|First Appearance||CoDominium: Revolt on War World|
"Hang Together" is a short story by Harry Turtledove published in CoDominium: Revolt on War World in 1992. The time period of the story is the late 21st Century toward the end of the CoDominium period. It is written in two parts with two POVs. The first part is a short prelude set in Moscow with a POV by Yuri Ilyich Kronov, a mid-level Russian bureaucrat in the CoDominium Bureau of Relocation. The second, main part of the story is set in the Tallinn Valley on the planet Haven. Its POV is that of Anton Pats, an Estonian political deportee and a leader of the Estonians in exile in Tallinn Town.
Kronov came to work in the Moscow offices of the BuReLoc as usual despite the rioting and the violent put-down of a Russian Nationalist group two days before in Red Square. After he settle in, his supervisor Genadi Ivorovich Kirichenko bustled in with an armload of papers. These were deportation orders to be processed, of some 300 Russian Nationalists. Kirichenko informed Kronov he was to process them and told him he could take the afternoon off if he finished early. This was an insult since it was at least twelve hours work if Kronov followed the rules and respected the dispersal ratios.
Because Kronov was a secret Nationalist supporter and because he despised his supervisor, he chose to ignore the ratios. He looked first for a possible deportation site that contained Ukrainians (the same nationality as Kirichenko) but failed to find anywhere satisfactory. He settled for Estonians in Tallinn Valley on Haven.
Pats's story begins several years later after the arrival of the Russian deportees. The Estonians had arrived some twenty years earlier and after hard work managed to make their farms, if not prosperous, then at least comfortable. The arrival of the Russians disrupted things. The two groups numbered about the same but the Russians were used to being on top and the Estonians being subservient. The Russians objected to the Estonians having the best land and closest to town. The Estonians responded that the farms were of good quality because of their work and that the Russians were free to do the same.
The tensions were rising and came near war when some anonymous sniper tried to kill Pats from ambush. While Pats was meeting with Iosef Trofimovich Mladenov, a leader of the Russians, word came of some Tartar riders arriving in the valley. Pats and Mladenov put their quarrel aside and meet with the riders. The leader of the Tartar riders, Isa Bektashhi, explained that his father Suleiman Bektashhi, chieftain of the clan of Aydin, wished to place the valley under his protection from other less generous clans. Both Pats and Mladenov realised this would mean serfdom under the Tartars and refused, stating they had no quarrel with the Tartars but also no need for their protection. However, Bektashhi explained that Clan Aydin needed access to the valley so their womenfolk could survive childbirth in the higher air pressure there and could not depend on the goodwill of the farmers. Pats and Mladenov stood firm and the Tartars rode off.
The Estonians and Russians agreed they needed to look to their common defence and set up a rota of watchmen in the pass leading to the valley. This was established but at truenight Tartars stealthily overpowered one sentry and killed him, mutilating his body as a warning. This only hardened the resolve of the two groups and they successfully fought off the Tartar assault some 20 hours later. This solidified the unity of the two groups. As Pats said, there was the American proverb that they must hang together or they would surely hang separately.