Chapter One: An Unpleasant Surprise

Chapter One: An Unpleasant Surprise

Kalkar System: Feb 5th 4009 Old Terran Calendar

Stealth in space was a matter of electronic warfare systems divided by hull size. In practical terms that meant only destroyers and light cruisers were truly stealthy. Heavy cruisers could sneak around against opponents who weren’t alert or experienced but that was always a gamble. Attempting to hide any ship larger than about half a million tons was a futile gesture.

The VBS Roaming Songbird had a different problem. At forty thousand tons the frigate was smaller than a destroyer but lacked powerful enough EW systems to hide in open space. Other more modern navies had stopped building frigates decades ago but the Breyland navy needed as many hulls as it could get; simply to act as messenger couriers if nothing else. Besides a pair of frigates could fight a destroyer and being warp-capable could run away from a hopeless engagement unlike fast attack craft.

All that was well and good but what mattered at the moment was that the Breyland Navy’s use of frigates gave a lot of young officers their first chance at an independent command. Lieutenant Parker McLaren watched his command display very nervously as he waited for the reconnaissance drone to come into secure communication range. “We should be seeing the trace any time now.” He muttered to himself.

A long tense minute later the call came,” Contact, sir. Faint trace. ID still uncertain.”

“Plot an intercept, bring our engines to one quarter power. No higher. Just get us as close as you can Mr. Kerensky.”

“Aye, aye, one quarter power, sir.” The Sub-Lieutenant who was acting as both XO and lead navigator replied. “Still being cautious?”

“If we can we need to get out of here without the locals spotting us.” McLaren answered. “and with our hardware disadvantage we can’t be sure they haven’t set up passive sensor arrays among the gas giant’s moons.”

The slender mercenary-adventurer politely declined to comment on how inferior the Breyland Navy hardware was; especially compared to his native Concordia. Breyland civilian technology was for the most part as good if not better than their neighbours but their military tech base was atrociously behind the times. “Passive arrays? That far out from the main planet? These are just pirates.”

“Very well equipped pirates, Marc.” McLaren said coldly as he reflected on where those pirates would have gotten that equipment from. “And recon frigates are supposed to be cautious. Speaking of which anything more on that drone?”

Ensign Hwan looked up from the tactical display,” No sir, the trance is a beginning to strengthen but I still have no firm ID or…”

“Enemy drone?” Kerensky speculated. “launched along the same path as our drone after they intercepted it?” It was a ludicrous idea on the face of it.

“Mr. Hwan, Bring our point defences online,” McLaren ordered humoring the Concordian. “Better paranoid than dead.”

Hwan looked displeased but said nothing as he begin spinning up the frigate’s six defensive laser clusters. McLaren almost reminded the ex-NCO about keeping the PD lasers in passive sensor mode but caught himself before he did so. Mr. Hwan knew his business and had earned his rank the hard way.

“Drone ID Mk seventeen B. Identification code confirmed,” The petty officer standing to Ensign Hwan’s right announced. McLaren breathed a sigh of relief.

“That’s an old drone.” Hwan said in disbelieve. “Seventeen B… would be at least eighty years old. The Vulcan wouldn’t be carrying a drone that old.”

The petty officer double checked his display,” Sirs everything checks out. The code is valid.”

“Mr. Holland is the drone responding to telemetry commands?” Hwan barked. “At this range…

“No sir, drone is acknowledging my commands but not responding,” The rating at the drone control station answered.

McLaren’s own words echoed in his ears. Better paranoid than dead. “Condition Alpha!”

“Roger that!” Hwan answered with a veteran’s roar of confidence,” Emcon Charlie, raising shields, bringing duel purpose lasers online. Reconfiguring EW systems to combat ECM.”

“Engines to half power. Engineering reports, five minutes to full speed.” Kerensky replied in turn.

Good men, better than he deserved, McLaren thought. “Break for the hyperlimit. We’re done here one way or another.”

“New contact! Gravitic and TachPulse! Mass estimate… seventy kilotons. Range nine light-seconds.” Hwan reported. “Closing on us at about two thirds speed.”

“Roger,” McLaren replied his mind spinning his barely armed ship had no business even trying to engage a ship that large. “The drone?”

“Profile change! The Drone is moving to intercept us. Unknown type!” Hwan’s assistant reported.

“I’m gonna snap shoot a Stingray at it.” Hwan announced. The Songbird didn’t have much of the way in magazine space and shooting an older LM-3 missile at the drone would save her handful of semi-modern LM-5 Pilum’s in case one of pirates did manage to get into range.

