The Alaska Highway is one giant chain of franchises and rednecks with guns.
Hiro drives for sixteen hours before pulling into a Snooze 'n' Cruise and parking his bike. Then he goes to look for Chuck Wrightson, former president of the Temporary Republic of Kenai and Kodiak (TROKK).
Wrightson is living like a hobo in his exile, so Hiro takes him out for a drink and asks about how TROKK was formed and then unformed. TROKK was apparently a decent little country, until the Russian Orthodox minority (Orthos for short) led a rebellion.
The Orthos (a lot of them Native Americans who'd been converted by early Russian traders) were considered heretics by the actual Russian Orthodox Church. Guess who backs them? Yep, Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates.
So this Russian ex-pat who's also a religious fanatic, Gurov, showed up at TROKK one day with a hydrogen bomb. What else could the government do but capitulate?
One wonders how religious fanatics got their hands on a hydrogen bomb. It'd been on a Russian sub, and the captain agreed to ferry starving refugees out of Russia. Of course they put everyone through a metal detector—but Raven got in with a glass knife.
Wrightson tells Hiro that Raven is an Aleut, meaning he belongs to an indigenous ethnicity known for hunting whales in kayaks. Sounds pretty hardcore.
Raven apparently killed everyone on that sub, except for a skeleton crew and some of the refugees; that's how the Orthos got their hands on the nuclear sub.
Hiro is distracted from this fascinating conversation by a man tapping him on his shoulder and asking for his attention.