After the end of World War III, Dangatar Kopekov arranged for the various political leaders and similar figures within the newly founded “Timurid Empire” to organize the vast region, which occurred in Ashgabat, the new capital. This Southern Capital gave the leadership close access to Iran and the Caspian, two key routes for Tamerlan, (as their demonym became), resources.
Dangatar Kopekov, hero of the war, appointed himself Emir, head of state. However, he didn’t want full control over such a vast space, wisely figuring that he was not competent to rule such a state. Kopekov felt entirely inadequate as far as controlling the internal affairs of such a large nation, though he wanted some grip of power, which was granted to him in their new constitution. The Emir would be in full control of the armed forces and a veto on most matters of internal affairs.
Loosely modeled after the policies of the multi-ethnic Ottomans, the various ethnic groups would each have an elected Mirza, or governor, who would rule over a designated territory, often corresponding with the former SSR. The Mirza’s would be elected on a rotating basis every six years, with a maximum 18 years in office. While Kopekov was not a democratic figure by a long shot, he understood that to receive initial IMF loans he needed for the sake of nation building, he would need some semblance of democracy. Moreover, he wanted to satiate pro-nationalist democratic forces, especially in Kyrgyzstan and the Iranic Tajikistan.
The Emir would then choose one of the Mirzas to be Chancellor, who would then form a national government. When the Emir died, the Mirza would vote to choose a new Emir from either themselves or the military high command. Moreover, each Mirza would choose their own cabinet to help govern their land. On a smaller scale, each Oblast within a Mirza would elect a local parliament of 21 members (elected tri-annually) who would choose a Chancellor of their own.
Only those with at least one year of proven military or government service could vote. This ensured that ethnic demagogues could be checked, at least in Kopekov’s mind. Kopkeov also believed that voting had to be earned, and feared the tyranny of the majority. While many would decry the regime as undemocratic, considering the lack of history that democracy had, in the region, it was definitely a step forward. Moreover, sectarian and ethnic violence was practically non-existent, a surprise given Timurids’ northern neighbors. Many would credit this to the new states COmmunonationalistic crime policies.
Regional Ethnic Mirza-modeled after Ottoman State.
Dungan People's Mirza
Ashgabat Capital Zone (multi-ethnic)
Russian Minorities Mirza (primarily in ex-RSFR Territory and small parts of Northern Kazakhstan)
Uighur Minority Mirza.
After elections in 1993, Kopekov chose Uzbek pro-democracy leader Abdurahim Polat, who had been elected Mirza in the first elections. Polat had favored a fully democratic Uzbekistan separate from the other ethnic groups of the country, but relished the chance to wield greater influence when given to him by Kopekov. Especially because he knew he would enforce a much more democratic regime than the second option, one Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kopekov eliminated one of the greatest threats to Tamerlan Unity by giving him power within the system, where he could work within it instead of causing trouble. Head Councilman Nursultan Nazarbayev, previously prime minister of Kazakhstan under the Soviets, vied for the position as well, but in a compromise was made a dual Energy (important given their abundant natural resources) and trade minister, preventing a potential civil war. A Kazakh would also be put in charge of the army. Tajik Emomali Sobirzoda would be placed in charge of the Air Force. Kyrgyz Social Democratic Party leader Almazbek Atambayev rounded off things with his role as Minister of Economics and Education. Atambayev would be in charge of much of the "Tamerlan New Deal" to rebuild post-war. To satisfy the more autocratic Nazarbayev and Kopekov, Polat agreed not to expand the franchise during his Chancellorship, keeping the main leaders of the government in charge. Lastly, Islam Karimov, who had been plotting against Polat in Uzbekistan, would be exiled.
Abdurahim Polat, “The Tamerlan Bismarck”
In order to unify the new federation, the ancient Timurid Flag was adopted. In addition, the government “Resurrected” the ancient language of Chagatai, an arcane ancestor to both Uzbek and Uyghur. Children would be taught Chagatai in school, and over time the goal was to make it the primary language of government and a lingua franca between the groups. However, other languages would be recognized and employed within the governing areas of the respective Mirza. Interestingly, the adaptation of Chagatai lead to cries within certain groups demanding that Xinjiang enter the empire, as a heightened sense came that they were their ethnic brethren, a fact which would become important later on.
Moreover a huge New Sunni Mosque was built in the Ashgabat, reminiscent of the lavish construction of the Middle Ages, and meant to link back to ancient Timurid Empires and legitimize the rule of the Empire. While religious freedom was placed in the constitution, “Sunni Islam with Central Asian Characteristics” (meaning more liberalized relative to its Saudi forms) was the prevailing religion.
Meanwhile, per Nazarbayev’s and the Kazakh constituency’s wishes, Almaty would be home to the Tamerlan stock exchange and financial market, helping bring the backwater city to prosperity and distribute power outside of the capital, helping to make the empire seem like less like the “Greater Uzbekistan” many saw it to be, (thanks to the fact that the main leaders of the revolution were Uzbek and that Chagatai was closest to Uzbek). The incredible infrastructure projects the city received also helped. These developments culminated with Astana hosting the Winter Olympics in 1998.
Nazarbayev with the Mayor of Astana
The Timurids had the huge advantage over other new Post-Soviet states in its vast mineral wealth. Huge natural gas, oil, coal, uranium, gold silver, etc. could make the country very wealthy, if it could survive Dutch disease, which thanks to good leadership, it seemed to be avoiding. These industries would initially be placed under government control (Oil, Natural Gas, Uranium, and Steel (and some minor industries) would be under federal control, with the rest (including coal, copper, manganese, etc.) under local Mirza control, but gradually privatized to a degree, though sale to foreign firms would still be banned. Privatization would be slow, however, due to fear of the potential of new oligarchs taking hold of much of the country’s wealth. Certain industries, however, immediately “hit the chopping block”- including telecoms, waste disposal, agriculture, etc. Funds from these resources would be used primarily to build schools and infrastructure, to help industrialize the region. The regime did work to establish property rights and copyright within the empire, along with security, which would be the first step to establishing a more liberal regime. The Timurids also fostered tourism by establishing visa-free travel with many states. High oil revenues also allowed for low tax rates, especially for the region, which helped foster business growth. They also paid for a “cradle to grave” welfare state which included an AmCare style health system. It also brought “bread and circuses” to the masses to keep many of their citizens content and away from extreme ethnic tensions. These included a world-class Tennis federation that would go toe to toe with the US, France, etc. [OTL Nazarbayev is obsessed with Tennis]. The various ethnic cultural traditions would also be celebrated with the creation of the world nomad games, based out of Dushanbe, and supported by oil revenues. The welfare system and culturallly unifying symbols helped bring the sprawling empire together. Outside of these policies, a lot of freedom was given to the respective Mirza, a natural result of Polat’s Chancellorship. Federalism would help quell rebellion, but this had to be undergirded by a growing economy which contented the populace.
