Space Opera…

Here’s a chapter from the MilSF book I’m working on…

Just to change things up a bit. I’m thinking this one will be something like the Rim World Series. Probably three or four books there, depending on how well I can do SF, or not… 🙂

Old Friends

Colonel Randall walked slowly from the GalPat assault shuttle to the spaceport administration building, noting the condition of the equipment and personnel she could see, filing it away for future reference.

She spared a glance for the ugly tramp merchant ship sitting off to one side, then looked closer as she realized that was the ship that had brought Major Ward and his strike company down from Star Gate. A niggling thought bubbled in the back of her mind as she looked at the ship, but it wouldn’t surface and she continued up the steps of the administration building. Seeing the guard at the top of the steps draw a breath, she said quickly, “No, don’t call attention on deck. This is an unofficial visit. No honors.”

The trooper gulped, slapped his rifle to present arms and replied, “Yes ma’am.”

Her lace came up with the trooper’s information and she asked, “So, Trooper Hanlon, what do you think of this mudball? And the people in charge?”

Trooper Hanlon gulped again, “Uh, ma’am… It’s not my place to say.”

“Unofficial, remember?”

“Uh, yes ma’am. It’s not bad. Major Ward is kinda flakey, but the locals are friendly compared to a lot of places. But it kinda sucks that we have to stay LO[1] all the time. The local yokel the Major is working with is one strange dude, but he seems to have his shit together, or at least better than the major. Sorry ma’am.”

Randall made a waving motion, and the trooper continued, “It’s like he already knows what questions you’re going to ask, and I think he’s ex-mil. Maybe even ex-GalPat, but he’s too young to have retired. He’s closeted with the major in the conference room right now, scuttlebutt is we’re going to strike tonight late and they are doing the final planning now.”

Randall nodded, “Thanks Hanlon. Remember, no honors.”

“Yes ma’am.” Hanlon replied as Randall stepped through the main entry.

Walking down the main hallway, she saw that someone had made an attempt to decorate the building to relieve the sheer sameness of the walls, floor and ceiling. Finding the conference room she stuck her head in, but it was empty. She continued to the end of the hall, but didn’t see anyone; finding a set of stairs there, she shrugged and climbed them to the second floor, and continued looking in offices.

Halfway down on the right side, she finally saw a figure sitting at the desk. It was Fargo, and he was deep in concentration on an actual paper map. A smile quirked the corner of Colonel Randall’s mouth as she stepped quietly through the door.

She managed to get almost to the front of the desk then popped to attention saying, “Sir! Sergeant Randall, Fargo’s Fuck Ups, reporting to the commander as directed!” Startled, Fargo looked up and she executed a precise Terran Marine salute. She saw Fargo’s face change, almost like a wall coming down behind his eyes.

Fargo said, “Out of uniform as usual, Sergeant?” He stood and returned her salute formally, then walked around the desk, “I’m glad you made it Nan, or should I call you Colonel?”

Impulsively, Randall hugged Fargo, tears in her eyes, “I never got the chance to thank you for bringing us home. I know you came by when the few of us that lived were still in the boxes, but by the time we got out, you were already gone.”

Fargo patted her shoulder, “It wasn’t by choice Nan, and by the time y’all were released by medical, I was already up on charges. The courts-martial and drumming out was short, sweet and terminal. I wasn’t even allowed to make a last visit to the troop bay. I was so persona non grata the Corps even bounced my emails when I tried to send my well wishes.”

A cleared throat at the door made them realize they were still hugging and they quickly separated, turning to the door. Major Ward stood there looking uncomfortably back and forth between the two. Randall, now fully back in her colonel persona said, “Noah, Fargo was my company commander when I was a sergeant. I haven’t seen him in over twenty-five years. He taught me more about leadership than I ever learned in any schoolhouse.”

Ward nodded, “Now it makes sense why you sent us down here and said for me to directly coordinate with Fargo.” He stepped to the desk and laid out a frag order, “Fargo, I’ve got my troops ready to jump off at zero three hundred local as soon as your indigs start the ball rolling.”

Colonel Randall asked, “Y’all want to lay your plan out for me?”

Fargo spun the map around and using a pen, pointed out the locations where the Ghorkas would start the attack from, “Nan, er, Colonel…”

“Nan, please.”

“Nan, my indigs as the major calls them are Ghorkas, all retired GalPat combat troops and of the one hundred I have, all of them are either E-eights, nines or warrants. All of them are combat vets, and they have locally manufactured powered armor. They have spent the last seventy-two hours infiltrating to these three locations, and they’ve given us movement, security perimeters, guard locations, defenses and facilities use via LPI comms.”

“How did you get the info and why weren’t they counter-detected?”

“It goes no further than this room, but we have access to micro-bots that were sent in with various tasks. The scouts went into power down mode as soon as any movement was detected in the valley. The Traders don’t fly anything out of the valley in the daylight, and use counter-grav at night so there is no light signature or noise when they do launch. They know, well thought they knew, there wasn’t a satellite system around the planet. That’s what gave us their initial locating information.”

Impatiently Randall asked, “What’s your plan tonight? You can backfill me later on the intel.”

