To Struggle in the Way of Allah is the first story of the Main Canon, centering around the Caliphate Conflict in 2150. It has five primary plot-arcs, revolving around the experiences of MAF Corporal Yegor Bykov, Frenkish Naval Infantry Corporal Radiana Jackson (Radio), IIA agent Hadrian Kelly and Zealot Sir Dayton Gyles. In addition, there are two hidden plots in the storyline, both involving Culture Whip Jane Smyth and General Elena Trotskaya.
To Struggle in the Way of Allah begins with an observation by the KGB of a massacre by Caliphate death squads in the Kurdish village of Qalat Dizah. General Elena Trotskaya, overseeing a surveillance operation in the Middle East in response to Caliphate involvement in a highly-organised raid on an MAF armoury close to Urfa, presents information of this event to Grand Marshal Gordon Kravchenko, supreme commander of the Red Army, and Grand Curator Prokhor Stahlrim.
At the same time, the European Federation searches for a possible nuclear warhead in the hands of Caliphate agents in Algiers. The hunt is coordinated by EFEC Captain Morgan Dierker, with her finest lieutenant Hans Durer conducting ground operations. After a botched interrogation of a radicalised mechanic, his squad discovers a cache containing highly-advanced Mecharussian equipment and learns of a heavily-armoured truck speeding down the Dijar highway. As Durer and his squad pursue the truck, their helicopter is shot down by an RPG, causing him to lose contact with the squad. He successfully boards the truck, however, only to learn that the warhead is not aboard the juggernaut. The driver reveals that the truck was a decoy, and he detonates the bomb – which was actually planted in Algiers’ centre while Durer and his squad were distracted – before Durer can stop him. Overcome by grief at his failure to prevent the devastation of Algiers, the lieutenant commits suicide with his own pistol.
Observing the event, Trotskaya informs her superiors in the People's Senate, which immediately convenes for an emergency meeting. While they debate whether or not to invade the Caliphate, another armoury in Turkey is attacked by the Islamists, this time at Gaziantep, with large numbers of troops and attack aircraft. However, the assault is repelled with the help of Corporal Yegor Bykov, and the invaders are forced back over the border.
Simultaneously, the Frenkish Imperial Council meets at Hightower Palace to discuss the events. Culture Whip Jane Smyth, suspecting that the Caliphate may have received outside assistance, departs for Indonesia alongside a detachment of Black Guards and Zealots, among whom is Sir Dayton Gyles, to hunt for a Caliphate agent in the United Dominion of Asian Peoples. Meanwhile, Grand Marshal Ulysses Turner, supreme commander of the Imperial military, is permitted by Emperor Derrick Zane to launch a low-key invasion, codenamed ‘Operation Sandstorm’, against Caliphate-occupied Palestine. Leading the charge is a squad led by Sergeant Alvin Bloomfield and Corporal Radiana Jackson.
At the same time, two Imperial Intelligence agents, the newcomer Hadrian Kelly and veteran agent Jonathon Rollins acquaint themselves with Azad, the leader of the Kurdish Peshmerga and long-time friend of Rollins. Learning of the presence of a Taliban death squad in the area, the same one that attacked Qalat Dizah, the agents plan to ambush the group just as they enter the Sinjar mountain range. The attack is a resounding success, with the Peshmerga capturing three young Taliban fighters, and the group prepare to depart to Irbil.
Arriving days later, Kelly finds a young Yazidi girl, Narin, whose parents were executed by the Caliphate, and takes a liking to her. In addition, Rollins introduces her to Nusa, Azad’s wife. However, their visit is cut short when the Mecharussian Third Aerofleet, commanded by General Pyotr Shuvalov, arrives as part of a larger occupation force, and the agents are forced to hide in Azad’s apartment. Unfortunately, Azad, determined to reason with the Russians, runs into a squad of Marines who demand access to the apartment. Acting on outside orders – unbeknownst to them, those of Trotskaya, who is seeking a template for Supersoldier Project Erinyes – the marines search the apartment and discover Rollins after he gives himself up to save Kelly, who was about to be apprehended by the marines. Being delivered to the Council of Ministers building to Shuvalov, who believes that he is going to be the one to interrogate Rollins, the agent instead falls into Trotskaya’s deviously-concocted trap, to Shuvalov’s great anger. Concerned that the general might attempt to obstruct her plans for Rollins, Trotskaya has him terminated by throwing him off of the deck of the orbiting MSS Archangelsk aircraft carrier, granting the more pliable Captain Vojislav Nikolayevich command over the Irbil occupation force. Meanwhile, Azad is killed by the Spetsnaz while attempting to retrieve Rollins from Trotskaya’s grip.
