Author: Takano-Isorokyu PM
I've always hated that meme that "Aliens always abduct drunken slack-jaw yokels in the middle in nowhere, people with the IQ of warm sand, who have never read a Science Fiction Book in their life, and have never fought anything more than a school yard fight" So what, I ruminated, if the aliens came to Earth, and abducted a group of guys, say, Rednecks with a grasp of Science?Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 12 - Words: 64,680 - Reviews: 32 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 02-15-13 - Published: 11-18-12 - id: 3075435
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(Sorry about the delay in posting, folks, but the exigencies of Real Life got in the way.)
On the Dnt!lss, Mike and his group of Veterans – both "Legs" and the "Brain Cases" – were getting used to the whole situation.
There were twenty people who had been "brain-cased" – their brains removed from their ruined bodies and set up in an interface box. To assist in getting them through the first Cyborg Bodies, Mike Stuart had nine other men with him. Ratface Rizzo, Kennie McCormick, Manuel O'Hara, Reuben Gonzales, Robbie Crosby, John Fisher, Ivan Soto, Ben Ryan and Brandon Beiler.
They watched the Solar System recede as they moved out to the Warp Limit.
"So how's this work again, Mike?" said Ivan, "I still don't get it."
Mike laughed. "No sweat dude." He said. "there's plenty of Physicists who will freak when they find out."
He shook his head. "OK, the way the Fnfians do it, imagine space as a big sheet stretched out, ok?"
"Got it." Nodded Ivan.
"Now, drop, oh say a basket ball into the sheet – several of them – maybe it's not a bedsheet, think something bigger like a tarp."
"OK, still with you." Said Ivan.
"Now, imagine there's a bunch of valleys between those basketballs."
"Still with you." Said Ivan.
"Well," said Mike, "as soon as you get a certain distance from those basketballs – or suns, you kick in the hyperdrive, and those valleys – well, that's like being on the Interstate – or maybe even the Autobahn, and there's no Speed Limit."
"No limit?" said Ivan.
"Well, if you just take the straight route – across the part that is a valley – you're limited to light speed. But get in the valleys, and hit the hyper-drive, and the limit is the limit of your machinery."
"OK, so how fast is that?"
"I'm not sure." Said Mike. "but I think – think! – I said, that the place we are headed for, is something like 512 light years from Earth – and we're doing it in 22 days."
"Not quite Captain Kirk and Star Trek." Put in Reuben. "More like - " he looked up as he did the math in his head. "Wow, only two and a half Light years a day, about a tenth of a light year per hour.
"Nah," said Mike. "Especially since we can only follow the routes between Stars – those valleys I told you about – and if two stars aren't connected by a valley, you need to follow a route that does connect them."
"Eh," put in Robbie. He was a taciturn Canadian, a Veteran of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry…"So you might have tae go three ways round the potato patch to get sumere', is that the way of it?"
Reuben stared in wonder – possibly since it was the longest string of words he had heard Corporal Crosby say since he had met him.
"Yes," agreed Mike. "Although, to be fair, going over hill – the shortcut – might take you a thousand years, while the long way around might take you two months."
"I kin see that being an Astrogator would be a lot tougher than being a navigator." Said Robbie.
"Truth." Agreed Ivan.
"Now, you said, "the way the Fnfians do it", Mike – do the Varnen do something different?" said Reuben.
"They do." Said Mike with a shudder. "They use a truly horrible system, that makes me wonder for their sanity."
"Now, Michael," said Pr!lss, entering the room, "it is not that bad."
"Speak for yourself, Captain," said T!lss, "I once had to go aboard one of their ships with a malfunction drive generator…it was a truly horrible experience."
Mike shuddered in sympathy. "I can only imagine."
The other men looked at Mike and the Fnfians in wonderment. "OK," said Ivan, "what the hell is this system?"
"We'd call it a Mannschenn Drive." Said Mike, wincing. "The problem with going to lightspeed – or even near lightspeed in normal space – is that you still go forward in objective time, even if your subjective time is reduced."
"Ok," said Ivan – "That is the 512 light years you were talking about."
"Right." Said Mike, "The Varnen could make that trip in something like 570 years – or about 40 days."
"Not that great, if you want to be there right away." Allowed Reuben.
"Exactly" said Mike. "A Mannschen Drive, precesses time – so that you go backwards in time, as you go forwards in space."
"OK," said Reuben, "THAT makes my head hurt."
"It is worse if you are ON a Varnen ship under drive." Advised T!lss. "The entire trip is painful – even for the Varnen."
