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The Golden Horde, Chapter 6

The Golden Horde, Chapter 6

Operation Putain started three hours into Operation Lake Placid, with the morning sky streaked in lead and filthy white but no rain. Lee Qiang was happy they didn’t need to slog through mud on the very first day of their mission.

Assembled in eight Magdalena SUVs, they crossed the border into Sector 8. Well, the term “border” was deceiving. It implied a line, a fence, maybe a formal checkpoint, whereas in between the two territories, it was fluidly marked by a stretch of rugged land about 10-15 kilometers wide. Inside this buffer zone, wearing the wrong kind of uniform did not mean you’d automatically get shot by the other side.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 5

The Golden Horde, Chapter 5

They all sat in the soundproof room. It was musty and hot, and the portable A/C unit did little to cool the tension. The rest of the equipment was there too, including the awful recording of some WWII French sonnet.

Three platoon lieutenants, nine sergeants, one captain, and one outsider.

Lee Qiang knew this briefing wasn’t just a preparation for a difficult mission. It was also a test.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 4

The Golden Horde, Chapter 4

It had taken Lee Qiang the better part of his military career to develop and hone his philosophy on warfare. He was very proud of his epiphany.

War can be best described as Antonio Vivaldi’s most famous work, Four Seasons. With one exception. It starts with the second violin concerto. Summer.

War always starts in the summer.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 3

The Golden Horde, Chapter 3

Civilians.

No, that was not the right word. Non-combatants, then. That didn’t work either.

Everyone was affected by the global war of the past nineteen years. The best description was people with no control over their lives. Fallen leaves, waiting to be swept and whirled by a sudden gust of wind. Ghosts, with brittle smiles.

One such specimen stood at the corner of the street. Smiling that empty smile of people living through hell.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 2

The Golden Horde, Chapter 2

Commander Lip sure didn’t waste time.

He tried to kill Lee Qiang the very next day.

They were riding an APC to the front lines for a routine inspection and familiarization. It was one of the new prewar models, a Kismet urban warrior, with an anti-tank mesh on both sides. A squeaky clean example of a dwindling inventory.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 1

The Golden Horde, Chapter 1

Eyes squinted against the daylight glare, Lee Qiang stepped out of the tin-can transport, together with seventeen other soldiers, all new recruits—except him. They milled quietly, rubbing shoulder against sweaty shoulder, trying to get some sense of where they were.

Hell, Lee Qiang thought.

A familiar place.

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