“Devils and Dust” by two time
Dragon finalist J.F. Holmes takes place in the Syrian Civil War,
2018. A JTF squad sent to take out a terrorist dabbling in the
supernatural finds that they're up against an ancient god determined
to walk the earth again.
“Redeye” by Dan Humphreys
follows a pair of military contractors as they fly home from a job in
the Middle East. Unknown to the two ex-Rangers, onboard is
necromancer intent on getting a foothold in the United
“Revolution” by Lucas Marcum. Outside Valley
Forge in the brutal winter of 1777, American Marines and British
Redcoats team up to defeat an Old World threat that has beenleaving
soldiers of both sides drained of blood and lifeless in the
“Run through the Jungle” by Lloyd Behm II. A
French plantation owner turns to the supernatural to punish all sides
in the Vietnam War, dragging the men of Task Force 13 into a vicious
battle with the undead.
“Spy vs. Spy” by Michael
Morton. In the opening moves of the Pacific War, an American
detachment takes on a Japanese intelligence officer in the
Philippines who using supernatural powers to run a spy
“Devil Dogs” by Chris Bast. A young Marine in
the mountains of Afghanistan beholds the horrors of hell as his
platoon is overrun by demons, and his desire for revenge drives him
to accompany a JTF 13 squad as they hunt the demons’
“Troll” by J.F. Holmes. A squad from the 82nd
Airborne is wiped out trying to destroy a bridge behind enemy lines
on June 6th, 1944, and the Task Force is called in to deal with the
ancient enemy hiding beneath it.
How many of the JTF13 books will be novels and how many will be
We may do an anthology again in
the future, but our plans are for five or six novels next year.
How many of the novels do you have so far? I’m assuming you’re
still looking for more authors?
Ten are supposedly in the works,
but I expect five to actually happen with the year. Yes, of course,
Will the novels be released in chronological order?
No, they skip back and forth
through history and are, for the most part, stand alone books. Though
there will be an overall plot and tie ins.
Will the invaders/monsters always be coming from the same alien
They come from the supernatural
world and are native to that regions. For example, Djins in the
Middle East and classical Dragons in Europe.
I heard that JTF13 was inspired by true unexplained events in
military history. One in particular was giant spiders in Vietnam …?
I can neither confirm nor deny
but the story is out there!
Will all of the novels be action/adventure?
I’ve heard rumours of a JTF13 inspired video game. Is this true?
Wouldn’t that be freaking
Okay, a bit about your background. You’re the creator of Cannon
and have twice been a finalist for the prestigious Dragon Awards.
Well, one day about seven years
ago I was watching an episode of The Walking Dead, doing the military
thing and commenting on what utter bullsh*t the firearms and tactics
were. My wife dared me to do better, and Even Zombie Killers Get The
Blues was born. That was seventeen books and hundreds of thousands of
I started Cannon because I want
to help out writers who are just getting started and have potential.
That and make money, but I wanted to see more of the kinds of
military Sci-Fi and Fantasy books I grew up reading.
In a previous incarnation you were a military officer and trainer. So
for this last question, how about a quick pep talk for our readers
(many of whom are writers too).
Well, NCO, not Officer. Retired
after 22 years.
Don’t stop writing.
2. Be open to criticism. My
grammar on my first book was horrible, to the point where my wife
refused to read it. The odds are a million to one that you wrote the
perfect book, and writing is a trade that you can only get better at.
3. Don’t quit your day job
expecting to be an overnight smash. It might happen, but probably
not. Writing is a job like any other, and it takes hard work, but you
can do it.
Great stuff. And the next JTF13 book? What’s the title and when
will it be out?
Widowmakers, coming out probably
in February 2020. Written by William
Air Force veteran, his heroes have to deal with a major gremlin
threat to the Army Air Force night attack fighters in France, 1944.
Outside of JTF, Lucas
follow up to his smash debut novel Valkyrie is out. Valkyrie:
Rebellion is going gang busters too.
Andrew Bannister has been making waves this year with his Spin Trilogy books. Here's the first of them.
Creation Machine is a fast-paced, whip-smart science fiction debut from Andrew Bannister introducing the stunning galaxy called the Spin.
In the vast, artificial galaxy called the Spin, a rebellion has been crushed.
Viklun Hass is eliminating all remnants of the opposition. Starting with his daughter.
But Fleare Hass has had time to plan her next move from exile to the very frontiers of a new war.
