Craig is an international bestselling author with over thirty titles to his credit, including the Terry Henry Walton Chronicles (post-apocalyptic/scifi/adventure/paranormal co-written with Michael Anderle), the Free Trader Series (space adventure), the Cygnus Space Opera series, the End Times Alaska series (post-apocalyptic), and the Rick Banik Thrillers. Craig has started The Bad Company, the follow-on series to the THW Chronicles and Darklanding, short science fiction serials of twelve episode.
|Posted on October 17, 2017 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
Holy crap, I've been busy! The newest installment featuring Terry Henry Walton and Charumati is on the street! Gateway to the Universe wraps a number of story lines while opening up an infinite number of new ones.
Gateway to the Universe is the book that sets the stage - four new and unique series set within the Age of Expansion, in the Kurtherian Gambit Universe.
- Craig Martelle will continue the adventures of Terry & Char (from the Terry Henry Walton Chronicles) in The Bad Company
- Justin Sloan & PT Hylton will continue Valerie's adventures (from the Reclaiming Honor series) in Valerie's Elites
- Amy DuBoff will write a new series called the Uprise Saga featuring Kurtz, Edwin, Samantha, and Nick
- JN Chaney and Sarah Noffke are writing the Ghost Squadron, continuing adventures of the FDG twenty years after Terry brings his warriors to the Federation
Look for my follow-on series, The Bad Company where Terry and Char find new life as a mercenary force doing Bethany Anne's bidding as part of Nathan Lowell's Bad Company. The first of the series is the series name.
But wait, there's more! I have short stories in two different anthologies that released this week.
Look for my short story that is on the Nebula Reading List - The Outcast in Through the Never.
And finally, I have a story called Mystically Engineered in an anthology from Chris Fox called Tales from the Void.
|Posted on October 5, 2017 at 8:50 AM||comments (0)|
It was two years ago today that I started writing full time, that I embraced being a full-time author. I published that first work on January 16, 2016. In these two years, here are the highlights.
- Wrote 2,065,242 words
- Published 27 full-length novels
- Published 8 short stories
- Published 4 anthologies with works by 47 different authors
- Hit the bestseller list with 13 different novels
- Plus, have a full-length novel set to publish on Oct 12 and short stories coming out in two anthologies in the next week
The way ahead.
My future is mostly in collaborations (and conferences).
- With Michael Anderle for The Bad Company (planned for 8 books of 60k words each as a follow-on to our bestselling Terry Henry Walton Chronicles)
- With Scott Moon on Darklanding, a 12-book serial (30k length episodes - episode 1 is already done)
- With Kim Dorothy called The Human Experiment, a standalone novel based on a concept I find intriguing
- Finish the Free Trader series (3 books of 30k to 50k words each)
- Manage the Age of Expansion (mostly space opera) for Michael Anderle in the Kurtherian Gambit Universe
- Amy DuBoff is writing the Uprise Saga (8 books)
- JN Chaney and Sarah Noffke are writing the Ghost Squadron (8 books)
- Justin Sloan & Tyler Hylton are writing Valerie's Elites (8 books at least)
- Tommy Donbavand, J.L. Hendricks, and some others will be contributing stories as well
- Possibly a novel co-written with Jim Ward where one of us writes a chapter from the protagonist's perspective and one writes a chapter from the antagonist's perspective
- Probably a space Marine/military science fiction collaboration with Jonathan Brazee
- Three Anthologies coming - The Expanding Universe 3, Metamorphosis Alpha 2, Close to the Bones 2 - short stories for all of those
- Conference: 20Books Vegas in November, 20Books London in February
No one takes this journey alone. I have four different editors, one on salary, I have five different cover artists and a couple illustrators who I work with. I pay half up front and the other half immediately upon delivery. I have the best beta readers in the world. I have an inner circle who cared about me before I was a successful author and provide great support and assistance now. No one does this alone. I am surrounded by incredible people.
|Posted on September 9, 2017 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
Terry Henry Walton Chronicles Short Stories
By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
Will be published on September 11, 2017! And it will have the first chapter in the next Terry Henry Walton story - Nomad: Gateway to the Universe.
