Thursday, September 04, 2014

Step Back, Part 7

The ship’s intercom spoke.

“Visitors boarding!”

The airlock opened. Two civilians, a man and a woman, carefully stepped aboard the Eagle with their grip shoes upon the deck. The man had a mustache and fringe of gray hair. The woman was a redhead who was going gray. She was also dressed for free fall in a pants suit.

Captain Dennis Sterling extended his hand and spoke to the couple.

“Lieutenant Heinlein, Mrs. Heinlein, it is an honor to have you aboard.”

“Thank you, Captain.” Robert Heinlein replied as he shook the captain’s hand. “It is an honor to be here.”

“Thank you, sir!” Sterling replied. “If you will follow us, please.”

The airlock deck was oriented vertically with respect to the ship. To reach the command deck they would traverse with their grip shoes to one of the vertical passageways. Here they would change their orientation to horizontal with the respect to the ship and walk up to the command deck.

Once the guests were strapped into the guest seats on the command deck Robert Heinlein asked a question.

“So Captain, what is the objective for tonight?”

Captain Sterling replied.

“Sir, this operation tonight is an intervention in the Nigerian Civil War. In this we are supporting the Biafran Secessionists against the Nigerian federal government.

“Why?” Asked Virginia Heinlein.

“Well Ma’am, that’s a good question. The Biafrans are a Christian people who do most of the work and basically sit on the oil fields. The outside powers are backing the Muslim majority because hey are lazy and corrupt and thus useable to them. We are supporting the Biafrans as they are clearly in the right and it screws over the Soviets and their Eurosocialist buddies.”

Sterling made the term “buddies” sound as if it had a sexual connotation.

“Yes.” Heinlein replied.

Captain Sterling then pressed down on the intercom button and spoke.

“All hands, this is the Captain, clear for action!”

It was after sunset on the ground at the military section of the Nairobi International Airport. The East German ground crew was moving away from a Mig-15 fighter with Nigerian Air Force markings as the cockpit hatch closed. In the aircraft the pilot then spoke to the airport ground control.

“Nairobi Ground, this is Genocide, request clearance to taxi.”

He did not notice the new star in the sky almost overhead. The starship Eagle had been moved forward in the synchronous orbit to a position over Nigeria.

On the command deck the chief fire control officer spoke up.

“Captain, Genocide is on the air.”

Virginia Heinlein spoke up.


“Yes, ma'am.” Captain Sterling replied. “That's the call sign of a Mig-15 pilot, he was believed to have been an East German national and apparently he specialized in killing relief flights, mostly food aid from charities along with the occasional gun runner. No one had ever identified the bastard on the original timeline.”

Captain Sterling then spoke to the chief of fire control.

“Do you have a lock on him?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Burn him.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

Genocide’s Mig-15 had reached the end of the runway. He again spoke to the local ground controller.

“Nairobi Ground, this is Genocide, request clearance to take off.”

He never heard the reply. In that instant there was a blinding flash of light. The laser beam that hit him had the instant appearance of a razor straight bolt of lightning. It vanished just as quickly. In his cockpit the pilot had been instantly turned to a pile of carbon. The powerplant, a direct copy of a Rolls Royce jet engine gifted to the Soviet state by an earlier British Labour Party government, exploded shredding the airframe. And finally the jet fuel was converted into a bright orange flaming mushroom cloud over the runway.

“Got him!” Said the fire control chief.

“Very good,” said Captain Sterling, “proceed with the primary operation.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

In the clear African skies laser beams would briefly flash into existence and incinerate military targets on the ground. Other aircraft, tanks, and trucks were obliterated. Followed by barracks, headquarters, warehouses and other government buildings.

Ant then finally it was time to deal with the Nigerian troops in the field.

“Captain, the Rangers report they are ready to drop.”

“Proceed.” He replied.

Robert Heinlein spoke up.

“So, this is the interesting part?”

“Yes sir, it should be.” Sterling replied. “Just as you wrote it in Starship Troopers.”

Three Ranger platoons would be dropped along the front line between the Nigerian Army and the Biafran Insurgents. From The drop zones they would sweep north to the engage the enemy.

The dry mass of a ranger suit was a bit over 500 kilograms. With the operator, fuel and ammunition it to came close to a full ton. Against a normal late Twentieth Century infantry unit a Ranger was unstoppable. Against Third World savages like the Nigerian Army the effect was very close to a shriek hunt on the planet Eden.

Some of the so-called soldiers of the Nigerian federal forces would in fact survive this night’s slaughter. In doing so they would drop their weapons and in some cases strip off their uniforms and flee northwards to safety.

On Monday at about Noon in the Oval Office President Nixon was seriously wishing that he was somewhere else. The front page of the New York Times screamed with the headline: NIGERIAN GENOCIDE!

The fact that it was the Christian Biafrans who were facing extermination at the hands of the Muslim majority was both known to the editors of the Times and completely irrelevant. For the Times it was another opportunity to stick it to the Nixon administration and to decent people everywhere.

In the United Nations General Assembly delegates were taking turns to denounce the Uptimers and the United States for having given them sanctuary on Earth.

And if that wasn’t enough there was another headache. There was live television coverage of a delegation of Biafrans at the Uptimer base in Nevada.

“What the Hell are they doing now?” The President asked.

An aide answered.

“Sir the Uptimers are apparently extending official recognition the Republic of Biafra.”

“How the Hell did they get in to Nevada?”

“Apparently the Uptimers flew the delegation into the base directly. sir.”

The television coverage showed that Commander Boatman was still in a wheelchair for the ceremony. Everyone smiled as hands were shook.

“Can that bastard do that?” The President asked.

“Apparently according to our agreement with them, yes.”

Fuck me, thought President Nixon.

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