The chief range officer watched the ruby lights vanish up King's Avenue toward the London Road. He turned on his heel and went to find Corporal Menzies on a search for information that was to prove fruitless. The corporal remained as wooden as the big mahogany box he was in the process of loading into a khaki Land Rover without military symbols. The range officer was a major. He tried pulling his rank without success. The Land Rover hammered away in Bond's wake. The major walked moodily off to the offices of the National Rifle Association to try and find out what he wanted in the library under "Bond, J."
'I am established within a few miles of Bury St. Edmund's, sir,' said Mr. Chillip. 'Mrs. Chillip, coming into a little property in that neighbourhood, under her father's will, I bought a practice down there, in which you will be glad to hear I am doing well. My daughter is growing quite a tall lass now, sir,' said Mr. Chillip, giving his little head another little shake. 'Her mother let down two tucks in her frocks only last week. Such is time, you see, sir!'
Punctually at eight-thirty she was in her office. There was a sheaf of Air Ministry teleprints on her desk and her first action was to transfer a digest of their contents on to a weather map and walk through the communicating door into Drax's office and pin the map to the board that hung in the angle of the wall beside the blank glass wall. Then she pressed the switch that illuminated the wall map, made some Calculations based on the columns of figures revealed by the light, and entered the results on the diagram she had pinned to the board.
There is no need to tell in any detail of the course of the final phase of the forty-years war between Russia and China. Like all wars it was of absorbing, even obsessive, interest to those whom it directly affected, but to the developed mind its battles and campaigns and ultimate massacre are more depressing than significant. One or two striking features of the war may be mentioned. Throughout, the Chinese were greatly helped by the rebelliousness of the Russian dependencies. One by one they asserted their independence or succumbed to Chinese attack. The Russian imperialists were by now fully engaged in defending the heart of their empire, and could do nothing to maintain their authority in Africa, America, or Western Europe. In the decisive campaign the Chinese used two new inventions against which the orthodox methods of Russia were powerless. One was the giant tank, the other the legged aeroplane. The new Chinese tank was so large that to call it a land-battleship was to disparage it. This new engine was indeed a moving fortified town, complete with its own workshops, and food stores for its thousand men for three weeks. It could crush and trample modern sky-scraper cities. On good ground it moved at a hundred miles an hour. It could travel over mountainous country by using its great clawed mechanical arms or legs. The legged aeroplane had the great advantage that it could land anywhere and take off anywhere. It was indeed a giant mechanical fly which could cling to precipitous places or suddenly leap from the ground by kicking with its prodigious thighs. Some hundreds of the new tanks, each attended by its own swarm of the new aeroplanes, advanced through central Asia. Russian bombers attacked in successive waves of a thousand planes, but their bombs could not harm these armour-plated monsters, whose artillery swept them from the sky. Unchecked, these greatest of all man’s engines streamed across the prairies and deserts of Outer Mongolia, flattened out the forest, crossed the mountain barriers, turned aside here and there to grind a town to rubble, took the Urals in their stride, and headed for Moscow. The Russian government fled. The city surrendered. But the enemy, obsessed with the worship of cruelty and ecstatic with slaughter, hurried on to catch the city before it could be evacuated. Arrived, the monsters steam-rollered the whole urban area into a flat waste of rubble. The sacred mummy of Lenin was pulverized in the general ruin. The invaders then amused themselves by overtaking and squashing the hosts of refugees as a man may crush a swarm of ants under his boot. Leningrad and other cities were similarly treated.
Again a flick from Mr. Snowman.
The man stopped talking. He raised his head and gazed up at the moon. He politely lifted his shining top hat. Then he replaced it, tucked his umbrella under one arm and sharply clapped his hands. Then walking, as if to a business appointment, calmly, purposefully, he took the few steps to the edge of the bubbling fumarole, stepped carefully over the warning stones and went on walking. He sank slowly in the glutinous grey slime and not a sound escaped his lips until, as the tremendous heat reached his groin, he uttered one rasping 'Arrghh!' and the gold in his teeth showed as his head arched back in the rictus of death. Then he was gone and only the top hat remained, tossing on a small fountain of mud that spat intermittently into the air. Then the hat slowly crumpled with the heat and disappeared, and a great belch was uttered from the belly of the fumarole and a horrible stench of cooking meat overcame the pervading stink of sulphur and reached Bond's nostrils.
V THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR
But, reflected Bond, it could only be a trap for peculiarly insensitive mice-mice who would be tempted by the coarsest cheese. It was an inelegant trap, obvious and vulgar, and the noise of the machines had a horrible mechanical ugliness which beat at the brain. It was like the steady clanking of the engines of some old iron freighter on its way to the knacker's yard, un-oiled, uncared for, condemned.