For hundreds of millions of years, the planets and stars of the Spin have been the only testament to the god-like engineers that created them. Now, beneath the surface of a ruined planet, one of their machines has been found.
December's Story - A Little Journey by Ray Bradbury
were two important things – one, that she was very old; two, that
Mr. Thirkell was taking her to God. For hadn’t he patted her hand
and said: “Mrs. Bellowes, we’ll take off into space in my rocket,
and go to find Him together.”
that was how it was going to be. Oh, this wasn’t like any other
group Mrs. Bellowes had ever joined. In her fervor to light a path
for her delicate, tottering feet, she had struck matches down dark
alleys, and found her way to Hindu mystics who floated their
flickering, starry eyelashes over crystal balls. She had walked on
the meadow paths with ascetic Indian philosophers imported by
daughters-in-spirit of Madame Blavatsky. She had made pilgrimages to
California’s stucco jungles to hunt the astrological seer in his
natural habitat. She had even consented to signing away the rights to
one of her homes in order to be taken into the shouting order of a
temple of amazing evangelists who had promised her golden smoke,
crystal fire, and the great soft hand of God coming to bear her home.
of these people had ever shaken Mrs. Bellowes’ faith, even when she
saw them sirened away in a black wagon in the night, or discovered
their pictures, bleak and unromantic, in the morning tabloids. The
world had roughed them up and locked them away because they knew too
much, that was all.
then, two weeks ago, she had seen Mr. Thirkell’s advertisement in
New York City:
at the Thirkell Restorium for one week. And then, on into space on
the greatest adventure life can offer!
for Free Pamphlet: “Nearer My God To Thee.”
rates. Round trip slightly lower.
trip,” Mrs. Bellowes had thought. “But who would come back after
so she had bought a ticket and flown off to Mars and spent seven mild
days at Mr. Thirkell’s Restorium, the building with the sign on it
which flashed: THIRKELL’S ROCKET TO HEAVEN! She had spent the week
bathing in limpid waters and erasing the care from her tiny bones,
and now she was fidgeting, ready to be loaded into Mr. Thirkell’s
own special private rocket, like a bullet, to be fired on out into
space beyond Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto. And thus – who could
deny it? – you would be getting nearer and nearer to the Lord. How
wonderful! Couldn’t you just feel
Him drawing near? Couldn’t you just sense His breath, His scrutiny,
I am,” said Mrs. Bellowes, “an ancient rickety elevator, ready to
go up the shaft. God need only press the button.”
on the seventh day, as she minced up the steps of the Restorium, a
number of small doubts assailed her.
one thing,” she said aloud to no one, “it isn’t quite the land
of milk and honey here on Mars that they said it would be. My room is
like a cell, the swimming pool is really quite inadequate, and,
besides, how many widows who look like mushrooms or skeletons want to
swim? And, finally, the whole Restorium smells of boiled cabbage and
opened the front door and let it slam, somewhat irritably.
was amazed at the other women in the auditorium. It was like
wandering in a carnival mirror-maze, coming again and again upon
yourself – the same floury face, the same chicken hands, and
jingling bracelets. One after another of the images of herself
floated before her. She put out her hand, but it wasn’t a mirror;
it was another lady shaking her fingers and saying:
waiting for Mr. Thirkell. Sh!”
velvet curtains parted.
Thirkell appeared, fantastically serene, his Egyptian eyes upon
everyone. But there was something, nevertheless, in his appearance
which made one expect him to call “Hi!” while fuzzy dogs jumped
over his legs, through his hooped arms, and over his back. Then, dogs
and all, he should dance with a dazzling piano-keyboard smile off
into the wings.
Bellowes, with a secret part of her mind which she constantly had to
grip tightly, expected to hear a cheap Chinese gong sound when Mr.
Thirkell entered. His large liquid dark eyes were so improbable that
one of the old ladies had facetiously claimed she saw a mosquito
cloud hovering over them as they did around summer rain-barrels. And
Mrs. Bellowes sometimes caught the scent of the theatrical mothball
and the smell of calliope steam on his sharply pressed suit.
with the same savage rationalization that had greeted all other
disappointments in her rickety life, she bit at the suspicion and
whispered, “This time it’s real.
This time it’ll work. Haven’t we got a rocket?”
