Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Into the Light Snippet #4

Aliens? Invading aliens? What will Earth do? Well...we may have a few more resources than we first thought. Come join a friendly discussion about David Weber's newest Tor series - "Out of the Dark."
Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed May 22, 2019 8:46 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2418
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

"And that means that somehow we have to get big enough and nasty enough to make that impossible — or at least as difficult as hell, hopefully difficult enough they decide not to try it. And for that, we need a world government that works. One that can take the knowledge Vlad left behind for us, build on it, and present a united front to the Hegemony when we meet up with them again."

"And that's why Howell wants you," she said flatly. "Because you understand that. And because you're so damned stubborn, so damned bullheaded, that you've just got to do something about it, don't you?" She glared at him, those blue eyes gleaming with sudden tears. "Can't just sit here and figure you've done enough, that you can take a few months — hell, maybe even a couple of years! — to spend with the people who love you and who thought they'd lost you when Rob brought you home more dead than alive. Damn you, Dave Dvorak! We love you. We need you and we — I — almost lost you!"

"I know," he said softly. "I know. And I love you, and I need you. But I can't walk away from this. I just can't! There are too few of us left, honey. And way too many of the better paid thinkers and philosophers and diplomats are gone. Howell's trying to put together a team that can hit the ground running, get this thing launched before somebody else starts trying to pull the wheel out of his hands. I'm not the best man in the world for the job — God knows I know that if anyone does! But he's decided I'm the man he's got, and I can't just walk away. I can't because I love you. Because I love the kids. Because somebody's got to help him do it, and, God help me, it looks like one of those somebodies is me."

"But why you?"

"Because he knows me — now, at least. And because he trusts me and knows Pieter and Longbow and the others trust me, too. And because he thinks I'm the best he's got. But the real reason?" He squeezed her hand fiercely. "The real reason I'm taking this job is that I don't trust anyone else to do what I know has to be done to keep you safe, and I will do anything — anything — to keep you and our kids safe. And they're all 'our kids' now, Sharon. Every single one of them out there being hungry and afraid in the dark are our kids, and when the rest of the frigging Hegemony gets around to us again, our kids, and their kids, and their grandkids, are going to be ready to put a bullet right between its frigging eyes if that's what it takes."



.IV.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont
United States




The snowplow chugged along slowly, clearing a lane of two feet of the purest, whitest snow Abu Bakr bin Muhammed el-Hiri (Abu Bakr, son of Muhammed, the Wildcat) had ever seen. A native of New York City, his experience with snow was that it was white on its journey through the sky, but upon making contact with the ground, it immediately turned a shade of black darker than his own skin.

He’d never seen this much unbroken white before in his life, and it almost made him forget the devastation of the war. Almost.

Abu Bakr’s truck was at the front of the aid column which followed the snowplow north along Interstate 91 through Vermont. Although he'd spent plenty of time in New England during the war — and killed a number of the Shongairi while operating in Concord, New Hampshire, not too far away — that had been during warmer months. After an hour of nothing to see but the eternal blankness of snowfall, though, the desolation lost its thrill, and Abu Bakr’s mind began to wander as road hypnosis set in.

“Well, here’s something you don’t see every day,” his driver remarked as he slowed the truck. “At least, not anymore.”

Abu Bakr snapped out of the semiconscious haze he’d fallen into and scanned the area around them with the practiced eyes of an insurgent. “What?” he asked, after not finding any immediate threats.

The driver chuckled at Abu Bakr’s reaction, but then indicated the off ramp to St. Johnsbury with a twitch of his chin. “The road’s plowed once you get past the off ramp,” the driver said. “First indication of civilization I’ve seen since we left I-89, what? About forty miles and two hours ago?”

“Huh. Is that all it’s been?”

“What do you want me to do?” the driver asked.

“Call the plow and tell him to come back,” Abu Bakr replied. “Looks like someone put out the welcome mat; let’s go say hi.”

The driver nodded then waited as the plow came back and cleared the ramp. As the bladed vehicle reached Highway 5, Abu Bakr's driver sped up, passed the plow, and headed into town.

“Easy,” Abu Bakr cautioned. “Just because the welcome mat’s out, doesn’t mean it’s out for us. Let’s not race into something we’ll have to fight to get back out of again.”

The driver throttled back to a more stately fifteen miles per hour, giving Abu Bakr a chance to survey his surroundings. Highway 5 ran alongside a set of train tracks that followed the western bank of the Passumpsic River. After about half a mile, he began to see the normal signs of pre-invasion civilization — light industry and a gas station. Although there were lights on in some of the buildings, it was impossible to tell if all of them were still functional, and no one came out to greet them. In fact, there was no one to be seen. If not for the plowed road and electric lights, Abu Bakr would have thought the area abandoned.

“Want me to stop and check out some of the buildings?” the driver asked, his tone indicating he didn’t particularly want to go out into the cold Vermont late afternoon weather.

“No, keep going,” Abu Bakr replied, motioning forward with his hand. He shuddered as a cold shiver ran down his spine. “This place is giving me the creeps. It feels like we’re being watched — closely — but I don’t see anyone doing it.”

“Me, either,” the driver replied, his eyes jumping back and forth as if trying to take in everything at once.

“Just take it nice and slow. I don’t think we’re in any danger, yet, but be ready to stand on the gas if I say so.”

They drove another tenth of a mile past several restaurants and the Chamber of Commerce, and were just entering St. Johnsbury proper when the driver slammed on the brakes and pointed to a man standing in the intersection of Highway 5 and Eastern Avenue. The man was dressed for the weather, with a long winter coat covering most of his figure and a winter stocking cap on his head. He also had both hands in his pockets, which looked big enough to hold a number of things Abu Bakr hoped the man wasn’t hiding.