Later in 1997, Minister Nazarbayev negotiated a deal with Shirley Temple Black, Ted Bundy’s ambassador to the Timurids, to build the world's most advanced high-speed rail system using American locomotives and engineers, in return for cheap steel. The Timurids also asked for a larger outlay of Student Visas, in return for building their entire Airline Fleet around Boeing planes. Lastly, Enron gained an exclusive permit to drill oil in certain areas, provided it pay higher taxes, the only private entity granted this exemption. Mrs. Black, who knew about Bundy’s special warmth towards Boeing and especially Enron, agreed. Lastly, Polat agreed to purchase American aircraft and military equipment.
America’s voice in Central Asia
An American built high-speed rail line
However, the Timurids would agree to sell most of their resources to the highest bidder. For example, they agreed to sell much of their post-soviet space equipment to Israel and rent their launch pads, including the famous Baikonur Cosmodrome, to India. The latter being important for the transition period before India finished with building a spaceport of their own in Madras.
However, Kobekov was primarily focused on a “Turanistic” foreign policy. They saw foreign policy as a way to establish their nation, a la Bismarck, and viewed first and foremost in the early days, for cooperation with their ethnic brethren and fellow Central Asian-originating peoples. This view was supported by Nazarbayev. It resulted in a common market and defense alliance with Azerbaijan under Minister Elchibey. Kopekov also visited Turkey and extended trade relations with his personal touch, leading to the Timurids becoming the largest Turkish importer of apricots. Nazarbayev traveled to the Uralic language speaking Hungary and the Turkic Tannu Tuva, reducing trade barriers and promoting mutual beneficial trade infrastructure through roads and direct flights from Budapest to Tashkent, Bishkek, Astana, Almaty, and Ashgabat in Hungary’s case. Pan-Turanism was fostered in the newly established National University of Tamerlane, in the old Kyrgyz Capital of Bishkek, which attracted the best scholars and scientists of the ex-soviet world with enormous salaries and massive research facilities. Many worried about the military implications of Pan-Turanism. However, Kobakov personally visited Armenia and in 1995 and established a three-way FTA with the nation that including the mutual sharing of technology and made Georgia and Armenia primary exporters of oranges and chicken. He also signed a trade agreement with Ukraine, which would build a pipeline connecting Tamerlan natural gas to Europe and sell wheat, beets, etc. to the Timurids. Moreover, many scholars in Bishkek advocated for a more peaceful pan-Turanism that resembled European integration and mutual dialogue rather than old imperialistic ideals. Overall, the future looked bright for the newest player on the international stage. And it still had things in store.
Latin American Refugees
The Latin American refugee crisis had been developing into a major problem as time went on. Fleeing poverty and general instability in general, nearly 6 million people would move from the continent as time went on, and went to destinations on all continents. Including Antarctica oddly enough, as some Argentinians decided to migrate to the country’s Esperanza Base, working to maintain the base and helping along national pride. Food was grown in indoor greenhouses on the site, bringing the site near self sufficiency. Researchers took note of their ad hoc arrangements as an example for applications in outer space, possibly on the Moon Base and Mars.
Japanese Brazilians were welcomed as cousins come back to Japan, where advocacy groups lobbied for the Minseito party to let them in. The official party line however was not to let in migrants, but to try to improve conditions in South America itself. An aging Yukio Mishima put it best when he said, “We should bring here to the third world. Not to bring the third world here!” Despite that, some 300,000 Japanese made the trip back to what they saw as the home country, many of them opting to settle in quiet, peaceful, Japanese Siberia. Many Japanese Brazilians still spoke Portuguese, and brought along Brazilian culture with them, bringing interesting syncretism in Japanese Siberia, especially cuisine, where in Japan it’s famous for its cachaca cocktails and borscht soups. Japanese Siberia was also famous as a region that invested heavily in hydroponics for agricultural use, gaining attention of Australia, but that is for another time. The local Russian population was complacent with Japanese occupation, where the Japanese had a light touch and gave them both autonomy and the vote in elections. They usually voted for the Liberal Democratic Party. This was unlike the U.S., where Americans didn’t give out such privileges and were given the cold shoulder by many locals. They thought nothing of it at the time.
A Japanese City in Siberia, populated primarily by ex-Brazilians
Some emigration to Portugal from Brazil took place, but even here they were for the large part turned back as the newly formed French-led Concordat agreed not to let many migrants in. Spain had a similar problem, though they let in on only a percentage of those who tried to reach the country or to newly occupied Uruguay.
In North America, Panama was on the frontline, dealing with a steady stream of migrants through the semi-porous border that was the Darien Gap. Drug traffickers and refugees crossed the rainforest in an attempt to get across. After quarantine measures in the area after the Marburg scare ended, the border again had to be fortified to keep them out. The “rafters” of Cartagena and Barranquilla proved a nuisance to other Central American nations. To deal with the situation, a common Coast Guard for Central America was put into place to deal with the problem. It was the beginning of further and further cooperation between the Central American nations. Many Central American nations came up with the novel idea of just exporting their problems to Africa, dropping off many caught crossing the country far away to Portuguese and South African ports, to the ire of those nations and much of the international community. Despite all that, these countries felt united in the face of a common threat which they all faced. Along with cooperation from American forces based in the Galapagos Islands, Central America slowly saw a drop in illegal migration.
The Central American Defense League, as it was called, slowly gained more clout in these countries. Unlike other interregional unions, differences between the unions and disputes as to power sharing prevented anything further, but it allowed Central America to stay united in the face of threats coming from the South...
