Red Equinox: Book Summary

The group awaken to find themselves in yet another Gateway. When they try to leave this gateway, they discover that the doorway is warped and jammed shut. Krysty uses her mutant strength and is able to rip the doorway open, but in the process damages it severely. Rick knows that with the proper tools, he should be able to repair it in a matter of hours.

They are amazed at just how small the gateway control room is. Its only twenty feet wide and the only piece of equipment located in it is the control panel and that is it. The people who left the gateway boobie trapped both exit and the control panel. J.B. is nearly killed when he accidentally sets off one of the boobie traps on the exit. Luckily for him, the explosives have lost most of their power over the years.

The gateway is located deep below a stripped mansion. The only way to access the gateway is through a hidden door located in the chimney on the second story of the mansion. Using his sextant, J.B. discovers their location. They are just to the south of what used to be Moscow.

They are about to leave and explore when someone fires a musket at Rick, barely missing him. Jak, J.B. and Ryan go after the attacker. They eventually track the sniper down. It turns out to be an old woman who is so afraid of them she actually starts to lick the dirt of Ryan's boots to prevent them from killing her. While his back is turned, the old woman tries to draw a straight razor across Ryan's throat. Jak kills her using his throwing knives.

They follow her trail back to her hut. Here they encounter her huge mutie son and it takes five shots from Ryan's Sig Sauer to kill the man. After he is dead, they strip the hut of all food and furs so they can protect themselves from the cold. On their way back to the mansion, they encounter a group of three men on horseback. They kill the men and their horses to be on the safe side. By late afternoon, in the middle of a snow storm they finally return to the mansion where the others are waiting.

Major Commissar Zimyanin returned from patrolling the snow bound wastes near the Bering strait nearly three months previously. Because of his success, he was promoted only ten weeks ago, and has been married for six of those weeks. Ever since the original meeting with Ryan and his band, he has been secretly learning English, using an ancient phrase book he had.

The next morning it is decided that Rick, Jak and Doc Tanner will stay behind while the rest of the team will head towards Moscow to try and find the tools they need to repair the gateway. Just before they leave, Rick takes Ryan aside and informs him that he knows that he is in the terminal phase of his disease, and doesn't have much time left. They leave their long guns with Jak and Doc.

The same day Zimyanin learns of the disappearance of the three men, as well as the old woman and her giant mutie son. It doesn't seem like much, but he sends a patrol to investigate. Even though he is now a desk jocky, he still works out rigorously and hates how soft things are around him.

Skirting the small ville where the three horsemen came from, they encounter a dog. J.B. is forced to kill it to prevent its barking and alerting those who live in the ville to the outlanders presence. Just as they make it past the ville they encounter a jeep filled with five soviet soldiers. They dash into the woods to prevent from being chased. With things as difficult as they are, they realize the only way to get into Moscow will be with Rick. They need his skill in speaking Russian. As they try to get back to the mansion, they hear a pack of wolves closing. Crossing a stream, they are able to lose the animals.

The next morning they inform Rick that he is to head into the ruins with Ryan and Krysty. He simply wants to stay behind and let death take him. Krysty is able to talk him into coming, be it reluctantly, because if he gives up and dies, he will end up causing the deaths of the entire group.

Later on that day Zimyanin is informed of the discovery of the huge mutie who had been missing, as well as learns about the group of strangers that were seen running into the forest.

The whole day is spent travelling. They pass the home of the old woman and her giant son. The body of the mutie is gone, and the house has been stripped of anything useful. The corpses of the three men and their horses are also gone, probably having been eaten by the wolves they heard the night before. The day itself is beautiful, the temperature rising well above freezing and melting all the snow. Only once did they have to test Rick's Russian. They met a farmer and all the farmer comments about is the weather. Eventually they stop and spend the night in a weather proof, albeit barren house located on the outskirts of the ruins of Moscow.

Just after they finish eating some of the food they brought with them, they continue into the ruins. On their way they see a pack of children run down a old and crippled man. The leader, a young girl of no more than thirteen straddles the old man and uses a garrote to strangle him. The execution is far cheaper than a single bullet.

To the friends amazement, they discover that the ruins are slowly being rebuilt. They have power, telephones, and running water and a sewer system. They also have more running vehicles than any of them have ever seen in the past. Its obvious that they are able to manufacture parts, as well as gasoline to run their vehicles. Ryan's tooth is really bothering him and they plan to try and locate a dentist to get it finally removed. They pass stall after stall selling everything from food to curios, but not a single stall is selling any type of weapon.

