Ultra-Violence, #2: Landfall

Summary: Ultra-Violence is a military science fiction novel about a day when technology mutates war into a dark new form. Although set in the future, biomedicine might make it real in our lifetimes. File these weekly chapters as “terrifying dreams.”

Ultraviolence - cover

See the previous chapters of Ultra-Violence, tales from Venus.

  1. The sins of our fathers.
  2. Landfall.
  3. A Boy Meets a Girl.
  4. The Lost Generation.
  5. Let’s Do Something Fun.
  6. The Meek Shall Inherit the World.
  7. A Sign from God.
  8. The Siren’s Offer.
  9. The Riddle.
  10. Wolves Among Sheep.
  11. The Man Who Would Be King.
  12. The Angel and the Badman.
  13. Goliath’s Revenge.
  14. The Head of Every Man.
  15. In the Land of the Blind.

This contains violence and strong language (unfortunately, words even children commonly hear today).

Chapter Two: Landfall

Hanson jolts against his harness. The turbulence is getting worse. He’s among thirty men crammed into a dark steel bucket; their only source of light tiny red bulbs flashing intermittently above their heads. The shaking is so bad, Hanson wonders if the aircraft is going to come apart before it even gets where it’s supposed to go. There’s no way to tell. Hanson is beside a tiny window, but there’s nothing to see on the other side. The gyrocopter is still encased in a pod hurtling through the upper atmosphere.

As stocky 18-year-old cursed with premature baldness and a dull mind, Hanson didn’t have much going for him before he was drafted. With little education to speak of and no family connections, the boy seemed destined to disappear down a mineshaft, probably die in one like his father did. The Venusian Defense Corps changed all that. Hanson liked the black uniform and the Spartan aesthetics of military life didn’t bother him. Now he was part of something special and bigger than himself. He was part of something important.

Encased in body armor, packed like sardines with the rest of his platoon, all hurtling to the ground in a black coffin, military life doesn’t seem like so much fun anymore. But this doesn’t bother Hanson much either. Nothing really does. A simple mind has its benefits.

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His gyrocopter bursts from its protective pod. The giant aircraft unfolds, slowing its descent as wings pop open and turbines whir to life. Hanson looks out the window again. The first thing he sees is another gyrocopter. That one didn’t work quite as well as the one he’s in. The wings buckle and the gyrocopter eats itself with its own rotors, scattering twisted metal and shredded bodies in all directions.

A pod hurtles past. It should have opened already. It won’t. It’ll plummet into the ground with everyone inside. Hanson sees other pods that also failed to open. This isn’t a problem anyone should be having. But gyrocopters falling apart when they deploy isn’t a problem anyone should be having either.

The world below is on fire. A thousand square miles of jungle set ablaze by the orbital bombardment that ended a few minutes ago. Now a hundred thousand men are being dropped right on top of it. They’re not welcome here. A furious storm of missiles, shells and lasers shoot up to greet them, incinerating dozens of attacking gyrocopters seconds into their flight.

Friendly warships orbiting overhead tried their best. They razed every rebellious city to dust. They destroyed every defense battery they could find. They carpet-bombed the landing site. It wasn’t enough. The insurgents abandoned their cities and prepared for battle. They’re too well hidden and dug in too deep to be destroyed from above with anything less than nuclear weapons. There will be no nuclear weapons today. The mission isn’t to render the fertile land below uninhabitable. The mission is to kill the inhabitants currently on it.

This is the Polar Uprising: the Venusian Defense Corps’ first battle. Except they aren’t exactly defending Venus. They’re attacking their own homeworld, or at least a portion of it. Stirred up by Martian agitators, fifty million people on the south pole declared independence. They are brave people, but naïve. They expected military assistance from Mars or the communist powers on Terra. It was foolish to think anyone would help.

Martian agitators never intended to start a successful revolution. Their only goal was causing social upheaval to disrupt their chief enemy’s economy. They succeeded. The overlords of Venus are now waging the most catastrophic war mankind has ever seen on their own population.