Though Rollins is badly injured, losing his organic eye, a hand and usage of his penis to Trotskaya’s brutal torture tactics, Kelly arrives later, defeating Trotskaya in hand-to-hand combat and freeing Rollins from the metal crate Trotskaya had locked him inside. Determined to retrieve Rollins, but heavily damaged in her fight with Kelly, she retreats to the Archangelsk and orders her Spetsnaz troopers to catch them both, sending an SKPT-P spider tank to ambush the agents in the parliament chamber. When the ambush ultimately fails, both Rollins and Kelly escaping by helicopter with the help of Azad’s nephew 'Smalls' (who reveals that his uncle is, in fact, alive, much to the pair’s confusion), she orders Nikolayevich to send a Yekaterinburg-class aerial destroyer and four Yak-99 fighter drones after the helicopters. The fighters are destroyed when Nusa – revealed to be an IIA agent named Perdue – dispatches two orbital CAVs to assist, but the destroyer levels the Naza Tower firing after the helicopters, burying the two remaining aircraft underneath the skyscraper. Satisfied with having brought Rollins and Kelly out of the sky, Trotskaya sends a detachment of marines and a part of her personal squad, led by her son, the ork Alexei, to acquire Rollins and Kelly. The pair, with Peshmerga assistance, retreat to the sewers, but Nusa/Perdue dies from wounds sustained during the helicopter crash which also knocks Hadrian out cold.
After a lengthy battle in the sewer between Alexei, Rollins and the Peshmerga, a squad of Rangers, led by Sergeant Baker arrives, having been deployed by the FIS Ray Bradbury and George Lucas battlecarriers after their sudden and unexpected arrival. Though Alexei attempts to kill them after he goes berserk following a plasma blast, he winds up dead at the Rangers' hands. Realising that Alexei was Trotskaya's son, Rollins decides to have the ork's teddy bear Roga sent back to Trotskaya along with a letter of apology - which she warmly receives, overjoyed that her son's long years of suffering were finally over.
Meanwhile, the Mecharussian Armed Forces, the Frenkish Naval Infantry, European Federal Army Corps and Ardavian Army push into the Levant from all sides, seeking to fully destabilize the Caliphate with a surprise joint (albeit-disorganised) invasion. After MAF squad Kopye Two - Gorshkov, Bykov, Bulyagin and Grishenko - discovers a hidden cache of antimatter cores deep within the Aleppo Citadel, Gorshkov is subsequently killed in action and the rest of the squad is captured by Narodnaya Volya agents after triggering a trapped drop pod. Concurrently, ISIS troops, armed with heavy EFAC artillery, capture Radio's squad and accompanying Ranger Miguel Mendoza after baiting them with a large number of civilians. Coincidentally, the remnants of both squads end up in the same prison cell, and they devise a plan to escape the prison, which they learn is the Al Shumaisi Deportation Complex just outside of the Caliphate capital city of Mecca, over the course of two days.
Learning of the plan through a psychic scan of Bykov, OTAN dispatches Trotskaya and the Spetsnaz Alfa Group and Zvezda Group to retrieve all of the prisoners via her command vessel, the MSS Zmey. Trotskaya uses two MAF Desolator Brigades to provide a cover for the incursion while the Spetsnaz rescue Kopye-Two, Radio and Mendoza. The Spetsnaz arrive, disguised as a prisoner convoy, just as Bykov, Radio, Mendoza, Bulyagin and Grishenko all put their plan into action, killing a Narodnaya Volya guardsman and rearming themselves. At the moment the five unite with the Spetsnaz, Caliphate kingpin James Volker arrives in a suit of prototype M2 Tigress powered armour along with heavily-armed elite troops, but the Frenks/Russians/Spetsnaz annihilate the attackers, Radio mortally wounding Volker with a blast from her carbine's underslug Gauss cannon. With Volker defeated and the Islamists routed, Trotskaya commands the Polyus-II orbital bombardment station Oni, hovering in high orbit, to destroy the prison. When they are exfiltrated by a beetlecopter back to the Zmey, Trotskaya reveals to Kopye Two, Radio and Mendoza the existence of a 'vacuum imploder' and that Narodnaya Volya is attempting to build one. She conscripts them all into the Spetsnaz and sets them the task of apprehending the renegade psyker 'Maxim Magomedov' to stop its construction, offering to augment Radio and Mendoza as reward for their defection from the NFE.
