Now and then, readers may have heard of Gezka FaucMerz, Emperor Rejkyavik’s soldier and young woman. You may have heard of Mr. Kiel Bronson, a mullato man from planet Earth in his early 50s and feeling more like he’s in the prime of his life than all washed up…Life expectency well beyone 80 years unless he gets himself killed – which is possible given the way he lives.
Below is an excerpt from the reality they coexist in and come from.
Humanity did expand to explore the Cosmos, but it took a long time and like so much in life, it was need driven. Eventually, there were human colonies out to 35LY from Sol. As one might expect, in many ways, life had become so changed that we ourselves would not recognize it and yet, since ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’, it was still just life.
The universe remained centered around the birthplace of humanity. First and foremost of all, was that this was how Earth was now known: as the birthplace of humanity. In fact, this precise description was used to market tourism to Earth from many reaches of the inhabited universe.
The human dominated Cosmos developed a loosely configured triplicity of regions based upon how close they were to the Sun. There were reasons for it, most of which were economic, as one would expect. The first zone included all habitable stellar systems and the space between within 20LY of Sol. This vast expanse was commonly known as ‘the Interior’.
The next main region was called The Rim. It covered the universe from just over 20LY from Sol out to 25LY out. Since it was space, all directions were covered. This region was rather sparse compared to the other two. There were fewer planets, and more space stations. The region was almost entirely dependent upon trade for its existence. Being excellent in all the areas in which it did develop, the Rim mysteriously flourished.
Beyond the Rim was the final region of human dominated interstellar space. It had been named simply and straightforwardly as The Exterior. There were more star systems out there than there were in The Interior but humanity had a very hard time getting a good foot hold out there. In the end, humans learned to flourish there as well but by the time they did they had drawn different conclusions than The Interiors.
The three regions proved to be something cultural as well as physical. The answers to life problems in the Exterior involved genetic manipulation, and learning to keep out of the way of the sentient Etokk – who were a terribly powerful and fortunately rather benevolent species. Little was known about them other than that they were more powerful than humans, no matter how much humans wished that weren’t true.
The Rim was made by diplomacy and duplicity, using anything that would work to keep the society functioning. There was more black market activity in the Rim by proportion but not by quantity, than in either the Exterior or Interior. The rules were less clear there, when compared to the bigger cultures on either ‘side’ of it. The loyalties came across to the Interior and Exterior Federations as “divided” at best. The reasons were valid: part of the Rim survived thanks to business and dealings with the Exterior, while other parts derived their success from the Interior. Of course there were also places that relied on the two in combination. Policies and attitudes reflected the truth.
The Interior prided itself on including the original point of human conception and having the greatest history of humankind. If the entire region could have a personality, arrogant would be one of the ways of describing it. It felt superior to the others, regardless of whether or not it was. The people of the Interior tended to feel like they were ‘the real humans’ and that those out in the Rim and the Exterior were more like some kind of Circus freak descendants. There was a common ancestor – but it didn’t mean much. The government of the Interior had Federated first and was able to create and to maintain a clear and strong set of policies able to extend across distances which would have been outrageous to Earthlings of the pre-colonial eras. United by knowledge and culture, the Interior had retained its power over the Millenia.
Both the Rim and the Exterior had Federated as a reaction to the Interior and nothing more. In the Rim, the trouble was that they were not naturally centralized enough to really function like a united political group but somehow they got it together enough to make sure they could protect themselves from military and political attacks from either the Interior of Exterior. In truth, the Rim had little to no military power but somehow maintained autonomy despite this.
The Exterior Federated mainly to protect itself from laws that would have adversely affected its culture. This was mainly a policy attack from the Interior against genetic manipulation of humans and animals. The Exterior hated the Interior for genetic engineering was the very foundation of their success – even though they were well aware that because of that the humans of the Interior often viewed them as inferior. The people of the Exterior believed the very opposite was the truth. They were far more advanced than the ‘natural man’ of the Interior. The Interior had ‘old humans’ with back dated attitudes and undeveloped genetic potential. The humans of the Exterior felt the difference between themselves and Interior humans was like the difference between 20th century large, sweet agri-business strawberries and the tiny little edible wild strawberries that people can find in some lawns in the Northern hemisphere of Earth. There is little argument that both are edible, and the engineered ones are obviously better.
