My original idea was to see how the Russian Empire – under their Prime Minister, Thinking Machine Reina, went about taking Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba off of the Canadians. Alaska and British Columbia are already in their, well, her, hegemony, but there’s just too much oil and natural gas out there to be ignored. Russian heavy industry is building kilometer-long transports in orbit for shipments of materials to Mars, and even with reactionless motors, that demands massive amounts of energy.
The preface of the book is Major General Suvorov of the 77th Brigade having a teleconference with Reina. He and his men are in Calgary. Half of their supplies are on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. He requests a delay of three days. After some back-and-forth, Reina agrees, but states that if he’s not in motion on day four, he’s dead. She is not a nice person.
Part One is about Sergeant Sergei Konev and his scout unit, just beyond the tip of the spear. He’s 25 and from a village outside of Maikop. His #2 is Corporal Zais, an Itelmen from Kamchatka. Their first assignment is due north to Edmonton, to see if it needs a regiment to take and hold it. They find it already under a meter of ice and snow.
[For those of you unfamiliar with my future history, it presumes a Maunder Minimum beginning right before the Breakup. A little ice age.]
They proceed to Medicine Hat and strike a deal with the Mayor, who is already thinking himself independent of Canada. Pushing a little on then coming back, they come under fire. The mayor has been assassinated by Russian Special Forces troops, Spetsnaz, who belong to a military faction opposed to Reina. Konev and his unit are rescued by Centurion Bob Hardt and his men from the imperium, there as observers to the impending Russian occupation. As Russia and the imperium (and Japan and the Habsburg Empire) are the four spokes of the Polar Alliance, they occasionally work together. Reluctantly.
Some things happen and Konev’s unit is sent northeast to see if Saskatoon is also under the ice. On the way they encounter a peddler with a horse-drawn cart. He’s deeply creeped out by this. Some hours later, they see that Saskatoon has been abandoned. However, a small tribe of locals, preparing to leave to the south, are burying four of their own. They describe how a demon, disguised as a peddler, stole the flesh off of the four before killing them.
They move southeast to reunited with the brigade around Regina. Told to scout ahead east once more, they come to a surprise stop outside of Brandon. The Spetsnaz who killed that mayor have taken a Canadian officer prisoner, dragging him behind their vehicle like a dog. A fight between the units nearly ensues and Konev takes possession of the prisoner. He immediately realized he is a she: Lt. Eloise Patel. Concussed and battered, she can barely stammer out her name and rank, only saying a single name before passing out: Bob Hardt.
Wrap up of Part One tomorrow. Some pull quotes below the fold.Continue reading “Book 17. Part One Summary, 1/2”