The Golden Horde, Chapter 27

The Golden Horde, Chapter 27

Ignoring the wounded, Lee Qiang tuned his mind back to the fight. They had to neutralize the armor first. If they did not, they would all die.

He tried to close his fist. It worked. He opened it. A spongy feeling, but his muscles responded. His sleeve was drenched with blood. The fabric was ripped in two places where the shrapnel had cut through.

Lee Qiang rose, using his left arm to pull himself up against the greasy side of the all-terrain vehicle. The cannon breech was closed. Lonya must have reloaded a fresh shell before the Type 89 fired. Lee Qiang positioned himself behind the gunner sight, aiming the iron at the AFV.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 26

The Golden Horde, Chapter 26

“Maybe you use some of that gay charm to talk our way out of this?”

Lee Qiang put a hand on Lip’s shoulder and loved the fact the man flinched ever so subtly. “Not sure if that’s going to work here, but thank you for your suggestion.”

There was a bridge.

Flowing lazily under it, the Volga River.

Guarding both banks was a shady bunch of troops in mismatched camo and a serious stock of weapons.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 25

The Golden Horde, Chapter 25

Yefim had rhotacism.

Back in Poland, when Lee Qiang had been growing up, such a speech impediment would have earned a child a lifetime worth of beating. Probably in all the Slavic countries.

The fact Yefim was still very much healthy and alive in Sector 8 meant the childhood bullying had prepared him well.

They sat in the man’s house, in what would technically be the living room, drinking too-sweet tea from small crystal glasses.

It was surreal.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 24

The Golden Horde, Chapter 24

“Well, ain’t that bloody marvelous,” Lip whispered.

Yes, but what now. “What can you tell us, Cliff?”

The engineer was holding the Geiger counter toward the blast. It did not show any elevated readings, beyond what they expected to find this close to Orenburg. “We did receive an initial dose of infrared and gamma. Does anyone have any burning sensation on their skin or impaired vision?”

A rounds of negatives came back from the group.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 23

The Golden Horde, Chapter 23

Dusk. Rest.

Fucking Orenburg was still there around them, a torn postcard of destruction, obscured by the wilderness. At the bottom of what looked like a dry irrigation canal, there was a convoy of abandoned cars all sunk deep in sandy ground. Plastic bags of rubbish poked through the grass, spangles of red and blue against the sunburnt carpet. Higher on the west bank, there was a bus.

The rust-splotched husk was lying on its belly, the axles half-sunk into the ground, leaning slightly toward the incline. The old thing had burned down, and was mottled reddish-black all over. There was a patina of lichen-like growth climbing up its sides. Inside, the plastic chairs had melted, forming a frozen river. Even now, even with his senses dulled by illness and the ashes, he could smell the waxy, phenol stench.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 22

The Golden Horde, Chapter 22

“I have no access.”

“You’re taking the piss.”

Why did I think the enemy would be stupid and incompetent? Just because I managed to screw the lead security developer?

There could be a million reasons why the system refused him entry. It was unlikely the Alliance space command changed things too often, but they just might. Security codes, protocols, ciphers—there were infinite possibilities.

Lee Qiang didn’t have time to indulge in self-pity.

This was going to be one hell of a battle to the death.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 21

The Golden Horde, Chapter 21

Waiting was the hardest thing for a soldier. Waiting for sentry duty to tick away so you could go back to sleep. Waiting for the weekend pass. Waiting to hear whether you’d qualified for the next stage in the training process. Waiting for news from your family or the estranged loved one. Waiting for the enemy to do something.

That was the worst.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 20

The Golden Horde, Chapter 20

Fucking Orenburg.

Everyone shared the sentiment, even Lee Qiang.

Crossing the no-man’s-land of empty fields, flattened neighborhoods, and glassified rubble only partially covered in dirt and weed, he had felt exposed, vulnerable, impotent, feeling half a dozen scopes trailing him, making his skin itch. But no bullets came.

They had settled in a less devastated part of the city, with some of the concrete and iron frames still standing, providing some cover from the wind and any chance patrols. Thorny, tough vegetation crept over everything, reclaiming what used to be its kingdom. It was hard to imagine what this city had looked like whole. It looked like a bad, deliberate prop from a war movie.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 19

The Golden Horde, Chapter 19

The village was not marked on any map.

Of course.

It was a collection of half-ruined buildings, rubbish, and rust-eaten cars. There was an old tractor in the field directly south of the house strip and its cracked road, but it was sunk half a meter deep into the hard ground. The water tower had more holes than tin. The barn had gaping holes in the roof, probably caused by mortar.

Lee Qiang looked at Sveta.

She just shrugged.

Teaser

Read More Read More

The Golden Horde, Chapter 18

The Golden Horde, Chapter 18

Light at the end of the tunnel.

A promise of salvation. Or a gruesome, violent death.

It was amazing how quickly the human body and mind could adjust to new situations. Going into the damp darkness of the mold-smelling bunker network had felt like exploring one’s own coffin. After four days of tense, numbing blackness, there was almost a peaceful sense to the underground passage. Lee Qiang knew it was his brain trying not to go mad.

Now, this.

Teaser

Read More Read More