"Why don't they use your system?" asked Reuben, looking at Pr!lss.
"They cannot figure out how to make it work." Said Pr!lss.
"We think," said T!lss, "that they may actually have resulted from a defective Mannschenn Drive that somehow mutated pet Lizard-like creatures into sentient creatures. The Mannschenn drive's history is fraught with strange events – which is why only the Varnen use it anymore.
The De-cebreated humans were in InterfaceBoxes, and could interface with the ship's computer and intercom system.
"This Mannschenn Drive is really crazy" said Nathan Hutchins.
Mike winced when he heard the voice of his old friend. Nathan's body was a "train wreck" – "AFU" – multiple organ failures had left him on the edge of death.
While not a "veteran" – he had never been healthy enough for military service – Steve and Mike had offered him the Decebreation Option, and he had jumped at it.
"I never did like the A. Bertram Chandler "Coomodore Grimes" stories, and the Mannschenn Drives was part of the reason."
"Well," said Mike, "it's what they use."
One of the luxuries that Steve and Mike had used their money for, was to purchase the entire Baen E-book library – in fact every E-book, especially SF E-book, they could, as well as all of the Library of Congress that they could obtain on-line.
The Dnt!lss had a storage capacity somewhere in the Exabyte range, so this was not a problem.
Thing is, the "Brains-in-the-box" – no longer had a need to eat or sleep, and could access the E-books at data terminal speeds. No more glasses or dyslexia meant that, by the fourth day, ALL of the brains were SF authorities, as well as decent scientists.
Now, they were working their ways through the Fnfian scientific data base, and comparing it to the Science in the Science Fiction.
"It is surprising, how much of your human speculation was very close to the reality." Observed Pr!lss.
"There is a theroey" observed Top Morton, "that humans –some humans- were receiving their story ideas from – somewhere…another reality perhaps, or…whatever."
"Thing is," said Mike, "we are not so much –learning – your science, Pr!lss, as…" he waved his hand, "learning which science fiction concepts work."
"Like the powered suits." Said A!lss, one of the Engineering Officers. "We have studied the Varnen Suits for almost a century." He twisted his head, "and yet – you humans had a name for it, and started discovering things had taken us years of painful studies"
"Basically," smiled Mike, "It's Grimlock, from the Dinobots."
"I remember my Granddson watch that show." Grumbled Top. "Thought it was foolish – now I'm going to be one."
"Weaponry needs to be upgraded." Observed Pavel.
"That's for sure." Said Mike, "the Varnen show some definite lack of imagination there."
"That," observed Pr!lss, "Is another scary thing about humans. You are always thinking of weapons."
"Yes," agreed A!lss, "You are like some barely imaginable cross of Science Sentients and Guardian Sentients."
"Well," said Mike, "don't confuse all of humanity with US, folks." He chuckled. "This is a very skewed sample."
"True," laughed Pavel, a harsh and grating sound over the speaker. "We are both technically inclined, and warriors."
"Never could look at a car or a building," laughed Top, "without trying to figure out how to blow it up."
"Speaking of which, what kind of weapons are you wanting for our powered armor." Asked Pr!lss.
"Well, it depends on the power source." Said Mike. "CAN we fit a Matter-anti-matter generator in the suits?"
"If my calculations are right – we should be able to fit it in the Cyborg suits." Said A!lss. "But the powered armor suits for the normal human soldiers?" it shook it's head. "Best we can do is large block of semiconductor capacitor storage."
"Well, if we can get the nailguns working…" said Mike.
"Yeah," chortled Nate, "we can make the MI suits that John Ringo had in the Aldenata stories." He chuckled. "We need to drop in some night while he's writing."
"Ack." Said Mike. "We disturb his writing, there will be a mob of angry fans chasing us from here to Epsilon Eridani."
"Nader's Raiders want my freedom, OSHA wants my scalp and hair,
If I'm wanted in Wisconsin, be damned sure I won't be there!
If the E-P-A still wants me, I'll avoid them if I can.
They're tearing down the cities, so I'll be a wanted fan!"
"That's Right." Agreed Nathan. "You invite John into this, he'll be too busy rocking to bother writing any more."
Branson Wright, another of decebreated brain boxes, spoke up. "Pournelle." He grated, "Pournelle and Niven. If they are still alive, we need to contact them and see if we can't get them on-board."
"True" agreed Mike, "but we're working our way through Baen's Bar and Counter-Factual, right now."
