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.

Holiday Trumpmas Dinner

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“Dad, why do we eat pizza on Trumpmas?” Cody asked out of the blue.

“Because President Trump pardoned all the turkeys,” Kylie chirped in.

Dave looked at the kids and decided to go with that one, ”So it would be kind of a jerk move to eat turkey on Trumpmas.”

Cody’s eyes lit up for a moment but he wasn’t satisfied. “Isn’t there like another reason?”

Dave hesitated, “Probably but Trump lived a long time ago back on Old Earth. Nobody’s really sure why that wall he built was so important…”

“Can we build a wall? I wanna build a wall!” Erik yelled excitedly.

“Pizza’s ready!” Karen announced finally bringing the much anticipated dinner to the table and saving her husband from additional embarrassment. “Second one’s in the oven.”

“Hey Karen, is there a specific reason we eat pizza on Trumpmas?” Dave asked. “Is there a Christian thing that I’m missing?”

Karen looked confused for a moment, ”No? I can’t think of any. It’s just the tradition. I think we picked it up from the Magdenese.”

Dave grumbled slightly before he took the pizza cutter and begin cutting slices for the increasingly excited and impatient children. “It’s just weird that we really only eat pizza on this one day.”

“What’s wrong with having one day a year where we wear cowboy hats and eat pizza?” Karen replied. “The fourth of July* is the start of the summer holiday why not have a party with a few silly rituals?”

“Right, right sorry ignorant pagan here,” Dave grunted. “Cody was asking about it and it just got me wondering. Usually there’s a reason traditions get started.”

Karen eyed Dave wearily, neither of them were exactly Old Earth history experts. “Just eat the damn pizza, cowboy. Those illegals aren’t going to round themselves up.”

Dave shrugged, took a huge pull from his beer mug and after making sure all three of the children were taken care of made a plate for himself.

“I think I got it,” Karen announced. “There’s an old fairytale about Saint Donald and Jeff the Wizard breaking into Hell in order to rescue the children.”

The kids stopped eating and looked eagerly at their mother.

“But… what does that have to do with pizza?” Kylie asked.

“I don’t know.” Karen admitted. “I don’t remember the story that well.”

“Is there a movie?” Cody asked.

“There has to be a movie,” Erik added. “Can we watch it?”

“Saint Donald?” Dave muttered as he got up.

“Are you seriously going to search for it now?” Karen grimaced.

Dave drained the last of beer in a quick decisive gulp. “Yeah it’s a holiday and I got nothing better to do.”

“Any movie involving Hell is probably not going to be suitable for young children,” Karen scolded.

“Won’t know until I look,” Dave replied walking over to the television, and punching in the first few search options.”

Erik darted over to help his dad and Dave had to yell at him to go back in the dining room.

“I think I got something?” Dave announced. “But it’s in Russian, with subtitles.”

“English!” Karen yelled. “We speak English on this planet.”

“I know,” Dave laughed. “It’s just hilarious that that’s the first thing to come up.” Breyland’s vast electronic libraries were full of little gems like that. “It’s public domain so there has to be an English version somewhere.”

“And what’s the rating?” Karen demanded. “Just because it’s a fairy tale…”

“Bingo got it! Animated, Full English redub, seventy two minutes.” Dave announced triumphantly. “Are we watching it?”

The boys cheered loudly. They had no idea what the movie was but it had to be awesome right? How could such a thing not be awesome? Everything about Trump was awesome. That was what made him Trump.

“Kylie is five!” Karen said sternly as she stomped over to the television.

“Rated youth-seven.” Dave replied. “That’s probably pretty reasonable.”

Kylie sheepishly wandered over to her parents, “It’s a fairy tale, right?”

Karen reluctantly nodded.

Kylie continued, “and the good guys win, right?”

Dave and Karen looked at each other. The world wasn’t always fair but yes sometimes the good guys won and when they did win you made a point to tell their stories.

“Okay,” Karen agreed. “Let’s do this.”

Dave nodded wordlessly and then very carefully unhooked the television from the wall. Traditions always began somewhere and he was definitely curious about this one. Legends and myths passed from hand to hand twisted and reforged over the eons of time but as always the heroes and villains remained; such was the fabric of cultures weaved…

A sudden buzzer sounded and shattered that fleeting chain of thought as his wife frantically herded their daughter back into the dining room and darted towards the kitchen to take the second pizza out of the oven.

Dave said a wordless prayer to whatever deity might be listening and wheeled the television into the dining room. Hey it was a holiday why not have a little fun.

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*Breyland uses a 13 month planetary calendar.

Holiday Trumpmas Dinner

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.

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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