I hope you like the it.
|Posted on September 6, 2017 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
What am I working on and most importantly, when will stuff be published?
Right this minute, I am writing the first episode of Darklanding, a new series that I am co-writing with Scott Moon. It's Firefly mashed up with the Alaskan Gold Rush set on a frontier planet. It will be a lot of fun with good dialogue. I am curious to see what characters you best relate to. These episodes fall into the novella category at roughly 100 pages each. They'll be a quick read and we expect to publish at least thirteen of them, maybe more. Remember, these are episodes in the style of a season on TV. I expect to finish this first episode by Friday, September 8, 2017. We've ordered the covers and will probably start publishing these early next year.
Starting Saturday, I'll be working on Nomad: Gateway to the Universe - the next chapter for Terry Henry Walton and Char. This will be a transition book that takes our fearless group from Earth to Space where they will work as part of Nathan Lowell's Bad Company. In the next book, you will see Bethany Anne, Michael, Terry, Char, Valerie,Akio, Yuko, and even Nathan Lowell. I think there will be something for everyone as they transition to becoming an integral part of the new Federation.This book is currently targeted to be published on October 5th.
The Terry Henry Walton short story collection will be published sometime this month (September 2017). The cover is almost done - the graphics that Andrew Dobell did are really neat. It'll be about 75 pages, I think, but it has all material that you've seen in here, just consolidated into one place and you'll be able to read it on your Kindle.
I've completed a number of short stories. One that I intended to be 2500 words topped out at 10,500. But it is done and ready for primetime. We are going to shop it around to encourage subscribers to my Newsletter and then it will join The Expanding Universe Volume 3 that I'll publish in December.Look for A Language Barrier to hit the street on September 15th, only available for free:).
I finished another short story that will go into an Anthology called Through the Never, a science fiction and fantasy collection with a dozen authors or so. I liked that story so much that I sent it to the Science Fiction Writer's Association (SFWA) for award consideration. It has been added to the Nebula Award reading list.Look for The Outcast, coming in October.
I also finished a short story for a Chris Fox anthology. His challenge was to write about dragons and space ships. I wrote Mystically Engineered - which I think came out pretty well. I'll be promoting that anthology in my newsletter as soon as it is released.
I committed to writing a game module for the 77 Worlds system. I have most of the illustrations already thanks to the talented Meg Cowley, all I need to do is write the darn adventure! I just need some time to sit down and look at the maps. Stephen Lee is numbering the illustrations for me right now so that I can write out the encounters for the gamemaster. I need to have that one done I believe in November, but earlier is better.
I add a little bit here and there to my non-fiction book, Become a Successful Indie Author. Indies have to be a mile wide and a mile deep with their knowledge. It can be overwhelming when you first look at it, but it's not. Eat the elephant one bite at a time and stay positive throughout. Those are my goals with this book, but it is coming far more slowly than I thought. There's so much to address. At least I have decent notes:).
Marketing - who likes to do marketing? As an indie, I have to - it falls on me to do it because there is no one else. Sep 25-29, I've got Free Trader 1 for FREE! and Free Trader 2 for 99 cents. I have a huge number of promotions ongoing and this is the greatest marketing push I've ever done. I think it will turn out well. If not, then it is all on me.
It is now dark enough that we're able to see the Northern Lights again. That is always the blessing that comes with living this far north.
|Posted on August 24, 2017 at 3:15 PM||comments (5)|
WWDE + 150, San Francisco
Joseph & Petricia
Terry and Char stood on a Treasure Island shore, looking out on the bay. Ships were in various stages of coming and going. The engine droning did not detract from the peace of the scene.
“Civilization,” Terry said.
“Humanity has found its purpose again,” Char added.
“Yes. Beyond survival. That Maslow guy was pretty smart. Once the basic needs are taken care of, people can focus on other things. But there’s still a lot of scratching in the dirt to survive out there.”