Hanson’s gyrocopter slows to a hover, all its gun ports ablaze in a desperate attempt to suppress enemy fire coming from sides. The aircraft doesn’t touch down. It descends just low enough for soldiers onboard to exit through a ramp at the rear, hoping to make a quick escape after the last trooper has disembarked.

Giving the signal to move out, the platoon commander jumps into the grass outside. He dies before his boot touches the ground. A machine gun nest erupts less than a hundred meters away and rakes the grassy field with a torrent of tracer fire. Hanson tumbles off the ramp. Someone sits up to shoot at the nest, then drops with a hole in his face. Seeing that, Hanson decides to leave the machine gun alone and focus on crawling to safety.

A rocket shoots out of the trees and sails through the open ramp Hanson just exited. His gyrocopter explodes, throwing up a shower of men and pieces of men. A stray rotor blade impales the soldier lying next to him. The machinegun is still tearing apart the piles of bodies in the field, some dead, some alive. Hanson needs to do something about that. He looks around for his rifle. He doesn’t know where it went, but any rifle will do. He picks up the weapon that belonged to the skewered man. Hanson inches forward but can’t get a clear shot.

The machinegun nest and trees around it burst into flames. A gyrocopter zooms over Hanson’s head, spitting rockets and cannon fire. Finishing its swath of destruction, the gyrocopter roars back up into the sky, pursued by a cloud of missiles. The gyrocopter pops a series of countermeasure flares, confusing missiles and leading them astray. But not all of them. A couple make it through and tear holes into the gunship. The doomed machine spirals down into the jungle canopy and explodes.

Hanson looks up. He doesn’t see much left of the armada of gyrocopters. There are some gunships zigzagging over the jungle, spraying every target they can find in a suicidal effort to protect their soldiers still among the living. The gyrocopters are hopelessly outgunned by enemy air defense batteries. More burning aircraft drop from the sky every few seconds.

He bolts to the burning tree line and rolls into a ditch. It’s full of corpses. Thanks to the gunship’s sacrificial attack run, the guerrillas here are all dead. Another man jumps into the ditch with him.

“Relax, I’m on your side.” The man says. The newcomer looks a bit older than Hanson, maybe 25 or 26. That actually makes him older than nearly anyone else in the Defense Corps. His nametag says “Briggs.”

“I don’t recognize you.” Hanson frowns. “What outfit you with?”

“Does it really fucking matter at this point?”

That’s hard to argue with. No one else in Hanson’s platoon made it out of the landing zone alive. What should we do now?” Hanson asks.

“Find some more Joes who aren’t dead, then take out one of these batteries.” Briggs says. “They’re killing us. The second wave will get just as fucked up as ours did if we don’t do something.”

“How will we find people?”

“Easy.” Briggs grins. “I saw a battery firing a little South of here. Just head towards it and we’ll run into some other Joes thinking the same thing.”

Briggs gets on his feet. He’s tall and broad shouldered; a model soldier if he was more respectful and had a better temperament. He unlatches his body armor and tosses it to the ground.

“Hey, that’s not allowed.” Hanson objects.

“If we ever find an officer who’s still alive, he can holler at me all he likes.” Briggs says. “Actually no I’m kidding, he can go fuck himself. It’s hotter than God’s ball sack out here, and I prefer to be light on my feet.”

Hanson and Briggs poke their way through the trees. They don’t run into any guerrillas. They must have retreated into more defensible positions. Briggs was right. Their group expands to fifteen soldiers over the next hour. There are survivors from at least six different battalions here, but that’s of little importance.

They reorganize into new teams and squads. Briggs is a private. His dislike of authority and obnoxious insubordination ensured he would never be promoted. Despite that, his authority goes unquestioned. Briggs is older than everyone else here by a large margin, and a natural leader. He sees a soldier with a radio.

“I’m going to take that off your hands, Joe.” Briggs says. He calls everybody Joe.

“The radio is issued to me.” The soldier protests. “I’ll get in trouble if I lose it.”

“Are you air controller certified?” Briggs asks.

The soldier shakes his head.

“Well then I get the radio, fuckwad.”

