If not for many years of discipline, Centurion Erekan Scalas would have been stifling a yawn behind his visor. The Regonese flock leaders, war chiefs, and politicians had been talking at Brother Legate Dravus Maruks for three hours, while Scalas and his other three brother Centurions had stood by and listened. If not for the climate controls in the Caractacan Brothers’ combat armor, they would have been freezing in the cold, whispering winds that sifted across Kego City’s Peace Plaza. Maruks had his helmet off, and his squarish, sun-blasted face was red with cold and wind-burn. Maruks looked tired. As well he might. Regone was the fifth such system that the Avar Sector Legio of the Caractacan Brotherhood had needed to visit recently. It seemed that every brush fire in the galaxy was flaring up since Valdek had fallen to the so-called “Galactic Unity,” two thousand hours before. The Brother Legate was in the midst of telling the gathered Regonese leaders that the Caractacan Brotherhood was not a mercenary company that they could hire to crush the Exiles on the third planet. The fifty, three-meter-tall avian nashai gathered around him at the base of the towering stone spire that formed
There are two story arcs in The Unity Wars. The Defense of Provenia begins the second, from a very different point of view than the Caractacan Brothers we met in The Fall of Valdek. He’s about to get his first taste of combat… …And he thinks that it’s the most awful thing he’s ever seen. He’s about to find out what real horror is. Gaumarus Pell has never heard of Valdek, or the Galactic Unity. To him, the rebels on his own world are enough of a threat. But a greater threat lurks in the shadows. The rebels unleash an atrocity that the Provenians have never seen before. Shock ripples across the face of the planet and, soon, they will have far worse to face than the rebels. A nightmare descends from deep space. If he survives, Gaumarus will have to make a choice. A choice that could change the face of the galaxy. Don’t miss the next episode in the epic Military Science Fiction adventure, as the galaxy gets bigger! It’s perfect for fans of Rick Partlow, Jay Allan, and Galaxy’s Edge. Get it now.
The Defense of Provenia takes a slightly different tack from The Fall of Valdek. There are two arcs in The Unity Wars, and they will come together in the end. He’s about to get his first taste of combat… …And he thinks that it’s the most awful thing he’s ever seen. He’s about to find out what real horror is. Gaumarus Pell has never heard of Valdek, or the Galactic Unity. To him, the rebels on his own world are enough of a threat. But a greater threat lurks in the shadows. The rebels unleash an atrocity that the Provenians have never seen before. Shock ripples across the face of the planet and, soon, they will have far worse to face than the rebels. A nightmare descends from deep space. If he survives, Gaumarus will have to make a choice. A choice that could change the face of the galaxy. The Defense of Provenia is out on Kindle and Paperback today.
The halftrack grumbled to a halt with a lurch; the driver was clearly new, and hadn’t yet gotten used to the slightly different handling. In the turret above, Mertens was knocked against the double coilgun and swore. “Who let that fumble-fingered nuyak drive?” Mertens demanded, his voice muffled by armor plating. “He needs the road time,” Corporal Gaumarus Pell replied. “I remember your first few musters, Mertens. Don’t make me start telling stories.” There was a general chuckle through the halftrack’s troop compartment at that. Gaumarus looked around at his section. Well, not his section. Sergeant Verlot was the section leader. Gaumarus was just a fireteam leader. He was glad he’d gotten a chuckle though. It had broken some of the tension, and he’d actually managed to relax a little bit himself. On most days, he was responsible for two thousand acres of tillage on the Pell Family farm, both supervising the human workers and the remote tractors. The humans were easy; it was the bots that made him want to tear his hair out. Even after centuries of computer development, they were still frustratingly glitchy, overly literal mechanisms, that could plow up two months’ worth of crops in an
The dropship came to rest with a barely noticeable thump. It wasn’t so much a landing as a docking; the anchor cables had just been reeled all the way back in. The hatches folded away silently; the dropship’s troop compartment had been depressurized all the way in, the twenty-man squad of Caractacan Brothers sealed in their armor and plugged into the dropship’s life support to spare the air supplies in their sustainment packs. As the hatches opened, all twenty men unplugged their packs from the hoses attached to their acceleration couches. They had landed on the dark side, the asteroid’s bulk masking sun and planets alike. The stars were brilliant pinpoints of light against an otherwise pitch-black emptiness, shining bright and hard with the crisp clarity of total vacuum. With the dropship’s drives pointed at it, the asteroid appeared to be “down,” as much as that direction had any meaning in microgravity. Gripping his VK-40 assault shotgun in one hand, Squad Sergeant Erekan Scalas found the control arm for his maneuvering unit with the other. “Keep close to the surface, combat dispersion,” he told his squad, as he jetted out of the hatch. The asteroid designated Akela-Z84 was far too
