The Ahavah X: The Battle of Baikonur (part 2)

“Align my way, align my heart; help me find my way through these parts. And the hour is getting late.”
— Heartless Bastards, “Down in the Canyon”

Read previous chapters here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Part 9


As we expected to happen, we began to run out of ammunition about three-quarters of an hour into our assault on the cosmodrome. Balga and his lieutenants had of course planned for this eventuality, which accounted for our loadout of bludgeoning and stabbing weapons. As the gunfire from our end started to peter out like a bag of popcorn nearly-fully popped, I noted that only one of the firing positions defending the cosmodrome remained actively engaged with our force of Diezel Uldar.

Balga commanded that our remaining fire be directed at this last defensive position. So we did so, and used our remaining explosive devices to silence the last guns on the enemy’s side. I couldn’t believe that we had actually done it, and with only a handful of casualties on our side.

As I looked around at our forces arrayed behind the armored vehicles, I noted that there were maybe six-to-eight of our men dead, and a handful more wounded. I estimated we had killed about 20 on their side, at least in this inner defense perimeter. The question remained as to how many more were inside to defend the interior of the structure, and what kinds of weapons they had.

Just as those thoughts were running through my mind, Sanzhar approached our group, of which there were ten left unharmed, and told us that we would be entering the building from the south.

“Prepare your weapons,” he barked at us. “We are going inside the building. Be ready for more resistance.” Sanzhar was wild-eyed, blood-spattered though unharmed, and seemed to have entered a different plane of consciousness. His actions and demeanor indicated a man possessed, focused solely on continuing the assault and succeeding at all cost. I had to admit, it inspired me to follow him. I also did not want to die.

I realized as Sanzhar shouted orders at us that I had not put a lot of effort into my selection of a weapon beyond my pistol, which was now emptied of ammunition. I had selected a large wrench, probably just over a half-meter in length, and was carrying it with a make-shift sling on my back. I swung it off and placed it in my hands, feeling its heft and hoping I did not have to use it.

As we made our way through the entrance of the building in front of us, I managed to position myself near the rear of the assault train. Sanzhar was second, with our point-man one of the few left with bullets in his gun. Sanzhar’s deputy brought up the rear, mainly to prod us along, I assumed.


At first, our progress into the darkened building was slow. We moved cautiously and I noted that we were in some sort of office-like complex. Cubicles filled a large space in front of us, as though this was where the administrative personnel of the spaceport did their business. Halfway through the large space, as we progressed toward another door in the rear, my heart began to slow some, as I became convinced that we might face little resistance inside the structure.

Just then, three men popped up from behind a cubicle not 10 meters from us, and popped a short volley of rounds directly at us. The man immediately to my rear grunted and went down as I cowered behind a cubicle wall, attempting to hide myself. I watched in fear as the wounded man crawled a short distance away, and then abruptly stopped, a hideous snoring sound emitting from him as he tried to breathe.

While I was focused on my fallen comrade, and staying alive, I heard Sanzhar shout, “They’re out of ammo. Forward!” This drew my gaze, and I watched as Sanzhar and the man called Leo charged the three men, swinging their weapons wildly. Sanzhar cut into the neck of one with his large blade, which made a terrible chunking sound. Blood splattered Sanzhar’s face as he hacked at the man’s neck until the man fell.

Leo, meanwhile, thrust a large pole spear at his target, running through the man’s gut. The wounded soldier was driven back into an office chair, where he clumsily sat while he attempted to grasp the spear with both of his hands. It was as though he thought he could remove it from his belly.

Leo accommodated him, pulled the spear free, and thrust it again… this time savagely into the man’s chest. The dying man slid off the chair, onto the floor. By this time, we were all up and moving forward again. Sanzhar pointed at the third man who had attacked us, who was attempting to run toward the exit door at the far end the room. “Stop him!” he shouted at no one and all of us. I froze, while the man in front of me leapt over a chair and caught the man from behind with his axe.

He swung the axe over his head with both hands, dropping it squarely onto the man’s skull from behind him like a piece of firewood. The man’s head cleaved in half, the axe buried inside it, and he fell. As I stared in horror, our fighter — whose name was Ussain — pulled his axe from the man’s skull, which was split nearly to his neck. Gray matter spilled out, and I vomited then and there.


“Are you ready, Moshe?” Sanzhar asked me, as I wretched and tears flowed involuntarily from my eyes. I wiped by mouth and nodded wordlessly. “Let’s move forward,” Sanzhar commanded us.

We made our way through the warren of cubicles, through a separate door, and into a long hallway. Our point-man went slowly through the doorway, which opened to stairs which led down to a large, cavernous area that appeared to be a massive storage bay. We hesitated at the entrance of the bay, I presumed to determine if security forces awaited us inside. Sanzhar and the point whispered to one another briefly, then Sanzhar motioned us all ahead to enter the room.

“There is a door across the bay,” he stated. “Head for it and stack on it.” We made our way quickly across the large open bay. I felt sure at any moment we would be opened up on by security forces, but no one shot at us. We finally arrived at the door and stacked on it, as Sanzhar had commanded. I was again in the rear of the train, where I hoped to stay and not have to use my weapon.

Sanzhar motioned at the point man with a nod, and the man tried the handle slowly. It was locked. Sanzhar looked back at us, and his eyes locked on my wrench. “Moshe, here,” he ordered me. I made my way to the front of the train. “Remove the door handle,” he said to me.

I planted my feet, took a deep breath, and swung the wrench down at the handle. The force of impact jarred my arms up to my shoulders. “Again,” Sanzhar said. I swung the wrench a second time, which sheared the handle away. The door swung open slowly at first, until the point-man kicked it fully open and the train entered the room.

I let them all pass me, before I stepped in last. Before me was a group of cowering individuals, numbering about 30. They offered no resistance, and thankfully our men did not attack them. One stood up, and said in English, “We surrender.” He was an American, as far as I could tell. I only had a second to think about it, though, because standing next to him, incredibly, was my sister.

I rushed forward, gasping out loud, “Yara!”

“Moshe?” she said, a look of shock, horror, and disbelief on her face. I embraced her and she hugged me back, though hesitantly. “My God, what are you doing to us?” she asked, as she pulled away.

“Well, Moshe, it looks like your sister was here after all,” Sanzhar said. “Let’s take her to Balga.”

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1 year ago

Uh oh, the show down between brother and sister on completely separate ideological sides, coupled with their interactions with important relationships in their camp . . . is about to begin! Sucks though that the took the space port, but Moshe and Yara will throw a wrench into that . . . pun intended.

Great installment, but man you just threw in about 3 different outcomes if not more!

1 year ago

1. I am compelled to continue following this series.
2. I can’t believe the cosmodrome fell…
3. Are you positive the cosmodrome didn’t have a last ditch QRF with stacked mags?? I mean really sure? 😀

1 year ago
Reply to  Frumentarius

Ambiguity man . . . the hallmark of a true master.

Susan Hannigan
Susan Hannigan
1 year ago

Thank you, Fru! Looking forward to the next one!

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