Warren Murphy: An Old Fashioned War

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Warren Murphy An Old Fashioned War
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    An Old Fashioned War
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    Детективная фантастика / на английском языке
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Something strange was happening - and only Chuin knew what it was. In America, the Indian tribes had united and were delivering crushing blows to the U.S. Army. In the Middle East, the Arabs had regained their martial mastery and were demolishing all who resisted them. In Mongolia, scattered tribesman had joined together for the first time since Genghis Khan to form a new Golden Horde poised to ravish all the earth. Something strange was obviously happening all over the globe. Remo had no idea what it was, even as he desperately tried to fight it. Chiun knew but wasn't saying anything, as he got ready to cut a deal and split the world with the fiendish for behind it all. With Remo and Chiun divided, the whole world was wide open for conquest, and an ancient evil was spawning modern terror. Humanity's greatest enemy was now in the driver's seat - and its ultimate nightmare was coming true....

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Destroyer 68: An Old Fashioned War

By Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir

Chapter 1

He was going to die. If he stayed in Chicago one more day, he knew he would go to the top of one of the taller buildings and throw himself off; or maybe look into the barrel of the .45-caliber pistol his brother had brought home from Vietnam and test-fire it into his own forehead. He thought of trains, but trains might leave him only mangled. Trains weren't a sure thing. Trains were fickle as fate, and Bill Buffalo knew many poems about fate. He thought of fate as a person, a god, a muse, a force personified in cadences as strange to the English language as his native Ojupa language, now officially declared a dead tongue of historical interest alone. He was an Ojupa brave. He was born to hunt. To run. To dance around fires at night, and look into his own soul through the animals of the American plains.

The only animals in his tenement flat were mice, possibly rats, and of course roaches. And the only thing he wanted to dance about was death, his own.

With a slow deliberate motion, he put the clip of .45-caliber slugs into the automatic and looked down the barrel of the gun. What a last vision, he thought. A white man's tool.

"What are you doing in there?" called his landlady. She always called out when his door was shut.

"I'm going to blow my brains out," yelled Bill Buffalo.

"All right, but don't damage the wallpaper," she replied.

"I can't promise that," said Bill Buffalo.

"Why not?" asked the landlady, pushing open the door.

"Because I'll be dead. The dead don't clean up after themselves," said Bill Buffalo.

"Oh my-" said the landlady, seeing the young student sitting in his shorts at the edge of the brand-new bed, a large pistol pointed at his head, and his thumb about to pull the trigger. Immediately she understood the danger. If he missed, the slug would go directly into the new rose-patterned wallpaper behind him. It was from a remnants sale and there was no way she could replace it. Put a hole in the paper, and she would either have to cover it with some picture, or if that failed, buy entirely new paper for the wall and maybe the whole room.

"Don't shoot," she cried. "You've got so much to live for."

"What?" asked Bill Buffalo.

"Lots of things," she said. Her name was Tracto. Because of her bulk people called her Tractor, but never to her face.


"Me," she said. She tried to smile at him lasciviously. When she first rented to him she had been afraid of rape. She would watch him walk down the hall, his beautifully muscled body clad in just a pair of shorts, and she would lock her door so that he couldn't walk in and take her forcibly. Then she stopped locking her door and then started leaving it ajar and going to sleep half-nude. And still her fears weren't realized. Now she told herself she could save the handsome young Indian with her body. If it was to save a life, it would not be a sin.

"What do you mean, you?" said Bill Buffalo.

"I would give my body to save your life," said Angela Tracto.

"I don't need body organs. I don't want body organs. I want to die."

"I meant sexually," said Angela Tracto, lowering her eyes.

She saw his thumb tighten on the trigger and his eyes go wide, waiting for the slug.

"And there are other things," she cried.


"Don't you want to say good-bye to your friends back in Ojupa land?"

"There is no Ojupa land, only the reservation."

"But you do have friends."

"I have friends," said Bill Buffalo sadly. "I have Indian friends and I have white friends. And I have no friends. Do you know what you get for studying three years of nothing but classical Greek literature?"

"A degree?"

"You get crazy. I don't know whether I'm an Indian or a white man. Dammit, I think more like an ancient Greek than I do an Ojupa or an American white. I'm nothing, and the place for nothing is death."

"Something must have brought this on," said Angela Tracto. If she could get him to turn around, then maybe the bullet would hit a window. She had a renter's policy from a mail-order catalog. The windows were insured. The wallpaper was not. Also insured were doors, chandeliers, and moats that had to be redredged in case of siege. Wallpaper, floors, and fire damage were not. But that was all right. What could one expect for pennies a month? If the Phrygians ever raided South Chicago, Angela Tracto would be rich.

"My brother died. He got drunk and he drove a tractor into a ditch and it turned over on him. It crushed him. And I didn't go to the funeral."

"Well, there's nothing you can do for the dead. Do you want to turn around a bit?"

"It's not his death that made me sad. It's not that I did not go to the funeral that made me sad. What made me realize I was dead was when my father chanted the death dirge over the telephone, and do you know what I did?"

"You asked him if the call was collect?"

"I didn't know Ojupa from Greek or Latin. I didn't know it. I didn't know the words for 'mother' or 'father' or 'earth' or 'good-bye.' I had forgotten the words. And I answered my own father with a quote from Sophocles."

Bill Buffalo took a very deep breath and then shut his eyes because he had decided finally he did not want to see the bullet.

"You can learn to be Indian again. Don't pull the trigger. You can learn again."

"It's too late."

"How did you learn the first time?"

"The first time I didn't have all these other languages swimming around in my head. The first time I didn't dream in Greek or Latin. The first time all I knew was Ojupa."

"You can do it again. Lots have done it. I've had many young men who went to the big university and felt just the way you do, and when they returned to their home countries, everything was fine. Their problem was they were here. Like you. Just get up and face another direction and you'll feel better. Try it." Bill Buffalo looked at the big barrel. He was sure he wouldn't feel a thing, and that was what he was after: not feeling. On the other hand, why,not get up and see if he felt better?

He lowered the gun. Ms. Tracto must have been very happy at that because a big grin spread over her face. That was strange. He never thought she cared about anything but the rent or possibly getting him into her bedroom, the door of which always seemed to be open at night.

"There, see. Don't that feel better?"

"Feels pretty much like before," said Bill Buffalo.

"That's because you're not home. Go home. Go back to the reservation. You'll see."

"I don't belong there."

"That's how you feel now. Not how you'll feel when you're there. Trust me. I know."

It was a lie, of course, but a successful wallpapersaving lie. What Angela Tracto didn't know was that she was sending back to Ojupa, Oklahoma, the man whose birth all mankind would regret and who might possibly bring about the end of the world.

If she had been told that a scourge as old as the first raising of one brother's hand against another was going to reappear, she would have said so long as it didn't reappear on her rose wallpaper that was all right with her. But then, she didn't know what the handsome young man with the strong cheekbones had studied. She didn't know the ancient texts and she didn't know how Greek would combine with Ojupa one night around a fire, when this young man, this walking H-bomb, returned to Oklahoma to be reunited with his people.

All she knew was that her rose wallpaper was safe. "I never thought you knew that much about human behavior," said Bill Buffalo, putting down the gun. "I never figured you for that."

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