Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Preview!

Here's another preview of War Plan Crimson: A Novel of Alternate History, by Michael Cnudde © 2010, Michael Cnudde, inspired by the DS1 document I posted yesterday:

     Sergeant Harry Orsini shouldered his Springfield as he carefully walked along the wall of Fort Ontario in the predawn darkness. The crumbling fort that overlooked the small harbor of the town of Oswego, New York hasn't seen so much action since the War of 1812. The Army had hastily moved a company of National Guardsmen and a battery of 155s to cover the harbor...from what?
      Orsini looked out to Lake Ontario as the searchlight beam swept across the harbour and over to the locks of the Oswego Canal, part of the larger Erie Canal system. Nothing. The harbor was quiet and the night was dark. A couple of small craft bobbed lazily, while a new arrival, a large lake ore carrier that had just managed to get away from the Canadian side in time, tugged gently at its anchor chains. Quiet.
      Quiet. That's the way it should be. He tugged at the shoulder strap of his rifle and walked along the battlements. Suddenly, the rattling of chains echoed from the darkened harbor. He turned and shouted,“Get a searchlight out there, now!” Orsini brought down his Springfield. What the devil...? In the searchlight beams, he could see the anchors being raised on the big lake freighter, even as men in black scurried back and forth along her length and smoke streamed out of her funnel. He stood there numbed, even as the scene played out in front of him. There shouldn't be anyone on her. And then slowly, but then with gathering speed, the ship began to move.
      As alarms began to howl and men ran to their stations, the ship sailed serenely across the harbor, as if she was unaware of the commotion she was causing. Clutching his rifle, but able to do little else, Orsini watched as the freighter ignored the orders that were shouted over bull-horns for her stop and kept sailing towards the canal locks.
      Now what ? Suddenly, there was a rendering sound of metal on metal that echoed across the still waters as Orsini watched as the ship's bow knifed through the canal locks. As the lakewater rushed in around it, he saw the freighter begin to settle into the harbor until she sat on the bottom, with her decks awash. Orsini fumed. Bastards. It'll take months to get the canal open again. Must've filled that ship with cement by the way she went down.
     A little later, when the ship's black-clad crew were brought past him under guard, he thought they looked very satisfied. But for the life of him, he didn't know why.

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