Authors: L. Ron Hubbard
Men in gray uniforms were running away from deserted machine guns, disappearing behind
piles of sandbags. An officer stopped to empty his automatic at the charging slash
The pilot fishtailed wildly and shot over the stiff wind sock. The plane snapped suddenly
into landing position. With a crunching slap, the ship was down.
It was as if an electric current had been shut off. Men began to fumble for their
lost caps. Gunners slouched back to their pieces. The officer calmly slid another
clip into his gun and holstered it. On the side of the red fuselage they had all seen
the dragon and the two mammoth characters which identified their visitor. They knew
this man and they also knew that he had little connection with The Butcher.
The pilot stood up in his narrow pit and stretched. But he did not remove the goggles
which hid a quarter of his face, nor did he so much as unfasten the chin strap of
the lurid helmet he wore.
The officer, a
, stopped and looked at the red dragon which spat fire above the pilot’s eyes and
then curled down around the ear pads. Assured of the man’s identity, he came forward
“I am sorry, Feng-Feng. Had I but seen the dragon—”
“Quite all right,” interrupted the pilot. “I wish an audience with Cheng-Wang immediately.”
“Cheng-Wang is at your service, I am sure. But perhaps it would be better for us to
place your plane in a bombproof hangar. We are waiting an attack by The Butcher. Perhaps
if we service your engine, when the bombers come you can—”
Wind-Gone-Mad laughed joyously. “Such faith! You think that I would attack three Demming
bombers single-handed? Really, my good friend Blakely sells better ships than you
suppose. I would be downed in an instant.”
It was the Russian’s turn to laugh. Wind-Gone-Mad shot down? The thing was impossible,
ludicrous. In a moment he subsided and spoke again more seriously. “Had Cheng-Wang
listened better to the proposition to buy three Amalgamated bombers when you asked—”
“Quiet,” said Feng-Feng, not unkindly. “That is a secret that only a few of us hold.
Its release would mean my death. But never mind. I go to see Cheng-Wang. Service my
ship and listen in on my panel radio for talk in
. The pigs will give you warning. If you know that they come, send for me and I will
do my best to beat them off.” He dropped to the ground lightly and strode toward a
heng-Wang was old. On his parchment face was stamped the weariness of one who has
seen too much, has fought too many battles, has witnessed too often the summer’s fading
into the dusty harshness of winter.
Cheng-Wang was frail and when he moved his hands the almost-fleshless bones clattered
above the click of his long fingernails. With an impassive nod, he gave the order
that the man called Feng-Feng be admitted to the audience room.
Still masked by his goggles and
by his helmet, Wind-Gone-Mad entered with long, determined strides. His leather flying
coat rustled when he sat down in the indicated chair.
“It pleases me that you come,” said Cheng-Wang in five-toned Mandarin Chinese. “Long
have I wanted to give you my regrets for not accepting your offer and your warning.
Now there is little we can do. The Butcher has begun his fight and it will be short.
Along the eastern border, my troops lose miles of ground each day. They are harassed
from the air. But you have come too late.”
Behind the lenses of the great goggles, Feng-Feng’s gray eyes held those of the provincial
governor. “I do not think that I have. Our friend Blakely sold them no pursuit planes
because they could procure no pilots. At the North China Airways field I now have
a fighting ship—my own. It has two machine guns and it travels four miles a minute.
With that I can help you.”
“It is useless,” mourned Cheng-Wang. “I will not allow you to throw your life to The
Butcher. You do it out of sympathy alone and you use no regard for your own safety.
The Butcher has placed a price on you, and that long ago. He would see your helmeted
head dangling from a picket. Blakely, the man you oddly call your friend, negotiated
that these many months gone by.”
“There are no bombers at my call in Shanghai,” stated the man called Feng-Feng. “I
can only do as fate and my hand dictate. Is it true that you are to receive an air
Without explanation, knowing that it was not needed, Cheng-Wang presented a square
of paper which bore black slashes. Deciphered, it said:
The Hawks of The Butcher strike before dark. It is better to accept an honorable surrender
from Cheng-Wang than for The Butcher to occupy a lifeless town.
The massive black doors swung back and a soldier in gray stood rigidly at attention
in the opening. He saluted. “To the east, heaven-borne, are the Hawks of The Butcher.”