"Pournelle has some health problems." Persisted Wright, "and so does Niven."
"We want to be circumspect with people ho might be missed." Said Mike. "People like us?" he waved his arm, "we disappear, nobody cares."
"So," said A!lss. "These "nailguns" you speak of? What are they?"
"A Gauss rifle is a series of concentric rings," said Michael, bring up a hologram, "with a magnetic field applied in a sequence to "pull" the projectile down the barrel. He pointed to the buttstock. He had pulled the surprisingly detailed wireframe picture off a Baen fan website.
"You can either power the rings from suitpower, or, the "good" ammo had an antimatter core that powered the slug."
"Hmm," said A!lss, "and what kind of muzzle velocities did it generate?"
"According to the book, the slugs were near relativistic – although it was necessary to slow them down, just to keep them from melting in earth's atmosphere." Said Mike.
"Fascinating" said A!lss. "and this as a fantasy, or real?"
"THIS" said Michael as he pointed, "was fantasy." He scratched his scalp. "Thing is, I –personally- built a working Gauss Gun in the Tenth Grade – and it would sink a eight penny nail to the head, in a two-by-four, at ten feet."
"Damn." Said Top. "That WOULD have been a weapon, kid." He paused. "What happened?"
"Recharge times." Said Mongo. "That took a twenty pound battery pack, and it took a minute between shots to recharge the capacitors."
He looked at the Fnfnians. "On the other hand, we're thinking, with your superconductors, we can fit a chunk of superconductor and a a hundred wire nails into a 9mm magazine."
He held up a candy-apple red Glock pistol. "We modified this as a proof-of-concept"
He pointed it at a wooden target that Reuben had set up, thirty feet away. He pulled the trigger and emptied the magazine.
The wooden target shredded and nearly disintegrated under the impact, and Mike thumbed the magazine button, and pushed in another magazine.
"Nice." Was the general consensus of the human comments.
Kota Kinbalu, Malaysia, is a fascinating place.
Steve walked through the markets, enjoying the tropical warmth and the teeming population.
This trip was a "two-fer" – he had to people to visit in this city. He walked into the nondescript little bar and looked around.
"Steve!" said the big Caucasian man.
"Mace!" exclaimed Steve. "How's it been?"
They went over to a table. Mason O'Bannon had been in the 2FSSG Force Recon Platoon, back when Steve was one of the Recon Corpsmen.
Mace had stayed with Force Recon as long as he could, and had retired from the Marine Corps, after thirty years. Now, for a variety of reasons, he wandered around the Southeast corner of Asia.
"Steve," said the blond man, "What'cha been up to?" he tilted his head. "I've heard some strange schtuff lately."
"What kind of "schtuff", Mace?" said Steve, leaning back in his chair with a local beer. There might be a high Muslim population, and laws to restrict alcohol, but apparently, this place had no problems in that regard.
Mace looked at Steve carefully. "Weird rumors." He said. "You've always been cleared for weird, even back when we were in Force Recon," he said, taking a long pull from his beer, "but – rumor mill says you're the front man for some high tech operation that has the US Government spooked – and "spooked" as in a "Don't mess with this guy" warning that went to all the Units."
Steve laughed gently. "And you believe that crud?" he said, looking at Mace.
Mace's gaze was flat and level. "Not sure." He said. "You was always high-tech, even when you was a Third-Class Chancre Mechanic." He stared at his beer bottle. "I remember you talking about quantum mechanics, and hyperstring theory, and other scheisse I didn't hear anybody talking about for years."
Steve stared back. "Well, I don't have one of those Ironman Suits, or stuff like that." *Yet*, he amended to himself – "but I hear some interesting things about you, Mace, which is why I looked you up."
"Wha'cha got?" said Mace, grinning widely.
"We don't need to be discussing this in a public area." Said Steve.
"Ho-oo-ly Crupoola." Whistled Mace. "What dafuq?"
Steve held out the rough polished gemstones. He held a handful, and they were not the perfect, flawless look of the usual synthetics…No, these had taken some work, to add in the natural imperfections and flaws of natural stones.
"I hear you know people that can handle these, Mace." Said Steve. "My organization is looking to make these into money."
Mace looked at Steve seriously. "Are these "hot", Steve?" he asked.
"Oh HELL no," grinned Steve, "These are most definitely not stolen."
"Thing is," he continued, "We need to dispose of these, and get some funds."
"Yeah, buddy" whispered Mace.
Steve whistled happily as he walked down the street. Mace was contacting some people he knew, and they might be able to set up a long term trade in these stones.
