POD: May 30, 1942
|Appearance(s):||In the Balance|
Striking the Balance†
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Death:||1944|
|Cause of Death:||Overwork, malnutrition|
|Military Branch:||Conquest Fleet (Race Invasion of Tosev 3)|
Ussmak (d. 1944) was a Landcruiser driver in the Race's Conquest Fleet. He was a particularly adept driver. Early in the Race Invasion of Tosev 3, his tank was destroyed by a shell during a battle in the ruins of two downed fleetships in the Soviet Union during a raid by joint Germany-Soviet partisan forces. He was also exposed to radiation, and spent in an infirmary for radiation poisoning. While there, Ussmak was introduced to ginger by an orderly, and quickly became addicted to tasting.
Ussmak was returned to duty, his superiors unaware of his addiction. He went through several crews, many of whom were ginger-addicts themselves. Increasingly disturbed by his colleagues' erratic behavior, Ussmak strove to limit his ginger usage to downtime and never going into battle after tasting.
Nonetheless, the increasing loss of Lizard life on a conquest that was supposed to be simple and his own addiction caused Ussmak to became disenchanted with the Invasion. Ussmak was later involved in the failed invasion of Britain. During a mass retreat, Ussmak, for the first time since the invasion, felt guilty after he killed a hedgehog, which he had mistaken for a human.
After his crew was killed in Siberia, Ussmak suffered a mental breakdown and led a mutiny with other ginger users. He took over his command post, and murdered its commander Hisslef. His rebellion caused shockwaves among the Race's hierarchy, in which at least some commanders, especially those stationed in Siberia, were reluctant and unwilling to commit their forces to crush the rebellion for fear that this would provoke their males to side with Ussmak. The rebellion demanded amnesty and transfer to a warmer climate along with ending the struggle against the Tosevites so that, in their words, no more males die "uselessly". Fearing potential retaliation and lacking some specific weapons to defend themselves, Ussmak threatened that he would call aid from the Soviet Union and yield the command post to them.
Ussmak commanded the base for some time before he turned the base and his men over to the Soviet Union after promises of good treatment and more ginger. The Soviet Union reneged on all of their promises. Ussmak was interrogated and tortured by NKVD men. He killed his interrogator in a rage partially unleashed because of his ginger habit. As punishment, Ussmak was taken to a Soviet gulag where he was worked to death, and his corpse was put in a mass grave. His death came well after the Peace of Cairo.
Years later, the final fate of Ussmak and his companions was the subject of speculation and rumour by other soldiers of the Conquest Fleet. Soviet leaders admitted that some of them were kept alive and in good health, specifically for the purpose of telling the Soviet government what the Colonists would be like and how they might act.