The beachhead of civilization would expand outward, giving people more and more purpose. Like history had taught them, people would flock to the cities for a taste of the good life, until that good life was shared in the country, then people would emigrate from the congestion and the turmoil of the big city.
The farms were king, but they were close to the cities. They would be pushed out, farther away, as they had been before. Not yet, but someday.
Terry and Char held hands, accepting the silence of the moment, drinking in the earthly air. They weren’t sure when, but they’d soon board a ship, take it to the Annex Gate, and fly to another galaxy. They hoped to meet Bethany Anne, the Empress of the Federation. She would be busy, as Empresses tended to be, but TH could always hope. Char was more reserved. She wasn’t sure about meeting the Queen Bitch herself. Char had been the alpha bitch for over a century.
She was afraid of getting on BA’s wrong side with an errant thought. If Akio was there, he could vouch for her. She remembered her first exchange with the Queen’s Bitch.
That could have gone better. Terry had done everything except grovel at Akio’s feet.
She chuckled to herself. Terry looked at her, then returned to watching the small waves slap gently at the shore.
They both heard the sound of approaching footsteps. They were measured, but light. Terry didn’t need to turn around and look. He’d heard them before. Char sensed the etheric energy within them.
“Joseph. Petricia. Thanks for joining us,” Terry said. The Forsaken nodded, holding hands, and watching the bay.
“Have you guys gone crabbing recently?” Terry asked, finally turning to face his friends.
Petricia rolled her eyes.
“Not yet,” Joseph replied. She cocked her head and looked at him. “We may not.”
Char coughed to hide her laugh.
“I never took you for one to …” Terry fought valiantly to find the right word. Three pairs of eyes watched him intently. Char and Petricia’s looks became glares. Joseph started shaking his head. “Dammit! You never really liked crabbing, did you?”
“I have to admit that I did at first, then I didn’t, then I did again. It was nice being successful at something like that. And it wasn’t just me. Andrew was a natural. His joy at doing it was infectious. You’re right. It wouldn’t be the same going out now.”
Terry bit his lip, upset with himself for bringing it up. To Joseph, it had been only a few weeks since he last saw Andrew. To TH, it had been sixteen years since the Forsaken had died.
“We mourned a long time,” Terry started. “For Andrew, for Destiny Chase, for all those we lost. We’re finally in a position to move on. I will tell you this again, but I could not be happier that we finally found you. Alive.”
“Us, too. I’m all about being alive,” Joseph said, trying to keep it light, but his face darkened with his mood as he thought about his friend Andrew.
“Enough of this. It’s time to celebrate the next step in our journey. When Bethany Anne returns with her fleet, we’re going to board one of the ships, the FDG, both the tac teams and some of the regular warriors. I would you like you two to come with us to the stars, my friend.”
Joseph and Petricia looked at each other. She wasn’t sure. Too much had happened in too short a time. Joseph took a deep breath, closed his eyes and appreciated the moment.
When he opened his eyes again, he looked calm.
“The world descends into an age of madness,” he began in a voice free of doubt. “And an age of expansion. Like the wild west of the 1800s, people race into the great unknown of the new cities, the Wasteland to find their fortune. Alas, Earth holds no allure for one such as I, trapped between the good and the evil that is mankind.”
Joseph pulled Petricia close and hugged her tightly. His wide-brimmed hat blocked his face. Terry and Char watched as his tears splashed on the black leather covering Petricia’s shoulder. She sobbed in his arms, briefly, before stepping back, wiping her eyes with a delicate finger, and smiling at her husband.
“Sometimes, one must grieve in their own way. I wish I had a beer to share with you, so we could toast appropriately.”
“As do I. It’s never too early for beer, is it, Joseph?”
Char shook her head.
“We want you to come with us. Help us with whatever lies ahead,” Char added.
“Sounds good,” Petricia said.
“You heard the woman. Reserve us a window seat on the express train to the stars.”
Joseph offered his hand. Terry grabbed it and yanked Joseph into a one-armed man hug.
“I am ready to go, my man. Right now!” Terry exclaimed.