The next visit would be a bit different. He checked the time and then knocked at the door.
There was a incoherent grumbling as the man came to the door.
Steve wished he had a camera. He had set up a Skype Conference with his long-time Internet Buddy, Chris Allnut, but he had decided to show up in person at the appointed time.
"Chris, I'm Steve." He said, as the surprised man stared at him. "It's good to finally meet you in Real life (IRL).
"Gawd strewth." Said the young man. "What in the name of…?" he said wonderingly. "Steven Stuart? – in the flesh?" he shook Steve's hand energetically. "Come in, and welcome."
The apartment was small, by American Standards, but well kept. Chris was a native of Edinburgh, in Scotland, but had followed his wife Aisha to her native Malaysia…not least because he had tired of Scottish Winters.
They were quickly seated, and drinking a local soft drink over ice.
"So," said Chris carefully, "What brings you to Malaysia?"
'A job offer." Replied Steve.
Chris smiled. "Really? If they've brought you over, that means they are fairly serious. that's great." He happily exclaimed. "It will be good to get to know you in real space, fnally."
Steve chuckled. "Interesting choice of words, Chris." He said. "Remember what you said, when I tell you the good part."
He rolled the glass in his hand. "It's not me that's getting a job offer." He said, staring at Chris, "but you…and your Lady wife, if she's interested. We could use another Doctor."
"Huh?" said Chris, nonplussed. "You want to hire me? – and Aisha?" he had a confused look.
"You know those Science-fiction books you've been reading for most of your life? – and writing for the last decade?" Steve asked.
"Yes" said Chris, with a wary look.
"How would you like to live it?"
"Have you finally gone round the bend?" wondered Chris, looking at this retired American soldier. "Or did I just not understand it."
Then understanding flashed on his face. "Is this involved with that civilian space effort thing? I knew an American company had revived the Space-X concept and were thinking of having another go at it."
Steve smiled. "Not them." He said carefully, "But you're on the right track, my young friend."
He looked at his watch. "Got time to go for a ride with me?"
Chris grimaced. "Aisha will be off-shift at 6 PM – we were supposed to go to dinner with some friends."
"Eh," said Steve, "It's only just past noon. I promise I'll have you back in time."
"Ok" said Chris. "Let's go."
Outside the door, a Delorean was waiting, with a man with a white mane of hair driving. Chris frowned. "That's a two-seater."
Steve smiled. "Oh, I surely hope your sense of wonder is good today, Chris."
The gull wing doors swept up, and Chris was confronted with a man who looked just like Christopher Lloyd in the "Back to the Future" Movies.
"Great Scott!" exclaimed the man, in a voice that –sounded- like Doctor Emmet Brown. "The traffic was terrible, Steve!"
"Well, don't worry Doc, I'll drive from here."
"Thanks, Steve." Said the man – and Chris jumped, as the fellow shimmered, then vanished.
"Jump in" said Steve, pointing at the passenger door. "I can't let you drive until you've been checked out."
Chris shook his head. A life-like hologram? And – "Who drove the car?" he demanded.
"I did" said a voice from the dashboard. "Get in Chris!" the voice demanded. "We have places to go!"
Chris looked at Steve in befuddlement. "What the - ?" he said in befuddlement.
Steve laughed. "You think this is something?" he said, "you ain't seen nothin' yet."
Mongo was hanging upside down in his cubicle doing inverted crunches when his com-unit went off. Reaching an arm to the desk he tapped it. "Mongo, go"
"Hey Bro, got a few cycles?" came the voice of Nathan.
"Sure Monk, just working out."
"Sheesh ever since we started this cruise, that's all you seem to do in your off time."
"Well, dang, you know me, since the Ants worked their magic and fixed my back, the weight is just melting off again, just like back In college. Hell I feel better than I did in college." He said simply.
"Whatever dude, Hey just accessed the visual pickups in your room, are you hanging upside down again?"
"Yeah doing inverted crunches"
"You watch Rocky IV again?"
"Just before we left, You know I love that sequence of him working out in the barn in Russia."
Dropping down to the deck , Mongo began stretching and cooldown."So what did you need?"
"Well, I was perusing the Fafnians datsabase on their teleporter tech, and realized it was not Star Trek style. Its more like Travis Taylor's Quantum tunneling method."
"Makes sense, I did not think I had had my molecules scrambled" he said nodding.
"Well apparently they can create a static quantum bubble field that's like a TARDIS, and move it along a carrier beam.'