With multi-ethnic empires/states, especially in times where it is easy to be a terrorist and with failed states all around to hide out in, Emir Dangatar Khan did a pretty decent job of heading off major ethnic strife. Pragmatic rather than power hungry - opposite of certain other foreign leaders of his time
The Post-Vietnam Political Structure, through the rule of the two parties. Mini-Update
1973 Liberal reelection for Kunh
1977 Liberal reelection for Kunh (liberals)
President Khangh discussing how to deal with Chinese incursions in the 1970s in his Beret and Sunglasses which became a fashion trend
1981 Liberal Ngô Quang Trưởng elected handily
President Truong in his old military attire attending a parade and looking glassy eyed
1983 Liberals Ngô Quang Trưởng (many consider this narrow election rigged, but not proven)
1989 Liberals Ngô Quang Trưởng
1993 Social Democratic Front upset by Bao Vo (OTL Hubert Vo)
President Vo visiting Houston as part of a goodwill tour
1997 Social Democratic Front lead by Bao Vo
The Initial Liberal Dominance
The Liberal Party, the Dominant took the path of liberty conservatives, though of a hawkish variety, d as a developing nation, they often adopted Korean Economic "techniques". The Vietnamese industrialized post-war, especially in textiles, though Wallace's and Crossman’s tariffs greatly limited market access. Stamping out corruption also became a priority in the 1980’s, building on army anti-corruption reforms conducted in the 1970’s. They also had the legacy of being the party that had assured Vietnamese democracy through the peaceful transfer of power. The liberals were, however, known to be militaristic (with both their presidents coming from an army leadership background) and anti-pluralistic, however, and many suspected they they aimed to keep Vietnam a 1-Party state, though the risk of losing US military aid prevented any shenanigans in 1993.
During the late 1970’s, Kanh stamped out the few remaining Communist rebels that the Chinese had funded in part by sponsoring among rebels in Laos, a chinese ally. For a shor time, however, this risked a Chinese invasion.This lead to a secret agreement in 1980 whereby both nations agreed to halt support for rebel groups, which died off, thus assuring a third consecutive liberal victory.
While the brave Hmong rebels in Laos, many were smuggled back into Vietnam after the government could no longer support the insurgency, which while
not perfect, saved many lives and families
While Anti-Communist, Truong and his fellow liberals believed their entry into the war would have caused the CHinese to enter and thus shift the balance of power away from the allies, a position supported by Rumsfeld. The liberals also kept Vietnam out of WWIII to focus on finishing the rebuilding, economic growth, and fostering trade. The Vietnamese did, however, supply food, rubber, clothing, and raw materials to the combatants. Starting in the mid-80’s under the leadership of Truong, but especially during WWIII, liberal party reforms revolutionized the finance and services industry in Vietnam, which created more of an upper middle class. Vietnam was known throughout the region for its lack of state run industries and favorable business climate, although the slow pace of infrastructure growth was an issue in the north of the country, especially when compared to the south.
Rule under the Social Democratic Party of Vietnam.
After their initial wrung of defeats, the party moved towards a “extremely economically moderate and capitalistic form of communationalism” (NY Times) post WWIII, which along with international election monitoring by Iacocca, finally lead to an upset victory in what had been a 1-Party State. Communoationalism finally held sway in Vietnam when the Social Democratic Front started playing up “The Cult of George Wallace” who was almost worshipped more in Saigon than in Birmingham, although the liberals conveniently ignored Wallace’s domestic policies, even writing them out of textbooks. Social Democrats erected a 200 ft statue of “the liberator” in Hanoi in 1995 to commemorate his help to the nation and outdo the liberals in Patriotism. The Social Democrats also emphasized proper environmental management, promoting eco-friendly development and modernized farming. They promised not to raise taxes in 1993, leading to high deficits funded by cheap currency and easy capital. They had to deal with the fear of turning communist or socialist, which remained in the war-torn country (as socialism and communism were perceived as the sources of the destruction caused by the war), even though the party itself was definitely not.
Vietnamese Farming Techniques
Bao Vo, a veteran of the border conflicts in the 1970’s, but fundamentally a peaceful man, won the election in 1993, stunning the liberals, but to be expected after such long rule, without the freest of elections. In addition to meeting the previously discussed promises, Vo beefed up the armed forces and constructed a line of fortifications on the border with China. That being said, the tradition of anti-communism in Vietnam made the Social Democratic Front much more economically conservative than other communonationalistic parties though it held a tradition of being very pro-infrastructure, leading a common joke in Vietnam:
What do you get a Social Democrat for his Birthday?
Answer: a post office, a road, or an airport
Both parties were very anti-Chinese and very pro-American. The liberals were more Buddhist, whilst the SDF had stalinistic majorities amongst catholics. Both also understood that Vietnamese economic growth relied in part on lower wages, but that this couldn't remain so forever. Vietnam also had no business income tax, instead collecting a national sales tax. This is in part why the liberals emphasized diversifying the economy. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats focused on infrastructure, often brought by American firms through the IDFC.
Another, more minor party existed in Vietnam. The Left-Wing “Vietnamese Populist Progressive Party” emerged as a progressive left-wing alternative to the social democrats. It had the odious reputation of being strongest in the ex-Communist north and attracting many ex-Communist supporters. This party, and its sisters, had been banned under the liberal regime, but legalized in 1998. Currently the party was headed by Trần Đức Lương, an ex-Communist.
Vietnam began to superseded Korea, Taiwan, and the other “Asian Tigers” due to its relative political stability and close ties to the US and Japan. It also had a much more diversified economy. Moreover, the post-WWIII political system was much more competitive and democratic. The future looked good although many Vietnamese were worried about increasing American isolationism and lobbied hard in Washington for support and recognition. Moreover, the Chinese had increasingly militarized the border into Vietnam, as many dissidents would flee and seek amnesty. Thankfully, many American business had invested in Vietnam, and these ties would keep the nations interconnected. Moreover, a few wealthy Vietnamese Americans had influence in Washington. A US Naval Port in Hai Phong helped as well.
Also, a few continuity changes/notes to past posts have been made/added. Most important the 1993 Rwanda Crisis; past development already butterflied the genocide in Rwanda but not the civil war that killed 300 thousand in Burundi. Link to that post below:
September 16, 1995
Zhongnanhai Party Complex
Beijing, People’s Republic of China
Pushing open the door, the young aide found his boss - the most powerful man in the entirety of China - away from his desk. Instead of being elbow deep in paperwork as he normally was, the bespectacled man was gazing out the window at the tranquil lake adorning the center of Zhongnanhai. Watching the ducks and geese going about their tranquil lives unperturbed by the rumble of tanks growing steadily louder.