Fargo and Ward exchanged glances, Fargo continued, “They’ve got two ships on the ground now. It’s a forward base for the Traders, and our plan is to hit them, take down comms, kill everyone and raid the base for any information, then we’re going to crash a ship back into the facility and get a partial fusion bottle blow, destroying the facility.”

Randall looked at Ward, “You have any problems with that Noah?”

“No ma’am. Fargo’s got a good plan, and we’re going to have six teams, one per building, in full armor. Go in hard and fast, and take them down.”

“How are you going to put your teams on the ground, and what about outbound comms?”

Fargo stepped in, “We’re going to use Hyderabad to jam the comms, and Ward’s folks will drop from her at ten k, allowing them twelve seconds to get on the ground as our folks take out the defenses. Each team has the facility plans on their implants for their building and their secondary targets, and we’ve headcounted about a hundred personnel at the site so far.”

Randall looked at Ward, “You look like you have reservations.”

“Can I speak to you privately, Ma’am?”

Fargo said, “Oh for God’s sake. I’ll go get coffee,” and stomped out of the room.

Randall rounded on Ward, “Noah, what is your problem?”

“I’m not comfortable with his indigs, and his so called intel. I’d rather wait until we can put our own eyes on the target. He’s just a local yokel now, and we’ve got a lot more advanced…”

“Major Ward, that local yokel as you call him, has more time in combat than you have in the force. This is your first time to actually get in the field leading troops, and I’m beginning to wonder if you’re actually up to it.”

Ward drew himself up stiffly to attention, “Ma’am, I can get the job done. If you will excuse me, I need to get my troops ready.”

“Fine, dismissed.”

Fargo came back with two bulbs of coffee, “What the hell was that Nan?”

Randall accepted the bulb with a nod, “Ah, Ward is a fuck up I got foisted on me. He’s managed to avoid combat by kissing ass, pulling embassy duty, and staff duty as a liaison with his politically connected brother-in-law. He was sent out as a relief for my good major who was due to rotate out.”

“Ah, one of those.”

“Yeah, I got told to square him away, get him in combat or document enough fuck ups to kick him out. I hate pushing him off on you, but the troops are damn good. I figured he’d be nothing more than a figurehead, and wouldn’t be dumb enough to not take your advice.”

“Well… Shit Nan, he didn’t fight me per se, but he was always questioning every damn part of the plan, but never offered any options that didn’t involve KEWs.”

“KEWs? You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Fargo shrugged, “Nope, he wanted to use a cruiser to hit the site with a KEW before we even went in. He doesn’t like indigs, even though they are all retired GalPat CSMs for Christ sake!”

Randall growled, “Do you want me to replace him?”

“Nah, if they troops are as good as you say, they’ll keep him out of the way, and out of trouble.”

“Would you object if I go along as an observer?”

“Observer, or as Sergeant Randall?”

Randall colored, “I’ll go wherever Captain Fargo leads. How’s that?”

“Nan, if you go, would you please stay on the bridge? And not let the troops see you? Anything else and you know they’ll think you’re checking up on them. Captain Jace would be happy to have you there.”

“Yes sir, I’ll be aboard at zero one hundred.”

[1] Low Observable


Space Opera… — 22 Comments

  1. Jarheads in space? Written by you? Where do I sign up? Is money OK, or do you need something infinitely more valuable like, maybe, a brick of .22 LR?

    Please write faster!

  2. I think that there are a lot of us who are anticipating the arrival of your first SciFi book. Keep writing!

  3. John- Working on it…

    LL- Thanks for the support!

    ERJ- LOL, it’s coming together, bits/pieces…

  4. I’m not much of a sci-fi reader, but from this little bit, I’m going to have to buy the book!

  5. Waiting for more.

    I wish I had yours and LL’s talent for words more than 4 letters long (and that don’t get me into trouble) and being able to put them together to make sense.

    It’s a talent I tell ya. A talent.

  6. Me too! Me too! I’m a good reader for typos, flow, etc…

    And I agree…though I’ve no military background, got lots of medical, but I’m able to visualize the plan because you write so clearly. And you explain/define the jargon. Thank you for that!!

    Always looking for a good space opera to read!


  7. How many times have we put up with Maj Ward types? Looks like good read.

  8. Hi Jim, can’t wait to read this one. Been a SF fan since I could read, Azimov, Carter, et al. Did you ever read one called ‘Hunters of the Red Planet’ ? Not Mars, another one. After 20+ years belonging to the SFBC I have an attic full of books. Want any?
    Hurry along now with the book.

  9. All- WOW, thanks for the positive comments, I guess I’ll give it a try. Ev, don’t get rid of those books, those are for passing down through the generations! 🙂 Those grandkids/greatgrands will thank you for them!

  10. Hey Old NFO;

    Another book to tease us with….man you are brutal…brutal I say. Now hurry up and finish it. I in the spirit of blogger solidarity will volunteer to be a beta reader if you need one……Just trying to help you out;)

  11. I for one am glad you are retiring. Then you will have more time to write!

  12. I haven’t read much sci-fi, but if you write it I’ll be happy to read it. Thins was so very interesting. Thank you for the taste of things to come.