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Battle for America
Wingman, Book 18
By Mack Maloney
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2017 Mack Maloney
All rights reserved.
THREE RUSSIAN TROOPSHIPS sailed into New York Harbor a few minutes after midnight.
The huge vessels were mammoth cruise liners the Russian Navy had converted into military transports. Each had twenty thousand soldiers on board along with tons of combat gear and equipment.
Painted in ocean-gray camouflage, the ships looked like three sea monsters slowly swimming toward the island of Manhattan. Their decks were lined with DShK machine guns and Katyusha rocket launchers, with 75-millimeter naval cannons placed stern to bow. Anxious weapons crews peered into the murk through their night-vision goggles, ready for anything.
But from Coney Island, past the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, up to Bay Ridge and Red Hook, the waterfront was empty. There was no one for the weapons crews to shoot at, and no one shot at them.
The three giant ships arrived off southern Manhattan at 0030 hours, right on time. They dropped anchor and their troops began unloading.
The Russian invasion of New York City had begun.
Four divisions of fifteen thousand men went ashore in less than thirty minutes, using walkways that extended from the ships' mid-decks right into Battery Park. Key objectives around the city had to be seized, including power plants, the airports, and all major bridges and tunnels.
Sailing into New York Harbor behind the transport ships and continuing north up the Hudson River was a pair of huge Tapir landing craft named Oleg and Dima. Each was carrying four squadrons of massive T-72 battle tanks, more than eighty in all. The Tapirs docked at Chelsea Piers and disgorged their cargo. The fierce-looking tanks and their crews would serve as the invasion's shock troops. Moving with a lot of noise and commotion, they raced to dispersal points throughout the city.
Two more Russian ships appeared. One was a large oceangoing barge with two Yak38 VTOL jet fighters on board. Behind it was the fuel ship Boleska, full of aviation gasoline. Both vessels docked at the old South Street Seaport on the East River where the vertical-lift Yaks immediately took off and began flying over Manhattan.
The thousands of troops, the tanks, the combat aircraft, the thunderstorm of diesel fumes and jet exhaust were all very loud, aggressive, and intimidating. But the Russians had little to fear.
A few weeks before, emissaries of the Russian Army had met with the godfathers of the Red Hand, the five Russian-American crime families that currently controlled New York City. After striking a mutually beneficial deal, the crime families had spread word throughout the city that everyone should stay off the streets the night of April 1.
People were heeding that warning.
New York City was not the place it used to be.
Only about a hundred thousand people lived there now. Hardened by the turmoil that had wracked America since the end of the World War III, they weren't shocked by the sight of Russian tanks rumbling up Fifth Avenue. In fact, very little of what happened across the continent shocked anyone these days.
The Big War began on Christmas Eve a little more than fifteen years ago. Russia launched a poison gas attack on Western Europe, followed by a massive ground invasion. The United States and NATO responded primarily with airpower, and after intense fighting, the Russians were soundly defeated. But then the traitorous US vice president did two things: He arranged to have the president and his Cabinet assassinated and then he turned off America's antiballistic missile systems, enabling the Russians to nuke the heartland of the United States. Twenty million Americans died as a result.
With the quisling vice president in charge, the United States was forced to capitulate to a Russian construct called the New Order. America's military was disarmed, its most modern weapons destroyed, and the country broken up into a mishmash of independent states, economic zones, and free territories. Most of the population fled to either Free Canada or Mexico. For those who'd remained, catastrophes of all sorts suddenly became routine.
Lacking a central government in Washington to keep order, wars big and small flared up between disparate regions. Geographic neighbors suddenly became postwar adversaries. Illinois, Indiana, and most of Michigan were run by Mafia-type families, the Ku Klux Klan ruled much of the South, California was eventually occupied by an Asian mercenary army, and much of the Pacific Northwest fell into the throes of anarchy. The center of the country, which had taken the brunt of the Russian sneak attack, was a nightmarish wasteland of nuclear fallout and long-lasting hallucinogenic gas. Nothing lived there — nothing could. It had been aptly named the Badlands.
Adding to these problems, terrorist groups moved freely across the country and air pirates roamed the skies. Weakened greatly by the war, Russia had not been able to invade the United States right away. Sowing confusion and distrust inside the fractured country turned out to be the next best thing.
Gallant bands of former US military personnel were always trying to put America back together again, though — with varying degrees of success. Much of the Northeast and many regions just west of the Mississippi River had become relatively stable. Nonetheless, fifteen years after the Big War had ended, most of America was still one huge disaster zone.
