Chapter 7 Summary
In the town, the snow lies deep and a cold wind blows in from the Pole. The houses are dark and the soldiers who patrol the village are cold and miserable. Soldiers near the mine listen for the sounds of airplanes above. On clear nights like this, bombs often fall.
In the village, a dog howls. One soldier suggests they shoot the dog, but another says he likes the howling, that it reminds him of the dog he used to have back home before all the dogs were rounded up and taken away.
Then the soldiers hear the planes. The townspeople hear them too, as does Colonel Lanser in his bed in the Mayor’s house. The people expect bombs, but instead hundreds and hundreds of small blue packages with tiny parachutes fall in and around the town.
At dawn, the people begin to find the blue packages. When they open the packages, they read the message inside and then hide the packages.
At the Mayor’s house, a soldier brings some of the packages into the drawing room. Captain Loft, Major Hunter, and Colonel Lanser examine them. Major Hunter says that the packages are cheap, simple sticks of commercial dynamite.
Colonel Lanser says that according to the capital, the sticks of dynamite are only being dropped in this town, probably as a test. He relates that the note inside the packages reads, "To the unconquered people: Hide this . . . It is a present from your friends to you and from you the invader of your country."
Lanser also says that there are instructions telling how best to use the dynamite to disrupt the enemy’s operations.
Captain Loft says several times that they must do something about this new problem. Colonel Lanser replies that they need to look at the problem and figure it out first:
This is a new kind of conquest. Always before, it was possible to disarm a people and keep them in ignorance. Now they listen to their radios and we can’t stop them. We can’t even find their radios.
Colonel Lanser says that the men are well trained in how to behave in victory, but they are not prepared for defeat. Captain Loft says they are not defeated, but Colonel Lanser does not respond....
(The entire section is 579 words.)