Briggs isn’t air controller certified either, but no one needs to know that. A few minutes later he waves for everybody to circle up around him. “The 23rd Air Assault Joes managed to set up a fuel and rearming point. I got a hold of a pilot, and he’s heading there now to top off on gas. He’s got two birds in his team. Once they’re done refueling, he’ll standby for our signal. After we destroy the gun platform, he’ll come in and butt fuck every last commie skulking around here.”

Briggs looks over at Hanson. “You look like a goddamn turtle, but you ran out of that LZ like your ass was on fire.” Briggs tells him. “You’re a fast fucker, and you have the sense to keep your head down.”

“Thanks, I guess?” Hanson says.

“Swap weapons with him.” Briggs points to another soldier.

Hanson gives his rifle to the other man and gets a trench gun in return. It’s a drum-fed combat shotgun. Each drum holds 15 shells, and he has three extra drums to shove into his pouches. Hanson likes the trench gun. It feels more useful than the rifle.

The battery is a few clicks ahead. The guns are shooting streams of hot plasma up into the sky. It’s not hitting much. The surviving gyrocopters are keeping their distance. In an instant, the cannons swing upward and fire into the sky. The orbiting battle barges are trying to destroy the battery with a barrage of bombs. Not a single warhead reaches its target. The platform’s location isn’t a secret anymore, but it can protect itself from any attack from orbit or the gyrocopters. A ground assault is the only way to kill it.

No guards in sight. The battery looks so easy to attack. Too easy. “This don’t feel right.” Hanson says.

“That’s because it isn’t.” Briggs shakes his head. “It’s a trap.”

“What are we going to do, then?”

“Why, spring the trap of course.” Briggs grins from ear to ear. “Time for some Ultra-violence.” With everyone briefed on the plan, Briggs leads them toward the gun platform. They’re not alone. The jungle is swarming with enemies. The guerillas think they’re being stealthy. They think they’re being quiet. They aren’t. Every snapping twig, every splashing puddle and every rattling rifle sling sounds like an air horn to a man programmed with Ultra-violence. Even if a guerrilla could be silent, he can’t mask his smell, smother his breathing, or stop his heartbeat.

Briggs blunders forward straight into the enemy ambush. The communists raise their rifles to fire. But at the last second Briggs darts off in a random direction, taking his team with him. The ambush would still be effective, but not everyone is in the kill zone anymore. The rebels aren’t worried though; Briggs just plunged even deeper into their lines.

And so the game continues. Briggs’s small team of soldiers meanders further and further into the heart of the enemy army. The deeper they go, the more enemies they take along with them. What started as a small L-shaped ambush of twenty guerrillas has swollen into at least a battalion encircling the intruders. Every time a new rebel unit blocks the soldiers’ advance, Briggs changes direction again. He even passes the gun platform itself, making no attempt to attack it.

Guerrillas are puzzled, impatient, then angry. In their rush to keep up, they’re getting sloppy. Formerly distinct units start mixing together. Dispersion is lost. Teams stop moving in alternating bounds. They get up together to catch up with the rapid zigzag of black-clad soldiers.

Someone’s radio crackles up ahead. An enemy officer is trying to restore communication with his jumbled mass of fighters. The communist doesn’t realize how loud he is to a human with the ears of a bat. Briggs lifts his gun and takes the slack out of the trigger.

The officer’s head bursts, then his radio man’s. Other soldiers follow Briggs’s lead and open fire. An entire platoon of insurgents are caught on their feet and die immediately. Tightly packed groups of rebels surrounding Briggs and his men all start shooting at once and hit each other. Guerrillas farther away from the fight take losses, causing them to panic and fire back into the trees, not realizing they’re killing their own men in front of them.

Several soldiers die, but it’s a lopsided fight. Two of Briggs’ teams split off and plunge into enemy lines. Disoriented guerrillas swing their guns to shoot the charging soldiers, inflicting even more casualties on each other. Hanson watches the bloodbath break out all around him but can’t participate. He has the wrong weapon for this kind of fight. There are no enemies close enough to where he’s at for him to hit. Hanson wonders why Briggs put him here. He would be more useful in the front of the squad.

