Warren Murphy: Unite and Conquer

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  • Название:
    Unite and Conquer
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Start the Revolution Without Them Not that things were so hot before, but when a huge earthquake guts Mexico, nobody wants to hang around, especially with all sorts of demonic doings by the barbaric gods of old Mexico, released from hell when the earth ruptured. Not satisfied with great takeout, the ancient Aztecs are hungry for the lifeblood of the entire continent. It's up to Remo and Chiun to go south of the border and root out the inhuman mind who is uniting downtrodden Indian tribes into a ferocious guerrilla army and leading them into a new dark age of bloodlust and superstition. Is an army of deathless demons too powerful for even the implacable avatar of Shiva the Destroyer? It's good versus god, with the human race helpless trophies for the victor.

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Destroyer 102: Unite and Conquer

By Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir

PROLOGUE

The Great Mexico City Earthquake was destined to be great because it shook more than Mexico City.

When it started, it shook the earth, of course. The Valley of Mexico rattled like dice in a stone cup. The seismic vibrations reached out to all of Mexico.

The ground quivered as far north as the Rio Grande. It touched the jungled Guatemalan frontier. The jungles of Cancun, Acapulco and the sandy curve of the Gulf of Tehuantepec were each stirred in turn.

No corner of Mexico was untouched, new or old. The weathered pyramids of Chichen Itza made plaintive grinding noises in sympathy with the collapse of distant skyscrapers. Monte Alban trembled. Yucatan shivered. Teotihuacan, a ruin so old no living being knew by name the race that built it, sank a quarter-inch into the unsettled soil.

To the south in the Lacandon forest of Chiapas, the shaggy trees swayed as if the very earth was stirring to new life. Stirred dust arose from the old Maya ruins at Panenque and Copan.

In that jungle the earthquake that was shaking Mexico shook the man who had shaken Mexico in turn.

Subcomandante Verapaz crept through the jungle in his brown polyester fatigues, the trademark red paisley bandana tied tight around his neck, his head all but enveloped by a black woolen ski mask. His smoldering pipe jutted from a small ragged hole snipped in the mask just below his obscured nose.

When the mahogany trees all around began to groan in wordless complaint, he lifted his hand to call a halt.

"Wait!" he said in the tongue of the Maya.

Behind him his well-trained Juarezistas froze.

Kneeling, he doused his pipe, which was as much a trademark as his wool ski mask. His eyes, green as the quetzal bird, peered through the heavy forest. His ears strained to hear through the light wool muffling his skull.

The Lacandon forest, home to the Maya and the Mixtec, was in turmoil. A storm seemed to shake it. But there was no storm. It was a cool March day, and utterly windless. But the trees shook as if lashed by an unfelt wind.

The soft soil beneath his black combat boots seemed like cornmeal settling in a gourd.

"Noq!" he barked, using the Mayan word for earthquake. "Kneel and wait it out."

His Juarezistas obeyed. They were brave men. Boys, really. Thin as rails and identically clad in brown polyester with black ski masks. Only their lack of a pipe set them apart from their subcommander. That and their dark brown mestizo eyes. None were criollo-white. Or even mestizo.

What culture had birthed Subcomandante Verapaz was unknown even to his Juarezistas. Many were the speculations. The legend was but two years old and already it had grown to mythic proportions.

Some said he was a fallen Jesuit priest. A name was even floated in the media. Others averred that he was the disgraced son of one of the plantation owners who oppressed the Maya. Some called him American, Cuban, Guatemalan-even a Maoist Sendero chased out of the Peruvian highlands. All manner of identities except indio.

With his green eyes, he could not be an Indian.

It was said that Subcomandante Verapaz was a god to the Maya Indians. That they followed him blindly.

As the earth moaned in its mute agony, Verapaz dropped to one knee, clutching his AK-47, his green eyes narrowing.

Far, far to the north, a wisp of dun smoke showed on the horizon. It grew ugly and began spreading outward like a dirty brown mushroom cloud.

"Look," he said.

His Juarezistas began to scale trees even though this was dangerous to do with the federal army so near. They climbed the better to see the plume of smoke on the far horizon.

It was not smoke of afire, they understood very quickly. It was too vast, too impenetrable and too brown. It could only be Smoking Mountain, the volcano the Aztecs of the north called Popocateped, belching up its ashy innards. Eruptions had happened before.

But never with such vehemence that the result could be seen in the poor lower corner of Mexico.

"Popo!" a Maya cried. "It is Popo!"

"There is no fire," another called down.

Verapaz sucked on his pipe. "Not now. Not yet. But perhaps the fire will come."

"What does it mean, Lord Verapaz?"

"It means," said Subcomandante Verapaz, "that Mexico City itself twists and writhes in her deserved torments. The time has come. We will leave the jungles now. The jungle is behind us. From this day forward, our unassailable goal is nothing less and nothing more than the capital itself."

And with their muttering growing fainter, the Juarezistas dropped from the trees and shook with an anticipation that had nothing to do with the earth and its convulsions.

They knew they had been transformed from ragtag rebels who defended their hovels and cornfields to instruments of true civil war.

Chapter 1

In Kigali it seemed like a joke.

Supreme Warlord Mahout Feroze Anin had come to the Rwandan capital looking for refuge from the war-torn Horn of Africa nation of Stomique, which he had bled dry until even the naive and credulous United Nations stopped feeding it. That was what he told the international press when he resurfaced in Kigali.

"I am a revolutionary no more. I seek only peace." And since he smiled with all of his dazzling ivory teeth and did not snarl his words, the bald lies were taken down and printed the world over as truth.

That was on day one of his exile.

On day five, he had dinner with a minor Rwandan general.

"We can own this country inside of two months," he told the general in a low conspiratorial tone. His gold-tipped swagger stick leaned against his chair. A bluish diamond flashed on a twenty-five-carat gold ring setting. "You have the soldiers. I have the military genius. Together..." He spread his hands and let the thought trail off into implication.

The minor general looked interested. But the words that emerged from his generous mouth belied his facial expression.

"I have the soldiers, oui. But your military genius has bankrupted Stomique. It is a stinking corpse rotting in the sun. Even if one were to discover oil under the capital, no one would bother with it."

"I have money, mon general. "

"And I have it on excellent authority that you crossed the border on foot, with nothing more than your billfold and swagger stick, mon ami."

They spoke liquid French, the language of the educated of postcolonial West Africa.

"I have a cache of treasure," whispered Anin.

"Where?"

"That is for me to know."

"It is said your wealth was left behind in Nogongog, where it now languishes."

"No one knows where it is."

"As I said, languishes." The minor general continued carving up his antelope steak. The red juices ran. Seeing this, he took up his coffee spoon and began sipping the blood as if it were a tepid consomme.

The waiter hovered about, replenishing the wineglasses. He was white. This was the finest French restaurant in Kigali, but former Supreme Warlord Mahout Feroze Anin had no eye for mere waiters. Not when he was a warlord in search of an army of revolution.

"Once I have a nation," Anin confided, "it is only necessary to declare war on Stomique, invade, and my wealth will be recovered. Which I of course will share with my very closest allies."

"I have no interest in revolution," the minor general said as he masticated a fat wedge of antelope. "I am an African patriot."

"Then why did you agree to meet with me?" Anin sputtered.

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