“Comrade Premier,” the aide stammered, bowing in respect. “The armor of the PLA draws closer. We must get you to safety at once.” It should have been the security detail doing this, but they had long left. Abandoning their leader like rats off a sinking ship. His civilian staff was loyal though - if terrified.
Turning to glance at the aide, Li Peng smiled warmly. Lines of premature stress covered his face, reminding the young man of bony veterans of the Long March hobbled by age and crippling injuries. “There will be no need. It is clear I will not survive this.” Peng watched the aide deflate. “Go. Find the rest of the staff and leave here. Marshal Chi will not care if some clerical staff escapes. Marry that girl you have the hots for, and enjoy the quiet life that I would so desperately acquire if I could. Go.” Sparing one last tearful look at his boss, the aide rushed off.
By now it the rumbling of the tanks were too hard to ignore. Sighing, Peng collapsed into the plush chair at his desk, head in his hands. It had been such a long road to the top. So much brownnosing, so much backstabbing. Friends and trusted comrades he had to dispatch to the afterlife in order to sit at this very desk. To wield more power than any Emperor of past centuries - and now it was over.
Peng slammed his fist on the tabletop. ‘Damn the army!’ he thought. ‘Damn the people! Damn the Japanese!’ It was to be his crowning triumph - delivering a blow to the Eastern devils and showcasing China’s military might to the world. Only thanks to Mishima’s cunning and the lack of balls of the military brass, it ended in disaster… with the PLA knocking on his door.
The cackle of small arms fire erupting between the soldiers and what few loyal guards he had left, Peng knew it was the end. Opening the top drawer of his desk, he withdrew the shiny new revolver. He had never handled a gun before. Placing the barrel to his temple, the single twitch of his index finger proved that practice had not been needed.
The last known photo of General Secretary Li Peng of the People’s Republic of China, taken during a live message to the people five days before his death.
While the post-war era brought a massive wave of development and optimism to east and south Asia, one exception was in the People’s Republic of China. At the helm of the last cluster of Communist nations in the world, a sense of fear and desperation had clouded it since the death of the longtime ruler Jiang Qing in 1991. General Secretary Li Peng had taken over in a power struggle, and proceeded to bungle whatever goodwill he had with the Party and the Chinese people due to purges, economic headaches (trade had largely been with the Soviet sphere, and despite warming of relations with the west, few were willing to expand trade with a still communist nation), the refugee crisis with Russia, and a growing discontent among the populace yearning for more freedom.
And Peng’s response was to barrel China into - and summarily lose - the Third Sino-Japanese War over Japanese Outer Manchuria and the Japanese puppet state of Green Ukraine. Roughly 150,000 young men were killed or wounded, and all that was gotten in return was reparations for the hated Japanese and recognition for Green Ukraine. In Japan, national pride was soaring as the Empire was truly restored, allowing Prime Minister Yukio Mishima to finally retire in January 1998 after twenty-six years in office (he would be replaced by Minseito reformer Ichirō Ozawa). In China, the humiliating loss proved the boiling point for a population already primed to erupt.
No amount of state media bullshit could keep the truth out. It began on August 1, 1995 with students, disgruntled military veterans, and elderly parents of dead/wounded soldiers, thousands taking to the streets in defiance of cultural and national norms. These protestors were soon joined by tens of thousands more in every city, demanding everything from Li Peng’s resignation to the legalization of free speech and a free press. Peng answered back in typical Maoist fashion, by sending the forces of the Ministry of Public Security in to crush the protestors. In the capitol, armored personnel carriers and tear gas drove the crowds off in a melee of screams on August 10 - forty-five protestors would die, over 500 wounded. However, in the remainder of the cities the MPS would find their duties obstructed by an even greater force.
Anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square. While this protest was cracked down on by the Interior Ministry forces, the dozens of others across the country found protection under the guns of the PLA.
Even before the disastrous war with Japan, the senior leadership of the People’s Liberation Army were not happy with Li Peng. They had favored Deng Xiaoping in the power struggles after Madam Mao’s death, and had already dealt a massive blow to Peng’s power and prestige by denying him the post of Chairman of the Central Military Commission (usually held concurrent with the position of General Secretary). The struggles China went through in contrast with the emerging power of India, coupled with the useless defeat at Japan’s hands, led the senior military brass to conclude that Peng had to go. But it wasn’t just Peng. Speaking to his fellow generals and admirals in July, Chairman of the CMC Marshal Chi Haotian outlined that for China to emerge in the post-war world, communism itself would have to be eliminated. Though making many queasy, the PLA command structure fell in line.
Already on high alert during the unrest, Haotian made his first move by secretly ordering C-level infantry divisions stationed near the big cities to intervene and prevent the MPS from taking on the protestors. Sights of the uniformed soldiers were received with adoration by the civilians. The MPS backed down uniformly, thus beginning a tense standoff for most of August between Peng loyalists and the PLA. The cat and mouse game didn’t see much actual fighting, but slowly but surely Haotian wooed senior officials to his side. A general strike called by the protest leaders on August 25 resulted in sporadic violence, the Peng forces then being routed by the military. On September 1, the PLA saw the opportunity and finally ended the standoff, flooding the capitol with tanks and overthrowing the government officially. Peng killed himself in his office, and with that the Communist Government was no more.
Three months of martial law was followed with a declaration in December of a new government structure. While the name People’s Republic of China would be kept, the CPC was formally outlawed, instead a new governing party established - the Chinese Democratic Revolutionary Party (CDRA). A standing people’s congress was formed that would be elected every six years by conclaves of local township councils, which would in turn be elected by the people. The congress would then elect an executive with a term of six years, and the new Constitution would respect individual liberties (though not to the extent as seen in western democracies; more akin to India). It was to cheering crowds all over the nation that Shanghai mayor and anti-corruption zealot Zhu Rongji was elected as the first President of China in January 1996.
Underneath this revolutionary veneer of liberty, it was all a cheap front. Rongji and the congress were all puppets, the strings held by the Central Military Commission itself. The Constitution mandated quotas of congress, the township councils, and all government ministers be veterans, and all appointments had to be approved by the CMC. Add in a little corruption and extra-governmental inducement here and there, and the township councils, congress, and Rongji’s government were all rubber stamp organs for Marshal Chi and the ten standing members of the CMC. American Secretary of State Mitt Romney would famously characterize China in 1997:
“All countries have a military. Some militaries have a country. In China, the military is the country.”