Briggs goes to the communications specialist. He got his precious radio back after Briggs was done talking to the pilot. “Get a hold of Avenger 7 and tell him to take off and head to Battle Position Mary.” Briggs says. “We’re five minutes from the platform and I’ll clear him to engage after we destroy it.”

Dirt spits up around Briggs’ feet and the radioman slumps over with holes in his chest. His armor didn’t help him. Briggs spins around and shoots back, dropping a sniper from his perch in the trees.

A dozen insurgents run straight into him and he mows them all down. They were trying to escape but went the wrong direction. One of them is still alive, trying to crawl away. Briggs loads a new magazine into his empty rifle, steps over the crawling insurgent and shoots him in the spine. The man spasms and goes still.

Briggs looks around in satisfaction. His plan is working perfectly. So far.

A lead hailstorm of many calibers sweeps across the screaming mob. Muddy water erupts. Trees splinter. Two soldiers and the twenty guerrillas they were fighting fall dead or dying. There’s a communist trenchwork to the East shooting indiscriminately into the battle. The surviving soldiers lay flat on their bellies. Some of the guerrillas take cover as well, but most of them are too preoccupied with trying to run away and get hit.

“Get over there and do your thing!” Briggs screams at Hanson, barely loud enough to hear over the din of gunfire.

Hanson and three other soldiers leap up and sprint toward the blazing trench. None of them try to shoot. The only way to survive is to reach the trench as fast as possible, hoping all incoming fire misses or is absorbed by the thick trees ahead. One trooper collapses. Then a second one. Hanson ignores them and keeps running. Briggs was right. Hanson is fast. He’s built like a stocky turtle, but a fast one.

He reaches the line of sandbags and rams the steel toe of his boot into someone’s nose. Hanson lands in the trench on top of the body he just kicked, meeting two astonished guerrillas on both sides. He butt-strokes the man to his left and shoots the one to his right. The gored rebel flies off his feet and knocks over two of his friends behind him. Hanson’s surviving teammate leaps into the trench to his left and sets to work tearing people apart. That’s good for Hanson. He doesn’t have to worry about that side anymore.

Now Hanson understands why Briggs gave him the trench gun. As the name implies, this is exactly the scenario it was designed for. He fires again and again into the stack of guerrillas in front of him. It’s a long trench; the fighters further down the line are still shooting over the side at nothing, unaware there’s a problem. Hanson is moving and killing too fast for anyone to survive long enough to communicate he’s here. His shotgun blasts and the dying screams of its victims are drowned out by the roar of a hundred other weapons.

The trench is a narrow slit and negates the rebels’ numbers. They have to fight him one at a time. It’s a massacre. Men in the back try to push forward, and men in the front try to get away, causing a traffic jam of bodies for Hanson to sweep away with ease.

Two guerrillas climb a ladder out of the trench to outflank him. Hanson kills them with one blast, his gun snapping back empty. A wounded rebel in front of him grabs at the weapon, his hand closing on the burning-hot barrel. He howls in pain and lets go. Hanson bludgeons him over the head, slams a second drum into the gun, chambers a round and shoots the man in the groin. He empties the rest of his drum into the mass of screaming people ahead.

Ultra-violence courses through Hanson’s veins, flooding his mind and body with pleasure. It’s more than excitement. It’s a sexual thrill. He’s getting hard. Hanson doesn’t like this. He doesn’t mind killing, it just doesn’t seem right to him to enjoy it this much.

He distances his mind from what his body is doing. His mind isn’t hard to move, it’s not very large. Hanson is a simple man not plagued with the troubles faced by sharper people. Hanson’s body relaxes. The pleasure subsides to a neutral calm. A trillion-dollar weapon is defeated by a dull knife. That doesn’t make Hanson any less effective at murder. It just doesn’t occupy his mind so much.

People are finally starting to notice he’s here. A few climb out to try and attack him, but most are running away. He shoots the ones he can until his third drum clicks empty. There’s no more gunfire. Everyone else on the floor of the trench is dead or bleeding out. A teenager is sobbing on the sandbags above. He’s trying to unsnag his bandolier from the machinegun he was assigned to. Hanson rips the boy down and stomps his head in.