They finally locate a stall where Ryan can get his bad tooth pulled. The dentist, if he can be called that is an old mutie man who's hands are nothing more than pincers. He successfully pulls Ryan's rotten tooth, and then asks for payment. They never thought of that and have to make a break for it. They end up stealing a vehicle and escaping.

Zimyanin learns of this incident a short time afterwards. He is really starting to get suspicious that there is more to these incidents than the others believe. Using small flags, he places them on a map in his office to track the route. He sees that who ever the people are, they are slowly making their way into the heart of the ville. From this knowledge he wants to upgrade the security level in the ville. He puts his mutant tracker, Aliev on twenty four hour alert.

Back at mansion, Jak, Doc and J.B. keep guard. Jak goes out several times to raid the local villes for food and hunting. On one of his hunting trips he brings back a dog and is ready to kill it for food when Doc Tanner refuses to let him. He takes the little pup into his care and names it Zorro.

Rick is getting worse. He's gotten to the point where he is begging Ryan and Krysty to leave him behind. They refuse as they need his help to badly to do what he wishes. His muscle control is becoming worse and worse, its so bad that he actually shits himself. That night they take shelter in another abandoned house. This home contains the long dead corpse of its original owner who obviously died from rad poisoning.

In the morning Rick is feeling a little better. While they continue to the center of the ruins, they pass a woman who lost the wheel of her baby carriage. After they help her, they inquire where they can get tools. She gives them the directions. Over an hour later she reports her encounter to the government and it finally filters back to Zimyanin, but by that time it is too late for him to do anything about it.

They run into a patrol and are nearly ready to make a fight of it when they discover all the patrol is doing is taking people to clear out a clogged drainage pipe. Ryan covers Rick from the view of the guards so he doesn't have to do any work, only pretend to work. The clog is eventually cleared away by a woman who is paid in with a handful of Rubels. Knowing that they will need money for both the tools and for food, they follow her and mug her.

Again, in the late afternoon, the report of the mugging makes its way to Zimyanin. He is pretty sure that the intruders are Americans and puts all his forces on alert to watch for the three companions. He is determined to find them and bring them back for trial.

After they wake up they continue on past the ruins of an old sports stadium. They spot a museum depicting the war. Curiosity gets the better of the group and they head in. It was an Anti American memorial. They saw pictures of the last presidents and red the lies which the soviets perpetuated about the war, and how that the entire continent of North America disappeared below the waves during the final war.

As they explore, Rick spots the tools they need to repair the damaged gateway. They discover another display in which is the American Flag. The visitors are forced to pass the flag and spit on the case. Rick is nearly unable to do it, but they all put up a convincing act and are left alone by the guards. However, Ryan spots a guard watching them and the guard picks up a comm unit. He knows that they are in trouble.

Zimyanin's forces try to cordon off the museum but they are too slow and Ryan's small group escape.

That night, Zimyanin and his wife have a fight. He ignores her baiting, which infuriates her to no end. She makes a fatal mistake of calling him a coward. He ends up torturing her to death and dismembering her corpse. He never loved her anyway.

Ryan plans to return to the museum that night and steal both the tools and the flag. Around midnight Rick has a bad attack. Its so bad that he cries out so loud Krysty is forced to cold cock him to prevent someone from hearing them and discovering where they are holed up. Ryan makes his raid.

During the raid he is forced to kill one guard. He gets the tools and goes after the flag. After grabbing the flag, he discovers that it is linked to an alarm which alerts the entire museum to his presence. He is forced to fight his way out of the museum, killing another six guards. He finally makes it back to Krysty and Rick. He gives the flag to Rick.

Next day J.B., considers heading into the ruins to try and locate Ryan and Krysty. But, during Doc Tanner's watch, he spots an intruder. It turns out to be Krysty who is totally exhausted. She tells the three friends that they need help with Rick because he is so sick. She draws a small map and both J.B. and Jak go to meet with Ryan and Rick.

Around midnight, intruders wake up Ryan and Rick. He hopes that it might be J.B. and Jak, but it isn't. He kills both just as his two friends come in.

In the morning they discuss stealing a vehicle to get Rick back to the mansion. They also discuss stealing some food, but Ryan figures it would be better if they try to buy it around sunset. They know that the sec patrols will be tired and lax, waiting for their relieve. He is also quite certain that he has spotted Zimyanin.

Just before Dusk, Ryan heads out to get the food. He feigns that he is mute and deaf, and is angered that the food vendor robs him blind, but does nothing about it. On his way back to the others, he runs into another of the wolf packs that he spotted when they first got into the ruins. Knowing the worst is about to happen, he grabs the pack leader, another thirteen-year-old girl and executes her. The killing sparks a firefight. He has one magazine and uses it to its fullest, killing another eight of the pack. A baby carriage breaks loose from its mother. He uses the distraction of the loose carriage to kill another three sec guards. The carriage makes it all the way down a stairway, the child unharmed. The fire from an AK-47 assault rifle kills the poor child. He manages to get back to Jak, J.B. and Rick.