Dropping his hand he left-faced, waiting for Wind-Gone-Mad to precede him out of the
The pilot turned, and his mouth was set. “Refuse to know terror, Cheng-Wang. This
one goes to dull the claws of The Butcher.” He tramped rapidly away and the black
doors swung softly shut behind him.
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TORIES FROM THE
reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor
and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional
origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better
grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era,
the following glossary has been provided.
performers of a slow dance sequence of well-controlled graceful movements including
lifting, balancing and turning, performed as a display of skill.
an extremely handsome young man; originating from the name of a beautiful youth in
a gauge that measures altitude.
the part of the Navy responsible for operations in and around the Atlantic Ocean.
Originally formed in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the US for
most of the twentieth century.
groups of large-caliber weapons used for combined action.
nickname for New York City.
to curtail or reduce, as in rank.
a Marine or Navy recruit in basic training.
one who lives by plunder; a bandit.
a light machine gun weighing fifteen pounds. It looks like and can be fired like an
ordinary rifle, either from the shoulder or the hip. It was invented by John M. Browning
(1855–1926), an American firearms designer.
a high-speed telegrapher’s key that makes repeated dots or dashes automatically and
saves motion of the operator’s hand.
high rounded toes on shoes with thick soles.
a short rifle used in the cavalry.
having a military headpiece or helmet on.
cat’s pajamas; cat’s meow; someone or something wonderful or remarkable.
a town of northern France on the Marne River, east-northeast of Paris. It was the
site of the second Battle of the Marne (June 3–4, 1918), which ended the last major
German offensive in World War I.
an infectious disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water.
Commander in Chief.
Clydesdale; one of a Scottish breed of strong, hardy draft horses, having a feathering
of long hairs along the backs of the legs, so called because they were bred in the
valley of the Clyde in Scotland.
go to bed; sleep.
canned corned beef hash.
a removable metal covering for an engine, especially an aircraft engine.
a mess tin or oval pot often used in camp for cooking or boiling (as tea).
Doko e yuku!:
(Japanese) Where are you going!
(in fortification) openings, as a loophole through which missiles may be discharged.
prepared positions for weapons or military equipment.
a woman dancer who performs solo, nude or nearly nude, using fans for covering.
a narrow, movable platform or ramp forming a bridge by which to board or leave a ship.
(1162?–1227) Mongol conqueror who founded the largest land empire in history and whose
armies, known for their use of terror, conquered many territories and slaughtered
the populations of entire cities.
government men; agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
a British coin worth twenty-one shillings (a shilling is one-twentieth of a pound).
the upper edge of the side of a boat. Originally a gunwale was a platform where guns
were mounted, and was designed to accommodate the additional stresses imposed by the
artillery being used.
Hell to Halifax:
a variation of the phrase “from here to Halifax,” meaning everywhere, in all places
no matter how far from here. “Halifax” is a county in eastern Canada, on the Atlantic
cannons that have comparatively short barrels, used especially for firing shells at
a high angle of elevation for a short range, as for reaching a target behind cover
or in a trench.
a long river in China flowing through Shanghai. It is a major navigational route,
lined with wharves, warehouses and industrial plants, and provides access to Shanghai
for oceangoing vessels.
written symbols that represent an idea or object directly, rather than by particular
words or speech sounds, as Chinese or Japanese characters.
a fighter biplane built by Kawasaki, a Japanese aircraft manufacturer founded in 1918.
The first prototype flew in 1932; 380 of these planes were built.
a hand-operated device used to transmit Morse code messages.
a member of the US Marine Corps. The phrase comes from the early days of the Marine
Corps when enlisted men were given strips of leather to wear around their necks. The
popular concept was that the leather protected the neck from a saber slash, though
it was actually used to keep the Marines from slouching in uniform by forcing them
to keep their heads up.
the official headquarters of a diplomatic minister.
large open flat-bottomed barges, used in loading and unloading ships offshore or in
transporting goods for short distances in shallow waters.
unimposing or shabby.
armed ships of a national navy usually carrying between twenty and one hundred and
Mexican peso; in 1732 it was introduced as a trade coin with China and was so popular
that China became one of its principal consumers. Mexico minted and exported pesos
to China until 1949. It was issued as both coins and paper money.
the emperor of Japan; a title no longer used.
Mon o akero!:
(Japanese) Open the gate!
also Native City; deep in the center of Peking, far from the ordinary people, was
the Forbidden City, where the Emperor resided and carried out the affairs of state.
