Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Excerpt from War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History

To celebrate the release of War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History by Michael Cnudde as an ebook  on, here is another excerpt from the novel:

The Port of Montreal:

"Fais attention!" Jacques Bedard snarled at the dockworkers that were unloading the cargo ship tied up along the pier. They had been unloading ship after ship steadily for the entire night and he was a fine mood. He snarled again at the burly men as they manhandled the bulky boxes into the cargo slings and loaded them onto the cranes and then took them off the ship, in English, for good measure. "Pay attention, you idiots."

Tabarnac! A large wooden crate slipped out of the cargo net and crashed to the ground, spilling its contents all over the dock. A large, square-shouldered man with a barrel chest and calloused hands, Bedard blinked in the dim light at the long lethal shape before him. Four years in the trenches in the last war had taught him what a heavy machine-gun looked like. Saw too many like these at the Somme, pointing at me from the other side. The weapon’s unmistakable corrugated cooling jacket told Bedard he was looking at a Vickers .303, one of the best heavy machine guns around. He looked again at the box. The stencilling read Machine Parts. Bedard frowned and looked at his clipboard to check the cargo manifest. It confirmed what he already knew. There were a lot of boxes of "machine parts" on board that ship. Snarling yet again, he motioned for the dockhands to clean up the mess.

"Is everything all right, monsieur?" An Englishmen, one of the ship's officers, hurried over.

"No problem, sir," said Bedard. Something about the man's tone made him stiffen to attention, like he was still a mud-splattered sergeant. "A slight accident, c'est tout."

"Very good." He smiled at Bedard and winked. "We wouldn't want to damage any of those machine parts, wouldn't we?"

Bedard didn't have much time to reflect on that as the night wore on. As soon as the ship was unloaded, another took its place alongside the dock. He looked at the new ship's cargo manifest: tractors. He watched as the mighty cranes went to work, carefully reaching deep into the hold of the ship and pulling out their cargoes like penny-arcade prizes. His mouth opened as the first machine, gleaming under a fresh coat of olive drab paint, was gently set down in its cargo net onto a waiting railroad flatcar. As it was covered up with a black tarp, Bedard smiled. Tractors, merde. He had also been in the army long enough to know a tank when he saw one.

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