Jak goes out on a Recce and is able to locate suitable transportation for them to steal. When Jak returns, he informs them that Zimyanin has stepped up the patrols and is himself coordinating the search.

Jak kills the three men using the vehicle and they escape from the ruins. Around two thirty in the morning near the suburb of Nikulino, they encounter a road block. J.B. and Ryan get out to go on foot to hit the road block. They want Jak to ram his way through and get Rick back to the redoubt.

Zimyanin arrives where the corpses of the owners of the vehicle that Jak stole are found. He also learns that nineteen men were killed by Ryan earlier that evening. He is hot on Ryan's tail.

Both Ryan and J.B. open fire on the guards around the road block. They kill enough to create enough confusion that Jak is able to ram his way past. Ryan and J.B. continue their trip to the mansion on foot.

A short time later they encounter another group of sec men, but this time they are stopping people to help clear away a mud slip. In order to try and remain as inconspicuous as possible, Ryan removes his eye patch, and J.B. his hat and glasses. They are forced to work, and to complete their disguise, they fall into the mud and cover themselves head to toe. Just in time.

Zimyanin and his tracker arrive at the mud slip. They get a good laugh at the two workers who fell into the mud. Finally enough of the blockage is cleared that they are able to get past. Just as they are leaving, he gets his driver to stop. He gets the guards to surround Ryan and J.B. The gig is up and they are caught. Getting cocky, he approaches the pair. Forgetting to have them disarmed, Ryan take him hostage. Ryan tells him to get his men to drop their weapons and back off. Zimyanin tells him to do just that, but also orders them to follow once they leave.

Seeing his master and protector in danger, Aliev, Zimyanin's mutant tracker, attacks J.B. Ryan is forced to kill him. As ugly as the little Mongolian tracker was, Zimyanin was sorry to see him die. They mount up and drive off.

Zimyanin and Ryan talk. Zimyanin tells him that he hated the cold and wanted to be away from the horses. He comes out and asks if he plans to kill him. Ryan figures that its not worth killing the man, as he has not done anything to him personally, and doesn't seem to be a bad man. He stops the vehicle and simply allows Zimyanin to leave. Zimyanin is very confused at this action.

By late afternoon the next day, Ryan and J.B. abandon the vehicle they stole and make it back to the mansion. They go to see Rick, and know he has, at best, hours left before the disease claims his life. He also knows that its going to be only a matter of a few hours before Zimyanin locates the mansion and attacks. Rick agrees to help get the gateway fixed as soon as possible. He figures its going to take six to eight hours to make the repairs. They get to it immediately.

Zimyanin knows where they are and gets one of the wolf packs to go into the mansion just after dark. He tells the leader of the pack to try and bring back Ryan alive, but go ahead and kill the others. At this time he has his men gather all the men between the ages of thirteen and fifty from the surrounding villes. He plans to use them as cannon fodder against Ryan's band.

Ryan is on guard when he spots four kids making their way up the staircase. He kills two and wounds the leader. He then slips downstairs to kill off the rest of the intruders. J.B. ends up using a magnesium grenade, blinding the pack. He and Ryan go around and execute the entire pack.

About a half hour before dawn Zimyanin forces the conscripts to advance on the mansion. His sec men will be held in reserve just in case. Both Ryan and J.B. fire on the men, using single shot. They inflict hideous losses. Seeing his ploy isn't working, Zimyanin orders an all out attack to capture the Americans.

Rick, only minutes from death, wishes to die with dignity and try to buy his friends some extra time. He has Krysty give him a pyro tab so he can ignite the gasoline inside the control room and kill any Russians that manage to get into the control room. He has wrapped himself in the American flag.

Zimyanin's troops head in. He has four men armed with Grenade Launchers. They begin to pound the house, but the defenders are not hurt. J.B. heads down to the gateway and Ryan remains. He barely manages to slip past Zimyanin and enters the hidden stairwell. At the bottom, he joins the rest as Rick breaths his last. Rick's final request is that they sing the national anthem for him. Doc begins it and they all end up finishing it. Rick dies before its is over. Jak spreads the gas around the chamber and over Rick's body. They all enter the gateway and Jak ignites the pyro tab. Many of the Russians are killed, but Zimyanin survives and enters the gateway just as the jump is commencing.

A total of eight days passed in this novel.

End of Red Equinox.

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