Meanwhile, Gyles arrives at the prison with a SAS detachment in tow, having learned from Arabian warlord Ma'mun Rahal of Volker's whereabouts, only to learn that Volker is dead and the complex about to be obliterated by orbital bombardment. However, he comes across the Narodnaya Volya guards, who miraculously survived the bombardment, capturing two of them - Andrei and Svetlana - and killing the other. As they are about to leave the operating zone, they find themselves sandwiched between a Frenkish nuclear bombardment and the incoming Desolator Brigades assaulting Mecca and devise a plan to escape to Medina (with Andrei and Svetlana in tow), given that their extraction helicopter was shot down moments before.
In the city, Trotskaya leads Kopye Two, Mendoza and several of her personal soldiers in an attack on the Masjid al-Haram mosque, seeking to apprehend the Caliph. They easily deal with the elite guardsmen defending the mosque and enter a hidden nuclear bunker built below the Ka'bah, but learn that the Caliph is not present. There are, however, several files present on a mysterious 'Alpha Programme' that Trotskaya orders everyone to take as useful intel. Although they are delayed by a deathclaw (which Trotskaya dispatches easily), the Spetsnaz escape the bunker just in time to avoid an IIA strike team, commanded by Rollins and Kelly - having been deployed by Intelligence Coordinator Jack Carver to destroy the files Trotskaya stole. Upon learning that the documents that they are looking for are gone, they are attacked and captured by a squad of Vanguards while the Spetsnaz exfiltrate back to the Zmey.
Rollins and Kelly are brought aboard the HMS Vera Lynn, the Culture Office's floating base of operations in the Red Sea. Gyles and the SAS arrive some time later, having brought Svetlana back with them (Andrei having committed suicide back in Mecca to prevent Narodnaya Volya recapturing him). After learning of the IIA's intentions to destroy CIA files all around the Caliphate from Kelly, Gyles informs Rollins of an attack on the Culture Office that transpired at Hightower Plaza an hour ago. Correctly suspecting that the IIA wanted to bring down the Office over a conflict of interest pertaining to operations in the Caliphate, Rollins and Kelly reluctantly agree to join forces with the Culture Office and Zealotry.
Meanwhile, Grand Marshal Kravchenko angrily confronts Stahlrim in his office after learning that the Dnepropetrovsk and Pavlovsky regiments were both almost wiped out following a surprise nuclear attack. As the Marshal protests at the protraction of the conflict, Stahlrim calmly informs him that Trotskaya is looking for the missing Caliph. Kravchenko responds by informing the Curator that he has already planned a huge joint-offensive with the United Dominion of Asian Peoples and the Aerofleet to storm the Caliphate and end the war within a week.
Aware that she is being hunted by the IIA, Smyth contacts Trotskaya from a secret bunker under New Rome and proposes to combine their intelligence to hunt for the Caliph. Trotskaya, having learned of Kravchenko's upcoming offensive and his impatience, agrees to meet her at a Zealotry safehouse off the coast of Iran. At the safehouse, they realise that the Caliph they have been searching for is, in fact, the last remaining supersoldier of the Alpha Programme - Theodore Pelayo, better known as Atlas. Trotskaya tortures Svetlana for information on Atlas' whereabouts, which turns out to be Tora Bora, a heavily-fortified mountain complex in northern Afghanistan, before putting her out of her misery. Sharing this information with Smyth, the latter contacts Chancellor Tandi asking for assistance to assault the fortress - Tandi provides in the form of the Ray Bradbury battlecarrier.
