Major Camp, then he picked up the phone. “Hello,” he said. “Who is it? Ministry of Defense?”
“Hello,” said Mr. Liang. “It’s Specialist Liang.”
“What is it?”
“Ministry of Defense and DoD called.”
“The States’ Navy is covering for you guys.”
“Thanks, bye.” Major Camp hung up the phone, throwing grenades at the enemies. Iranians raised a white flag, dropping their arms. Major Camp’s soldiers retreated to the train station. “Specialist Liang,” said Major Camp. “Onward to Tehran.”
“Tehran!” yelled Mr. Liang. “All ATVs must leave through Qom-Tehran Railway.”
Tanks rolled down the tracks. Soldiers climbed onto trucks. I watched the forest. Leaves flew through the railway. Air Force Thunderbirds soared through the sky, dropping First Aid tubes to the ground.Blood filled Mrs. Liang’s uniform.
“So help me God,” Mrs. Liang said. Mr. Liang awarded her the Distinguished Service Cross and Citizenship Certificate, con-
gratulating her as he hung the cross over her bandaged neck.
“Specialist,” I whispered. “I hate to have to tell you this now, but American involvement in the ASEAN conflict is unavoidable. We’re heading to the Republic of China.”
about the author
Hi, my name is Alex. I am eleven years old. I am a San Francisco native. If I had a superpower, I would like the power to grow up instantly and become the United Na- tions Secretary-General. I do wish there were no clubs
that discriminate like the Boy Scouts of America. If I could go back in time, I would go back to June 6, 1944 at Normandy to see D-Day in action. This is my third published book. I am also the author of Don’t Worry About It and Other Stories and Shark Story.