The driver turned to Abu Bakr, and the former insurgent noticed he didn’t volunteer to go out this time. Abu Bakr gave him a half-smile. “Guess this one’s mine, huh?”

The driver nodded as Abu Bakr buttoned up his coat and pulled on his gloves. “Be right back,” he added as he got out, shivering as a blast of freezing air immediately went down his neck and back.

The man in the road simply waited, unmoving, as if unaffected by the cold as Abu Bakr trudged over. The intersection was surrounded by four-story buildings on three sides, with what looked like small business on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, but there were no lights on in any of them.

“Now, what’s this all about?” the man asked, nodding to the convoy, as Abu Bakr approached.

“The aliens left, and we’re putting the country back together,” he replied.

“So?”

“So what?” Abu Bakr asked, shivering as another blast of the frigid wind found its way past his jacket.

“So, what’s in it for us?” the man asked. “In case you haven’t noticed, we’re doing okay on our own. We've got water, power, and food, and we don’t rightly need a whole lot more than that. What are you offering to get us to join back up?”

Abu Bakr sighed. Although the contact team leaders had discussed the possibility that some of the survivors might not want to reunite without a good bit of convincing, he hadn’t expected it here —where it looked like civilization hadn’t broken down—and he cocked his head in exasperation, his mouth slightly open, while he tried to decide if it might not just be easier to kill the man and try to work with his second in command.

“You’re not the first group that wanted to integrate us, you know,” the man said, when he didn’t get an answer to his question.

“We’re not?” Abu Bakr asked.

“Newp. A group from New York showed up about a month ago. Told us we were being ‘repatriated.’”

“What happened?”

“We sent most of them back home.” The man smiled, but it had no humor in it. “About twenty of them chose to stay.”

“That so?”

“Ayup. They thought they could force us to do something against our will. They’re all buried up at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.” He pulled a hand out of a pocket to jerk a thumb over his shoulder. As he did so, Abu Bakr caught movement from above him, as windows on all of the nearby buildings opened, and the barrels of at least thirty rifles poked out. More men with rifles appeared on the rooftops overlooking the intersection, aiming their weapons at the convoy from over the parapets.

“So,” the man asked, “what’s it going to be? You going to turn around and go back to your ‘union’ peacefully, or would some of you folks like to stay with us, too?”

“No, I don’t imagine any of us want to stay here,” Abu Bakr replied. “We’ll just take our supplies on down the road and find someone a little more appreciative to give them to.”

One of the man’s eyebrows went up. “Supplies? What kind of supplies do you have, and what are they going to cost?”

“I don’t think you understand,” Abu Bakr explained. “They’re free. We’re here to help you folks out.”

The man chuckled. “Nothing’s free in this world, son. That said, you may have heard the folks next door have a saying, ‘Live free or die.’ Happens we believe in that saying, too, and we definitely aren’t paying anymore to support the decisions of people in Washington or from the Left Coast, or to do anything else that isn’t of benefit to us.”

“And we aren’t asking you to.”

The man started. “You’re not?” he asked, disbelief evident on his face and the way he held his body.

“Nope.” Abu Bakr blew into his hands to warm them. “Look. Hopefully you’ve decided by now that we’re the legitimate representatives of the former government, not some group of thugs or bullies. Can you at least agree to that much?”

“Ayup. That’s sounds fair enough.”

“So, is there someplace we might go inside and talk about this like men, over a nice hot cup of coffee?”

The man looked down at the pavement a second, then back up to Abu Bakr. “I’ve got someplace warm we can talk, but coffee’s been scarce in these parts for a number of months. Best I can offer's a homebrew tea that tastes like shit. ‘Bout all you can really say for it is that it’s warm.”

“Tell you what,” Abu Bakr replied. “You let us pull into town and unpack a bit, and you can have all the coffee we brought.”

The man’s eyebrows went up to touch the bottom of his cap. “You have coffee?”

Abu Bakr nodded. “And it’s all yours. Free.”

The man smiled. “What did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t, but it’s Abu Bakr bin Muhammed el-Hiri. My friends call me the Wildcat.”

“Well, Mr. Wildcat,” the man said, holding out a hand to shake, “welcome to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I think we’re going to be great friends.”


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed May 22, 2019 11:27 am

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2285
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

Like! :D
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
*
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by WeberFan   » Wed May 22, 2019 5:18 pm

WeberFan
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:12 am

Thank you very, very much David! I really enjoyed Out of the Dark, and think I'll really enjoy Into the Light as well!
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by richardinor   » Wed May 22, 2019 5:45 pm

richardinor
Commander

Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:23 am
Location: Oregon

Thanks again. Looking forward to many more.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by iranuke   » Wed May 22, 2019 8:14 pm

iranuke
Commander

Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Longview, WA

When is the pub date, so I can sit down and read this book from cover to cover?
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by runsforcelery   » Thu May 23, 2019 10:31 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2418
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

iranuke wrote:When is the pub date, so I can sit down and read this book from cover to cover?



Don't know. We've submitted it but Tor is in the process of reading it and hasn't gotten back to us yet.

We'll let you know as soon as we know! :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #4
Post by iranuke   » Thu May 23, 2019 3:29 pm

iranuke
Commander

Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Longview, WA

runsforcelery wrote:
iranuke wrote:When is the pub date, so I can sit down and read this book from cover to cover?



Don't know. We've submitted it but Tor is in the process of reading it and hasn't gotten back to us yet.

We'll let you know as soon as we know! :lol:



Thank You.
Top

Return to Out of the Dark