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The Golden Horde, Chapter 16

The Golden Horde, Chapter 16

Lee Qiang came about to see a Chinese soldier bearing down on him. He instinctively reached for that which wasn’t there; his rifle was pinned under him, the strap torn off his harness. Without thinking, Lee Qiang pulled his pistol from his thigh holster and fired a dozen rounds into the man’s legs and groin. Whatever words or screams the East Alliance man may have uttered were lost in his sophisticated helmet-mask.

There was a whole bunch of enemy soldiers pressing toward the gap between the two Magdas. Pablo wasn’t shooting at them.

Pablo wasn’t there anymore—just his machine gun, propped against the rock.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 15

The Golden Horde, Chapter 15

Over many tens of thousands of years, human motor skills and reflexes evolved as a response to biological threats, long before any technology made things faster than neural signals could move the muscle tissue. The average response time to a visual stimulus is about three-quarters of a second, or half that for people who are alert. That does not sound like a lot until you take into account other factors, like rocket motors.

A typical anti-tank missile flies at about 250 m/s. This means it will clear about one and a half football fields in the time it takes the human brain to register and respond to a visual signal. It’s a metallic object the size of a bread loaf, jumping football field lengths as fast as you can blink.

Even if you can see it coming, you have no time to react.

You can’t dodge missiles.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 14

The Golden Horde, Chapter 14

Lee Qiang remembered his grandfather’s stories. He had been an electrical engineer working in the Middle East in the 1980s, dabbling in some rather expensive projects in Libya and Iraq, and then later, in the 1990s, in Afghanistan. Grandad would proudly boast, sober or drunk, that he’d been one of the few Polaks with a passport and an unrestricted travel visa back in the day, before the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

And he had seen some rather gruesome things, which he had shared with his grandson the day he was accepted into special forces training.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 13

The Golden Horde, Chapter 13

Sveta walked with a funny, stilted gait. She must have been stiff from the ride in the boot—as Lip liked to call it—of the car, and probably nauseated from having her sensory deprivation. There was a scowl on her pretty face, mirroring the one on Lip’s chiseled, whiskered features. He was waiting impatiently for her to waddle over.

The captain pointed at the large binoculars, resting on a solid tripod in the middle of an old industrial rubbish heap, half-buried under weeds. “What’s there?”

About five kilometers away, where the binoculars zoomed in, there was some kind of a town. The place wasn’t marked on the maps. It didn’t really look like a town. More like a makeshift market. Perhaps a military compound of some sort.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 12

The Golden Horde, Chapter 12

A whimper.

It was a sound that did not belong in his fitful dreams.

Lee Qiang woke up, kicking the thin, camo-patterned top half of his space sleeping bag off him, rising, walking toward the source of the sound. For half a second, he felt disoriented and weak from low blood pressure before a rush of adrenaline made him alert and sharp.

He wasn’t the only one to wake up, but he was the first to intercept the situation.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 11

The Golden Horde, Chapter 11

A woman?

When you think you’ve seen everything.

“Do not shoot,” she repeated.

“Everyone, hold your fire,” Lee Qiang instructed over the comms, his mind on fire. “This could be important.”

“Check,” Cem acknowledged.

“On your knees!” Marc ordered. He spoke urgently but did not shout.

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The Binary Conundrum published by Electric Spec

The Binary Conundrum published by Electric Spec

Dear readers, here’s some good stuff. Electric Spec, an online speculative fiction magazine has published my short story The Binary Conundrum in their Volume 14, Issue 4. The story has a simple premise: To kill? Or not to kill? What if the question does not have an optimal answer? An AI system faces the dilemma even as the war against humanity draws to a close …

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 9

The Golden Horde, Chapter 9

“Shishka time,” Juraj said.

Lee Qiang could not—despite the situation—help but smile.

The shaped-charge missile hit the truck on the right side, shearing the wheel clean off the axis, the molten jet of metal setting the rubber on fire, slicing through the engine block and spewing out in a shower of golden sparks on the other side. Like a great beast, the truck ground to a halt.

Of course, Lee Qiang could not have seen all this; it happened too fast for the human eye to register, but his camera caught everything.

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The Golden Horde, Chapter 8

The Golden Horde, Chapter 8

“What the hell are they doing?” Lip growled.

Lee Qiang shook his head. “No idea.”

“Putain.”

They had stopped because the road ahead was blocked. Someone was fighting someone else.

There was black smoking rising in a lazy column from the next valley, about three clicks to the north. Sounds of sporadic gunfire echoed to their position, the pot noise of assault rifles and the woodpecker gargle from machine guns. Now and then, something massive went off, followed by a dull thud of an artillery round hitting a target.

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