This didn't go unnoticed by the slowly resurging military government in Moscow, who, at one point, sent in an entire Mongol army to ransack the continent. But that audacious campaign ultimately ended in disaster for the Kremlin. Other attempts had been made since then, many through Russian proxies, but they'd been halfhearted and poorly planned.
This time, Moscow was serious. In the past two years, a renascent Russia had conquered all of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, plus wide swathes of territory in Southwest Asia. Though technically allies, Moscow's main rival was the Asian Mercenary Cult, a collection of large, highly mobile armies that dominated China, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent and had colonies in many other places, including California.
But the rest of the globe was up for grabs, and Russia wanted it. That's why the former United States of America was in their sights again.
Moscow had identified every level of power they thought they'd need to occupy New York City for a long time. In addition to its military personnel, a sizable number of engineers, accountants, mechanics, utility and maintenance workers, translators, and even a squad of arborists had made the voyage to America this time.
Past experiences had taught Moscow the best way to conquer fractured America was not the old and unwieldy blunderbuss approach, but by taking one step at a time.
New York was the first step.CHAPTER 2
THREE RUSSIAN MILITARY commanders were in charge of the invasion. Known collectively as the Komand Sostva, they were army general Leonid Alexei, navy admiral Makita Kartunov and military operations field marshal Dmitry Popov, whom everyone called Marshal MOP. The three men could have been brothers. All were in their late sixties, stubby in stature, with red faces, white hair, and substantial paunches. They always appeared together, always in uniform, each man wearing several pounds of medals on his jacket and a large cap weighed down by heavy gold braid.
The trio of commanders had chosen Rockefeller Center, a large section of midtown Manhattan, to be their base of operations. Cleared of all civilians, it was rechristened the Voennaya Zona Midtowna, or Midtown Military Zone (MMZ). They had selected three nearly identical skyscrapers on Fifth Avenue between Forty-Eighth and FiftyFirst Streets to be their combined headquarters. Across the street, a fourth skyscraper served as their Joint Operations center.
But the tallest building inside the MMZ, a seventy-story skyscraper once known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which towered almost twenty stories above everything else inside the enclave, had been claimed by the NKVD, the newly revived, much-feared Russian secret police. They were a nine-thousand-man brigade comprised of thuggish plainclothes officers, known as the Militsiya, and uniformed policemen, called the Chekskis, nearly all of whom had been recruited from the Zealot Brotherhood of God, a fanatical religious cult native to Russia's southwest. The NKVD command staff had installed an enormous illuminated red star on the roof of "30 Rock." One hundred feet tall, it was so bright that, at night, it cast a crimson glow over everything in Midtown. But the giant icon's purpose went beyond ornamentation: Tons of NKVD communications gear was stuffed inside the star, including one piece that allowed the secret police to listen in on everything being said by the invasion's three military arms, from the commanders on down, twenty-four hours a day.
At 0800 hours, on April 30, more than four weeks into the Okupatsi, the three officers arrived on the fiftieth floor of the Joint Ops Building, the old Simon & Schuster Building. They were here for their first monthly situation report.
Two dozen staff officers were waiting inside the opulent top-floor meeting room to greet the high commanders. Mineral water, morning wine, and baskets of oranges decorated the room's huge conference table. A table nearby held kasha, Butterbrod, fried eggs, and tvorog. All the makings for a sumptuous Russian breakfast. The combined aroma reminded them all of home.
The officer in charge of the joint ops meeting room was Colonel Sergei Gagarin. A lean, sharp-looking man of forty whose family came from East Germany, he'd been wounded leading his troops during fighting in Egypt, losing his right eye, and had sported a pirate-style patch ever since. His talent now was as a professional ringmaster, regularly briefing senior Russian military officers on the progress of the Okupatsi without burdening them with too many facts. Gagarin read everything that came into the Joint Ops Building, including all NKVD communiqués. He also sent a nightly report to Moscow.
"If God does indeed love a trinity," Gagarin said to the trio of commanders, referring to a well-known Russian phrase, "then three is our lucky number today."
The superior officers smiled at the show of wit. "Four is always too many," General Alexei responded with a toothy grin. "And two is never enough."
Gagarin indicated the three TV cameras set up in the conference room. "We will film this historic occasion for our friends back in Moscow," he said. He pointed to the microphones hanging from the ceiling. "And they will hear it, too." With a nod from Gagarin, the cameras were turned on. The morning sun suddenly poured into the room, heightening the excitement in the air.
Flanked by their security squads, brass buttons gleaming from recent polishing, the three commanders settled into three identical chairs at one end of the conference table. Their smiles did not subside. Their troops had performed extremely well so far, which was easy to do when no one was shooting at you. But that was the mission. With no enemy to fight, their job was literally to occupy the city. Secure the gains by any means possible and don't let them slip away like in the old days.