"Ok I am with you so far, "
Well, I was contemplating the uses other than just teleporting."
Mongo sat up and looked at the ceiling "Pray, go on my friend, you interest me greatly"
"Well, I found out the known limitations on the ranges, like we were discussing."'
"OK, and they are?"
" Point to point with proper transponders at both ends, is about 1000K, whereas with single receiving transponder is only 3K. "
"Big difference there, why?"
"Well, basically its something to do about the field gradients and power density of the static bubble. The transponder units act as field stabilizers."
"Interesting. Something is itching at the back of my brain for that one, let me percolate it more." Mongo said.
"Anyway, I was doing more research and found that the energy required to stabilize a bubble is not that large, its like once its there, its does not decay as fast as when its drawn along a carrier beam."
"Ok so it still obeys the second law of Thermodyamics, interesting for a quantum state object."
Yeah, well since the interior volume of a bubble is so much larger than the outside of the bubble, I was thinking that you could use it to aid in transport of goods and materials."
"What about the mass of the material inside the bubble?"
"Well there is upper limit to the mass inside the bubble according to the Fnfian, but they abandoned this area of research after developing the ability to use it to teleport, so I have not discovered what that limit is yet."
"So you are thinking about say taking a cargo ships worth of material, putting it into a bubble or bubbles, oh yeah can there be bubbles in close proximity to each other?"
"Their data says yes, though the proximity is measured to be approximately no closer than a meter to each other on all axis."
"Any Limit on how many bubbles can be placed say in a set volume?"
"The research I found says they stopped at having 50 bubbles in a containment area, As I said they stopped the research after they discovered they could use it for teleporting."
"Gotta love that old Hive mentality, no creative imagination to see outside the immediate box" Mongo said shaking his head.
Hmm, see if you can get into the research further, and see if we can come up with the mass limit of a single bubble will you, I mean it will do wonders for transport as you said.
Imagine being able to put a conex container in the space of a bowling ball."
Will do Mike."
"Oh did they try and find out if you can bubble a bubble?"
Nate was silent for a moment, "Um yeah they did"
"It isn't like that Vernor Vinge story – I forget the name – where they could nest bubbles infinitely."
"Really?" said Mike.
"What happens when the TARDIS materializes inside the Tardis?"
"You get David Tennant talking to Peter Davidson?"
"Also you get a hole the size of Belgium"
"OH.. So how can we weaponize this?"
"I will look into it dude"
Steve and Chris motored along to the outskirts of Kota Kinbalu, and into the countryside.
"No humans within 300 meters, Steve." Said the Voice that sounded like Dr. Brown.
"Thanks, Doc." Said Steve.
"Is he an AI?" asked Chris.
"More like a highly advanced rote-response program – something like LIZA with an advanced decision tree."
"I assure you, Mr. Nutall, that I am rather more advanced than any computer programs on your world, even if I am not quite an AI." Said the speaker.
"Good by me." Said Chris. "You sound like an AI."
"OK, Doc." Said Steve, "Let's get going."
Chris suddenly jumped as the ground began to drop away. "What the -?" hr exclaimed.
Steve laughed. "Don't worry, Dude,"
"Holy Mother of - " said Chris, wide-eyed.
Steve laughed. "I told you, I represent a space-based company, my friend."
"OK," said Chris, as he watched the sky turn dark. "You've got a flying Delorean with an Emmet Brown Emulation. Does it time travel?"
"Don't be silly, Chris." Grimaced Steve. "Time travel is impossible. Everybody knows that."
"So are flying bloody cars, Mate." Sputtered Chris. "I don't know what to expect."
"Well," said Steve, "We're pulling 200Gs right now, so we'll be at Lunar Farside in a few minutes."
"Lunar – Farside?" said Chris. "What in God's Name are you involved with?"
"Well, you see," smiled Steve, "It's like this…A couple of months ago, Kevin and Mike and I were out camping, and we got abducted by a flying saucer."
"Are you kidding?" said Chris.
"Well," grinned Steve, "Yeah, it was more of a flattened ellipsoid, not a saucer…."
"Bloody freaking hell, Steve!" exclaimed Chris. "I don't care what shape it was!" He looked at his friend. "Did you make a deal with them?"
Steve laughed. "Actually, first up – we hi-jacked them."
"You captured their ship?" Chris' eyes were imitating saucers themselves. He looked around the car. "And you got their technology?"
Steve shrugged. "Hey, guys from New York, tourist from out of town, you ought to expect a carjacking."