“Hang on…” Char started to say before slapping Terry’s shoulder. He laughed, picked her up, and danced on the bay shore.
“Where you go, we will follow,” Joseph whispered.
|Posted on August 19, 2017 at 11:55 AM||comments (3)|
WWDE + 150
Terry’s Personal Journal - Waiting
I’m sitting here cooling my heels while Akio is searching for Michael, joining him to clear the riff-raff from the Earth, something that I was supposed to be doing. Then again, from what I heard of Denver, he’s conducting more of a scorched earth kind of thing. I’m not sure I could ever go that far.
But the Dark Messiah can. I'll let him take care of that part. Me? I am happy with what we did with what we had.
It’s been so long, but we have such good people. I think they hold me up as much as I hold them.
We heard from Sarah Jennifer. She met Michael Nacht. I’m glad I hadn’t heard that until later. She survived the encounter and even earned his respect. I could not be more proud. She said she’s also getting married.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. It turned out well for Cordelia. Ramses is a good guy, but he didn’t mourn the loss of his parents as I expected. In fact, he never said a word, not at the funeral or afterwards. I need to talk to Cory about that, see if there is anything I can do. He got lost in the shuffle.
Do for others as you wish they’d do unto you, or something like that.
Kaeden and Marcie are still torn at the loss of Mary Ellen. William is not doing well either. It rips my heart to see them crushed as they are. It is the tragedy of life as seen through our eyes, the eyes of the seemingly immortal. Mary Ellen and William refused to go into the pod doc and get nanocytes. They wanted to live a natural life.
I respect their decision, but I don’t have to be happy about it. Kae and Marcie have carried me over the years, giving me reasons to keep trying to do better. Char and I both. We could not be more proud of our kids. I need to tell them that more often.
I get caught up in stuff, focused on the next mission. In the past one-hundred and fifty years I have learned some patience. I won’t tell Char this, but I can’t wait. We’re going to space!
I never dreamed of being an astronaut. I like keeping my feet on the ground, but the complexities of space combat! I have zero knowledge of that stuff because there is nothing written on earth that is based on actual experience. I can’t wait! Huzzah!
Shhh. Don’t tell Char.
I’ve been making the rounds since I’m here and not in space…
Kailin is the apple of his mother’s eye. Kimber and Auburn are happy that he was boosted. They won’t have to watch him grow old. Sylvia came by her nanocytes naturally and is helping Kailin with Walton Industries.
It’s kind of embarrassing that they called it what they did. Sure. I have an ego, but I’d also like to think that I’m more humble than that. At least it isn’t painted on the sides of the dirigibles in letters fifty feet high.
Ted and Felicity seem to like their new life as patrons of sky travel. They move about the country in luxury with servants and local goods, banquets and parties. Had I lived back then (I’m old, but not that old!), it would remind me of the Great Gatsby era. I would have never thought that Ted would like it, but his engines are making things happen.
I wonder when they’ll go to Europe? Things are still a little hot out that way. Michael is there, somewhere. Just follow the trail of destruction. I wonder if I’ll get to meet him?
I’d also love to see those pistols he’s carrying. Jean Dukes specials? Adjustable power with five-thousand rounds? Sumbitch! I gotta get me some of that!
If he lets me. I wonder what one of those would do to a spaceship? Vacuum has a way of leveling the playing field. All you have to do is make a hole and let space take care of the squishy things inside the ship.
I can’t wait to go to space! Shit, sorry. Don’t tell Char.
Where was I? Sylvia. I think she’s going to go her own way. She is a free spirit. Maybe she’ll steal that young man from Portland. Not so young anymore, but the pod doc seems to be back up to speed, although Akio and Yuko aren’t in Japan right now. They are looking for Michael. I expect they’ll find him soon.
I don’t know if Magnus Tolliver would consider getting boosted or not. I’d support it, if that’s what Sylvia wanted.
All my children and grandchildren are precious to me. I would do anything for them.
