Sunday, October 29, 2023

Seven Minute Read Sample - War Through The Pines

The following excerpt is from my story War Through The Pines. It is a story of the
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first war in space. Donner is the young boy whose life is impacted by the war. Though at first he follows the news rabidly, by this time in the story he has become skeptical of what it would accomplish.

The geopolitics of the story are not mine but were taken from the book The Next 100 Years by George Friedman.


September 6, 2054

Three weeks after negotiations had begun the US used its remaining space-based assets and secret ground-based weapons to launch an attack on the Japanese-Turkish coalition in space. Within two hours the coalition's space assets were essentially destroyed. The coalition was now blind. Then the US launched its remaining hypersonic airplanes and delivered almost total destruction to the remaining military assets of Japan and Turkey. The peace talks were suspended.


It was zero six hundred, early dawn when the alarm went off on base. Emily bolted upright in her bunk. That was the launch alarm. She wondered what was going on.
No one had told her anything about a launch. Of course, she was still on report and didn't have any reason to expect to be informed. Still, Emily felt she should have been told. She had to get down to the hangar and check on the hypersonics. She quickly dressed.

The air was still comfortably cool around the hangar. The security guard saluted, apparently not aware of Emily's status. Inside the control room, where Emily should have been, she could see all the top brass. Emily entered the door code and went into the wiring closet down the hall. She took out the alligator clips with the makeshift connector at one end that she had used for troubleshooting many times. She found the terminals marked COMM-BASE23-HYPER1. That was Looker's military designation. She hooked the alligator clips to the terminals and plugged the other end into her Annie.

Emily whispered into her Annie, “Looker this is Sg, over.”

Emily waited. 

And waited.

Surely Looker would have responded by now. She heard motion outside the door. 

She reached for the alligator clips but stopped when she heard, “Looker to Sg, over.”

“Looker glad to hear,” whispered Emily. “How are systems?”

“Systems nominal. How are systems Sg?”

Emily understood then that Looker was aware of her recent absence. Emily replied, 

“Systems nominal Looker but reassigned.”

“Understood. Mission is a go, I am rolling.”

“Understood,” said Emily. She unplugged the clips and raced outside to see the takeoff.

Emily saw the first four hypersonics takeoff and adopt a finger-four combat formation which was unusual. Looker must be doing that, thought Emily. Then Emily choked as the hypersonic to the right of the point pulled up in what was undoubtedly a missing man salute.


Donner and his dad heard about the new attacks when they came in from the fields that evening. Jack said, “Well there goes any chance for a quick resolution, we're in for a long struggle.”


December 31, 2054

By the end of the year, the Turks had started a ground assault on the Polish bloc using their augmented soldier system. These were soldiers in battle suits whose robotic and computational systems gave them the equivalent fighting capacity of an entire squadron from just a few years before. Networked, they could easily sweep a large area clear of the enemy. Romania capitulated almost immediately and signed a treaty with the coalition. Hungary was overrun within a week. Slovakia put up a stubborn resistance but fell in only three days. Poland now faced the coalition directly and almost alone. The New Year looked bleak for the US and its allies.


Jacek Bukowski was caught in a no man's land. The Turkish battle suits, what the Poles called kombinezon bitwy or kombinz for short, had passed Jacek and he was now trapped behind enemy lines. The suits in the distance looked like giants threshing the fields.

The speed with which the Turks could move in their kombinz was astounding. The Polish tanks were barely able to keep up, or keep out of the way would be more descriptive. The kombinz could not only push the Poles faster than they could retreat but could also clear such a wide area that regrouping for the Poles became impossible.

The networked battle suits, each manned by a Turkish specialist, were almost impossible to take out with small arms fire. They could be disabled with a hit by artillery, drone or tank fire but this was more luck than skill. Each arm held enough firepower to take out a platoon or tank with a single burst. Other Turks in battle suits ranging behind the advancing front could bring up supplies or take the place of a fallen kombinz as needed.

They never stop, thought Jacek. Always a new refreshed kombinz to take the place in the front. “Unstoppable,” he whispered from his hiding place.

Then he saw it. The weakest link in the battle suit's armor. He moved closer.

A kombinz had stopped. It was being serviced by a utility track vehicle. A Turkish soldier climbed the nearest power pole carrying what looked like thick cables. He attached the cables carefully to the power lines, the end claws digging into the sheathing. The soldiers on the ground were attaching more cables to the backpack of the kombinz.

Jacek knew what they were doing. They were recharging the battery pack of the kombinz. He would stop them.

Jacek ran down the power line away from the stalled kombinz. He found the power pole he wanted. Raising his MSBS-9,56 assault rifle he emptied the magazine. 

Another clip and he had the electrical lines on the ground.

He was pleased, he had been able to do something. He wasn't running anymore.

With all the firing Jacek hadn't noticed the kombinz coming up behind him.


Donner spent the winter in the snows that came and went and on the frozen stream that crossed the field between the house and the mountains. He didn’t think much of the war anymore. If he took to the internet it was to research airplanes and piloting.


January 16, 2055

The US announced that it had destroyed the launch base that the Japanese used on the moon. Japan claimed many civilian lives had been lost because of the US action. The US claimed that any Japanese civilians and military were given the option of leaving the base before the attack and that only a few of the more zealous Japanese military had remained.