There’s a dugout entrance a few meters ahead. Hanson steps toward it but loses his footing in a heap of warm bodies. His trench gun splashes into the blood-soaked mud. An officer exits the dugout; he’s very important looking. He has a helmet and an armored vest covered with spare ammunition, grenade pouches, a knife and a map board.

This new enemy sees Hanson and draws his pistol. Hanson lunges into him, and the man’s gun fires harmlessly into a corpse. Despite the power of Ultra-violence, Hanson is losing the wrestling match. He’s exhausted from hours of trudging in the jungle and the trench battle. Maybe Hanson should have followed Briggs’ lead and dropped the body armor. His skin is soaked in sweat and his muscles ache from the burden of kevlar and eight ceramic plates covering his arms and upper body.

The officer grins and pushes Hanson against the trench wall. Just a few more inches and he will have his gun trained back at Hanson’s head. But the fast turtle isn’t ready to give up yet. Hanson looks down at the officer’s knife. That will have to do. He knocks the man back with a headbutt. They’re both wearing helmets so the blow didn’t hurt, but that wasn’t Hanson’s intent. With a hand momentarily free, he grabs the knife and sinks it into the officer’s cheek. Despite having a knife in his brain, the officer doesn’t fall. He stays standing on wobbly legs. He’s not dead, but not alive either. The lights are on, but nobody’s home.

Hanson’s fight with the officer felt like an eternity, but only lasted a few seconds. Voices are echoing from the dugout. He’s still unarmed and in no position to fight anyone else. Hanson has to act quickly. He rips open the grenade pouches on the half-dead officer’s vest, pulls the pins and safety clips, and shoves him back into his dugout. Voices shout in alarm. They’re shocked by the dead man with a knife sticking out of his head, but unaware of the activated grenades. Hanson snatches up his gun and jumps aside.

The insides of the dugout blow out a split second later. Hanson loads his last drum and attacks. The dugout is full bodies and ruined furniture. A large map table at the center of the room is cracked in two. Radios and display screens line the walls. This was a headquarters of some sort. Hanson looks for survivors. Some of the bodies are moaning, but not a threat. They only have a few seconds of life left.

He sees a girl sitting at a radio set on the other side of the dugout. She screams and tries to get away, but forgets about the headset over her ears and lurches backward. Hanson shoots her in the chest and she topples over the table. Communists believe in equality between the sexes, so encourage women to fight alongside their men. That doesn’t make much sense to Hanson. He doesn’t have any idea where his mother is and doesn’t have any siblings that he’s aware of. But if he did have a sister, he imagines it would make him sad if she died.

Someone enters the dugout. Hanson whirls around to see who it is. He relaxes; it’s the other soldier. He must have finished his end of the trench and doubled back to help. He isn’t much to look at. He’s a short boy with dirty blonde hair and can’t be a day older than 16. He’s far too young to be anywhere near a battlefield, but the Defense Ministry decided age is just a number when it comes to conscripting boys. Like Briggs, the boy abandoned his battle armor. Apparently he had no need for it. He has a pistol in one hand, a wet knife in the other. His uniform is drenched in blood, none of it his own.

An injured communist covered in dirt tries to reach for a radio handset on the table above him. Hanson lifts his shotgun.

“No wait, don’t shoot.” The boy says. “If he wants to radio for help, let him.”

Even though that sounds like a terrible idea, the boy seems really keen on it. Hanson relents. The rebel shares Hanson’s confusion, but takes his chance to sound the alert.

“There’s no harm in him calling reinforcements.” The boy continues, giving Hanson a wink. “We can’t be stopped. There’s a hundred more of us outside, isn’t that right?”

“No there isn’t, there’s ow!” Hanson feels the boy’s boot drive into his shin.

“Oh, you’re right, there’s two hundred of us outside.” The boy nods.