Except their dishes. Where did we go wrong in that we raised kids who will do anything to save the world, but they’re slobs? How could I raise a slob? I’m not. Char’s not, although she does leave her clothes laying around. I can’t complain about that. The hottest woman on the whole planet is in love with me and is perfectly happy to walk around our home naked.
Baseball. Ice Water. Cricket.
I miss Gene. He acted like a goof sometimes, well most of the time, but damn, he was such a good guy. We tore him away from his life alone, forced a solitary creature into being a member of the pack. He was always an outsider until Fu came along.
Fu! She saved him. Thank God she got boosted. And then those kids of theirs. Anastasia is cute as a button, but her strength is in her community of spirit. Her and her mother are bringing peace to a violent world. Gene and Bogdan are pacifying all of the Crimea. From the name, one would think that crime would run rampant, but not with Gene and his family there.
Criminals be warned. Your days are numbered. Here’s to you my massive Werebear friend! I’d love to clink a glass of beer with you, but you don’t appreciate it like I do. You have a tendency to chug it and then make a face.
Water for you. I know you don’t want to go to space with us. Hold the fort for when we get back. Do the best you can, and we will see you again.
Aaron and Yanmei are more open to going. I hope they decide to come. They help bring peace to Char and me. Just like Cory. How did we get blessed with people who are so well grounded?
And there’s nothing like sparring with a kung-fu Weretiger! They got skillz!
I like that Kurtz guy. He’s solid. Reminds me of Boris. I miss those guys. All of them, but it is the torment of the immortals. Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.
I don’t want to die! And Mother Earth replies, “Okay, but you’ll have to watch everyone else die instead.”
I digress again. You can see what’s on my mind. I think Sue, Timmons, Shonna, and Merrit are ready to go. I wonder about Ted. He would love the challenges of interstellar engineering. What would Felicity do trapped on a spaceship?
That will be an interesting conversation.
There’s no way I’m asking those two vixens, Annika and Meta. They are plying the bars as the most popular dancers in all San Francisco. I think they’re trying to single-handedly take on the entire male population of San Francisco. I heard Werewolves had voracious appetites, but these two are wild.
I’m not sure who else to ask to go. Cory and Ramses aren’t sure, but the other kids are. Kim, Kae, Marcie, and Auburn refuse to be left behind. Auburn is in for a shock, I think.
No beef in space.
That sucks for me, too, and Char. I hope they have beer. Or at least cookies. How to make space travel suck most heinously – no cookies. Or beer. Or steak. What are we going to eat? Rehydrated food packs? Soylent Green?
I guess it doesn’t matter. We’ll eat whatever they offer us, because, SPACE!
I can’t wait.
Don’t tell Char.
|Posted on August 13, 2017 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
Terry Henry Walton Chronicles Book 10
Craig Martelle & MIchael Anderle
Coming August 18th
More snips & quotes...
|Posted on August 8, 2017 at 4:50 PM||comments (0)|
IT'S ALL IN THE MISSION – from Terry Henry Walton’s private journal.
"Why in the hell are you here, Lieutenant?" I asked, irked by his presence. My team had trained together for over six months. We worked as one. We knew what each other thought, their strengths, their weaknesses. I was in charge, but only by virtue of rank. We all had our specialty. Mine just happened to be the equipment. I could tear it down and put it back together again. I made this junk work and I knew how to organize the data we collected and send it back to someone who cared. It was more than a job for us. And I was good at killing people.
I used the equipment for something to do in between the direct action missions. I liked the scent of a man’s fear.
The lieutenant looked hurt.
"Well, Sergeant, I came along to observe and supervise if necessary. I can authorize the movement of this unit to alternate locations without the hassle of requesting it over the radio." The lieutenant seemed satisfied with his answer. He raised his head slightly so he could look down at me, a weak attempt to assert his authority.
One corporal manned the radio direction finding (RDF) equipment and a lance corporal rolled through frequencies slowly on a radio designed to pick up anything in the VHF spectrum. Both had noticed the friction between myself and the "observer" and watched us closely. A second corporal lay curled up in a ball towards the edge of a rock wall some feet away, sleeping peacefully.
