Dan Melson: January 2019 Archives

The premise of the series is that the Empire has discovered a planet orbiting Epsilon Indi held by the fractal demons, where they have been breeding enslaved humans for several thousand years, hoping to create human serfs who can compete with Imperial operants. It hasn't been working out well for them - not only is the best they've done so far about equal to a mid-range Second Order Guardian, they don't have all of the factors that enabled Imperials to really learn to use their talents. Humans being human, there are a fair number of enclaves of free humans, and they treat each other not much better than the demons do.

It is into this setup that we step, as the Empire has discovered a direct link from this world to the fractal demons' home environments, so whomever controls Calmena has a strategic base from which to strike the other. But the Empire is preparing thoroughly for war before it begins - and one of the things they are doing is bringing civilization to the free humans, enabling them to be an even bigger thorn in the side of the fractal demons.

Published thus far are Preparing the Ground and Building the People. It's my plan to make Setting the Board my next primary work in process, but I'm not certain if I can fit all of the planned events into one book, so it may be split into two. Whether one book or two, Setting the Board is planned to be the culmination of this series, and anything else I do with these characters will have a sufficiently different setting to require beginning a new series.

The two main characters are Asina, a native of Calmena, and the viewpoint character Joe Bernard, a mixed race American from Earth.

Preparing the Ground Amazon link and Books2Read link

Building the People Amazon link and Books2Read link

My Amazon author page and Books2Read author page

Working the Trenches is a true sequel to the Rediscovery trilogy. Where the events of the trilogy are very tightly packed (although each story has a beginning, a theme, and a conclusion), Rediscovery is several years later when Grace has decided she feels enough loyalty to the Empire to serve in their armed forces, Working the Trenches of civilization

Graciella Juarez di Scimtar has saved Earth from itself. What will she do for an encore?

Become a real hero, as well as demonstrating that the Empire has earned her loyalty.

Along with her husband, she joins the Imperial Military. But she and her husband have unique talents - the military will not let them go to waste

Amazon link Books2Read link (covers most other retailers)

******

You don't have to do this.

It was our last night together for a while. We were in the sleep field in our apartment in the family residence, twenty kilometers above the surface of Sumabad, on Indra Prime. The family dinner was behind us; our dogs Lady and More were in their beds. We had already made love and were just basking in the glow of each other's touch. We watched the wakes from the pleasure craft in the strait in the soft glow from the new habitat overhead. The glow was about equal to 'a couple minutes after sunset'-level twilight on Earth; the wide ribbon of habitat overhead went all the way around the system's star and reflected a lot more light. One of the major planned cities was visible, a bit ahead of our orbit. Hard to believe there were already hundreds of times more people on the habitat that had been finished only a few years before than on this planet that had seen a hundred thousand years of civilization.

The plan was we were both going to start military training the next day, and Asto was telling me that he would understand if I didn't want to.

How many of the spouses in the family haven't spent time in the military? It was a rhetorical question. We both knew the answer was zero.

How many of them were born outside the Empire? Other than me, that answer was also zero. He was saying that if I didn't feel the loyalty yet, it was understandable.

The Empire saved us. Without the Empire, Earth would be on the way to a new Stone Age. That's if there were any humans left on Earth. The war between China and Russia that went nuclear and killed nearly a billion people had been only the leading edge of the troubles we'd been heading for. The United States had been in the process of fiscal collapse, the European Union had disintegrated into constituent nations, and world trade had been falling apart when the Empire stepped in. Even if no other nukes had been detonated - which no one rational believed - the damage done would have snowballed badly if the Empire hadn't stepped in and cleaned it up. That was nearly three Imperial years ago; longer on Earth due to the time differential. The radioactivity had been cleaned up, and Earth's standard of living was improving every month. The Primuses and Secunduses assigned to Earth had been doing their job well.

Asto replied, Earth is doing fine, now. It was the government, not the people, who were screwed up. And that was kind of the point. I didn't know that I wanted to get into the Imperial government ever, but I might. Asto definitely would; the Great Families might as well have been holding a blaster to each other's heads on that point. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed. To help Asto and the rest of his family if nothing else. I was part of the Scimtar family now and they would be my children's family as well, the friends and allies they could count on without reservation. But no matter who you were related to, nobody got rank in the Empire without earning it themselves. Not military rank and especially not civilian government. Even the Guardian's daughter started at the bottom. There was no formal requirement for military service in order to be appointed a Primus-in-fact, but in reality, the people running the Empire wanted to see evidence you were willing and able to serve; take orders and take your chances and put the interests of the Empire above your own. It was more likely they'd let an office go vacant rather than appoint a non-veteran. Coming from a United States where service had been increasingly rare for fifty years, I understood why.

The result was that if I ever wanted to get into the government, I had to have military service. And looking ahead, I didn't see a better time to do it. For one thing, Asto was joining for his first period of service. Waiting for any other time would double the time apart for initial training. Well, not apart exactly, as our rapport went on constantly, but while we could communicate on levels no inoperant knew existed, there was still no substitute for kissing your husband. If we have to be separated once, I don't want to be separated twice. And you know I do feel grateful and indebted for what the Empire did. I've also seen how the Empire treats its citizens. The Empire earned my loyalty. It continues to earn my loyalty.