Chairman Chi Haotian at a press conference in March 1996. Though he was rather reclusive and camera-shy, it was an unkept secret that he was the true ruler of China.
Contrary to the initial fears of the western powers, Marshal Chi and the other PLA bigwigs were rather benign at first. The purges and hardline crackdowns of earlier eras were absent, liberties respected and economic controls loosened. The social corporatism of Sanjay Gandhi and India was respected and duplicated, international trade and finance capitalism regulated but greatly sought after. Now that communism was officially dead, the taboo of doing business in the PRC was largely lifted. Chinese emissaries were welcomed into much of the world, eager investors quickly setting up contracts with various Chinese firms (many owned or partially owned by the PLA itself). Slowly, the Chinese economy entered the modern world.
Popularity of Chi and Rongji among the people was kept astronomically high through massive infrastructure projects. The capital gained through increased trade was funnelled into the cities and towns, derided by Marshal Chi as “Frankenstein hybrids of the old and the turn of the century, all covered in the haze of grist.” (as air pollution grew more common, the term “grist” was coined by a Los Angeles radio station to describe the filthy haze that clouded over cities, a combination of “gritty” and “mist”; the name stuck). Huge dam projects such as the Marshal Chi Dam on the Yangtze were constructed and American building conglomerates were invited with the eager blessing of President Bundy and Secretary of the Treasury Trump to help build up China’s cities into bustling urban metropolises that rivaled New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo, Cape Town, and Mumbai in majesty. China was truly catching up in the race to the 21st Century.
Construction of a skyscraper in downtown Shanghai. Not wanting British Hong Kong and Portuguese Macau to be the only metropolises in mainland China, the military government ushered in a new series of infrastructure projects to “Make China gleam in the sunlight and glow under the moonlight.”
But the CMC didn’t give up on the idea of military glory. While Rongji and the other “elected” leaders provided the serene panda mask to the rest of the world, the generals and admirals truly running the country were very much dragons. Military funding was prioritized, obsolete equipment pawned off to Beijing’s allies while the frontline forces were equipped with the latest and greatest in military tech. Such a military was put into practice in the Laotian Revolution, where communist hardliners (unlike China’s other puppets such as Indonesia and North Korea) tried to maintain power but were crushed by the PLA and in the insurgency in Xinjiang against pro-Timurid groups.
An ambitious naval construction programme was launched, a vast ocean-going fleet like the US, Royal, or French navies (or the naval plan of India) was scrapped in favor of a cruiser/submarine fleet meant to protect the coastline and project power into the East and South China seas. Military liaisons would be created with the Entebbe Pact, Iraq, Greater Serbia, and the military Junta of Leopoldo Galtieri in Argentina, all gladly accepting Chinese military cooperation.
But the prize diplomatic goal of Marshal Chi and the CMC would occur in early 1997. Relations already sunny with the regime change, they would expand greatly as China signed into existence the Dual Pact with India at a secret ceremony in Rangoon, Burma. Sanjay Gandhi had finally found a UK to his USA in the new People’s Republic of China.
As someone who made the flag in question, I'll quote my own DA description for it:
[The flag's] key theme here is progress. The blue lines mean the transition from an Imperial dynasty, civil war, and from a Communist regime. The white bar represents an ideal future. The symbol in the middle stands for the move to progress with three bamboo stalks in a water. As you can see the stalks being near the clouds are supposed to be symbolic as bamboo is abundant in China (and Japan to a degree).
Finally, I found some time away from college to finish this section of the spy side-story—the usual disclaimers apply.
This is actually one of three subsections I had for the original chapter, but I decided to cut it short when this section started to approach 11 pages on OpenOffice.
Paige was unusually chipper when she came from from school that day: she was even humming “This Land is My Land” when she was doing her homework, something that was patently unusual for someone who was usually silent in focus when studying.
As younger siblings are wont to do, Henry decided this was an opportune moment to try and get a rise out of his older sister. “Hey mom!” He shouted downstairs, “I think Paige got a boyfriend!” Elizabeth (substitute) couldn't quite hear Paige's response, but she did hear a sudden shout of pain followed by the sound of a book falling to the floor. She merely shook her head: someday, perhaps Henry would learn to exercise more discretion in his speech. Still, even she was curious as to the cause of Paige's elevated mood today, and decided to make an issue of it at dinnertime.
The hours came and went, with both children—correction, Elizabeth thought as she sorted through the pile of mail, teenagers now—now occupied with their work (or whatever it was that they were up to; Henry did sometimes have some comic books in suspiciously close proximity to his homework whenever either Elizabeth or Philip went upstairs to check up on them, but Henry was adamant that he had not been distracted at all by them. Rather surprisingly, Paige had also shirked away from incriminating her younger brother, even when pressed by either mother or father. Philip thought it might have just been the typical effects of hormones or teenage rebellion, but Elizabeth secretly suspected that Henry might have been handing off some of the Wonder Woman comics off to Paige.
Oh well, Elizabeth mused as she tore a bit of spam mail into shreds and threw the pieces into a nearby recycling bin. I suppose a bit of rebellion was probably inevitable. Besides, compared to some of the horror stories I've heard some of the other parents talk about, this is nothing. She stopped, then scoffed, lord knows if they let the grades drop too low, not even Philip can save them from the absolute hell I'd rain upon them.
Finally, just as Elizabeth was considering going to the company that had sent this piece of junk mail and shoving everyone in it into an industrial-grade shredder, she heard the oven ding. Standing up, she called upstairs for Paige and Henry to come down for dinner. Just as she had finished yelling, the front door swung open, and Philip walked in. He set down his suitcase and plopped down onto the couch, the cushions audibly deflating as he turned on the television. “You're lucky you got the day off.”
Elizabeth smiled impishly as she took the meatloaf out of the oven, “Perhaps I simply work harder than you.”
She received no response, however. Instead Philip pointed at the television, “hey, look!”
The channel was CNN, and on it, a female anchor was speaking, a small picture of a messy-haired man in an orange jumpsuit being escorted out of his cell.
“Today, Kelly Bristol has been released from his cell in the Varner Unit maximum security prison after more than ten years of incarceration. Two days ago, the federal government conceded defeat in a court of appeals, admitting that the charges that he was a Soviet spy that had netted him a thirty year sentence were unfounded. It is expected that he will be swiftly transferred to a courthouse where he will be released and reunited with his family within the next few hours.”
