Authors: Ian Maxwell
2015 Ian Maxwell
All Rights Reserved. No part of this
book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic
form without permission.
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents
either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
To the nukes that keep us safe
Shenzhen, Southern China
black train rushed out of Shenzhen Station just like any other CSR train. The train,
the CRH400A was on its third voyage from Shenzhen to Beijing via other speed
worthy clusters. Six days ago on its maiden voyage, there had been a bevy of
party officials and media types doing their thing. But today was different. Today
was all about routine. All about that vaunted Chinese efficiency.
CRH400A, unlike the other trains, was indigenously built, using indigenous corporations,
indigenous labor, indigenous materials and critically, indigenous technologies.
the inception of its high speed rail program, Beijing had been at the mercy of
its international partners – Germany and Japan. Initially, the program had had
inputs from several European nations as well as Japan. However, over time, the
Japanese and Germans - duh, through sheer innovation had snuffed out the competition.
Technical aspects of this innovation had come down to Macau, Politburo Members
and some skanky Audis.
the turn of events, the other nations had come up with sweeteners and
concessions of their own. But despite their best efforts, only the Canadians had
got the nod.
” the French Ambassador had wailed, “But why??”
the Canadians, they understand us better. They gave us what we really want…”
the Chinese Minister had replied.
… what is it?”
gave us the entire City of Vancouver… and we looove Vancouver. We really do…”
Germans, Japanese and Canadians had ended up as the ‘preferred tech partners’ of
the Chinese high speed rail effort.
the trains based on foreign technology, this, the CRH400A was China’s baby. With
a cruising speed of 400Km/hr the homegrown CRH400A was four percent faster than
the French TGV, three percent lighter than the Japanese Shinkansen and five
percent cheaper than anything out of Bavaria. This transformational leap in performance
had been achieved by adding a super-secret sauce. Beijing called it
experimentation with partner technologies
Germans and Japanese called it
. The duo even hired historians to prove
that this theft of IP was the largest heist in history – bigger than the Amber
Room, better than the great train robbery, slicker than a Ponzi scheme. In the
end, only the fear of getting shut out of the burgeoning Chinese economy had forced
the partners to
let it slide
all that had changed, once Beijing began pitching its train sets against the Shinkansen
for international contracts. The twin losses of Mexico and Indonesia to the
CRH400A had been the final straw.
thinking long over Sake and hard under an Ethiopian beauty, the Japanese Foreign
Minister, Yoshi Yamazaki had decided to go kamikaze. It was time to put an end
to this Chinese adventurism. Time to end the decades of Japanese slumber. Time
to go kamikaze again. The Japanese Foreign Minister had then drunk texted his
German counterpart, “Let’s get even.”
Viktor Volokov pulled the black Audi A6 to the road’s shoulder. He double
checked his odometer and looked out for the markings on the chain link fence
protecting the high speed track. Volokov hit the boot release button as his partner
Marko jumped out and headed to the trunk. Volokov killed the engine.
Made in China automobile, Volokov and Marko were dressed in black suits, ties
and shoes – again, all Made in China. Their aim was to impart to the causal
Chinese observer that they were Party people. Probably provincial, but still
bad Party people.
their mission planner, up in Moscow, had surmised that no one would have the rank
to question a black Audi A6 squat in the middle of Guangdong’s industrial belt.
– Guangzhou high speed line sliced through gigantic manufacturing facilities on
either side. On the west were the automakers while the east was filled with undergarment
his research, had become enamored with a certain factory that was about to
produce the world’s first smart-underwear. Apparently it made everything
fly-by-wire down under. No moving parts. Airbus vs Boeing all over again. Primakov
had wondered if it would carry a ‘Designed in California. Assembled in China’ tag
at the crack.
the roads were largely deserted as the midnight shift was still due for a few
and Marko pulled out a pair of pliers and got to work on the chain link fence. Two
days ago they had picked the spot and pre-cut the fence. Today they just had to
make sure they found the pre-cut spot again. They had marked the location first
with the Audi’s odometer and as a backup, splashed the scene with red
insulation tape. With little exertion, they bent out the pre-cut fence to
create an opening that measured 4sqft.
The train with
the stolen IP was due in twenty minutes.
unspooled a steel cable of two millimeters diameter. Handing one end to Marko he
pointed him to go north. Unlike everything around them, the steel cable wasn’t ‘Made
in China’. It came from good old Magnitogorsk. Totally Russian.
about a hundred meters of cable, Marko suddenly began running back. Volokov panicked
and looked behind for the murmuring train. According to its manuals the CRH400A
generated just 20 decibels, about 90% quieter than the Acela Express. Fortunately
for Volokov, there was no train.
turned back to the scrambling Marko and shouted “
, what are you
mechanism… still in the car,” yelled back Marko.
Volokov slapped his forehead, “How could you forget it?”
Marko shrugged and threw up his arms.