Every day, I saw how the way the Empire worked treated its people better than the United States ever had. People respected the government; they didn't live in fear of it. Back home, EPA and IRS and FBI were words to conjure fear, along with "Child Protective Services" and DEA and dozens of others. Here, most of them didn't even have analogs, and anyone abusing official authority was dealt with quickly and very thoroughly. As a result, people lived far more comfortably and with far fewer problems. You didn't have to worry about used raw tea leaves in your garbage causing a massive armed invasion by government agents because someone thought it might be marijuana. There might have been a dozen police on duty in Sumabad; they were only dispatched if a situation was violent or had the clear potential to become so. In a population of several hundred million - the arcologies were huge - they rarely did. People expected the Empire to sort it out correctly, they expected the consequences - and that's if they were lucky enough to survive that long. Less than half of attempted criminals survived the attempt. Rough odds, if you were that criminal. Pretty nice, if you were anyone else. People stupid enough to commit crimes didn't last long, so there weren't very many of them, and people who might have been willing to try a life of crime if the odds were better instead steered clear. You could count the actual criminal statutes in the Empire on your fingers with some left over. If you did something non-criminal your neighbors didn't like, the recourse they had was a lawsuit and their own actions were scrutinized as heavily as yours. You got a polite visit from an Imperial investigator, and a chance to tell your side and present your evidence in front of your Primus or a mutually agreed private arbitrator. Getting justice didn't require spending more money than most people made in ten years.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do this. It was one way of doing something concrete to pull my weight as an adult. I was enjoying the ride. As an adult citizen, I should spend some of my time helping to pull the sled. It wasn't a requirement, but it was something most Imperial citizens did because it was something adults did. Also, the military could be a wedge into a way to learn some skills that were valuable in commercial concerns, it was a way for citizens from newly acquired planets to earn hard currency, and it was essentially required if you eventually wanted to become a Primus (or higher)-in-fact. Finally, it would be another point of bonding with Asto and his family. There was a very strong tradition of service, from Scimtar himself on down. Everyone in the family spent time in the military and went back periodically for more. It wasn't unique to the Scimtars, either - all of the other Great Families had the same tradition in varying forms. The more important a family was, the more likely periodic stints of military service were expected.
Promise me you'll be as careful as you can? There was an undercurrent of fear to the question. My husband didn't want to lose me.

I promise. Will you? I sure as hell didn't want to lose him. Four fertilized eggs in storage and the help of his family was no substitute for my Asto. Combat actions were rare as far as individual troops were concerned, and most saw light casualties if any. But the exceptions were pure nightmare - Imperial units were designed and expected to keep functioning in the face of losses that would break any military unit back on Earth. Casualties among trained Guardians like us were also generally lower than natural state humans. But we were rolling the dice.

I promise, Grace. I want to come back to you. I also want you to be there to come back to.

Even if I'm not, come back for our children. Growing up without either of us would be bad.
I will. But having you to come back to is all the motivation anyone could want. In Concept, the operant language of pure thought, a thought followed that could be abbreviated as "I love you," but it was so much more. It was desire and need and completion - a statement that without me, a piece of him would be forever missing. There aren't words in English, Traditional, Technical, or any language of humanity to express it. I returned the thought, with interest, and we each grabbed for the other. This time our lovemaking had an undercurrent of desperation, and making it last. When it was over and we were spent, we made love a third time, gently and tenderly, then subsided back into a satisfied mutual embrace and put ourselves into a sleep, setting ourselves to waken at thirtythree thirty.

(I will warn you that this bit suffers from being out of context as well as first draft. The situation being talked about isn't the main focal point of this novel. Never too early to start setting up sequels. *cue evil laughter*)

Julie had noticed we appeared to be heading for the Grapevine. "I thought you said they were on the other side of some sort of gate! We appear to be heading up the perfectly normal highway through the Grapevine!"

"Skepticism is fine for now, Honey. The transport network on this side is a lot faster. There aren't exactly interstates and gas stations on the other side! Trust me, you'll see!"

"So those stories you told me about your great-grandmother? She really was a shaman?"

"She really is a shaman, Mark. She's still alive, she makes crops grow better than anyone else, and doesn't look any older than I do. How old do you think I am?"

"I've always thought of you as being younger than I am."

"Mark, I was born over sixty years ago! My mother is well over a hundred, my grandmother is older than the United States. The gift diminishes with each generation removed, but some still remains."

"And your great-grandmother?"

"We think she's under a thousand."

"So these elves - right? - lose a war and find themselves enslaved. But it doesn't sound like they're slaves any longer?"

"They rebelled. And they got assistance, somehow. There was a journey - a long journey. It's all oral history from songs and tales around the fire. They ended up on an Earth that's like a changed Earth, and it's somehow touching our Earth. And there things stayed for a very long time. There were even colonies on the Earth side."

"And then one day, some regular humans appeared on Earth. We don't know how they got here - they didn't remember how their ancestors got here. But they sure displaced everything that competed with them. That's about all of the story I know, except that the Elves are concerned that humans have started crossing over into their world."

 



Buy My Science Fiction Novels!
Dan Melson Amazon Author Page
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The Man From Empire
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A Guardian From Earth
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Empire and Earth
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Working The Trenches
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Preparing The Ground
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Building the People
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Building the People Books2Read link


The Invention of Motherhood
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Invention of Motherhood Books2Read link

The Price of Power
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Price of Power Books2Read link

The Fountains of Aescalon
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The Book on Mortgages Everyone Should Have!
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
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The Book on Buying Real Estate Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate
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