The screen shifted, the small image expanding to footage of the falsely accused, a small exhausted smile decorating his face, being escorted from a detention cell by prison guards and out towards a waiting van.
“The FBI agents who had made the initial arrest and the prosecutor who had originally convicted him were not available for comment, but the Bureau's spokesperson did issue the following statement:”
“'The Bureau regrets that innocents were caught within its dragnet during its pursuit of justice and rooting out of Soviet spies. It hopes that, with the advances of new technology and new investigative and prosecutorial procedures, such incidents will be avoided in the future. In addition, the Department of Justice has stated that a certain amount of funds will be set for those falsely accused during the war, with claimants decided on a case by case basis.'”
Elizabeth closed the door to the living room and set the meatloaf on the table, as Henry and Paige finally came downstairs.
“Don't hog it all!”
Philip continued watching the news, oblivious to the chatter of the two children and his wife in the kitchen, memories of the past flowing back into his mind like water pouring past a dam.
Ivan Androv watched as Misha and another agent unloaded the two captives from the back of the van. He frowned as his superior, in a rare moment of carelessness, let the head of the female captive smack slightly multiple times against the rear of the vehicle, a bit of blood dripping through the ropes and bandages onto the vehicle.
“Sorry for asking, comrade, but would you mind being a bit more careful with these hostages? I don't wish to have to wipe up more blood from this van than I have to.”
“Hm? Oh, sorry comrade. Must be the hour.”
“No worry, comrade. Even devoted agents of world socialism like us must get some rest at some point!” A few chuckles poorly disguised as coughs followed as Misha and her assistant carried the children into the safe house. The two children didn't resist—after all, how could they, both being blindfolded, gagged, bound, and in a state of general weakness?
As the two other spies closed the door to the safe house, Ivan stepped out of his van to clean off the blood, the red brake lights illuminating him in a hazy glow as he wiped away whatever remaining blood there was on the interior of the car. He silently cursed as he was forced to reach deep into the trunk to get at a drop that had managed to fly into a corner. Someday, when the Soviet Union had triumphed, maybe he wouldn't have to clean his car so much anymore.
Slowly adjusting himself out of the trunk, he scanned his van's interior closely with a flashlight, checking for any drops he may have missed, even scanning inside the box of hippie clothing and the dismantled AK-47 that had remained closed throughout the entire affair. Satisfied, he closed the trunk lid and made his way back to the wheel, spitting on and then rubbing his hands together to wash away a wayward bit of blood that had somehow clung on. The safe house soon became a mere twinkle in the rearview mirror.
Perhaps he shouldn't have had made a snarky comment during briefing today. Maybe then Chief Sasha Fernandez wouldn't have assigned him to the graveyard shift, but it was too late now. Here he was, sitting in a patrol car at 2 am watching the interstate just outside of an industrial area in front of him for anything he deemed to be “suspicious activity”.
Something that is in very short supply at 2 am, and probably would be for the next four hours I'm supposed to sit here, grumbled the 26 year old mentally. He looked to his left, at least I've got him.
In the passenger seat was his old mentor from the academy days, Police Sergeant Kyle Stark, a greying 51 year-old veteran of the force, and a veteran of Vietnam. Kyle was the only thing that kept Greg motivated at this job, especially after the initial luster of “protect and serve” dimmed after having cuffed countless druggies and their dealers, watching the parents cry whenever their son or daughter suffered a fatal overdose, and then watching every tenth criminal or so walk right out from the courtroom because of anything from a procedural error to a jury that couldn't decide whether one plus one equals two or three.
“Heh, don't get too comfortable, rookie.” Greg rolled his eyes at this jab: Kyle seemed to call everyone at the station younger than him this, even the chief. It was probably only his veteran status plus the fact that he was one of the more experienced members of the force that kept him his job. “Remember, criminals and other troublemakers can be just as detrimental to the nation and the war effort as any Communist spy.”
Greg turned towards his mentor, and responded, “oh?”. His reply dripped with sarcasm.
“Just like that one coming up the road right now!”
The younger officer turned back towards the road and, indeed, along came a brown van which, among other things, was slightly swerving from side to side and possessed unusually tinted windows that could prevent even the powerful lights of the police cruiser from shining through at the distance they were at.
“Might be a drunkard. Best check it out, in any case.”
While Officer Nyes's normal reaction would have been to protest about causing more paperwork for himself, the circumstances he found himself in meant that he was glad to be able to do anything to break the boredom.
Red and blue lights combining with the yellow glare of the headlights to knife through the darkness, Nyes drove the patrol car out from the little alcove it had been hiding in and pulled in behind the still somewhat-weaving van, activating the sirens in an effort to signal the driver to pull over.
Stark frowned as he watched the van straighten its path, head on for a bit while maintaining speed before finally pulling over.
“Something wrong, old timer?” asked Nyes as he pulled a flashlight from his belt and moved to open the patrol car door.
“This car...it's hiding something, I can feel it.” Stark's eyes narrowed as he watched the van wait patiently for the officers.
Nyes didn't look at Stark as he made a note of the stop in his car's computer. “Probably the drunk thinks he can trick us into letting him go. Come on.” Flashlight held in a reverse grip, he stepped out of the patrol car and headed towards the van. On the other side, Stark mirrored his movements, only pausing briefly by the van's back door to touch it and try the handle. The younger officer shook his head—Stark did have some peculiar habits, and it had gotten him into trouble before; only the staunch efforts of their local police union had stopped the various attempts at having him dismissed from the force.
The van's window was already down, revealing a slightly bearded caucasian man, traces of exhaustion evident in his face. “Is there a problem, officer?”
Nyes's demeanor changed: evidently, this man was not drunk enough for his speech to be slurred, or for his manners to have vanished. Still, he had a job to do: “Hello sir, I'm Officer Nyes of the Virginia State Patrol. The reason I stopped you is because you were weaving back and forth along the road when I saw you. License and registration please.”
The driver nodded, pulling out his documents and handing them over to Nyes. “Thank you sir, please stay put. We'll be right back.” He walked back to the patrol car, noting the name as he went; Stark joined him a few seconds later.
“Anything you notice?” Nyes inputted the name Issac Amanda into the computer, the screen taking a second before spitting back the relevant information. Stark shook his head.
“Guy seems tired, but not drunk. If he is, he's the most coherent drunk I've ever met.” He turned away from looking at the van to peer at the computer. “Ugh, that's bright. Guy seems clear, eh?”