Thirkell bowed. He smiled a sudden Comedy Mask smile. The old ladies
looked in at his epiglottis and sensed chaos there.
he even began to speak, Mrs. Bellowes saw him picking up each of his
words, oiling it, making sure it ran smooth on its rails. Her heart
squeezed in like a tiny fist, and she gritted her porcelain teeth.
said Mr. Thirkell, and you could hear the frost snap in the hearts of
the entire assemblage.
said Mrs. Bellowes ahead of time. She could hear the bad news rushing
at her, and herself tied to the track while the immense black wheels
threatened and the whistle screamed, helpless.
will be a slight delay,” said Mr. Thirkell.
the next instant, Mr. Thirkell might have cried, or been tempted to
cry, “Ladies, be seated!” in minstrel-fashion, for the ladies had
come up at him from their chairs, protesting and trembling.
a very long delay.” Mr. Thirkell put up his hands to pat the air.
You can stay here at the Restorium for seven more days, can’t you?
A little delay won’t matter, will it, in the end? You’ve waited a
lifetime. Only a few more days.”
twenty dollars a day,
thought Mrs. Bellowes, coldly.
the trouble?” a woman cried.
legal difficulty,” said Mr. Thirkell.
a rocket, haven’t we?”
I’ve been here a whole month, waiting,” said one old lady.
right,” said everyone.
ladies,” murmured Mr. Thirkell, smiling serenely.
want to see the rocket!” It was Mrs. Bellowes forging ahead, alone,
brandishing her fist like a toy hammer.
Thirkell looked into the old ladies’ eyes, a missionary among
now,” he said.
cried Mrs. Bellowes.
afraid –” he began.
am I!” she said. “That’s why we want to see the ship!”
no, now, Mrs. –” He snapped his fingers for her name.
she cried. She was a small container, but now all the seething
pressures that had been built up over long years came steaming
through the delicate vents of her body. Her cheeks became
incandescent. With a wail that was like a melancholy factory whistle,
Mrs. Bellowes ran forward and hung to him, almost by her teeth, like
a summer-maddened Spitz. She would not and never could let go, until
he died, and the other women followed, jumping and yapping like a
pound let loose on its trainer, the same one who had petted them and
to whom they had squirmed and whined joyfully an hour before, now
milling about him, creasing his sleeves and frightening the Egyptian
serenity from his gaze.
way!” cried Mrs. Bellowes, feeling like Madame Lafarge. “Through
the back! We’ve waited long enough to see the ship. Every day he’s
put us off, every day we’ve waited, now let’s see.”
no, ladies!” cried Mr. Thirkell, leaping about.
burst through the back of the stage and out a door, like a flood,
bearing the poor man with them into a shed, and then out, quite
suddenly, into an abandoned gymnasium.
it is!” said someone. “The rocket.”
then a silence fell that was terrible to entertain.
was the rocket.
Bellowes looked at it and her hands sagged away from Mr. Thirkell’s
rocket was something like a battered copper pot. There were a
thousand bulges and rents and rusty pipes and dirty vents on and in
it. The ports were clouded over with dust, resembling the eyes of a
wailed a little sighing wail.
that the rocket ship Glory
Be to the Highest?”
cried Mrs. Bellowes, appalled.
Thirkell nodded and looked at his feet.
which we paid out our one thousand dollars apiece and came all the
way to Mars to get on board with you and go off to find Him?” asked
that isn’t worth a sack of dried peas,” said Mrs. Bellowes.
nothing but junk!”
whispered everyone, getting hysterical.
let him get away!”
Thirkell tried to break and run, but a thousand possum traps closed
on him from every side. He withered.
walked around in circles like blind mice. There was a confusion and a
weeping that lasted for five minutes as they went over and touched
the Rocket, the Dented Kettle, the Rusty Container for God’s
said Mrs. Bellowes. She stepped up into the askew doorway of the
rocket and faced everyone. “It looks as if a terrible thing has
been done to us,” she said. “I haven’t any money to go back
home to Earth and I’ve too much pride to go to the Government and
tell them a common man like this has fooled us out of our life’s
savings. I don’t know how you feel about it, all of you, but the
reason all of us came is because I’m eighty-five, and you’re
eighty-nine, and you’re seventy-eight, and all of us are nudging on
toward a hundred, and there’s nothing on Earth for us, and it
doesn’t appear there’s anything on Mars either. We all expected
not to breathe much more air or crochet many more doilies or we’d
never have come here. So what I have to propose is a simple thing –
to take a chance.”
reached out and touched the rusted hulk of the rocket.
rocket. We paid for our trip. And we’re going to take
rustled and stood on tiptoes and opened an astonished mouth.
