Chapter 1 Summary
On a Sunday morning, an unnamed coal mining town is invaded by the battalion of an unnamed enemy. The town’s fourteen soldiers are six miles away at a shooting competition, and the invasion is over by 10:45 AM. The town’s soldiers hurry back to the town when they hear the planes and see the parachutes. Six are killed, three are wounded, and three escape.
The invading battalion’s soldiers move into Mr. Corell’s warehouse, which was already prepared for them.
Colonel Lanser, the invaders’ commanding officer, requests a meeting with Mayor Orden at his “palace,” which is really just a large house. Captain Bentick arrives at the palace before Colonel Lanser for the purpose of searching it for firearms. He knows upon arrival that the Mayor has two guns in his house. Doctor Winter, the town physician and historian, is also present. While they wait for Colonel Lanser to arrive, the Mayor and his wife discuss whether or not they should offer the conquerors wine or tea. The Mayor decided to offer neither, because, according to the Mayor, “the people might not like it.”
When Colonel Lanser arrives, Mr. Corell is with him. Doctor Winter realizes that Mr. Corell had been spying for the invaders in preparation for the invasion. Mayor Orden is surprised and hurt by this realization. The Mayor tells Colonel Lanser that he will not take part in the meeting with Mr. Corell in the room, so Colonel Lanser asks Mr. Corell to leave. After protesting, Mr. Corell departs.
Colonel Lanser states his plans for the town: "You see, sir, this is more like a business venture than anything else. We need the coal mine here and the fishing. We will try to get along with just as little friction as possible."
When Doctor Winter and the Mayor suggest that the townspeople might not want to work the mines for the invaders, Colonel Lanser says, “I hope they will want to, because they must. We must have the coal.”...
(The entire section is 631 words.)