“Yep. No previous infractions, everything checks out. At this rate, we'll just administer a sobriety test on him, and if he passes, we'll let him off with a warning.”
Nyes stepped back out of the car, heading towards the trunk to get a breathalyzer. Stark moved to clear the computer.
Hmm? The older cop saw something on his hand, illuminated by the computer's light. What's this red thing? He sniffed it, only to be met with an unmistakable metallic smell. Blood? It couldn't have come from me or inside this car. And the only thing I touched recently was...
He got out and briskly intercepted Nyes as the younger cop was walking towards the brown van with the breathalyzer, hand outstretched. “Hey, Nyes!”
“What is it?” Nyes stopped, then noticed the red stain on his hands, lit up by the patrol car's headlights. “Are you hurt?”
“No, this came from under that van's back door handle. Something's up. Keep up your guard.”
The two cops strode back to the brown van, Nyes on the driver side and Stark on the passenger side. “Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”
“Well, just to be safe, please step out of the car. We'd like to conduct some tests.”
“Is this really necessary?” the driver asked. Nyes rolled his eyes, while Stark swept the interior of the van with his flashlight.
“I'm afraid so, sir. Please cooperate.” Silently, the driver stepped out of the van. “Blow in here,” Nyes commanded. The driver obeyed, and blew a 0.00—all clear. Nyes still wanted further confirmation though.
“Alright sir, please walk in a straight line from the front of your van to the rear and back, arms out, one foot in front of the other.” As the driver was doing the test, Stark moved from the side window to the front of the vehicle.
Nyes asked the driver as he watched the test, “By the way, are you injured?” The driver reached the front end of the van again. “No, why?”
Nyes casually mentioned the blood Stark found. “Huh,” the driver scratched his head, “must have cut my hand while at work or something and forgot to clean up properly.”
Satisfied, Nyes turned away to walk back to the patrol car, just as Stark's voice echoed from the front. “Is that an AK-47?”
Nyes never had the chance to turn back towards the driver, as a single bullet ripped through his stomach. Bloody gushed from the wound as he kneeled over. The driver turned away from him without a second glance and aimed at Stark, who was already on the other side of the van and running back towards the patrol car. Cursing, he ran over to the van's rear.
“S**t!” Stark rushed back to behind the protective wings of his patrol car's open doors, drawing his service weapon as he did. More gunshots rang out from the other side of the van, and Stark could see a few bullets impacting on the ground and on the patrol car door. The driver of the van took cover around the corner of his vehicle, laying down a bristling barrage. The cop did his best to return the favor.
Stark shouted into his radio, “Shots fired, shots fired! This is victor two nine eight! I repeat, shots fired! Officer down! Requesting immediate backup! Suspect is a caucasian male, well built with brown hair and eyes and a slight beard!” He ceased fire to peek at the van's license plate, narrowly avoiding a bullet which ricocheted off the side of the patrol car's door. “Vehicle license plate is as follows: Four! Mary! Henry! Charlie! Eight! Three! Seven!”
The radio crackled back, “10-4, victor two nine eight. Backup dispatched, code three.”
Stark turned away from the radio and pondered his options as bullets whistled over his head and impacted against the car door. It wouldn't last forever though, and if the suspect managed to get that AK-47 he had in his van to bear, his chances would get a lot worse. A few bullets shattered the windshield of the car, glass raining down onto the seats besides him.
I can't go forward on this side, and I can't get a clear shot either. Only one way to go. Continuing to return fire, Stark slowly crept away from the door and made his way around the trunk. If I can surprise him from the other side, then I'll have him.
Abruptly, the firing ceased, and instead Stark heard something metallic drop on the ground. It sounds like he's run out of ammo, but I've seen that trick before. I'll just look under the car and see if he's trying to fake me out. Kneeling down, Stark checked under the patrol car for any sign of a spent clip.
There was something on the ground, alright, but it wasn't an empty clip. Sitting directly under the fuel tank of the patrol car was a Soviet-made grenade.
“Motherf—“ Stark's last words were cut off as the patrol car went up in a tremendous explosion, a few bits denting the back door of the van.
The driver hurriedly got back into the brown van and drove off into the night. The glow of the flaming ruins of the patrol car enhanced the shadows of the two corpses.
Ivan Androv cursed as he sped around daytime DC traffic.
All because he had forgotten to wipe his hands before he had cleaned the van, all because Misha and the other agents had been less careful than usual with handling the two hostages, all because of his insufficient concealment of the AK-47s, all because he had let his exhaustion get the better of his driving.
And all because of that damn cop.
Not the first one, the one that had so carelessly turned his back on Androv and allowed him to easily shoot him, but the other one. The one that had engaged him, the one that got to cover before he could take him out, the one that had revealed his license plate. His movements marked him as having military training; Androv guessed that he was a discharged soldier. A counterrevolutionary to the end, I suppose.
Oh sure, he had gone as fast as he could to change vehicles and license plates, but radio waves travelled much faster than any vehicle. Another patrol car had stopped him before he made it across state lines, and when those two officers came out of the car with guns drawn right off the bat, Androv knew they had his number. So he fled.
And in the process, picked up not only a long line of patrol cars, sirens blazing and filled with armed officers who were out for revenge for their slain comrades, but even a helicopter that hovered above him like an annoying gnat, all but immune to his gunfire.
If only he had a rocket launcher or something.
Androv knew he didn't stand a chance in a gunfight against this many cops: his only hope was to flee and lose them, at least long enough for him to get a safe distance away from the van without being spotted, and change his appearance later on. He couldn't count on his fellow spies aiding him in any way either: all that would accomplish would be to expose more of the Soviet Union's agents.
In front of him, he saw an officer, car stopped, throw out a spike strip onto the road. So he swerved around the strip, narrowly missing another car coming from the other lane and firing a few shots at his pursuers. Due to the amount of civilian traffic, the police weren't allowed to conduct a pit maneuver, but they certainly weren't giving up the chase on an armed and dangerous suspect.
I need to find a tunnel or something, then get another car. But where? He continued to think as he dodged around a bus. Behind him, a voice boomed from a speaker, “STOP YOUR VEHICLE IMMEDIATELY.”
Wait, I know! There's a tunnel close to the border between here and D.C. If I can just get to there, I can hijack a car inside and get out that way.