Thirkell began to cry. He did it quite easily and very effectively.
going to get in this ship,” said Mrs. Bellowes, ignoring him. “And
we’re going to take off to where we were going.”
Thirkell stopped crying long enough to say, “But it was all a fake.
I don’t know anything about space. He’s not out there, anyway. I
lied. I don’t know where He is, and I couldn’t find Him if I
wanted to. And you were fools to ever take my word on it.”
said Mrs. Bellowes, “we were fools. I’ll go along on that. But
you can’t blame us, for we’re old, and it was a lovely, good and
fine idea, one of the loveliest ideas in the world. Oh, we didn’t
really fool ourselves that we could get nearer to Him physically. It
was the gentle, mad dream of old people, the kind of thing you hold
onto for a few minutes a day, even though you know it’s not true.
So, all of you who want to go, you follow me in the ship.”
you can’t go!” said Mr. Thirkell. “You haven’t got a
navigator. And that ship’s a ruin!”
said Mrs. Bellowes, “will be the navigator.”
stepped into the ship, and after a moment, the other old ladies
pressed forward. Mr. Thirkell, windmilling his arms frantically, was
nevertheless pressed through the port, and in a minute the door
slammed shut. Mr. Thirkell was strapped into the navigator’s seat,
with everyone talking at once and holding him down. The special
helmets were issued to be fitted over every gray or white head to
supply extra oxygen in case of a leakage in the ship’s hull, and at
long last the hour had come and Mrs. Bellowes stood behind Mr.
Thirkell and said, “We’re ready, sir.”
said nothing. He pleaded with them silently, using his great, dark,
wet eyes, but Mrs. Bellowes shook her head and pointed to the
agreed Mr. Thirkell morosely, and pulled a switch.
fell. The rocket went up from the planet Mars in a great fiery glide,
with the noise of an entire kitchen thrown down an elevator shaft,
with a sound of pots and pans and kettles and fires boiling and stews
bubbling, with a smell of burned incense and rubber and sulphur, with
a color of yellow fire, and a ribbon of red stretching below them,
and all the old women singing and holding to each other, and Mrs.
Bellowes crawling upright in the sighing, straining, trembling ship.
for space, Mr. Thirkell.”
can’t last,” said Mr. Thirkell, sadly. “This ship can’t last.
It will –”
Bellowes felt herself lifted and thrown about dizzily, like a doll.
She heard the great screamings and saw the flashes of bodies sailing
by her in fragments of metal and powdery light.
help!” cried Mr. Thirkell, far away, on a small radio beam.
ship disintegrated into a million parts, and the old ladies, all one
hundred of them, were flung straight on ahead with the same velocity
as the ship.
for Mr. Thirkell, for some reason of trajectory, perhaps, he had been
blown out the other side of the ship. Mrs. Bellowes saw him falling
separate and away from them, screaming, screaming.
goes Mr. Thirkell,
thought Mrs. Bellowes.
she knew where he was going. He was going to be burned and roasted
and broiled good, but very good.
Thirkell was falling down into the Sun.
here we are,
thought Mrs. Bellowes. Here
we are, going on out, and out, and out.
was hardly a sense of motion at all, but she knew that she was
traveling at fifty thousand miles an hour and would continue to
travel at that speed for an eternity, until....
saw the other women swinging all about her in their own trajectories,
a few minutes of oxygen left to each of them in their helmets, and
each was looking up to where they were going.
thought Mrs. Bellowes. Out
into space. Out and out, and the darkness like a great church, and
the stars like candles, and in spite of everything, Mr. Thirkell, the
rocket, and the dishonesty, we are going toward the Lord.
there, yes, there,
as she fell on and on, coming toward her, she could almost discern
the outline now, coming toward her was His mighty golden hand,
reaching down to hold her and comfort her like a frightened
Mrs. Amelia Bellowes,” she said quietly, in her best company voice.
“I’m from the planet Earth.”
story was first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1951.
story is taken from Project Gutenberg.
For legal reasons the following statement must be included: (This
eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no
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under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org).
Tell us about your new novel.
