SNOW KINGDOM CHAPTER SIXTEEN PART ONE
SNOW KINGDOM SYNOPSIS: Two soldiers from the United Northern Alliance, Colonel Castille Tasca and Master Sergeant Rambika Maseru, have undertaken a clandestine mission deep into Snow Kingdom territory to test a new agent designed to kill coca plants the source of the Snow Kingdom’s cocaine, the very foundation of its power and wealth.
Anton Teis: Age sixty-one. Height one-point-eight meters, weight 98 kilograms. Deep set brown eyes, hair and complexion.
Origin: Parana River Basin, Matto Grasso, South America
History: Unknown until he becomes War Lord of the Martuzian Clan in 2131. War Lord until 2152. Ascendancy to Lord in 2152 blocked by the Lords lead by Ganath. Appointed Chief Analyzer, Atacama Hydroponics Complex, 2154.
Characteristics: Intelligent, calculating, extremely loyal to individuals perceived as friends and allies. Vast knowledge of Alliance military tactics due to numerous encounters.
Weakness: Temper, overblown sense of importance, does not forgive those who have wronged him.
Lieutenant Maria Lucheri: age thirty-two, height one point six-five meters, weight seventy kilos. Brown hair, eyes and dark complexion.
Origin: Amazon River Delta.
History: Graduate, War College of Buenos Aires. Adjutant to Commander Aeripica before becoming liaison between the military and Kingdom Complexes in regions three, four and five.
Characteristics: Loyal, tireless, patient, deep understanding military politics.
Weaknesses: Opinionated. Will question authority if she feels she is correct
SO FAR: Based on Tasca’s and Maseru’s last known position, in Quad 1-2A, Teis and Staff Lieutenant Lucheri are studying all possible destinations the escaped mules could take. On numerous occasions, since Teis’s appointment as Chief Analyzer of the Hydroponics Complex five years past, they had worked closely together where one’s rank or title were not used.
WORDS PART ONE: 818
“I’m sorry for your loss of men, machines and stalkers, Anton. Because of this we can no longer underestimate their abilities. These mules are well trained and versed in avoiding capture while inflecting death and destruction. I can guarantee they will never surrender, making them even more dangerous. They will kill whomever or whatever stands their way to complete their mission.”
“You and I have worked together for nearly five years, Maria and yet, from all my years of fighting Alliance warriors, do you think I would not be aware of this? No, I do not underestimate their abilities. If I had men like this when I was a War Lord, I would not be sitting here discussing tactics.”
“I meant no disrespect, Anton. I have always held you in the highest regard. May we please continue? We need to determine their intent and location, if we are to act quickly, do you agree?”
Teis nodded. “Yes, I do. Their last known position was in Quad 1-2A, where they killed thirteen of my stalkers. For now, based on the what little knowledge we have, I can only speculate to their intent. They allowed themselves to be captured and imprisoned. The question begs, why? What interest would two Alliance warriors have regarding the complex? Was it to study the day-to-day routines in order for the Alliance to destroy the complex or was their mission to free certain prisoners, or possibly both?” Teis paused, his eyes searching the Lieutenant’s face for conformation. Seeing none, he continued. “I feel it is neither. Both undertakings would require an Alliance strike force of over one-hundred men, which would be regarded as direct attack on the Kingdom, precipitating a retaliatory action against the Alliance, one which I sense they wish to avoid.” He stood and walked to the chamber’s viewport and looked out over high Atacama Desert, as if it would reveal answers to his questions. He turned and walked towards the Lieutenant. “When I find their true intentions, I will have them, no, we will have them.”
“They are valid questions, Anton, each with its own logic, but until we know their mission’s goal, it is a moot point. This is the largest hydroponics plant ever built, caring for millions of snow plants. Think of the consequences if the snow plants were destroyed. Could this be the reason they allowed themselves to be captured? They would need to study how we care for the plants in order for the Alliance to destroy them. If this is true, then the question is, how and when?”
A scowl formed on Teis’s face. “The only way to destroy the plants is to destroy the complex. No, they were here to study its daily operations to plan a clandestine attack with twenty-two escaped mules to disrupt the complex’s operations. If the attack is successful, it could be the plan for a much larger attack, would it not?”
“I cannot argue with your logic, Anton, but would such an action be considered a direct attack against the Snow Kingdom, igniting a full-scale war with the Alliance? No, I think not. The Alliance would not risk another war over one complex.”
“Your point is taken, Maria. Then why did they do it? If their mission required twenty-two mules to complete it, can only two mules complete the same mission, and if not, are they heading towards their extraction site?”
“Either way it is of the upmost importance they be captured alive. We must assume they will try to complete their mission. We need to determine their location. Once we have it, the logictates will provide their possible endpoints.”
Teis sat down and rubbed the lower part of his face. “We believe there are three possibilities. They could head into Worlar territory. If not, they will either enter T’Ming or Martuzian Scavenger territories. If they pass through the Latal Gorge in Worlar territory they will face the Dune Sea. If they pass through Martuzian territory, they will face the wastelands and if it is T’Ming territory, the dead zone.” Beyond all three are the Spines.
“Lucheri nodded her agreement. “If we presume their end point is somewhere within the Spines, the most direct approach to them would be through the Latal Gorge then the Dune Sea, which basically impassable except for hardiest Scavenger traders. To reach the Spines through the Dune Sea, they would face the deadly task of navigating through it, however, if they are successful, it could shorten their time to reach their objective by two days as opposed to passing through T’Ming or Martuzian territory.”
“There’s one fault in your logic, Maria. From what I surmised from their last known position is there is no logic to their movement. Why would they go through the Latal Gorge if it meant a major confrontation with the Worlar Scavengers, only to face the Dune Sea and its deadly creatures?”
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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