Hello, its the author again. Just wanted to butt in here and say a few things. First and foremost, I apologize for the delay. Believe it or not, I know in my head how this story is going to go. I have in my head little bits and pieces of plot that I am going to use to write the The Bug War, up until almost the end. The problem is the stuff in between can be a little frustrating, and that is the most time consuming part.
Second off, I want to thank all the reviewers. It was your kind words that encouraged me to sit down and openly confront the "in between spaces" as I refer to them as.
To answer your question T.A.G. , Starship Troopers is a controversial novel because of its militaristic attitudes, Robert Heinlein's views regarding "rights" and his criticism of how we run our democracy. Due to his supposed "anti democratic" views and his bashing of communism, many critics accused him of being a fascist. The misconception with all this is that Heinlein dislikes democracy. What Heinlein advocates in his novel isn't anti democracy, it's merely another type of democracy, in this case, a Meritocracy, which is slightly different than our own system. As I am sure you know, we are a republican democracy with universal suffrage. Heinlein's Terran Federation is a democracy were suffrage isn't universal, but is instead given only to those who have served a term of federal service on their own merit for the good of their society, hence "Meritocracy". Heinlein's point was that man had to fight for his rights, that they were not "endowed" upon him, and only people who put their lives on the line for their society deserve the right to say how things get run. These Hobbesesque theories did not strike well with some Americans, Liberal and Conservative alike. Hence the controversy.
To respond to you Kel Jack, thanks for the criticism. I am fully aware of the short length of my chapters, and it is something I am trying hard to work on. This is the longest chapter written so far, but I believe things will get extended just a bit more in later chapters.
Thanks again to my other two reviewers Narueye and blue c 84, don't hesitate to leave more reviews at all.
Enough babaldygook from the author, time to begin.
Whenever in future wars the battle is fought, armored troops will play the decisive role...
-Heinz Guderian, German General and developer of the Blitzkrieg style of warfare.
"Come again Mr. Rico, you're last message was unclear, over".
Goddamn bug weather.
"I said, 'The designated LZ has been cleared of hostiles, requesting reinforcements, over'". There was a brief pause before,
"Come again Mr. Rico"?
"We've killed all the bugs, send down the bloody reinforcements"! Another pause. You just can't get good help these days…
"Copy that Mr. Rico, reinforcements are en route".
Well. Glad that's over with. I turned on my universal comm. and spoke to my troopers,
"Alright kiddos, maintain your positions and sit tight, backup is on the way. They should be landing directly in the center of the grid, but if something goes wrong and they miss the LZ, I want you to go ahead and move to cover them until they get where they're supposed to be".
I activated the jets and jumped to the center of the square, where the additional troops were supposed to land. There I met my sergeant, and I asked him if he had seen any sign of them yet. Casually, he turned and said
" Oh, they'll be here in about two minutes".
"…You don't say"?
I was pretty doubtful. I looked up, and I couldn't see anything through the overcast that had been interfering with the communications earlier. Something about Klendathu's atmosphere screwed with our comm. systems. Get a sciency type to explain it to you, I sure as hell can't. Suddenly there was a roaring sound, followed by a series of pops. Then the clouds parted, and I could see the red and white parachutes of the MI.
"Right on time", said Sergeant Rico.
I checked my clock, and sure enough, two minutes. I just don't understand how that old man does it. The sky divers floated down in a gentle fashion, making the mechanical terrors seem as harmless as cherry blossoms on the wind. Soon all the soldiers were on the ground, and turning to my compatriot, I said,
"Let's go welcome our guests, shall we?"
We hopped over to our fellow invaders, and were greeted by the sight of a soldier in a command suit ripping into a private. Golly, I hadn't heard that kind of swearing since boot!
"You terrific moron! Are you so fucking stupid you can't keep your own parachute to yourself? Look at this mess, you damn near killed me"!
I could see the figure motioning to a tangled heap of wires and parachutes. That was a pretty rare occurrence, but it did happen from time to time. The officer continued with his tirade,
"If you ever do something that terrifically fucking stupid again, I'm going to throw you out the goddamn airlock on the Kawa' and strap you to the goddamn hull so every goddamn passer by can see the goddamn corpse of Private Miller, the goddamn boy who couldn't control a goddamn parachute"!
