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. It is presented as weekly chapters, to be filed under “terrifying dreams.”
See the previous chapters in Ultra-Violence, tales from Venus.
- The sins of our fathers.
- A Boy Meets a Girl.
- The Lost Generation.
- Let’s Do Something Fun.
- The Meek Shall Inherit the World.
- A Sign from God.
- The Siren’s Offer.
- The Riddle.
- Wolves Among Sheep.
- The Man Who Would Be King.
- The Angel and the Badman.
- Goliath’s Revenge.
- The Head of Every Man.
- In the Land of the Blind.
This contains violence and strong language (unfortunately, words even children commonly hear today).
Chapter Four: The Lost Generation.
Stromm has a serious problem.
His suppression of the Polar Uprising was a complete success. It’s been six months since the communists offered their unconditional surrender. Three months since government forces encountered any resistance. And one month since they’ve encountered any sign of human life.
Immediately following Landfall, Stromm’s defense administration shared the grim news with the senate and people of Venus. More than a hundred thousand soldiers died, and many others wounded. Stromm stripped the three admirals of their rank and ordered them executed. But that was only the tip of the iceberg.
The soldiers of the Venusian Defense Corps had been betrayed. Communist sympathizers within the Venusian government itself had sabotaged the invasion. They warned their comrades of the impending attack, and even sabotaged the landing craft, resulting in the deaths of thousands of troopers and the destruction of all the armored vehicles in the first wave.
Or at least that’s how the narrative went. It was a story of betrayal, a knife in the back of the faithful skeleton soldier. It was also a complete lie. The real culprit was a combination of Machiavellian disregard for the lives of the soldiers, mixed with the usual incompetence of military bureaucracy. Instead of using more cautious tactics, Stromm wanted a full-frontal assault on the strongest rebel positions. It was more than a show of force. Stromm saw this uprising as a testing ground; a real-life simulation of how an invasion of Mars might play out.
The test failed. Stromm realized that military occupation of Mars is impossible. Their defenses are vastly superior to the weapons available to the communist rebels. He couldn’t admit to such a cruel tactic. He needed scapegoats. He also likes to kill two birds with one stone. To that end, Stromm executed the admirals and blamed the catastrophic failures of the orbital bombardments and landing craft on traitorous saboteurs.
It wasn’t a lie that would hold up under scrutiny, but the Venusian public believed it. They were galvanized by the needless loss of lives. That was precisely the justification Stromm needed for another operation on his mind: the purge.
His security forces swept across the capital and every other major city on the planet. They stormed the homes of alleged communist agitators. Among the accused, Stromm conveniently included his chief opponents in the senate, the military, and even his own defense council. Over the course of a week, more than a million people were killed or whisked away to the penal colonies.
Stromm is a cruel tyrant, but a man of his word. That’s the key to his success. Stromm’s allies trust him to keep his agreements with them. He honored his clandestine bargain with the Israelis back on Terra. His secret police swept up every Jewish family they could find and transported them to a facility in the desert three hundred miles from the capital.
The Venusian Jews weren’t privy to the secret scheme orchestrated by their brothers on Terra. Their ordeal was a terrifying experience reminiscent of the Holocaust in the previous century. The Jews arrived at Stromm’s ghetto and were forced into hard labor.
As time passed, the refugees understood the true purpose of their new home. With the guidance of military engineers, they were building the largest armored compound on the planet. It could withstand any external attack, up to and including a nuclear war. This would become the second Jerusalem the Israelis wanted if all else failed. It was a purpose that required absolute secrecy. Everyone else had to believe the camp was a punishment similar to the penal colonies.
Stromm’s success came with a huge problem. The Venusian Defense Corps, his army of super-soldiers, are going violently insane at a staggering rate. The now depopulated South Pole is full of more than a million men too dangerous to return to peacetime duties.
Ultra-violence turned out to be much more than individual brainwashing. The men programmed with it developed a pack mentality, almost a hive mind. One soldier is an unstable ticking time bomb. A whole unit of them is an indiscriminate killing machine. Waging war is compulsive to them. Unleashing a battalion of soldiers on the civilian population would result in a bloodbath. Even if the soldiers were disarmed, they would commence killing with whatever tools they could find, including their bare hands if they had to.
Despite these disastrous side effects, Ultra-violence remains a useful tool. The first generation was a catastrophe, but the second and third generations will be better. Their brainwashing will be done on a much smaller scale. They’ll be given a small taste of Ultra-violence. Enough to make them faster, stronger and better soldiers than anyone else, but not enough to turn them into uncontrollable murderers like their predecessors in the first generation.
As for the first generation, what can Stromm do? He can’t kill them. There would be no way to cover it up, no way to justify murdering the heroes of the Polar Uprising. He will have to take the next best option.
He will scatter them to the far corners of the world. No veterans can be allowed to congregate. Even three or four of them together could have terrible consequences. Alone and not riled up by their peers, an individual soldier might be able to re-integrate with normal society.
They’ll go back to civilian life under close observation. Any ex-soldier who has a violent outburst must be quickly disappeared into a penal colony. Thanks to good planning on Stromm’s part, most of the soldiers are orphans. Their disappearance will largely go unnoticed. Releasing the men will bring an avalanche of murders, assaults, and suicides, but this can be suppressed. The news media won’t report it, and all academic institutions outside the Defense Ministry will be forbidden from researching it.
A terrible sacrifice to be sure, but a sacrifice Stromm knew might happen, and is at peace with. The government will celebrate their victory for a short period, then move on to other current events. People must forget the first generation of Ultra-violence ever existence. They served their purpose, now they’re being discarded into the waste bin.
The million boys who went to war in the Polar Uprising are to be scattered, killed or driven to the fringes of society. They are the lost generation.
Come back next Sunday for Chapter 5: Let’s Do Something Fun.
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 quotation in a book review. This copyright overides this website’s Creative Commons license.
Some of his other articles.
- Generals read “Ender’s Game” and see their vision of the future Marine Corps.
- Pain and misery build discipline! Or so we’re told.
- The Atheist Conservative shows why secular conservatism continues to be an irrelevant and impotent force in American politics.
- Alita, the Battle Angel, fights her feminist critics.
- Plato and Diogenes warn us about hubris – Here is a fun short story, historical fiction about one of the clashes between two of the larger-than-life people of the ancient world.
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.
For More Information
Ideas! For some holiday 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.
- Are our wars driving us mad? — Insights from Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.
- The 1% won a counter-revolution while we played. We forgot that we are America’s crew, not passengers. — Insights from Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky.
- Debunking the myth: “An armed society is a polite society” — Libertarians take Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress too seriously.
- We are living in the crazy years AND Fahrenheit 451 — From Heinlein’s future history stories, published as The Past through Tomorrow.
- We like superheroes because we’re weak. Let’s use other myths to become strong. — About the Space Patrol in Heinlein’s Space Cadet.
- Are our film heroes leading us to the future, or signaling despair? — More about Heinlein’s Space Patrol.
- Did Robert Heinlein in 1961 predict the fall of the Soviet Union? Lessons learned from this. — Debunking a myth about Heinlein.
Classics of military science fiction
Here are examples of first class science fiction, in the military science fiction genre.