The beginnings of wars are often nice. People are enthusiastic and gentlemanly. They play by the rules and they make lots of beginner mistakes. This is the first battle of this war and we are going to take full advantage of it.
After our public embrace we find out from our allies who the bigwigs in the surrounding federal army are, and by monitoring radio transmissions we soon find out where they are and when they are planning on moving into the city. It’s the traditional attack at dawn.
The sky is just turning a deep blue on the eastern side as Chin and I move out from the city. Al stays behind to provide a communications link and mind Gunther and Johann. Their vital signs are improving steadily but they are still sleeping.
It’s been a long day but we’ve had worse. Fifty-two hours of continuous action is my record. That was on Rigel in my hell-raising days before I met Chin. I fought and partied for three days straight, then spent an eternity recovering—somewhere along the line I’d broken two ribs. But not this time; if our plan goes well we’ll be resting by noon.
The enemy has positioned its headquarters for convenience: 20 kilometers from city center in a commercial district of an eastern suburb near a main artery headed for the city. The few enemy units defending it defend the road approaches, but our power armor does just fine moving through field, swamp, and forest.
This morning we play Capture the General. If we had a supply base behind us and planetary media people in front of us, we’d play MechWarriors and trash the armored vehicles headed for the city from front to back. The media would record our invincibility and there’d be terror across the planet. But we have only a few hours of fight, so we’re directing our terror to a target that can relieve this situation more directly.
We move to a deeply wooded river canyon that parallels the main artery. The river is low. It wanders over a wide bed of gravel. It’s perfect. We can sprint over the gravel and our sounds will be masked by the river’s rushing and tumbling. We slip by the first lines of scouts easily.
Six clicks later the river becomes a lake and the canyon walls turn to steep, bare rubble. There is a dam up ahead and the main road is just above us in the same canyon. We cut across the road and climb to the canyon rim just as a column of tanks lumbers west headed for city center.
“Mighty cocky driving through a narrow canyon without scouts on the rim,” I say.
“Frank, we don’
In Roger’s words, “More than most people, I've ‘been there and done that.’ And while I was doing it, I was taking notes.”
Roger is a careful observer of the human condition, technology, and history, and this is what he writes about. He was a soldier in Vietnam in the sixties, an engineering student at MIT in the seventies, and a personal-computer pioneer in the eighties. He has visited twenty countries and worked in five.
He paid his dues, but he paid them in interesting ways.
• He never drove big rigs, but he drove the creation of the PC-LAN industry by working for Novell as it created that industry.
• He was never a waiter, but he served people as a computer store owner.
• He never did time, but he did talk personally to J. Edgar Hoover.
Other Fun Facts about Roger
• Helped engineer the Space Shuttle
• Climbed 4,000 meter peaks in the Colorado Rockies and bicycled from Boston to Minnesota
• Is a nephew of Margaret Bourke-White, photographer for Life magazine
• Has a commercial pilot's license with an IFR rating• Was one of the first hundred people to play Dungeons and Dragons