The figure turned to me, and I froze. Still huffing and puffing, he smiled and said,
"Greetings Lt. Rico, I am General Takeda".
Right. General Takeda. He was the designated ground commander for Operation Molehill, the rescue of our comrades-in-arms from the bug prisons.
I took a closer look at my superior, trying to get a better idea of who I would be working with. It's hard to tell a man's height inside the generic outfit of a power suit. There are clues though, and an experienced soldier can make a rough guess. Takeda didn't look much higher than 5'5, but a fierce facial complexion more than made up for it. There was a consistently defiant look in his brown eyes, and his mouth seemed to frown perpetually. But his most defining feature was the bristly, gray flecked handlebars mustache that crowned his upper lip. Only a man of Takeda's rank could escape with such a blatant hygiene violation. The mustache wiggled as he spoke,
"My compliments on your swift and efficient take over of the beach head. Now we can get to work… just as soon as those goddamn tanks arrive!"
The sudden explosion at the end of the sentence caught me slightly off guard, and I nearly forgot my formalities.
"Yes sir! Thank you sir".
He nodded his head. "Lt. Sherman, Lt. Ney, come here please".
Two men in command suits approached. One, Sherman I presume, was a scraggly looking character that had a nasty disposition. Scrawled across the chest plate of his suit in an ugly mustard yellow were the words, "Find 'em and light 'em".
The other fellow, Ney, was a faintly prissy looking guy with a delicate, black mustache gracing his upper lip. Takeda introduced us. "Lt Rico, this is Harold T. Sherman, of Sherman's Shockers, and Charles Ney, of Ney's Nullifiers". We exchanged greetings.
"Gentlemen, please have Lt. Rico tell you where to send your troops while I get on the horn about that armor". Takeda trundled off, presumably so that I could talk without the unpleasant background swearing.
"Right, Lt. Ney, send your boys to these areas here". I pointed to lines A and B on a holographic map Sherman had produced. Ney nodded, and then he spoke with a thick French accent,
"Vhen ve arrive, shall I have your troops return to your posishun for a break"?
I thought briefly, before responding with a negative. They didn't need a full on nap, they could make due with slacking off a little when the reinforcements arrived.
Ney nodded again and shouted into his mouth piece for his soldiers to set off.
Not much later Sherman and his troops had done the same. General Takeda was swearing up a storm, and his bodyguards were looking around nervously. Eventually, he stopped, and sauntered back over to where I was standing. Smiling, he said,
"Ok, armor's on the way. In the mean time, let's set up camp, shall we?"
A dozen cargo crates loaded with supplies had come down with the second wave, and it was in these that we would find the equipment to set up our command post.
A camp designed for housing troops in powered armor has a lot of key facilities. There's the regular tents of course, the oldest and most basic of all military structures. We set these up first. Next, one of Takeda's bodyguards opened up a crate and poured out a pile of metal poles and bars. We fit these together to form long, rectangular chassis. Then we cracked open a box containing Bot Guns, smart firing plasma turrets that would help us out on sentry work. We attached these to the chassis, and turned them up right to form automatic sentry towers, which we lined the perimeter of our camp with.
We spent the next hour performing actions like this. Fuel stations, waste stations, food stations, etc. Nearly all of the buildings were designed to service the powered armor in some shape or form. A soldier would walk up to a fuel station, for example, and the tank would send out a little tube that would insert itself into a nozzle on the troopers jetpack. Thirty seconds later, he steps off with a full tank and a happy grin, and the next guy in line stands up for his own service.
It's works similar with the waste station, accept… backwards… you know what, I won't get into that.
The last part of the camp we built was a medical/processing station. This would not only serve to heal our own troops, but the rescued prisoners would be fixed up and debriefed here as well.
As I snapped the last pole into place on the med station, I heard a thunderous howling sound coming up from directly above me. Looking up, it didn't take a second to see the source of the deafening roars.
A squadron of Weevil Tanks was descending slowly on our positions, their jets (located on the undersides of the tank and five times as large as an MI's) were shooting out gouts of fire, attempting to slow and control the fall of the thirty ton metal monsters.
War is a funny thing. It looks to be constantly changing and shifting, yet really, it progresses much slower than most people think. I know that doesn't make a whole lot a sense, but let me elaborate.
