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Apocalypse Now

Chapter Three: New Arrivals

By David bar Elias


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New Beijing, Chinese Luna
June 4, 2003

Before the announcement of First Contact, New Beijing, the centre of the Chinese portion of Luna, had been famous primarily as the site where the first human being (a boy) had been born on Moon.

Now, with the influx of refugees from Earth, the settlement was experiencing a boom like no other time. Massive caverns were expanded for new housing. Food and water was stockpiled, and artificial crops were sown; as the Chinese were the leaders of agricultural development of the Great Powers, they had more than enough experience in developing flora just about anywhere.

Some three million refugees, mostly the wives and children of the nobility, along with key technicians and scientists, were scheduled to stay at this expanded settlement alone.

It didn't make administration of the colony any easier; Huong Zheng had been appointed to govern the colony back in 1989. For a long time, the bureaucrat had developed a comforting rut; until the first shuttles crammed with refugees had begun arriving.

Since then, Huong Zheng had been everywhere; welcoming important settlers, confirming the timetable for the expansion of the settlement, and coordinating overall expansion on Chinese Luna with Governor Ting.

Watching yet another shuttle arrive Docking Station 1 (also known as Shang-Kun Port, after the illustrious monarch who had set China looking to the outside), Zheng dispassionately rounded off another set of orders to his aids, who rushed to continue their tasks; currently, they were pushing for the building of yet another landing pad to facilitate the traffic.

A long line of bewildered children, gasping women, and aloof dignitaries filed out of the shuttle (a fusion of the typically elegant Russian designs and the sheer technological skill of the Galactics), and began making their way to the guides who would take them to the Walking Road (a moving pathway), which would take them underground to their warren of a home.

Zheng took the opportunity to look down at the Earth. He could see multiple shuttles making the journey to the British or Russian portions of Luna, or to the growing settlements on Mars, or to the Forge in the Asteroid Belt. He looked down towards Terra (as the Galactics usually called it), and tried to make out the Middle Kingdom (although too far away to see it without a telescope).

Sighing again, he turned away from the window and began the walk back to his headquarters. A detachment of Indoway workers (a gift of "good understanding" from the Darhel) were scheduled to make their debut on the construction teams in the coming weak, and Zheng still needed to brief several teams on how to handle themselves around the timid little green beings...among other things.

Sevastopol, Russian Empire

Lord Shalenko looked with interest on the rapid speed at which the construction teams went to work; the fortifications for Russia's largest Black Sea naval base, a key fixture of the Russian Empire since the days of the First Ottoman War (at least) would be extensive.

It had all originated with the desperate Battle for Diess IV. Over 100,000 men from Earth's finest armies had met their end on the arid planet, before a surviving Chinese colonel had developed the brilliant idea of drawing the Posleen into a V-shaped wedge formed by two collapsed mega-skyscrapers, where a "slaughter pen" could be formed. Shalenko had been debriefed by the Russian officers who survived Diess; the Posleen had kept swarming, until there were literally none left. Similarly, it had been a lucky bombardment from a Russian and British artillery barrage, with the newest generation of nuclear-tipped shells, which had broken the back of the Posleen on Diess, turning the tide of battle and forcing them to flee. Mass production of the shells were now underway in the mammoth factories of Manchuria, North America, and western Russia, with emergency factories being constructed in Siberia, Rupert's Land, and Mongolia (and in the defensive zone being formed in the Himalaya Refugee Zone being set up by the British and Chinese).

Shalenko glanced at a file on his Golovich-made computer. It stated the level of troops that Belgium, Greece, Rumelia, and Bulgaria (all traditional Russian allies) were planning to contribute to Russia; in return, Russia would dispatch a token task force to assist those nations in their defensive plans, and shelter the wives and children of the soldiers being deployed to Russia proper.

The defences of Sevastopol followed the model established on Diess; massive, impenetrable lines were formed by collapsing the tallest buildings in the city and moving them to the front of the metropolis, as a front line to the already extensive zigzag sheer wall that had already gone up. The Russian Army, backed by the Bear's Claws (the Russian ACS detachment earmarked specifically for Sevastopol) would be the backbone of the defence. In addition to that, the entire peninsula was walled off, and all non-essential civilian personnel were sent to the SubUrbs (or to Luna or Mars if they were truly lucky). Shalenko's own wife and three daughters were living on Russian Mars at the settlement of New Minsk.

A squadron of K-89 Firebird jets thundered overhead, causing Shalenko to look up from his outdoor table, which sat on the stately grounds of his palace (only slightly smaller than the Romanov residence at Yalta). His face contorted in a frown; Russia took a love to its air force in the same way that Britain reserved love for their navy and China did for their Army. And all of those magnificent planes would be useless against the Posleen, along with Russia's carefully tuned air-transport arm, which more coordination and movement of men and materiel all the more ecstatically fun just to contemplate.

His frown refusing to abet itself, Lord Shalenko went back to studying the plans at his desk for the artillery concentrations that would face the invaders that would soon break across the Rodina in their frightening and bottomless bloodlust.

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