Manuscripts Burn


MANUSCRIPTS BURN

"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 76, Part 5

Beshu spread mud all over his face and wiped it over his hands. When it dried it would become an itchy annoyance, but for now it made excellent natural camouflage. He crawled forward on his elbows, then rolled down the hill as slowly as he could, trying to intentionally muddy himself. Upon reaching the bottom he made a quiet, sheep-like noise. It was answered immediately by a similar noise. Beshu and his new special forces commando squad had been harrowing the Allies for weeks, going behind lines and wreaking destruction that the army regulars could only dream about. He had completed only one other covert mission before the Alliance invasion of Mongolia, when he was ordered to the battlefields around Ulan Bator, and that was the setting of the atomic bomb in St. Petersburg.

They were now behind Russian lines. He’d been informed this was the camp of the Russian bastard that had taken S├╝hbaatar. Knowing no one could see him he broke his habit of being dour and smiled widely. It would feel very good to get back at the Russian which every Mongolian alive felt a personal hatred for. Beshu had set a nuclear bomb in Russia, but that hardly mattered to him. That had been cold and impersonal. That had been Mongolia's revenge on Russia. This was Beshu's personal revenge on Nemov.

He slunk forward like a snake to the second commando, Yesugei. Yesugei was a young boy, a new addition to the Mongolian special forces. Yesugei was looking in almost every direction but the correct one for Beshu. The more experienced commando snuck up on his younger mate, stuck a knife to his neck, and slapped his hand over his mouth.

“If I were a Russian,” Beshu whispered, “You’d be dead already.”

The younger commando nodded carefully, so as not to inadvertently slit his own throat. Beshu gently released his hand and sheathed his knife.

“What news do you have, Yesugei?”

Without even breathing heavily, Yesugei pointed toward the Russian camp.

“It’s the Iron Man’s camp, all right,” the commando said, “The point man has penetrated and is requesting permission to put a bullet in Nemov’s head.”

“Denied.”

Yesugei tapped a small device on his side repeatedly. It was a tactile communicator. When a transmitter was tapped, a receiver vibrated, so it would be felt by a person rather than received. The Mongolians had developed a system for communicating which was not unlike the Morse code. Yesugei had tapped out the equivalent of D-E-N-I-E-D, which, if you look at it, is the word "denied". The point man then tapped back a terse reply of recognition.

"Yesugei," Beshu said patiently, "I'm very glad that you have memorized the tactile communication system. You do not need to be so lengthy in your use of it, however. Simply telling the point man 'no' would have been enough. There's very little time to waste. Be short in your messages."

Yesugei nodded.

"Now move forward," the commando leader said, and Yesugei was off like a shot.

Beshu now began to tap in his own concise message: S-E-T B-O-M-B-S A-T K-E-Y P-L-A-C-E-S. There came an abrupt acknowledgment from each member of the special forces squad. No doubt if Yesugei had given the command it would have gone something like "Place explosives at each of the important positions in the Russian camp". He cracked into a smile once again. Today was an unusual day.

He began to slither forward again. He passed Yesugei, who nodded to indicate where he had set his bomb. Beshu passed several more of his commandos, each of whom showed him where they had set their bombs. When he had seen each and every one of them, he took his communicator off his skin. He tapped in a special command code which, when he activated it, would detonate all of the bombs simultaneously.

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