"Holy Mother of Christ" breathed Chris as he stared out the windshield. The Delorean slid effortlessly down the gravitational field and into the hanger bay. Space suited figures, foreshortened by distance, moved around the area, among a horde of machines.
"Impressive, ain't it?" chortled Steve.
"I'll bloody well say." Agreed Chris. "Am I hallucinating, or did I step through the Looking Glass?"
The Delorean settled to the floor of the hanger, and the gull wing doors opened. "Here we are, Gentlemen" intoned Emmet.
"Thanks, Doc" said Steve. "We'll be back in a bit."
"Sure thing Steve." Sid the car, "I'll go top off the fuel tanks."
"Bon Appetit." Laughed Steve. He turned to Chris, who looked, well, "Gobsmacked".
Chris looked at the bank of flatscreen monitors, at the holographic projector, and most especially, at the eight-legged ant-like sentients, and rubbed his aching skull.
"Dude" said Ts!mss, "You keep rubbing your head like that, you'll wear a bald spot. As I understand it, male humans tend to feel that a full head of hair is an important physical attribute."
Chris looked at the ant. The fact that this sentient insectoid alien seemed to have an interesting grasp of human psychology was just the icing on the cake. He looked at the Former Russian Militia Officer, and the Internet Friend he had only known through a computer screen for ten years.
"So…" he drawled. "Let's recap this, to make sure I get this."
He ticked off his fingers. "You want me to come out to the Solar Union," he looked at Steve, "and be your deputy."
"Yep." Agree Steve. "And – help with recruiting good people to help us."
"Yeah." Said Chris. "And, we're doing this ourselves because - ?"
"We do not trust Earth Governments to do the right thing" said Ivan. "Not mine," he grinned, "and not the Americans."
"Ain't that the sad-and-sorry truth." Snorted Steve. "Hell, right now, I trust the Russians more than I trust the damned Americans."
"Don't expect me to stick up for the British Government." Said Chris.
Steve snorted. "You're a Scotsman." He said. "Longest History of a repeatedly occupied Nation, in all of known human history."
"Exactly." Said Chris.
"We don't NEED the Earth for much more than qualified personnel – until we can grow our own – and, maybe, a limited market for our products, just to give us "walking around" money on the planet." Said Steve.
"I'm just amazed." Said Chris, "that you've come so far, so fast."
Steve shook his head. "Our definition of "qualified" has less to do with ink stains on piece of paper, than it does with attitude and a willingness to learn and discard old – habits, prejudices, ways of thinking."
"There's less than 500 humans off earth right now." Said Ivn seriously. "We depend on the Fnfians – and their automation – to make this scheme viable."
"It is a good partnership." Said Ts!mss. "You have – something – it is hard to articulate – that we lack." The Insectoid shook his head. "You may have only 500 sentients among us, but the wealth of ideas is simply staggering."
"The idea of an Alien Colony – a Hive – on Earth…is a bit disturbing." Said Chris.
"It is their "lifeboat" system." Said Ivan. "They might be stranded in a star system for decades…so they have frozen larvae aboard the ship, to establish a viable colony, if it is at all possible."
Author's note; I am always looking for a good Beta Reader. Constructive Criticism is always welcome, but if you want the story to go a certain way, I invite you to write your own story, OK? And – to impugn the writer over the conduct of a Character in the Story? – is a bit specious. These re characters in a story, and I don't necessarily approve of, not embrace, the values they display. Some of the comments, especially at another site I post on, seem to be from people who want to see great honking space battles, ala David Weber and his Honor Harrington Universe, and one guy wrote a "Fan Fiction" with a Convict Foreign Legion in Space. Jerry Pournelle did a far better job of that with his "Falkenberg's Legion" stories than I could ever hope to do. If you really want to see where I'm going with this, Google "The Sons of Martha" and "McDonough's Song". This story is influenced more by Rudyard Kipling than anyone else.
And – to impugn the writer over the conduct of a Character in the Story? – is a bit specious. These re characters in a story, and I don't necessarily approve of, not embrace, the values they display.
Some of the comments, especially at another site I post on, seem to be from people who want to see great honking space battles, ala David Weber and his Honor Harrington Universe, and one guy wrote a "Fan Fiction" with a Convict Foreign Legion in Space. Jerry Pournelle did a far better job of that with his "Falkenberg's Legion" stories than I could ever hope to do.
If you really want to see where I'm going with this, Google "The Sons of Martha" and "McDonough's Song". This story is influenced more by Rudyard Kipling than anyone else.