It’s the third of your Insurrection books …
Yes, thanks, Chris. Exodus is the third in the now completed A.I. Insurrection trilogy. Its name
denotes the decision by United Earth to move beyond the solar system
and begin populating the stars. United
Earth casts a long shadow of memory across its residents, and those
memories are renewed through every enlightened AI Host who carries
them. This haunts some, encourages fear in others and confirms
devotion in many. United Earth, as an idea, gave life to freedoms
previously unknown to humanity, but when the General’s war
devastated that trust, and an alien bent on destruction came to
annihilate their civilization, the populace began to question their
place in this fallen utopia. Now, six months removed from the most
recent conflict which overwhelmed the people; recognizing they are
not alone in the universe, they seek purpose in their existence more
than ever. The lottery would afford them that, offering hope, one of
the most essential requirements in an individual’s arsenal for
survival. But when that hope turns to dread, what is left to
accomplish but survival?
How did the series start?
A.I. Insurrection began as a supposition,
which became a scene, which then transformed into a short story.
Given a few days to reflect on it and some helpful input from one of
my editors, I felt compelled to build a novel around it. I’m so
very, very glad I did!
What are your A.I. influences?
I’m an artificial intelligence nerd. I
love the concept and the work being done in the field. I also love
the possibilities, both the good and the bad. Not that I want a
event to kill us all or anything, but in fiction, I love where A.I.
can take you. Influences in my trilogy include I Robot, Altered
Carbon, and Neuromancer.
You’ve had a lot of positive
reviews. How do you promote?
My promotion angle is to offer books for
free to my current fan base via eblasts, advertising on Facebook, and
branching out via other avenues like Indies Unlimited and to specific
genre groups on platforms like Goodreads. It can be a bit expensive
in the beginning, but if you want to create some excitement, I’ve
found you need to keep the momentum going for a few months right off
the bat. Indie authors have to make a name, or be ignored.
What’s the best feedback you’ve
As an author receiving feedback from a
reviewer; I’d say it’s when the reader is genuinely shocked at
how much they enjoyed an indie author’s work, their
recommendations, and requests for a second book (which is how The Judas Syndromebecame
You were voted best writer for
2010 in the October issue of View Magazine. How did this come about?
View was holding their annual contest for
multiple categories in the Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario region
and I threw my hat in for my first book: The Judas Syndrome. It is
the first in a trilogy as well. View readers would vote online, and I
got the word out to friends and fans alike asking them to take the
quiz. Free publicity.
So you’ve written a few other
things besides the Insurrection series. Short stories, children’s
stories … Is the writing process different here?
I’m someone who reads multiple genres as
well as writes them. Staying within a certain genre feels a bit
claustrophobic to me. So, I write what I want to read. Often my genre
choice in the moment is inspired by the book(s) I’m reading or a
life experience. I tend to approach all of my books with the
knowledge that after a plot has been conceived, I will write in a
stream of consciousness format. I surrender to the plot and
characters to get me from start to finish, building the story as I
go. The plot may change in subtle ways or in substantial ways, but I
believe it has already been written, and I’m pulling it from the
ether with my creative connection. So, in answer to your question;
there is little I do to approach a genre differently save the basic
structure of a children’s book, short story, Apocalyptic, or
And you also released a picture book in 2016?
An Angry Earth,
yes. My contribution as an environmentalist looking to educate the
youth about the potential effects of climate change on our world and
ourselves. It’s an unapologetic story developed to frighten kids
into action. And hopefully, their parents. It tells the story of a
terrifying end to a world whose overseers abused its resources to
live more comfortably, until the Earth had nothing left to give.
Incidentally, I was approached by a reporter for the Wall Street
Journal about this book recently, and am hoping for some follow up
There’s not much about your
personal life out there. Who are you and what do you do besides
married, have a nine-year-old daughter from my first marriage and
live in beautiful southern Ontario, Canada. In my mid-twenties I
bought an old work van and transformed it into a sleeper van which a
friend and I drove all over North America for months to discover our
world and ourselves. I graduated Interpretive Illustration from
Sheridan College in ’94 (using this education to illustrate An
Angry Earth and West of Noreaso) and continued my creative studies in
graphic and web design at thirty. Today I am employed as a Marketing
Manager using my writing and creative skills to promote my current
employer. Besides writing, painting and illustrating, I love to
mountain bike, kayak, and hike. I love our natural world, and try to
connect with it as often as possible. Travel is also very important
to me and I’ve recently come back from Spain and France. Science
Fiction has always been a go-to genre for me whether through books,
film or television, which is why I had so much fun writing the
Back to writing. What motivates you and when and where do you work?
Realizing a new storyline is all the
motivation I need to stop what I’m doing and begin writing. It can
be a sentence, a paragraph, or simply a statement, but I need to
write it down. Anywhere. Anytime. Some of these become short stories.