I leaned nearer the lieutenant and in a soft voice so the others couldn't hear, said, "You stay out of our way. Do you understand? You shouldn't be here and already you've changed our orders three times. I've had it with you. The next time you open your mouth, we're going to pack our trash and we're humping out of here!"
The lieutenant prepared a retort or a threat or something else that didn't matter. I guess my angry glare kept his words from dribbling out like a baby spitting up its breakfast. I'd probably pay later, but for now, the mission would come back on line and maybe we could get some intelligence that was worthwhile, then move back behind our lines. A hot meal and a rack in the air conditioned comfort of our ship waited for us. But for now, we were stuck in a very small two story building that was heaped with the rubble of a previous explosion.
We had selected this building because it was one of the few whole buildings standing in this part of Beirut. It had access to the roof where our antennas now stood. One antenna was low profile. Another looked like a typical T.V. antenna, but the third was an obvious Marine green. I had tried to set it up level with the T.V-looking antenna, but I couldn't get in touch with the ship. After raising it another six feet, I could hear higher headquarters, and more importantly, they could hear me.
My team was set up on the bottom floor. Only one room was habitable and that just happened to be the kitchen. The only thing that suggested it had once been a kitchen were the sink and the counter. There was no water so we simply set up all our equipment on the counter and in the sink. We had been operating all day now after having been inserted late last night. So far we hadn't found any exploitable targets and all was mundane and quiet. That probably accounted for some of the friction between the lieutenant and me.
"Hey, TH, it's almost three. You wanna wake up sleeping beauty?" The lance corporal took off his headphones and rubbed at the red creases around his ears. He yawned and stretched.
TH. That was me. They sometimes called me Goldy, too. I had dyed my hair golden blond right before we got on ship. I don't know why I did it, maybe because I thought blonds had more fun. It didn't matter. I guess it was just something to do. Well, anyway, it wouldn't last forever, unlike a tattoo.
"Come on Stinky, time to rise and shine."
A pair of bright red eyes peered out at me from under the protective covering of an arm. "Oh gawdy, I feel like I just fell asleep," answered a dry voice. He contorted his body into a sitting position and rubbed feeling back into his leg, wincing from the pain of the returning circulation.
I looked at him and laughed silently. Why had I nicknamed him Stinky? Every unit had a Stinky and he just happened to fit the billet. He was renowned aboard ship for his bodily gases. There was nothing he enjoyed more than sharing his gas with others, usually at the most inopportune time. Stinky reached for a Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) and began to open it.
"Come on, Stinky, you can eat that on watch. Give Plants a break; he's been spinnin' and grinnin' all day." Plants had a degree in Botany and went on to learn Arabic. He enlisted because he didn't want the responsibilities of being an officer, nor did he need the pay. He was happy at the bottom of the ladder. "Plants can go suck himself. I gotta wake up."
"Stinky, Stinky. Why do you always have to talk like that?"
"Leave me alone Goldy. At least my hair's the color God meant it to be."
They never forget, do they? I thought to myself. I smiled and turned away. The corporal on the RDF was laughing as he kicked back on a box turned into a chair. His nickname was simply Jonesy. He never got excited. He was a man who could be counted on, no matter what.
Stinky and Plants changed places. Plants sat for a second, then stood up and began to stretch. Stinky looked at him oddly. "Hey, if you're gonna waste it, I'll take the rack and go back to sleep."
"Nope! It's my turn and I'll spend it however I like." He ended by sticking his tongue out and making international rude gestures in Stinky's direction. Needless to say, Stinky broke into a tirade of cursing. I slapped him on the back and frowned my disapproval, which only served to bring his cursing in my direction. At least he was awake...
It was two in the morning before I finished my report. I had to tally all we had done during the day and send it back to the ship. There wasn't much, but I had to make it sound like we were a four-man army. Only Plants and I were up. I sent the others off to lullaby-land by midnight. No sense in wearing them down when there wasn't anything going on.
