Excerpts: Battlespace

I previously shared an excerpt of my story, “A Flash of Insight,” from the Battlespace anthology, the proceeds of which benefits wounded veterans through the Warrior Cry Music Project. In its first two months, the anthology has been well received. One recent review from a reader on Amazon puts it succinctly:

I found BATTLESPACE an enjoyable read, it is well worth your time and attention. Especially Faith Eaters, A Flash of Insight and A Rare Chance at the Enemy.

Actually I liked the WHOLE BOOK. (Review by VICTRIX, August 15, 2012)

 Another reviewer says, in part:

 It’s a fitting cause for these writers. Most are tied to the military in some way – veterans, active duty, family members, friends. Their experience shows in the stories, too. The terminology, tactics and ideas are solid.

All the stories are military fiction, but there is a lot of variety in them. What I find to be awesome may not be what you find awesome, but I’m sure there is something in there for everyone. (Review by The Ramblings of a Ragamuffin, July 18, 2012)

Here now, in no particular order, are excerpts of stories in Battlespace to whet your appetite and/or offer a small preview. A more complete excerpt of each of the following is available at the Battlespace site.

From “All We Know of Heaven and Hell by Guinevere Robin Rowell:

Sergeant Lang set an intra-squad radio down on the long table. “So we’re missing Rex, Sin and Jodi,” she said. “They’re pinned down, but we’ve got contact.”

“Can I talk to him?” I asked.

“That seems like pretty much the worst idea in the world,” she said. “Sorry.”

From “The Code by Stefan Alford:

 “Yeah, sure, you can herd me into the circle,” he muttered, determined to at least walk there at his own casual pace and not rush like a frightened animal. He wondered if that’s how they viewed him… if that’s how they viewed all humans. His deliberate gait was a little too slow and he felt the nerve-contracting shocks in his feet with his last three steps. He winced and bit his lower lip, swallowing the blood so they wouldn’t get the satisfaction of that either. It hurt like hell, but along with the torn lip they’d only managed to elicit an almost inaudible grunt from him.

The green spot felt oddly familiar and he allowed himself to look down just to confirm the soft sensation.

Grass.

Real grass.

 From “Chewing Barbed Wire by Kevin McClintock:

 It’s here where years of training joined discipline neatly at the hip. We formed a defensive perimeter in sixty-eight seconds, a majority of us sprinting and leaping into our freshly dug trenches. Those little mechanical diggers could do wonders.

With a voiced command, those score of robotic diggers went from “defensive” to “offensive” mode, locking down their legs for stabilization while unfolding twin plasma cannons and peppering the distant horizon with targeting radars. Simultaneously, a few of my boys labored to heat up “Bertha,” our unit’s triple-barreled rocket mortar.

I checked the readout — a bit more than a minute since doors were first blown open. Not too shabby for a bunch of mud-huggin’ Marines, eh?

“Check your gear,” I said, my words amplified by voice chip embedded into the lining of my lower lip. Those three words were broken down and reassembled into twenty-three languages, transmitted to identical chips sewn inside the mouths of my “guys and gals.” Our “gear” consisted of a standard G3-9 assault cannon and the torpedo throwers peeking over our right shoulders.

 From “Umbuto’s Rock by Vincent Morgan:

 …the barman stood for a moment, polishing a glass and staring into space and then said, “In the past, had you reason to look, you would have found the Rock marked on the star charts for the Deneb Cluster as celestial object No: RZX–0000/009J–00547–678. In reality, the Rock’s just an otherwise unremarkable asteroid a couple of miles in diameter, drifting amid thousands, if not millions, of other such objects somewhere in the Monasheen Belt.

“At the beginning of the war, which seemed to start for no good reason, the Nids seized any number of planets, moons, and asteroids. Sometimes they took places of obvious value, like the Moons of Marsham, and other times they dug in on useless places like the Rock.

“I could understand fighting for the Moons, they are, after all, like Earth in most respects. But we only cared about the Rock, as far as I could tell, because the Nids had grabbed it.”

Battlespace is available on Amazon and other outlets, such as Langton Info Services, England.

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