Thursday, September 11, 2014

Step Back, Part 10

On early Wednesday morning in Moscow a teletype machine sprang to life.  The communications watch officer at the Lubyanka tore off the message and read it.  The emergency message was from the KGB station chief in Hanoi and was written in the clear.  He personally hand carried the message to the senior watch officer that was on duty.

The senior watch officer read the message and then made a decision.  He looked up a telephone number from the list at hand and dialed it.

When a very grumpy old man answered the phone the senior watch officer spoke.

“Comrade Chairman, our Hanoi Station reports that the city is under attack.”

Yuri Andropov was clearly annoyed at being awakened in the early morning.

“The Americans are bombing again?  You called me at this time in the morning to report that?”

“No, Comrade Chairman, it’s not the Americans.  The station chief reports that the city is being hit with light beams fitting the description of those used on Nigeria.”

Fuck your mother, thought Andropov.  The sun had not risen yet over Moscow and this was clearly going to be a very long day.

On the ground Major Benson and his group of Ranger had surrounded one of the objectives, known in history as the Hanoi Hilton.  He then spoke to the fire support officer on the Eagle. 

“Eagle, this is Ranger Six, commence fire mission.”

“Aye-aye, sir.”

In sudden flashes of light the guard towers were vaporized. 

Major Benson now gave the order.


In accordance to the plan the Rangers jumped over the fence surrounding the camp and began the process of systematically exterminating the guards and other state personnel present.  There were to be no survivors.

When the Rangers were finished with the grim task the prisoners were released from their cages and led to the center on the compound. 

Major Benson was supervising this part of the operation from the center of the camp when a ghost of a very badly beaten man stumbled up to him and spoke.

“Who are who?”

Benson recognized the man immediately.  He flipped open the visor on his helmet, and responded.

“Major Nathan Benson of the Ranger Company aboard starship Eagle, we’re from Alpha Centauri, sir.”

The man responded.

“Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, Junior, United States Navy.”

Major Benson saluted Commander McCain and replied.

“Commander McCain, it is an honor to meet you , sir!”

The second squad cleared a landing zone outside the gate of the camp.  Here another lander with medical personnel aboard landed to take on the rescued prisoners.  From here they would be flown to Ton Son Nhat airport outside of Saigon.  Here, another officer from the Eagle was waiting for the rescue landers with some buses and every American military ambulance that was available.

Aboard the Eagle with the mission on the ground completed Mission  Commander Boatman gave the order to return the ship to the watch position over the United States.

As the Sun rose over Moscow the Soviet Politburo opened a very early meeting.

General Secretary Brezhnev asked the first question of KGB Chairman Andropov.

“Comrade Chairman, what is the status of Hanoi?”

Andropov looked at his notes and replied.

“Our men on the ground in Hanoi have not been able to go beyond the city limits, but as far as they could see the state apparatus in Vietnam has been effectively destroyed.”

“There’s no Communist State in Vietnam?”

“Correct, as far as they can see, Comrade Secretary.”

Brezhnev then turned to the Defense Minister and asked a question.

“Marshal Grechko, what is the status of our weapon to be used  against the Star People?”

“Comrade Secretary, although the weapon is still in the design stage but the components we expect to use are being brought to the  Baikonur Cosmodrome for assembly.  The current plan is to use the service module of a Soyuz spacecraft to carry the thermonuclear device to the target by remote control.  All work on the device is proceeding as quickly as possible.”

“Very good,” said Brezhnev, “but we need to do this quickly.”

Brezhnev then turned to the Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromeko.

“Comrade Minister, we need to speak forcefully in condemnation of the actions of the Star People.  We should also put forth a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly that the Star People and their ship be brought under U.N. control.”

“Yes, Comrade Secretary.”  Gromeko replied.

The Agriculture Minister spoke up.

“What good will that do, Comrade Secretary?”

Gromeko answered the question.

“As with all resolutions in that body it establishes a psychological position that we can exploit later on.”

The Agriculture Minister could only nod in agreement.

As the line of sunrise continued westwards across the planet newspaper editorial writers virtually leaped into action.  Most of them in line with ideological biases wrote to condemn the actions of the Uptimers in Vietnam.  This included the editors of the New York Times.

As the writers and editors were working at full speed to ready the later editions of the paper for publication a book reviewer spoke to his editor.

“How can real progress be made when those who do it are murdered from orbit with impunity?”

“I have no idea, Fred.”  The Junior Editor replied.  “Did you finish your assignment?”

“Yes,” said Fred, “I really wish you hadn’t given it to me to review.”

Fred dropped the review copy of The Concept of Government on the desk.


Fred replied.

“It’s total Fascist trash, and it’s murder pornography as well!”

“Murder pornography?”  Siad the Junior Editor.

“Yes,”  Fred replied, “the author, whoever it is, wants to exterminate all progressives, without exception.”

The Junior Editor had another question.

“Did they explain why it’s being printed in an anonymous and abridged edition?”

Yes,” said Fred, “according to the forward--written by that brat Boatman--the person equivalent to the author is living on this timeline and he believes that the progressives will murder him if the name is revealed.  Can you believe that bullshit?’

“No--Did he say why it was abridged?”

“He says that it would give information to the Progressive Movement that will allow it to avoid errors and make it more difficult to bring down.  He also calls all progressives ‘a pack of predatory animals and vermin fit for extermination.’”

The Junior Editor’s eyes widened.

“Well we can’t let that trash go unanswered.”  He said.

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