“Rare earth minerals, several fortunes in heavy metals, and more M’tait artifacts than anyone has ever seen, let alone had a chance to get their hands on without them turning explosive,” Troop Captain Nikoilo said. “No wonder they tried fighting us over it.” “It was still stupid,” Vakolo growled. They were standing in the entry chamber that the Caractacans had cleared. It was now the Sparatan groundside command post, with Sparatan troops on security at the various openings, some descending into the pits to explore the nether regions of the base. Vakolo himself was in combat armor, standing next to the troop commander at their hasty command and control station where a portable holo tank had been set up, updating the base layout and troop dispositions as reports came in. “They were vastly outnumbered and outgunned. They should have had the wit to surrender immediately.” “I have yet to meet a pirate who would qualify as a great thinker, Strategos,” Nikoilo said dryly. Vakolo just looked at him, but the Troop Captain’s helmet was as faceless as his own. He just shook his head. He should take the man to task for the remark, but if any of his men
I originally wrote this as a newsletter draw for the separate The Unity Wars newsletter. Since I’m folding the series into my main author “brand,” I’m going to serialize it here. Trakan System Tyrus Cluster 4,400 hours since the fall of Oram Prime Seventy-five starships hung in the black, only the faint starlight reflecting off their hulls. Ahead, the star designated Trakan on most starmaps was little more than a slightly brighter pinpoint of light amid dazzling myriads. The largest formation of ships was made up of angular, chisel-nosed battlecruisers, painted a bright blue, with the wreathed Sigma emblem of the Sparatan Space Force only dimly visible in the star glow. Nearby floated two dozen broad, dumbbell-shaped star cruisers, their hulls a deep red that almost looked black in the dimness of deep space. The characters etched on their flanks were alien; tehud symbols spelled out each ship’s name and its place in the Vergsegeilith Task Fleet, out of Bilbissari. Two ships didn’t fit with either group. The three-sided, coppery arrowhead bore no markings whatsoever, but was immediately identifiable as belonging to the Order of Shufa, one of the most secretive and rarely seen of the galaxy’s Military Brotherhoods. The silvery
With the Maelstrom Rising anthology well in the works, Enemy of My Enemy also in the works, and several other projects in development (yes, including a possible new Jed Horn story), I’m preparing to re-launch The Unity Wars. Some of you are familiar with my first science fiction work, but a lot aren’t (which is why the re-launch). I published the following on theunitywars.com a couple years ago: What is The Unity Wars? Well, it’s an upcoming series of science fiction adventures. The best description so far is, “The Clone Wars crossed with The Horus Heresy, with influence from the Lensman series, Hammer’s Slammers, and Farscape.” Confused yet? Hopefully also curious and a little excited. I fiddled around with writing science fiction for several years before I became an action-adventure writer. It was mostly Star Wars and Wing Commander flavored at the time. I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, specifically what can often be described as “space opera,” adventures in deep space and on distant worlds. And I’ve also always wanted to go back to it. A few years ago (before Disney Star Wars, which we won’t go into), I got a wild hair and asked myself, “What if the Star Wars prequels were
Well, Crimson Star has been out for a little over a week and a half, and it’s doing pretty well. A few reviews are in, and some of you have said it’s actually your favorite of the series so far. Some of that seems to be because a lot of it is much more irregular warfare, more reminiscent of the American Praetorians series. To that, all I have to say is that as the war drags on, and more expensive (and irreplaceable) assets get taken off the board, the more irregular this next World War is going to get. I was planning for Hank and his section to head out into the Pacific after the Chinese following Crimson Star, but now that the first volume of his arc is done, it’s not looking quite so cut and dried. The state of affairs CONUS is bad enough that the response is going to take time. At any rate, we’ll be back to Matt’s Grex Luporum Team in the ETO with Strategic Assets later on this year. Before that comes Brannigan’s Blackhearts #8 – Enemy of My Enemy. That’s going to be fun (we may see a certain Russian mobster again from Fury in the Gulf). However,
That’s Mickey Spillane, not me. But that’s a manly writer photo, right there. Seemed fitting. So, I’ve been busy. Really busy. Too busy to do much blogging, either here or over on The Unity Wars. Going to try to start picking up the slack on that soon, once I get draft writing somewhat stabilized. Given some market research, and seeing how the last book has done, The Unity Wars is moving somewhat to the forefront for the moment. That doesn’t mean that Brannigan’s Blackhearts is going away anytime soon; it is, however, going to slow down just a bit. Probably going to be four books per year, rather than six. I’ve barely scratched the surface on High Desert Vengeance, Brannigan’s Blackhearts #5, but I should be able to hit it hard after the next couple of weeks. Look for it in August. I’m also working on a pitch for another project that hopefully I’ll be doing with another author and good friend of mine. Can’t say much about it yet; we’re still hashing out the details, and he’s got to sell it to his publisher. Keep your fingers crossed. And with that, back to the word mines with me.