Just go get it then.”
hurried out the fence, back to the Audi. As he arrived, he realized that the
trunk was locked and waved back at Volokov, who fumbled and dropped the key onto
the tracks before, eventually retrieving it and hitting the right button.
cluster fuck known as post-Soviet Russia’s contributions to the world were: a) Russian
mafia, b) Stunning apocalyptic scenery c) Blonde bombshells and d) Inept
One such inept
unit based out of Moscow was the SVR-SB, where the SB stood for
or the Snow Badger. Some four star general had come up with the name after
catching Rob Schneider’s Animal at a Moscow cinema. He had thought it was
century Perestroika and Glasnost were fun times.
feared Spetsnaz or the GRU, the SVR-SB was a bit lower on the totem pole of
Russia’s guardian agencies. It ranked somewhere above the Armenian-Babushka Mafia
and below the provincial, Chelyabinsk PD. This latest iteration of the SVR-SB
had Primakov as the brains and the duo of Volokov-Marko as its brawns.
being that good would have spelt doom for most special units, the SVR-SB thrived
in its role as a ‘fearless trier’ and a gracious ‘fall guy’. Realizing the
potential, the new Russian leadership had begun assigning the SVR-SB to
‘half-assed’ ops which unlike regular ops didn’t really depend on the outcome but
rather on the effort – both real and perceived.
some reason, the Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshi Yamazaki, wanted exactly half an
ass… half an ass of the Chinese rail industry.
rummaged around the boot of the Audi and emerged back with two tiny palm sized
steel boxes. Handing Volokov one of the boxes, Marko resumed his run. At the 150
meter mark, he knelt to track level and placed the steel box on the inside of
the eastern track. He then attached the steel cable to it. Volokov did the same
to the western track. After checking the tension on the cable, the SVR-SB men
exited to their Audi.
cable thus connected the two adjacent train tracks diagonally over a span of 150
meters. The eastern track was used for southbound traffic into Shenzhen while
the other handled northbound traffic out of Shenzhen to Guangzhou.
minutes away, the CRH400A rushed towards the little steel box at 400Km/hr. On the
other track the CRH300, a 3
Generation Canadian, approached its little
steel box at 280 Km/hr.
thumbed his phone, as Volokov floored the Audi.
Primakov peeped over the massive shoulders of the SVR satellite guy, Babichev. They
were examining the live satellite imagery coming out of Southern China. This
‘new’ capability had been restored after the launch of their state of the art satellite,
analyst at the fall of Communism, Pyotr Primakov had been jerked around for two
decades at various backwater postings all over Russia. So when an ‘elite’ unit from
Moscow had come knocking, he had jumped blindly.
the ensuing six months, his Moscow dreams had crumpled like a reversing mushroom
cloud. He had realized that the SVR-SB had no authority, no funds, Peter da Great
era equipment, terrible recruits and a knack of being at the wrong place at the
wrong time… by design.
least he was in Moscow, not on the outskirts of Magadan spying on some Uzbek laborer
levelling a pothole on the Road of Bones.
The SVR Officer,
Boris Babichev couldn’t keep a straight face as Marko and Volokov fumbled with
their tasks. It was 1AM in Moscow and he was about to win 5Gs. He was exultant.
The towering Babichev was the antithesis of the five foot five, hundred thirty
even in roubles… was a neat sum. Could he make rent? Primakov quietly prayed to
his Communist Manifesto.
with, no one had expected the South China mission to get this far. In the past,
Russian ops inside China had largely been hands off affairs involving local
dissidents, probably Uighurs, locally sourced weapons and perhaps a
guide from Moscow.
had felt that arming dissidents was akin to being passive aggressive. So blasé.
No skin in the game. He wanted to try something different. Having served for long
stretches in the bowels of the Federation, he had become intimately familiar
with the Russia – China border crossings across Siberia. After further analysis
he had opted for the remote Blagoveshchensk – Heihe crossing in the Far East. Primakov
during his tours, had noticed that the babushkas crossing into China were rarely
frisked. However, convincing Marko and Volokov on the upsides of cross dressing
had been a bit challenging.
had ran back to pick up the steel box, Officer Babichev was certain he had won
the 5Gs. He half expected the goons to get crushed by the trains. That right there
was a parlay for another two thousand roubles.
insane as it seemed, Marko and Volokov had successfully placed the pieces in
the right place. When Marko had thumbed his phone, Babichev had gone nuts.
da!!!” giggled Primakov.
clowns just complete their mission? WTF,” Babichev snarled.
out of the radius” intoned Primakov.
are you waiting for? Activate the shit.” cried, Primakov.
can’t believe it. Those sons of….”
phone rang on Babichev’s desk.
answered. The call lasted about 0.044 seconds. It was the authorization. Babichev
fuzzed over the controls and hit a blue knob.
trains were already visible to the
satellite. One, mellow white and
fast. One sleeker, blacker and faster.
up from his desk in disgust, grabbed Primakov by the collar and mumbled, “Next
time you… creep.”
off the baboon and turned back to the unfolding madness 8000 Kms away.