“Do it!” McLaren proclaimed as he begun to crunch the numbers in his head.

“Sir, that is definitely an attack drone, engine signature indicates Concordian origin.” Holland reported. Kerensky stuttered slightly at this. Not that McLaren or his crew would hold anything against him.

“Missile away! Reloading tube three with Pilum,” Hwan reported.

“Marc? Any idea what that thing is?” McLaren asked the mercenary.

“Attack drone? K series maybe? Three light attack missiles… good EW systems.” Kerensky answered. “It’ll see the missile coming and fire before it’s destroyed.”

“If those are first line Cordie missiles we’re not going to be able to stop all three, Skipper.” Ensign Hwan said. “Even if they launch at max range.”

“No they’d have to be export versions. Wouldn’t they?” Kerensky squealed. “They’d have to be?”

They’d find out shortly. Concordian didn’t sell much in the way of arms but a lot of their smaller allies were feeling the need for cold hard cash in the aftermath of the recent trade collapse. The fact that the pirates had any Concordian arms at all was going to make taking back this system a hell of a lot harder.

“Missile impact in three seconds,” Hwan announced. “Stingray is tracking…”

“Counterlaunch detected! Vampire count four!” Holland reported.

“Okay so it wasn’t a K series.” Kerensky muttered mostly to himself.

The Songbird had four counter-missile launchers, two dual purpose lasers and six point defence lasers. Against four missiles of equal technology that would have likely proven enough to prevent any hits. However even older Concordian hardware was going to be a challenge and while a single hit wasn’t likely to destroy the Songbird a crippling hit that took out an engine or two would slow the frigate enough for the incoming pirate heavy destroyer to intercept them short of the hyperlimit.

“Counter-missiles launching,” Hwan announced. There would be time for two salvos and then one last ditch chance with the lasers. “Gremlin-1 destroyed.” He added almost as an afterthought.

“Shields at fifty-two percent, engine power at sixty-three percent, Defensive ECM at full capacity.” Kerensky reported. The mercenary might be embarrassed by the strangeness of facing his home nation’s weaponry but he was still an academy trained naval officer and knew what information his captain needed.

“Second launch away! First intercept… now!”

Four incoming missiles became three incoming missiles.

“Second intercept… now!”

A second missile was intercepted. Two remaining.

“Lasers engaging.”

The sixty five millimeter dual purpose lasers did their best but to no avail.

Only five of the Songbird’s point defence lasers could engage. A third missile was destroyed cleanly. The final incoming missile took only a partial hit but that was enough to throw it off target. Not before it had a chance to arm its forty megaton warhead however and a bright angry fireball appeared less than a hundred kilometers astern of the ship and a wave of energy struck the rear shields.

The Songbird shook from the near miss but the shields held and engine power continued to rise.

“Time to hyperlimit Mr. Kerensky?” McLaren asked.

“Estimated time eight minutes, forty seconds. Enemy destroyer has broken off pursuit,” Kerensky answered.

“Prepare to hyper out,” McLaren ordered.

“Direct line to Gloria?” Kerensky asked.

“Direct line, no point getting fancy.” McLaren answered. Gloria was the only real base in this region so there was little point in disguising their movements. “and who knows maybe they’ll be stupid enough to follow us?”

That got a chuckle from the bridge. In theory you could follow a ship using a direct line. In practice the risk of being ambushed by the ship you had been chasing before you could bring your ship’s systems bring online after exiting hyperspace was high enough to make interstellar hot pursuit something you only saw in movies.

“Navigation check complete. Warpcoil fully charged. All subsystems nominal,” Kerensky announced. “Clear to jump as soon as we hit the limit.”

“Good work, everyone.” McLaren declared. “Let’s just hope the Vulcan got out as well.

It was a somber thought that haunted the Songbird’s men as their ship entered the safety of hyperspace. Their mission had failed, by no fault of their own but they would live to fight another day.

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Chapter One: An Unpleasant Surprise

Have Doggo, Will Travel.

Recruiting Sergeant Jayce Bronner glared at the teenage boy who had rather nervously asked him a very stupid question. “Okay the quickest way to satisfy your service requirement is volunteer to serve as a K-9 trooper.”

“A what?” The boy who had rather sheepishly introduced himself as Jann replied.

“A dog handler.” Bronner explained. “Sure you gotta break a few skulls with the Gendarmes but it’s a pretty easy gig and you only serve six years instead of the normal twenty.”