Some become novels. Others become what makes up my slush pile of
possibilities, but the motivation to write down a new thought is
paramount. Beyond the initial need to write, an idea meant to become
something more percolates, and again motivation enters; urging me to
complete what was begun.
Q. And what’s next for you?
Surprisingly, I’m over 15,000 words into
a fourth book for the A.I. series. Though the trilogy has an ending
I’m very happy with, the characters continue to talk to me. New
ones as well. Begging me to take them further. Beyond that, I’m
considering another anthology of short stories, as I have several I’m
rereading and editing for that possibility. Regardless, I am a writer
who needs to write; I find it purposeful, and have built a fanbase
around each of the genres I’ve written for. So, it’s safe to say,
writing is what’s next for me.
Okay, thanks for the interview.
You can find out more through Michael’s facebook page here.
The much anticipated follow up to Marcum's Valkyrie novel. Out now on kindle, coming soon in paperback.
The United Earth Alliance prepares to push forward in the last campaign of the war against the Elai, but their enemy has other plans. As new threats loom, the seeds of rebellion sprout bitter fruit on Mars, and Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Suarez, the Valkyrie, finds herself fighting for her life.
The follow up to Lucas Marcum's best selling debut novel, Valkyrie.
The gas plume flares
for the fourth time when I finally manage to reach the holding area.
As always the police are there to meet me. "Good morning,
Captain Kloss." The Sergeant smiles and tries to make small talk
but I wave him off.
Kloss now, Sergeant. Is he secure?" I ask him.
fortress, sir. Sleeping like it never happened." says the
"How much this
time?" I ask, running the tokens in my pocket through my
"Just 50k for
the droid, sir. I thought he was better now, someone said he'd been
to The Clinic?" the Sergeant is generous, no booking fee, no
bail and most important of all - no bribe to grease the wheels of
justice into faster action.
I pass him the 50k
token and he smiles. "As always, good to see you, Captain."
Dmitri now, Sergeant. The war ended ten years ago." I say to
I got him this job,
my write-up helped to get him the extra stripe. He feels like he owes
me something which is probably why the bail-outs are always so cheap
on his watch. I hear the boots of the other police officer
approaching, matched by the familiar staccato footsteps as he
stumbles along beside him.
old friend!" I say, knowing he won't reply. I manage to get him
into the cab which is waiting outside for us, the driver already
knows where to take us. We are that well known.
it is good to see you again, sir. I'm sorry about the Lieutenant,
sir. I hope The Clinic will do a better job this time." The
driver is yet another face from my past. As usual we pay no fare when
we get out at The Clinic, we've done this trip many times before,
still he refuses to take my tokens.
The Porter on the
front door snaps to attention and salutes me out of habit, I have to
restrain myself from throwing one back at him. "Captain! We
weren't told to expect you, sir!" he says.
I indicate towards
Jason. "Another episode, sadly. We'll try the treatment again.
Perhaps with greater success this time."
He helps us inside,
bringing out a wheelchair.
Jason can walk. His
legs work fine. It's
just the link between them and his mind that aren't functioning right
old comrade is working at the booking desk, he hastens our admission
for old times sake, one of the many favours which are owed to me that
can never be repaid. We're directed to an elevator. I know what to
expect next. When the door finally opens several floors later, he's
already waiting for us in the corridor.
Doc, sorry to be back again so soon." I say to him, slightly
red-faced at being back in The Clinic yet again.
okay, Captain, the Lieutenant can't help himself. Who did he shoot?"
the Doctor asks me.
travels real fast here, especially bad news or idle gossip.
a mech Doc, don't ask me where he got a gun or how he found the money
to buy one. Veterans Admin say he barely gets enough to feed himself
most days." I explain, or try to.
push Jason into the examination room and stand ready. The Doc locks
the door and activates the audio tape. Outside the room it's mostly
silent, just the ambient hum of normal hospital life going on in the
distance. In here is the sound of distant gunfire, explosions, men
screaming for help, the engines of war. The
days of our previous lives.
take cover. We've got incoming!" It's Jason, back with us again.
Doc stops the tape and Jason slowly releases his vice-like grip on my
wrist. "Where am I, Captain?" Jason asks me, unsure of his
just Dmitri now, Jason. The war is over. We're home now." I say.
we really back, sir?" Jason asks, with a glimmer of hope in his
my friend. It's all long over now. You're back from the war." I
turn and look across the cityscape framed by the window and say to
myself, "We're all back. Mostly."
information, check out this blog’s interview with Ray Daley here.