Hanson knows that’s not true. Briggs has at most five or six other men who weren’t killed in the battle. This is really confusing, so Hanson does what he usually does when he’s confused: stays quiet.

The boy silently trains his pistol behind the radioman’s head while he’s talking. The radioman delivers his message like any good communications officer should. The brigade headquarters is overrun by two hundred elite troops of the Venusian Defense Corps. When the boy feels like enough has been said, he pulls the trigger. A hole appears in the back of the rebel’s head and his face blows out all over the radio.

“What was that about?” Hanson demands.

“The rebels just lost a large force and received a radio message the brigade headquarters here was overrun. I’m sure they all know by now what even small teams are capable of. If they think there are two hundred soldiers here, they’ll throw everything they have into a defensive line, expecting us to attack. Of course we won’t. We’ll just go somewhere else. Meanwhile, the other batteries nearby are left less protected, giving our other guys out there a better chance of destroying them.”

Hanson has to admit that’s pretty clever.

An earth-shattering explosion knocks dirt from the ceiling. Hanson and the boy go outside to look. The gun platform is a smoking crater. Briggs knocked it out. A few guerillas skip over the trench and keep running. They’re streams of them fleeing through the trees. They’re what’s left of the rebel brigade, all thought of fighting gone from their minds. A pair of gyrocopters follows them, tearing them to bits with autocannons and rockets.

“That was damn good smart thinking, what you did back in the dugout.” Hanson says. “How did you come up with that?”

“It’s from the Bible, the Book of Joshua.” The boy answers. “When Joshua went to war against the people of Ai, he lured all their men away from the city, then attacked it from behind.”

“You’re a pretty clever guy. I never learned about all that fancy Bible stuff. I didn’t know there was anything cool in it. What’s your name anyway?”

“Alex.” The boy grins. “Yeah I know we’re supposed to go by last names and all. But it’s so formal. I dislike it. How about you?”


“Just Hanson?” Alex asks.

Even before being conscripted, Hanson always went by his last name. That’s all people ever called him at his various odd jobs, and the orphanage before that. Hanson can’t remember if his parents called him by his first name. His father died in a copper mine when he was very young. As for Hanson’s mother, she was more interested in her meth pipe than talking to him.

“Yeah, just Hanson.”

“You know it’s only been seventeen minutes since Briggs fired that first shot?”

“Really?” Hanson says. “It felt a lot longer than that.”

“That’s the Ultra-violence! It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It slows everything down for us. Gives us time to think. That’s what makes us smarter and faster than everyone. Makes us better than everyone else.”

More clouds of smoke billow up from the jungle. More small teams like the one Briggs led have reached their targets. Small black dots fill the sky like a swarm of locusts: the second wave. This one will fare better than the first. They won’t meet much resistance at all. The Polar Uprising is crushed. Their air defense grid is collapsed and their army scattered.

Hanson figures that after today, the war will be over. Surely the rebels will want to surrender. Their cities are already destroyed. Now their military installations are destroyed as well. They have no means left to fight with. They’ll give themselves up and the boys of the Venusian Defense Corps can go home.

“Hey, those people at ‘Ai,’ or whatever you called it, what became of them?” Hanson asks.

“Joshua killed them all, down to the last man, woman and child. Just like we’re going to here.”

“Oh. You think so?”

“I know so. Kill everyone here and replace them with new immigrants from Terra who’ll know better than to try something like this again. But there’s more to it than that. The Martians thought they could stir up trouble, and we turned it right back around at them. This is bigger than defeating some rebels. This is sending a message. Like how the Americans nuked Japan after they already won. That wasn’t about defeating the Japanese. It was a warning to the Soviet Union that the same thing could happen to them. We’re sending the same message here. If we’re willing to commit a genocide on our own world, there’s nothing we won’t do to the Martians.”

The gyrocopters slow to a stop overhead. Briggs warned them not to attack the trench so they wouldn’t accidentally hit their own men. The trench isn’t what the pilots are here for. They’re waiting for something to happen.