Gunpowder is a good example. When the Europeans first started using guns, they didn't get rid of bladed weapons completely. Swords and pikes were still used for a couple hundred years afterwards, in fact, it wasn't until the advent of automatic weapons that melee weapons were phased out completely, right? Wrong. Bayonets were used for years to come, hell, some were even used during the wars of Foundation that preceded the creation of the Terran Federation. Even my armor has a laser blade. It's primarily utilitarian, but we are taught to use it as a weapon when you're in a real tight fix. So the deception is that one, fancy new type of weapon can get rid of an older, tried and true one.
Now I am not aimlessly rambling here, there is a point to all of this, and it's the tanks. You'd think that with the creation of powered armor, a platform that allows a small group of soldiers the firepower of an entire army of the XXth century, that tanks would be absolutely useless. But they're not. When a battle starts up, it has all sorts of little niches that need to be filled (or you'll lose the battle). Just like how sometimes you need to pull a blade on someone, sometimes you gotta use a tank.
Weevil Tanks are fantastic machines. They got their name from their long barrels, and their ability to shift into a walking mode, which makes 'em look just like a bug with a long snout, a Weevil. That's the real dandy thing about the tanks, is their ability to switch from ordinary treads to a walker. The treads are sort of separate, like the pontoons on a catamaran, only there's four of 'em. They body of the tank sits on a platform on the middle, and when it hits a steep mountain side, little gears and sliders in the treads make them shift from a horizontal rolling position into four legs that can be used to walk. I've seen the tanks climb up an 80 degree slope using the legs. Some guys say they can go 90 on a planet with the right gravity. The walking is helpful, cause you can waste a lot of fuel moving a vehicle of that size with jumps.
When the war started, the tanks only had their normal rail guns that fired metal slugs. You can use them to blast a bug hole without having to send MI in too close, or go through the unnecessary expediency of an orbital bombardment or air strike. They make good anti air weapons too, when the weather's good. A good shot with a Weevil can knock a small satellite out of orbit. I know, because that's one of the final tests that the tankers have to perform before shipping out.
Later on in the war, when the humans started developing ways to dig the bugs out of their underground fortresses, some fella in R&D got the brilliant idea of attaching large laser drills to the tanks in place of the cannons. That made burrowing a hell of a lot easier.
These Weevil's were equipped with the drills, and Takeda Group would be using them to dig our way down directly to the prisons, all while the rest of the army was tasked with seizing the planet.
There was a heavy THUMP! When the first Weevil hit the ground, followed by a quick succession of others. They had landed a few hundred yards from the camp (so as not to accidentally squish it), but it took them less then thirty seconds to roll up to the fueling station and replace the resources they had spent on the way down.
One Weevil with bright white markings and an odd looking black chrysanthemum had stopped in front of Takeda's strategy tent. The hatch popped open, and another man of Japanese descent poked his head out. He was wearing a simple green jump suit, with a leather helmet and an oxygen mask which attached to a cylinder that hung on his hip. The man leapt out with great gusto, and stepped over to where the General and myself were standing. General Takeda piped up in a pleased voice,
"Kenshin, my old friend, how goes it"?
The man, whose tag read "Captain Uesegi", smiled merrily and responded,
"It goes well, General". Then he frowned, "I apologize for the delay in our arrival. The logistics crews on the Kawanakajima were… less then competent, shall we say"?
Takeda laughed. "I say, they have their heads stuck up their asses"!
The Captain blushed at the General's choice of words, and then switched his attention to greet me.
"Lt. Rico, my crews and I look forward to working with the famous Roughnecks in rescuing our comrades. Everyone knows how hard the MI got hit in the first battle, but most people don't realize that the Armored Divisions took heavy losses as well".
I nodded my head at this information. "Things were so chaotic down here the first time, that I never even saw a tank. But no worries, Captain, we'll dig your boys out along with the rest of ours. It's a promise".
Uesegi seemed pleased at this comment, and was about to respond when General Takeda piped up again.
"I hate to interrupt the warm fuzzies, but now that you're here I should call Sherman and Ney back so we can lay out the plan and get this show started".
"Yes General"! Uesegi and I snapped our salutes out in unison.
It was, indeed, time to get this show on the road. I looked forward to dishing out some serious payback to the bugs.
Have reviews, will write.