Sixth Column

by Robert A. Heinlein

It's six against six million in a brilliantly waged near-future war for nothing less than liberty and justice for all. The counterinsurgency for freedom is on, and defeat is not an option.

One by one, the Free Nations had fallen, until America stood alone in arms against the World. Then, as researchers toiled desperately to complete workon a weapon that might yet turn the tide of battle, she too fell.

Now, through scattered resistance flares throughout our continent, the only real hope resides in a mountain redoubt where six men work in secret on a plan to rock the planet...

He gradually built up a picture of a people being systematically and thoroughly enslaved, a picture of a nation as helpless as a man completelyparalyzed, its defenses destroyed, its communications entirely in the hands of the invaders.

Everywhere he found boiling resentment, a fierce willingness to fight against the tyranny, but it was undirected, uncoordinated, and, in any modern sense,unarmed. Sporadic rebellion was as futile as the scurrying of ants whose hill has been violated. PanAsians could be killed, yes, and there were men willing to shoot on sight, even in the face of the certainty of their own deaths.

But their hands were bound by the greater certainty of brutal multiple retaliation against their own kind. As with the Jews in Germany before the final blackoutin Europe, bravery was not enough, for one act of violence against the tyrantswould be paid for by other men, women, and children at unspeakable compound interest.

First Published:1949

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