Lt. Danner looked at the video display of the hopper rocket, there below were the Japanese rail-guns exactly where he had expected to find them. The EM detection equipment he maintained had triangulated the location precisely. At first, he had been confused as to the cause of the large EM pulses he had observed but after hearing about the attack on the Battle Stars he had suspected the pulses and the destruction of the Battle Stars were related.

He knew the order came from headquarters but at first Lt. Danner thought the Captain was crazy expecting him to find the rail-guns and the Japanese base and neutralize them. After all, they weren't really up here to fight a war, most of the men on the base were specialists. He had had only a short time to prepare but came up with a plan before liftoff.

The hopper rocket reached the spot triangulated and set down close to the rail-gun machinery. Lt. Danner explained to his men what he wanted them to do while he and Sergeant Norris inspected the rail-gun controls.

The guns were operated remotely from the Japanese base but had local controls also. Sergeant Norris used his somewhat rusty Japanese language skills to decipher the control panel. By the time the men had completed the Lieutenant's orders, 
Norris believed he could also operate the guns remotely using his Annie.

Everything was ready, Lt. Danner asked Norris to establish radio contact with the Japanese base and give them the ultimatum. They had one hour to surrender or suffer the consequences. The reply from the base was somewhat rude and vulgar if the Sergeant had interpreted it correctly. The Lieutenant was unperturbed, he would give them a chance and wait.

The hopper rocket had moved over the horizon about two and a half kilometers from the gun installation. The hour was up. The Lieutenant gave the Sergeant the order and his Annie sent the order to the rail-guns to charge. All six rail-guns tried to charge simultaneously. The Japanese power station hadn't been built to handle the load. Though automatic cutoffs should have kicked in the Lieutenant's men had bypassed them.

It was the first storm ever seen on the moon as the rail-guns disintegrated blindingly against the dark of space.

They would fly the hopper rocket back over the gun installation and the Japanese base to take pictures and pick up any survivors that had decided to surrender. But the Lieutenant knew from the visible display that millions of amps of current had accomplished the mission.


Donner began asking his dad about his student flight license. Would they still be able to get it with the war ongoing? His dad assured him that as far as he knew the license was still being issued and Donner would get his on his sixteenth birthday in August.


March 13, 2055

In March the US launched airstrikes on the Turkish army advancing into Poland. Casualties were high. In April the Germans moved against the Poles with the encouragement of the Turks. The Russians left weakened after years of a bad economy, refused to be drawn into the struggle. By May the British with an almost intact air force entered the war against the coalition, flying sorties against the advancing German armies in Poland.


Amir Atakan held the rank of Ustegaman in the Turkish military, equivalent to a First Lieutenant in the US Air Force. He had been in his battle suit now for two days without relief. The attacks from the air and the supply difficulties had finally caught up with the Turkish forces.

Amir had watched in disbelief as the Poles had deliberately destroyed their power system. He could understand such actions from a military strategy point of view. But such deliberate destruction not only affected military combatants but also the civilian population. The Poles were willing to endanger the lives of their families, their wives and children. Would he have the nerve to do such a thing if Turkey were threatened? He didn't know. One part of him admired the Poles dedication, the civilized part of him was repulsed.

But he had more immediate worries. His battery pack was getting dangerously low. Without that power, he would be stuck in this field without defenses. He had called for a backup supply but they were certainly taking their time.

Then he saw movement at the edge of the field. He saw the Polish soldiers emerge from the woods. But he relaxed when he saw they weren't carrying anything other than their assault rifles. The battle suit could easily handle those weapons, thought Amir.

He went to work.

As usual, the Poles were dropping with ease. The suit could take on more than two dozen targets at a time and coordinate the return fire. With Amir focusing on the battle he didn't notice the soft alarm as the battle suit begin to shut down. The bullets slamming the suit's bulletproof sheathing began to sound like a hard rain as the suit went silent.

Then the Poles stopped firing as they noticed the battle suit had stopped. Amir was feverishly working to extricate himself from the suit when he saw one of the Poles stand up and walk toward him. In the suit, he stood nearly six feet above the head of the approaching Pole. Amir could see the young man's face. He saw him detach a grenade from the grenade belt which he wore across his shoulder like a sling. Amir was transfixed as the young man pulled the pin from the grenade and gently laid it at the suit's feet. He then slowly backpedaled, all the while staring fiercely into Amir's eyes. Then Amir saw another Polish soldier approaching reaching for a grenade, then Amir saw the first young man and the approaching soldier hit the ground, then Amir felt the concussive force of the explosion at his feet and saw the field disappear in smoke and flying debris, and that was the last he saw.


Donner began lobbying his dad to build a runway in the field. He pointed out that their plane would only need at most five hundred meters to take off at the altitude of the farm. And a hard-packed grass field would be excellent and it wouldn’t take much to build a hangar for storage. His dad listened but pointed out the difficulty of creating a smooth enough surface for the plane. Donner argued that it would only take maybe a week with some heavy earth moving equipment and a professional that knew how to use it. His dad was noncommittal but Donner noticed he didn’t say no right away.


August 22, 2055

By August the Poles had deliberately destroyed their power generation capability plunging the entire nation into darkness. The Turks and Germans had depended on this power generating capability to keep their battery-powered highly robotic forces moving. Without the ability to easily charge the power packs the military advance stumbled as they frantically sought other ways to supply the troopers over lengthening supply lines.


That August the runway was finished as was the hangar and Donner and his dad had flown their airplane into the valley. Donner applied for his student license and began to fly under his dad’s tutelage.

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