“What’s the catch?” Jann asked.

“The service dogs are retired after five years so typically the trooper is mustered out at the same.” Bronner added.

“So what happens with the dog?” Jann blurted out, not completely following the sergeant.

“It goes home with the soldier, that’s why the Guard only drafts K-9 troopers from planets where dog ownership is common.” Bronner said, Jann seemed a little redneckish but that was usually a good thing for a soldier.

“So I get out early and I get a cool awesome dog.” Jann answered, summing up what he had learned so far.

Bronner decided to start on the bad news. “One year of training, and then five years of service but you’ll be a Gendarme private the entire time. Hell you won’t even make PFC unless you do something stupidly heroic.”

“So no real pension or muster out bonus. Yeah I can live with that.” Jann said. Carolus had a decent enough economy that a returning soldier would have no trouble getting job. More than you could say for other places.

“You’ll have to score really damn well on the tests. Every goldbricker, coward and barracks lawyer tries for K-9 duty and the Guard really doesn’t need that many dogboys.” Bronner said firmly.

“So if I make the cut that will be accomplishment by itself.” Jann pondered.

“That’s not quite what I meant.” The recruiter groaned. Jann wasn’t a serious prospect but it was important to Bronner to represent the military as best he could.

“I get out early, I get a companion dog and I’ll be part of a select group.” Jann summed up.

“Select group is… one way to put it.” Bronner said remembering his own service. “One thing however it that if your partner is killed in the middle of your tour you usually get sent back for training with a new dog. Remember it’s the dog that gets retired early not the trooper.”

“So take care of the doggo?” Jann said. Catching the key point quickly.

“Right that’s the deal. You take of the dog, the dog takes care of you, Before, during and after the war.” Bronner said cheerfully “And God help you if another K-9 vet finds out you didn’t take care of your partner afterwards.” The sergeant said very sternly. Jann met his eyes briefly to show that he understood.

“Okay. So it’s the fastest way to honorably complete my service.” Jann stated.

“Second fastest would be to volunteer to service in the Colonial Police. That’s ten years and decent promotion opportunities if you re-up.” Bronner said, A lot of recruiters wouldn’t bring that point up since the Colonial Police weren’t part of the military but Bronner had always been too honest for his own good.

Jann nodded, clearly taking a mental note.

There was one more thing Bronner felt he should bring up, “The dishonorable option would be to intentionally fail your training say around the six month mark…”

“Hell no, sir,” Jann interrupted. “I don’t wanna go die in some rich man’s war but if I gonna do something I’m damn well going to do my best. I ain’t intentionally failing nothing.”

I took every ounce of Sergeant Bronner’ s lifetime of discipline not to laugh at that. “Good. Man to man, that’s exactly what I want to hear.”

Jann blushed and looked like he was on the verge of tears.

“Go home kid. The draft quota on this planet is so small that there’s almost no chance of your number coming up.” Bronner said defeatedly.

“Just wanted a plan in case it did, sir.” Jann said weakly. “Got a lot to think about. Guess I’ll go now.”

“Just remember kid there’s nothing stopping you from volunteering.” the old sergeant said calmly.

“Lot to think about,” Jann grunted, before slipping out the door.

“Go home, think about it.. and work on your English, It never hurts if you’re thinking about going off-world.” Bronner yelled out the door in reply.

Jann turned around and waved to thank the sergeant before continuing on his way.

“… I mean fuck I volunteered.” Bronner said to himself. “And he was a damn good dog.

Have Doggo, Will Travel.

The Colonel’s Speech

Okay I probably am going to have to sit down and do a Ice Moon Corrigan story…

 

A image appeared on the screen of a older man with a neat short beard, dressed in a white suit. He grinned at camera with an undeniable charisma and began speaking in what the pirates’ computer would later identify as a ‘likely fake Old American deep south accent.’

This is The Colonel, speaking for the people and militia of Corrigan.

Alright you small-dicked weaselfuckers y’all ain’t fooling nobody with that whole ‘we come in peace’ bullshit. We all know why you’re here and let me start by saying that your kind of ‘free roaming businessmen’ ain’t all that welcome in these parts.

That said it looks like you’re here and we’re gonna have to do business. So I’ll try make this as plain and clear as I can. You’re here to make a quick buck and that ain’t happening. Our colony is self-sufficient in the essentials of life, so you can’t starve us out. As for the parts and machinery we need to import well… we got enough spare parts to last us about twenty years or so.