There are many different variants of gyrocopters. Some are troop carriers. Others deploy vehicles. These particular gyrocopters are gunships. A gunship is thirty meters long with a fifty-meter wingspan brimming with firepower. Each gunship has eight hydra rocket pods, ten 85mm autocannons, twelve .50 caliber gun ports for 360-degree protection, six 30mm machinegun turrets, and twenty missiles.

A gunship is loaded down with so many weapons it has to be stationary to use them all at once. That doesn’t happen often. On a normal attack run, a gunship will use only some of the guns at a time and if necessary, rotate between them to avoid overheating. The rare situation calling for a gunship to be stationary and fire all weapons at once would be when there’s a large target. Any gyrocopter is vulnerable when stationary, so the target must not only be large, it must also be a target that can’t shoot back.

Doors slide open in the foliage ahead, and people flood out. Young and old people. Big and small people. Men, women and children. Families of the communist insurgents, concealed in makeshift concrete bunkers carefully hidden beneath the jungle. But now there’s too much smoke to stay inside. So they come out by the hundreds. Many are waving their hands. Some have white cloths and makeshift flags of surrender.

The gunship pilots wait. They wait until every last person comes out. They wait until everyone can see the world around them. They wait until people become hopeful that their surrender is being accepted. Then the gunships fire everything at them.

People, their white flags and the doors they came out of are vaporized. There’s nothing left of them. No bodies, blood or debris. Just white atomized dust. The gunships keep shooting. They keep shooting long after there’s anything left for them to hit. They keep shooting until every rocket and missile is expended, and every gun spins empty.

The bunkers beneath are annihilated as well. The gunships could have destroyed the people earlier. It was important to wait for them to come out and try to surrender. Maybe Alex is right. Maybe it isn’t the act itself that’s important. It’s the message.

“Now listen to me, you best not be occupying your mind so much with all this.” Hanson says to Alex. “Just go along with it and don’t think too hard about what you’re doing. You’re a clever guy, but it’s possible to be too clever. It won’t do you no good. You’ll lose your marbles.”

Alex isn’t listening. He’s watching thousands of fist-sized shell casings from the gunships shower the trench all around him. “It’s raining manna.” Alex says.

Come back next Sunday for Chapter 3:
A Boy Meets a Girl.


A chapter will be posted every Sunday. Critiques are welcomed, but will be moderated.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are either works of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any matter without permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This copyright overrides this website’s Creative Commons license.

Ian Michael

About the author

Ian Michael served 5 years in the US Marine Corps. He did two tours patrolling in Helmand Province (Afghanistan) and one in Kuwait. He is now a Staff Sergeant in the US Army Reserve. He lives in Iowa.

Some of his other articles.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Fiction echos reality. See Chet Richards’ (Colonel, USAF, retired) post about this novel, about how it illustrates many of John Boyd’s ideas in action.

Biotech that might make this story real: Potentially horrific effects of drugs and machines making people smarter & stronger.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also see other posts about forecasts, about science fiction, and especially see these posts …

  1. Not fiction: Potentially horrific effects of drugs and machines making people smarter & stronger.
  2. Sources of inspiration in science fiction for America’s renewal.
  3. Are our wars driving us mad? — Heinlein in Starship Troopers.
  4. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror created by the conflict with Iran — From “With the sword he must be slain.”
  5. Are our film heroes leading us to the future, or signaling despair? — About Heinlein’s Space Patrol.
  6. The Iraq War as a warning for America — The Foundation series.
  7. “Ender’s Game” is a horror movie, showing us our dark side. No worries; we’ll forget faster than we eat the popcorn. — More about the film.

Classics of Military science fiction

These are what might be considered classics of third-wave of military science fiction.

The Uplift War by David Brin (1987), the third and best book of The Uplift Saga.

Jerry Pournelle’s books about Falkenberg’s Legion, especially Go Tell the Spartans and Prince of Sparta.

"The Uplift War" by David Brin
Available at Amazon.
Go Tell the Spartans
Available at Amazon.


3 thoughts on “Ultra-Violence, #2: Landfall”

  1. Going to wait and read a few more chapters to see where the narrative will go before offering an opinion about it. I do like what I’m reading so far

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