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By Eric Flint

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE -- AMERICAN type

1632 And in northern Germany issues could not get a lot worse. Famine. disorder. Religous battle laying waste the towns. in simple terms the aristocrats remained particularly unscathed; for the peasants, dying was once a mercy.
2000 issues are going okay in Grantville, West Virginia, and everyone attending the marriage of Mike Stearn's sister (including the total neighborhood bankruptcy of the United Mine employees of the United States, which Mike leads) is having a great time.
THEN, every little thing CHANGED....
whilst the dirt settles, Mike leads a gaggle of armed miners to determine what occurred and reveals the line into city is minimize, as with a sword. at the different aspect, a scene out of Hell: a guy nailed to a farmhouse door, his spouse and daughter attacked by means of males in metal vests. confronted with this, Mike and his pals shouldn't have to invite who to shoot. At that second Freedom and Justice, American variety, are brought to the center of the Thirty Years' War.

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I child you not—spears, for Christ's sake. " Leaning over the window sill, Tony glared down on the useless thugs mendacity within the farmyard. "Look similar to those bastards. So do those driving the horses, for that topic. " Mike stared within the path Tony had pointed. The dust highway used to be extra within the nature of a cart course. furrows worn into packed earth. The timber blockading his sight of the world past have been twenty yards away. yet Mike may now listen the sound of pounding hooves. Seconds later, 4 horsemen got here into view round the timber. those males have been additionally donning helmets and cuirasses, with swords scabbarded to their waists. Mike may well see what seemed like very huge pistols slung from the saddles. The lead horseman noticed him and shouted anything. All 4 riders drew up the reins, bringing their mounts to a skittering halt. A second later, they have been round the bend by way of a automobile drawn by way of a workforce of six horses. the driving force frantically sawed at the reins, slightly bringing the automobile to a halt sooner than it rammed into the desk bound outriders. because it was once, the car slewed sideways around the street. one of many wheels stuck a furrow, virtually tipping the item over. Tony had known as it a "stagecoach," however it used to be like no stagecoach Mike had ever seen—not even in a film. The automobile, for all its stylish woodwork and ornate trappings, reminded him extra of a small coated wagon. back, the lead horseman shouted whatever. As earlier than, the phrases have been overseas, yet Mike used to be now virtually convinced that the language used to be German. a minimum of, if his reminiscence wasn't enjoying methods on him. A moment's silence undefined, because the horsemen stared on the american citizens. the 2 miners by way of the girl had risen to their ft and have been maintaining their weapons half-raised. So used to be Darryl. So have been Frank and Tony. Nichols rose to a half-squat, the police pistol held loosely yet simply in his arms. Even Hank, nonetheless sprawled at the floor clutching the bandage to his ribs, used to be groping for the insurrection gun. The final miner, Chuck Rawls, used to be within the farmhouse. Mike heard him whisper in the course of the door: "I've received 'em coated, Mike. simply say the note. " Mike held out his arms. "Hold every little thing! Let's no longer begin taking pictures with out reason! " He may well see the 4 horsemen attaining slowly for the pistols slung at their saddles. Mike remembered—uneasily and belatedly—that his personal weapon was once mendacity someplace at the flooring of the farmhouse. That second, the curtain at the aspect of the trainer used to be drawn apart. A face popped via, looking at Mike. The face used to be that of a tender girl, having a look very distraught. a number of strands of lengthy black hair had escaped the cap over her head. Her eyes have been brown and her complexion was once darkish, as though she have been Spanish. She was once additionally— Mike all at once smiled. joyful as might be. surprisingly so, might be. yet, then again—perhaps now not. Instincts will paintings occasionally, in spite of everything, even if good judgment and cause have fled. "Ease up, men! i believe we have now a damsel in misery the following. the best way I see it, that makes knowing which aspect we are on a bit of cake.

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