So whatever you think you’re going to do to us it ain’t gonna be quick and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be easy. Time is money, son. Especially in your line of work. By now I’ve sure you’ve had a chance to talk to our neighbors and learnt just what kind of fellows we are. You see Corrigan is a proposition Nation based on a very interesting set of propositions.

We build up our treasures in Heaven, not upon the mortal plane.

We ain’t got no gold, we ain’t got no platinum, ain’t got no fancy jewels either. The wealth we do have on this moon is in the form of heavy machinery and infrastructure. Not exactly the kind of portable loot you need to keep your operation running.

Now I just told you what We the people and militia of Corrigan don’t have. So to even things out I’m going to tell you we do have a whole lot of.

We got nothing but cold steel, hot lead and tungsten carbine penetrators and believe me the good ole boys will be more than happy to give it to you sons-a-bitches one round at time

You doubt my word you just go right on ahead and try it. Seriously son, with God as my witness any fight with us is a losing bargain.

Because you know damn well even if we had the cash to pay you off, Y’all could go eat a dick ‘cuz you ain’t getting one damn cent from us.

We’re ready to meet our God. Are you ready to meet yours?

The Colonel’s Speech

Quick Hit: Ice Moon Corrigan

Not a very productive weekend I’m afraid but I’ll leave you with this little piece of world-building.

 

While Corrigan is relatively wealthy it is also a frozen hostile atmosphere moon inhabited by nine hundred thousand armed to the teeth militant Christian fanatics, living in hundreds of practically self-sufficient ‘farmhold’ settlements which are all inter-connected by deep underground tunnels and who could as a last resort retreat their entire population into a carefully prepared fortified mountain range. You will get nothing out of the Corgis unless you ask them very, very nicely.

 

and yes the inhabitants of the ice moon Corrigan are called Corgis.

Quick Hit: Ice Moon Corrigan

Looks Like It’s Time To Level The Fuck Up

Shadilay Brethren, I’d like to take the time to thank The Supreme Dark Lord, Davis Aurini, Bradford Walker and the rest of you for the absolutely ridiculous traffic spike this blog has gotten in the last two days.

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To put things into perspective a normal day around here has maybe 25-30 views. If I post a good article that gets a little buzz things might spike up to 70-100 views.

In the last three days as a result of covering the launch of Alt*Hero I have gotten, 255, 790 and 819 page views respectively. That’s what? a 2000% increase!!! Needless to say it got my attention.

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While I have no idea how many of you will stick around in order to become proper Magic Space Aryans I do hope you’ve all been entertained.

Many a truth is said in jest and I’m come to accept that such is my lot in life.

Breyland Notes: The Magic Space Aryan Racial Purity Scale

 

This is the second time I’ve a had a post go viral enough to actually scare me and if I made a complete ass of myself the first time I’d like to think that I’m a bit more seasoned and confident now.

I may surprise some of you to learn that this is supposed to be a writer’s blog. Even though it seems that I’m doing a great deal more Culture War Commentary than actual writing.

The War For The Heart Of Geekdom: What Can You Do?

 

So what do I need to do? I need to sperg less and write more.

My current main project is going to be a ‘space navy novel’ set in the Breylandverse and done in the spirit of David Weber’s early work; hopefully very short and simple.

Current working title is Decisive Action. I don’t really want to give any details until I have more of the actual work done. However one thing I find note worthy is that I’m using a lot of what on the surface appear to be ‘diversity’ characters for the reason that their divided loyalties made for a much more interesting dynamic.

 

A Chapter done in the Spirit of Pinochet (Too funny not to share immediately after I wrote it.)

A Proven Solution

 

For my older readers I’m afraid that I’m going to have to delay Brothers In The Dust for the reason that I’m not really confident enough that I can properly write small scale infantry combat. Added to the intimidation factor is that the sort of people who would buy a novel like that are going have put considerable amounts of lead down range.

I’ll probably come back to BITD once I’ve actually gotten another less ambitious story done.

I keep having to scale down and simplify. I guess that’s where the Pulp Revolution comes in.

Anyway If I go silent for a few days it’s because I’m trying to actually focus on a project and get something done. I’ll try to keep people updated but I have a lot of demons to wrestle and I don’t always have the upper hand.

Politics and the Alt-Right: I’ll comment on something if it pisses me off enough or if I need to get my thoughts written down in order to organize them. Otherwise I need to back off a bit and take care things closer to home.

together

And yes I pretend to be a Viking on the Internet, I find it pisses off the right people and keeps the T-level up.