The joint Frenco-Spetsnaz task force head to Afghanistan and reach the northernmost mountains via a pre-war irrigation project while the Bradbury distracts the brunt of their defences. As Trotskaya's and Smyth's soldiers launch a ground assault on the fortress, Kravchenko prepares to launch his offensive - starting with Tora Bora. Before the task force can enter the caves and confront Atlas, however, they are ambushed by a large detachment of Rangers, led by Carver himself. Just as Carver prepares to execute them all (Trotskaya, Smyth and Gyles all having been incapacitated), the Rangers are suddenly bombed by two Nanchang J-47 strike fighters on Kravchenko's command - the remaining are tied down by the task force as they retreat into the caverns.
As both Bykov and Mendoza realize that Kravchenko's aircraft intended to destroy both the Rangers and the task force, and that his tanks are attacking, the Marshal himself leading the charge in a prototype IS-51 superheavy breakthrough tank, Mendoza heads away to buy the task force time to escape the ambush. He attacks the IS-51 head on, succeeding in stopping the machine during a brief knife battle with Kravchenko. Though the Marshal succeeds in killing Mendoza, the task force eludes destruction and heads into the caves. Bykov, however, calls for Mendoza - Kravchenko, hearing him over the communicator, informs the Sergeant of his plan to end the war and kill the Spetsnaz to set an example to the Senate.
Kravchenko attempts to assault them again, but the IS-51 is immobilized by a cruise missile attack from the Zmey. The Marshal, however, turns the tank's nuclear howitzer against the ekranoplane and destroys it in a single shot. Bykov, believing Radio to still be on board the ship (when in actuality she was whisked away by a beetlecopter to the OTAN Complex), flies into a rage and runs against the tank. Bulyagin is forced to pursue him, urging Grishenko to remain with the rest of the task force. Bykov and Kravchenko duel atop the crippled IS-51, the former nearly being killed by the Marshal after learning of his regiment's destruction. Bulyagin intervenes at the last minute, throwing Bykov off of the IS-51 and sacrificing himself by blowing up Kravchenko (along with the tank) with an antimatter grenade - exactly as Gorshkov did in Homs to save his squad.
In the caverns, Rollins, Kelly and a revived Gyles encounter Atlas, where he reveals his ultimate plan to instigate a Fourth World War by launching two nuclear-armed missiles at the Mechanocracy and the NFE so as to bring about world peace. He launches the Russian missile in the process. In the subsequent battle, Gyles is incinerated to death by the supersoldier, while Rollins is mortally wounded and Kelly disarmed, at which point Atlas launches the Frenkish missile. Outside, Trotskaya awakens, spotting the Russian missile. She hacks into the navigation system of an overhead UDAP Chairman Cheng-class strike cruiser, causing the warship to intercept the missile with its hull - and the warship to crash into the silo just as the Frenkish missile takes off.
Moments before the ship crashes, Atlas reads Kelly's mind and, realizing that Kelly is truly good-natured, begins to doubt himself. Coming to the conclusion that he was wrong in assuming that all Frenks and Russians are inherently evil, Atlas offers to make amends by stopping the missile himself or saving Rollins from certain death, but warns Kelly that he cannot do both. Kelly offers to sacrifice himself by stopping the missile, using one of the downed cruiser's escape pods, allowing Rollins to survive him. Taking off in the pod and reaching the missile, Kelly pulls the missile's wiring and activates the failsafe, detonating it and killing him.
Outside, Smyth awakens, being received by Grishenko - who tells them of the battle transpiring in the caverns - and Golovkin. A badly-wounded and furious Carver arrives, pistol in hand, and attempts to execute them all, but Grishenko guns him down. Bykov, seriously wounded by the battle with Kravchenko and then by shrapnel from the destroyed tank, is seen to by Golovkin and Grishenko while Trotskaya summons an evac from the Bradbury. Before being exfiltrated, Bykov hallucinates about seeing the faces of all of the dead in the mushroom cloud over the wrecked Zmey, but realises that Radio is still alive after failing to see her face. Later, aboard the Bradbury, Trotskaya makes amends with Rollins and apologizes for torturing him.
Struggle concludes with mention of the fate of IIA chief coordinator Issac Maximillian being imprisoned for his corruption, rebellions springing up all over Mars, reformation commencing in the Nexus of Man and revolutions sprouting Europe, and Atlas having renounced his position as Caliph to instead spread peace throughout the Islamic world as a 'Guardian'.
To Struggle in the Way of Allah (NS Page)