Colonel Gagarin introduced the army CO, General Alexei, to the cameras. The commanding officer's report came first.
"The city is secure," he boomed. "Street violence has disappeared, thanks to our troops regularly patrolling all five boroughs. The Militsiya have helped clear the streets of potential troublemakers, and I understand the Chekskis are dealing with the homeless problem. The rackets are up and working again, and business improves every day. Our drug operation located at Chelsea Piers is thriving. Boats come in for pickup, boats go out for delivery, and the money is flowing in. Our Red Hand partners are happy. Even with paying us eleven percent of their profits, they're making more now than ever."
"Good for them," Admiral Kartunov murmured off camera.
"It gets even better," General Alexei went on. "Those people living outside New York City, out in the suburbs? There were several million of them before. But many have now cleared out of the area, obviously as a result of the Okupatsi. From eastern New Jersey to western Long Island, the roads have been clogged day and night as they move away from us. That means lots of empty houses for our own citizens to occupy someday. Plus, it means fewer hooligans we'll have to deal with in the future."
Gagarin then introduced Admiral Kartunov.
"Our reinforcement vessels are arriving from the Motherland every day," the naval czar began. "Both military and supply ships. I can report that eighty-five percent of our force's material needs for one year have been delivered to us already. The remainder is en route. Only one ship had difficulties making the crossing, and we are still looking for it. But that's a very small percentage considering the numbers in our fleet. Plus the weather is expected to improve in the North Atlantic soon. That will allow our maritime supply line to move even faster."
Marshal MOP went last.
"All of the city's critical utilities are running again," he began. "Only Russian flags fly over the city. All the signage in Manhattan has been changed from English to Russian. Although the subway system hasn't worked since the Big War, our mechanics have got dozens of transit buses and yellow taxis running again. The garbage trucks and street sweepers have been repaired and are back in operation, so the streets are clean. And we hope to get both airports running within three months.
"We are finally doing the things we should have done years ago. The time, the effort we spent to bring the Mongols here, flying their horses across the Pacific? And moving all that hay and feed? That was a bad dream, thinking those savages could do our dirty work for us. We were wrong to put stock in them and all those other pretenders. Finally, we are doing it on our own, and it is working. If we can put up with the loss of just one navy ship among many, then all is well."
Gagarin's staff was so impressed, they broke out in applause. The commanding officers graciously applauded back. They'd done it. New York City was theirs.
The cameras were turned off and several bottles of vodka were brought into the room. The invasion was an unqualified success — and that called for a victory parade. With one quick vote, the Komand Sostva gave the official go-ahead to throw a citywide party. It would be held the following day, May 1, appropriately enough — May Day, Communism's major holiday.
But one more thing had to be done first.
Just before midnight, five NKVD armored personnel carriers made their way to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The godfathers of the Red Hand waited for them outside one of the few restaurants still open in New York City. The five gangsters had been invited to the round of pre–May Day victory parade parties in Manhattan. The personnel carriers would serve as their limousines.
The NKVD policemen helped the godfathers into the armored cars along with their assorted capos, consiglieri, and brodyagi, and left Brighton Beach to the cheers of drunken friends who'd spilled out of the restaurant and onto the streets.
But instead of heading back to Manhattan, the NKVD drove their guests to the Staten Island landfill, where they shot them all.CHAPTER 3
CAPTAIN JOHN "BULL" Dozer blew on his hands, trying to keep them warm. The night air was chilling him to the bone.
Dead man's hands, he thought. Cold as a corpse. ...
It was twenty minutes past midnight. Dozer was huddled inside a small hut atop a rickety sixty-foot tower in the middle of some very thick woods in New Jersey's largely uninhabited Pine Barrens. While most of his men were at their new forward base one mile south, two of his troopers were with him, sitting on old metal folding chairs that squeaked on the hut's uneven floor. A 50-caliber machine gun was mounted nearby. Its barrel was sticking out the hut's only window, which was covered in loose plastic and duct tape to block the gusting wind.
One of the troopers checked the hut's coffeepot, which had been brewing for a while.
"It's ready," he said. The trooper collected three mugs and filled each halfway. Then Dozer took an unlabeled bottle of whiskey from his heavy wool coat and added a generous splash to each steaming cup.
"You know I don't encourage drinking on the job, boys," he said with a straight face, "but sometimes, you've just got to get the blood pumping...."
He toasted the two men. "Semper Fi...."
"Grog, grub, and glory," one trooper responded, raising his mug.
"For our brothers," the other added.
Then Dozer took the first gulp.
Excerpted from Battle for America by Mack Maloney. Copyright © 2017 Mack Maloney. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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