So Why Vikings?

 

I’ll finish this post with this old worldbuilding exercise; which some of you might enjoy in the wake of Alt*Hero.

Gotham and Metropolis

 

—Wolfman Out—

We are the Cult of Life. Begone ye, Thots of Death!

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Looks Like It’s Time To Level The Fuck Up

Fake Worlds Real Politics

A completely unplanned stream of thought rant.

 

Jack Posobiec rants about Star Trek Discovery being Anti-Trump [10 mins]

A little on the cringeworthy side but he’s making a lot of good points here. Forcing real world topical politics into works of fiction completely ruins them.

 

It also causes them to age very rapidly. Think of a space marines novel from 1990 where the main villain is a Saddam Hussein stand in (I know one exists.) That’s bad enough but at least there’s some sort of story there and SPACEMERICA FUCK YES!!! is a tried and tested staple of military science fiction.

The real cringe comes from when a fictional society just so happens to be having the exact same problems as the modern world despite it being the year 4273 and most of the conflict taking place on the ice moon Carride in the New Fresco system. Our stronk female character must spread progressive values to the horribly backwards ice miners who still refuse to believe in more than two genders. This is of course is in addition to fending off an invading army of Orange Hitler Clones…

There really is only so much as this you can take before you simply turn off the television or toss the book in the trash.

Message fiction sucks even when you agree with the message. For example I used to get very angry about the ‘straw liberals’ you constantly see in military science fiction. There is always somebody who wants to negotiate with Face-Eating Giant Space Spiders*…

And then I starting encountering the blue checkmark mafia on Twitter and learnt that yes American Journalists really do think actually like those characters in those novels.

…and I think that’s another rant for another time.

So? How do I go about handling politics in my writing?

Let’s start with the dirty little secret of this horribly wwwwwwacist right wing blog. I’m not actually THAT rightwing. Certainly not compared to the majority of my internet friends who seem to sleep with a MANPAD under their Confederate flag pillow and cosplay as the Shadow solely as an excuse to carry an extra pair of .45s.

The central topic of the Breyland stories is the question “what does it mean to be a nation?” This will not be the theme or main point of every story I write in that universe but it will be a constant presence in the background and intelligent self-aware characters will have to think about it. Breyland is cursed with a very serious fuzzy borders problem as their cultural and economic influence far exceeds their Space Navy’s ability to project power and defend those borders.

All of the questions I’ve had to ask myself while worldbuilding about culture, religion, race, the difference between Nation and Empire… keep leading me towards what is going to be a very right-friendly setting. Which is very interesting as I set a lot of the details down long before I was red-pilled.

Picking up those notes years later and thinking through the consequences of those details and the enormous potential for ethnic and religious conflict littered all over the place has been an awful lot of fun. For example I made the main protagonist culture intolerant of male homosexuality as I wanted to give them a flaw rather than risk letting them become complete Mary Sues. Years later hindsight is making that defining flaw look more and more like a virtue, at least in some circles.

There has been a lot of false starts in the last couple of years as I dig around in this mess for a story to tell but I seem to be making at least some head way. Slow progress is still progress.

So while there is going to be a great deal of politics in the Breylandverse stories I will do my best to make them as non-contemporary as possible and focus on making the issues of direct and logical consequence to the characters who are stuck weathering the storm (or when fortune smiles on them being the storm.)

Yes I will take the occasional shot at the Far Left but this is a setting where Communists get thrown out of helicopters every couple of decades just to keep the universities in line**. The Breyland military also finds itself fighting planetary nationalists just as often as they find themselves chasing down jungle Communists.

And as always I will let the reader judge the characters rather than simply preach down from an ideological pulpit.

Which just so happens to be the exact opposite approach mainstream science fiction like Star Trek Discovery is taking.

*As the Feegs prefer to play with their food they are usually quite happy to “negotiate.” Also leftist human females tend to be fatter than right-leaning human females and thus more delicious.

** A second exception I’m going to allow myself is the Special Intelligence Service who are basically a bunch of Alt-Right Shitlords… and yes some of them are Fake Nazis… others are actual Nazis.. just enough of them to keep things interesting.

***Disclaimer: FEGSS do not actually appear in the Breylandverse. This was completely unplanned rant and I mixed my metaphors. But don’t worry  The Feegs are patient and cunning; they will appear somewhere sometime and when you least expect it.

Fake Worlds Real Politics