Tires shrieking, Androv blew right through a red light, the veritable horde of police cars following him through the intersection without missing a beat. Even though the van wasn't built for speed, the fact that there were civilians around and that the suspect had heavy weaponry was enough to keep the police a decent distance behind him, if not so far off that the cops themselves couldn't return fire occasionally
Androv noticed the traffic starting to increase. Just a few miles out, then I'll be able to slip away unnoticed.
Abruptly, though, as he passed through one of the final intersections before the tunnel, the traffic around him abruptly melted way. The reason became apparent as a solid wall of patrol cars appeared in front of him to form a roadblock, SWAT officers taking aim. One officer shouted into a bullhorn, “STOP OR WE WILL SHOOT.”
There were even a couple of heavily armored vans on the flanks, precluding any possibility of him driving on the sidewalk around the blockade. His only option was a thin corridor in the center that his van could possibly smash through.
So Androv went for it, doing his best to ignore the bullets as they turned the windshield into a spiderweb of impacts—thank Stalin his comrades had installed bulletproof glass. Just a little more...
A sharp pop disrupted his focus, and he suddenly found the van refusing to obey the steering wheel. He had only a second to contemplate this, though, as the van smashed dead-center into one of the police cruisers, spinning around before rolling over and over, broken metal and glass flying everywhere, before finally slamming into a tree.
Androv tried to crawl out from the wreckage, but he found it too painful to do so. The cause was obvious: multiple lacerations and pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body, including one massive fragment lodged in his stomach, and a deep cut on his wrist. He watched as officers cautiously closed in on the driver's side of the van. “Good shot on that tire, Gordon!” he heard one of the officers shout out.
“Long...live...the world revolution...” The Soviet agent managed to grasp out before the light faded from his eyes and darkness replaced it forever.
Frank Gaad and the two Virginia detectives besides him inspected the evidence with interest.
While at first the case had appeared to be a case of a drunk that took resisting arrest far beyond the average intoxicated person, what the state detectives had found both in the remains of the van and about the suspect proved this to not be the case.
Not a single trace of alcoholic beverages was uncovered—indeed it was doubtful whether the van had ever held alcohol at all. Instead, there were a few boxes in the back of the van. The sealed ones contained the surprisingly undamaged elements of a full hippie's outfit, as well as a few flower wreathes and anti-war signs. Although the outfits adhered more to the style of the 60s and 70s and the signs themselves more widespread in the Vietnam conflict than in the current one, it wasn't particularly unexpected—even during World War 2, there had been a few who would protest the conflict no matter what the general public thought.
The open box proved quite a different story. Although considerably damaged by the wreck, it was still easy to deduce what these broken thin metal bits and wooden pieces had come from: several AK-47s. Judging by the still-visible quality of these firearms, which were fairly distinct from the knockoffs made by the countless guerrilla groups and terrorist organizations across the world, there was only one nation that could have made them.
“There is also the matter of this Issac Amanda, Director Gaad.” Detective Shang opened a file he had in his hands and read it out loud. “He has had no record of any previous arrests, made a modest but fairly comfortable living as a mechanic—including for the vehicles of some members of Congress in the past—and has a fairly mixed voting record. However, there do seem to be certain discrepancies in the information he has provided while traveling across state lines, and other notable areas of suspicion as well.”
“Well, he has made some trips to Europe in the past which last for several days, but his banking records make no mention of any hotels he has stayed at, and there are mysterious transfusions of cash which are small enough to normally avert suspicion, but enough to pay for several nights at a very good hotel. Certain documentations of his life, such as insurance records and immigration forms also appear to have been falsified.”
Director Gaad nodded, before turning to the other detective. “And what, Detective...” he paused to look at the name tag, “Holland, do you believe this adds up to? Don't overthink it.”
Detective Holland thought for a moment, before replying. “Well, director, given the information from Detective Shang's report, it seems fairly likely that this person is not, in fact, Issac Amanda. Moreover, adding the fact that his identification papers do not hold up on scrutiny and his trips to Europe with suspicious banking records to fact that he has possession of Soviet-made weapons—including grenades, I might add—it is a reasonable assumption that this man was some sort of Soviet agent.”
“Correct, this is my belief as well. Because of this and the national security affairs it involves, the FBI will be taking over this investigation. In addition, I'm imposing a certain layer of confidentiality on this case. You two will act as liaisons in between me and your chief—nobody else is to know the contents of this file or what we discussed. Is that clear?”
“Good, dismissed. Oh, and leave your report with me.”
The two detectives left the evidence room, just as another agent entered the room. “Director Gaad, sir, the fingerprint analysis has been completed.”
“The fingerprints match that of the records that the KGB defector from South Korea provided us. Specifically, the prints of Issac Amanda match those of a KGB agent whose actual name is Ivan Androv.”
“Hmm. In any case, I doubt that there is just this one Communist agent here, but if we let them know the full details of what we have found, that could alert them to our efforts to find them. Go to the police chief and the local media and ensure that no mention of the hippie clothing, the suspect's true identity, or the AK-47s is made to the general public. I don't want any part of our investigation to be compromised. This is all classified information, understood? The only story allowed out there right now is that a drunk shot two police officers in order to escape a DUI arrest before dying in the ensuing chase.”
“Yes, sir.” With that, the FBI agent left, leaving Gaad to scan the report intently.
So, this Issac Amanda was in fact Ivan Androv, a KGB agent. He had been found in Virginia, instead of Washington DC, where his residence and work records indicated he should have been. His van had been found containing hippie clothing as well as Soviet weapons, including grenades and AK-47s. Considering the clothing and the weapons had been found together, there was very little doubt that he had been planning to use the hippie clothings as cover for some sort of attack, possibly with the other Soviet spies that were doubtless still out there, and possibly also wearing hippie clothing. But for now, that was all Gaad could infer.
The identity of the other agents besides Androv, his objective, and the exact details of how he planned to achieve said objective remained a mystery. The KGB agent himself certainly wouldn't be telling them anything—the body in the morgue was proof of that.
Gaad cursed under his breath. Perhaps if the Soviet agent had remained alive, they could have interrogated him and found out more. But dead men tell no tales.
For now, all he could do was alert local law enforcement and federal agencies to the presence of these hippie-disguised KGB agents, although he doubted it would change much: after Vietnam, hippie clothing was viewed as close to the Communist version of wearing a Swastika armband—always prone to draw negative attention one way or another.
One thing was certain though: Androv hadn't been the only Soviet agent out there, and he doubted one agent's death would stop whatever they were plotting.