By population, the Interior was by far the greatest, boasting a human population of 10 trillion across star systems. This was the real drive behind colonization, and it was very successful. The Rim held 1 billion human lives in its own expanses. Although viewed as the smallest region, but the standards of those who lived when there were only humans on the Earth – the Rim was yet another bastion for human life scattered throughout the stars. The Exterior politics influenced the answer to this same question. They claimed they had 10 billion humans. The Interior disagreed based upon things that the Exteriors felt perfectly displayed Interior hypocrisy. The Interior hated genetic manipulation of humans so much that they routinely acknowledged only 1 million human residents of the entire Exterior colonized space. Each of the million had a recorded lineage to the Interior. The economic portion of the Interior, which conducted business with the Exterior Federation estimated an interplanetary population of the Exterior as being at least 1 trillion and possibly as high as 3 trillion. The Exterior did not supply the kind of answer the Interior wanted. They reported political bodies and published numbers of recorded citizens. The reason this upset the Interior is that there were known to be large groups of people who were not citizens. In general, the few Exteriors who deigned to engage in dialogue on such matters did not see why the same Federation that would only recognize 1 million humans would get upset about which members of their society were citizens and which were not. The economists knew that all of the military personnel and many other special subtypes were not considered to be citizens of the governments they served. That being noted: goods would still be bought for these hordes. This is the reason for the confusion about the number of humans inhabiting Exterior Federation space.
At the time that the story opens, the Exterior so-called Federation was filled with warfare. There were Empires and many traits of a feudal society. There was no solidarity such the word Federation would seem to imply until or unless the Interior Federation attempted to interfere and then suddenly there was unity.
Silly as it is, the main characters will have to serve as icons for their brand of humanity as well as standing for themselves as individuals. That’s much of the fun of this story, where there is any fun: the clash of cultures as 2 people meet and discover.
The good news and the bad news is that the main characters are not lovers, even though they are members of the opposite sex. One is rather young and the other is in the full bloom of middle age. The younger one is the woman: Gezka FaucMerz. The older one is Kiel Bronson. Both speak during the novel, but the point of view changes depending on the needs of the story. The rest of the bad news is that neither of the main protagonists are cute or fluffy. Kiel has just been released from a prison sentence which he served because he was actually guilty. Gezka, well, lets start the story with her.
Gezka FaucMerz started her day as she had many others. They were at war. She rose and was able to wash and dress, thanks to her combat duty station. She was alone as always except that she was never alone. This was probably normal, she had guessed a long time ago. There was a general faint ache to her sculpted warrior body. She was grateful to have been able to rest a full shift.
The others were all also military personnel. That was also perfectly normal. When Gezka woke up that day she still thought it would always be that way. It did not take more than 15 minutes for her to be washed and dressed, and to have reloaded her weapons and made her way to breakfast and then to check for the day’s missions.
Emperor Reykjavik wanted her to help him to grow his Empire. This morning that meant to make close combat on the ground in a rocky region of a planet she wasn’t sure she had even heard of prior to landing there. She was released with the rest of her battalion, from a ship launched from orbit from one of the Naav’s battleships. They had engaged the enemy in less than 1000 Meters from disembarking. Fighting without the element of surprise was a drag. They fought like Hell all morning but had made it through the opposition in time for a midday meal. They joked as best they could – they couldn’t help but notice that some of their comrades from breakfast had died during the morning battle. It was pretty normal for people like them – they had been at war for years. Most of them were old enough to have adjusted to it. It wasn’t like when they were teenagers and got sent to war for the first time. Gezka was glad that most of her colleagues had been going to war with her for at least 5 years. There really weren’t any weaklings left.
Gezka wasn’t the only woman on the battlefield that day, but they were in the minority. There was a joke about that going around as well. Her parents were both Generals, so the joke was that the only reason she was a girl doing that combat duty was to determine whether or not she could become a General herself and the mother of Generals. She told them it was a good thing they had all had their hormones fixed and left it at that. Soldiers of the Naav don’t breed until they get their papers. Her parents had not selected each other; the geneticists had chosen them for each other, and Gezka viewed that as perfectly normal.
The Emperor wanted Gezka to fight all afternoon that day as well and to get the local area under his dominion. Gezka wasn’t designated to stick the Emperor’s flag into the dirt, although she noted that at this location they would do better to blast out the rock to be able to put in a flag.
Gezka fought all afternoon just as her Emperor wanted her to do. She was very focused in the moment the whole time, and she had long accepted it as a lifestyle. This time, the warfare was harder – the enemy knew the terrain better and made the most of it. This meant that they did not break for a late meal. In fact, the planet turned away from its greatest source of light and the fighting continued.
So far, since they arrived, most of the fighting was firearms and some explosives but as the battle wore into the dark time she began to consider whether they could use other formations and close with the enemy. The reason she disliked missle weapons was that it wasn’t visceral and it was too easy to miss. Suppression fire left a lot to be desired; she preferred to just get the fighting done with, but she was a junior officer for a reason.
At long last, Gezka got a chance to confer with her superior officer – she wanted to ask about forcing hand to hand combat and close gun fighting and wanted permission and then advice on the best way to achieve it. Instead, Gezka jogged through the smoky, dusty dark night only to arrive just after her commanding officer was killed by combined ‘mortar’ then laser and bullet barrage. Gezka entered what remained of the field command point and did not leave until she had grabbed the maps and called in to confirm to other officers that the Captain was dead.
She was informed, as she ran for cover in the night, plotting revenge that must not be revenge but simple tactics to move the war forward, that she had just earned a field promotion. She managed to get medical staff to the dead officers and to gather together a couple of the other junior officers to make the new plan.