It was spread out over a large area with audience halls, libraries and theaters, all
reserved solely for the emperor. Surrounding this area was the Imperial City, with
granaries, temples, residences for high officials and workshops of artisans who provided
services and goods for the imperial household. Circling that was the Tartar City,
occupied by the military men; and to the south was the Native City, where the Chinese
resided. Each of these cities within cities had its own walls, which were clearly
organized and defined the status of its residents.
Nicaragua; from 1927 until 1933 there was guerrilla warfare against the Nicaraguan
government and the US Marines that were sent to defend US interests.
the native Japanese name for Japan.
(military) olive drab.
a common nickname for the flag of the US, bestowed by William Driver (1803–1886),
an early nineteenth-century American sea captain. Given the flag as a gift, he hung
it from his ship’s mast and hailed it as “Old Glory” when he left harbor for a trip
around the world (1831–1832) as commander of a whaling vessel. Old Glory served as
the ship’s official flag throughout the voyage.
Post Command; military installation where the command personnel are located.
now Beijing, China.
a pair of glasses held on the face by a spring that grips the nose.
pipe down for chow:
on sailing ships, a pipe (whistlelike device) was used to communicate orders via
different arrangements of notes. “Pipe down for chow” was the signal used to announce
US Naval and Marine prison located in Maine and occupied from 1908 until 1974.
powder, took a:
made a speedy departure; ran away.
a radio message; a radiogram.
cheap, strong whiskey.
Japan; the characters that make up Japan’s name mean “the sun’s origin,” which is
why Japan is sometimes identified as the “Land of the Rising Sun.” It is also the
military flag of Japan and was used as the ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and
the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army until the end of World War II.
the female narrator of
The Arabian Nights,
who during one thousand and one adventurous nights saved her life by entertaining
her husband, the king, with stories.
scuppers are under:
when a ship is too heavily loaded that its scuppers (openings in the side of a ship
at deck level that allow water to run off) are under water. Used figuratively.
a device, such as a conical canvas bag, that is thrown overboard and dragged behind
a ship to control its speed or heading.
city of eastern China at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and the largest city in the
country. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1842 and quickly prospered.
France, Great Britain and the United States all held large concessions (rights to
use land granted by a government) in the city until the early twentieth century.
the dialect spoken in Shantung, a peninsula in east China extending into the Yellow
also known as
north central province neighboring Shan Province.
shin the chains:
leave the ship without permission.
(of an aircraft when excessively banked) to slide sideways, toward the center of the
curve described in turning.
to leave a place; part company. From the nautical phrase “to slip cable” which means
to let go of the anchor cable (let it slip off the ship) when a quick departure is
needed and time cannot be spared to raise the anchor.
an upright bar, post or frame forming a support or barrier.
a woman’s pyramid-shaped coat with a full flared back and usually raglan sleeves (sleeves
extending to the collar of a garment instead of ending at the shoulder), first popularized
in the 1930s.
(Japanese) a lieutenant.
a strong drink, especially cheap whisky.
three sheets to the wind:
in a disordered state caused by drinking; intoxicated. This expression is generally
thought to refer to the sheet (a rope or chain) that holds one or both lower corners
of a sail. If the sheet is allowed to go slack in the wind, the sail flaps about and
the boat is tossed about much as a drunk staggers. Having three sheets loose would
presumably make the situation all the worse.
seaport located southeast of Peking; China’s third largest city and major transportation
and trading center. Tientsin was a “Treaty Port,” a generic term used to denote Chinese
cities open to foreign residence and trade, usually the result of a treaty.
an improvised hand grenade, made by filling tin cans with bits of iron and a high
explosive in which a fuse cord was inserted. The cord was lighted and the can with
the sputtering fuse was thrown into the enemy lines.
among people of the theater, a term for
the rear seating compartment of an automobile.
a period or turn of duty.
in motion; underway.
United States Marine Corps.
United States Navy.
United States Ship.
“white man’s burden”:
from a poem written by Rudyard Kipling originally published in 1899 with regard to
the US conquest of the Philippines and other former Spanish colonies. Subject to different
interpretations, it was latched onto by imperialists to justify colonialism as a noble
enterprise. Much of Kipling’s other writings suggested that he genuinely believed
in the benevolent role that the introduction of Western ideas could play in lifting
non-Western peoples out of “poverty and ignorance.”