I sat up for another hour before I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I had been up for twenty-four hours and that was my limit. I had to get some sleep if I wanted to function when the new day came. I woke Jonesy, then quickly curled myself into the warm spot he vacated.
"TH, Terry wake up! Hey man, the Lieutenant's gone and Plants says he's got something. Come on, get up!" I was dragged to my feet and shook roughly. I thought I’d been asleep for a grand total of thirty seconds.
"What? Who's where?" It was now 0530 and my senses eluded me. I was being shaken and I was standing, but that's all I understood. All of a sudden, the shaking stopped. Far off in my mind I thought I heard swearing, then a canteen cup of water rained into my face.
That was all I needed, because I balled a fist and prepared to punch at the swearing face in front of me.
"Hey! It's just me. Chill out!" Stinky looked concerned, which was a different expression for him.
"O.K. I'm up. Sorry, Stinky. What's up?" Stinky told me that Plants had been listening in on a conversation for over an hour and that they repeatedly mentioned "hostages." Stinky had gotten up only a few minutes ago and noticed that the Lieutenant was gone. He looked around quickly outside the building, but the Lieutenant was nowhere near.
"Well, Dick Head can fend for himself. Plants, give me a run down and Jonesy, what kind of line of bearing (LOB) do you have?"
"Just something about the scumbags moving hostages; three, I think, but that's all I'm getting. Those morons can't coordinate what they're doing so they're just swearing at each other."
"Yeah, TH, they stay up on the handset for a long time. Real easy to get a good LOB on 'em. They're shooting a 115 true." I immediately contacted the ship with a short, but clear report. They lost their collective minds and started asking endless, senseless, and unanswerable questions. I cut them off telling them that I would contact them when I had further information. Over and out. I guess they understood that. About ten minutes later, the terrorists came back on the radio, but this time they gave a firm location where they were headed.
I guess the ship had also been listening in because the radio immediately crackled to life. "Yankee Six Sierra, this is Bravo Niner X-ray, over."
"This is Six Sierra, over," I answered.
"This is Niner X-ray. We LOB your target at 168, over."
"I copy 168. Wait one, over." I drew a straight line from the ship at 168 degrees. Our line of 115 degrees was already drawn from our building. They crossed neatly in the middle of a block held by the Shiite. RDF was not an exact indicator of locations, but it did give a general idea. I brought the map close to Plants and showed him the possible location. He studied it through his John Lennon glasses, then traced a line along a street from my crossed lines to a point only four blocks from where we now sat. "That's where they're going, TH! I know it. Right there!" He made a gouge in the map with his fingernail. Sweat beaded on his forehead and his hand shook slightly. It was hot outside, even this early, but not that hot.
I keyed the handset, "Niner X-ray, this is Six Sierra, over."
"This is Niner X-ray. Go ahead, over," The gunnery sergeant's voice came back. The ship knew how important this information was and undoubtedly, everyone who was anyone was jammed into the intelligence spaces, listening in.
"This is Six Sierra. Transfer of hostages currently underway to grid location 4287 3561. How copy, over?"
"This is Niner X-ray. Transmission garbled. Say again your last, over." Before I could answer, mortar rounds crashed into the building across the street, sending stone chips flying in through the window. The entire block was being shelled.
"Niner X-ray, this is Six Sierra, over." My answer was static. "Stinky, get upstairs and check the antenna."
He hesitated for only a second, then ran for the stairs. At that same instant, a cammie clad figure burst through the doorway and slid face first across the floor. The lieutenant had returned.
He rolled over, shock and terror gripped his features. Jonesy shook his head and Plants nervously clenched his fist. I grabbed the lieutenant's collar and pulled him up. I wanted to hit him, but he was senseless already. Not only had he compromised himself, he had compromised our position, and now our whole mission was in jeopardy. I let go of him.
"Hey Goldy, the Two Niner Two is down. The mast is broken in half and the elements are all bent to hell. The other two antennas are O.K., I think. I didn't get too close."
I thought for a minute. The shelling was letting up. Well, at least it was going away from us.
It seemed like we were in the eye of a hurricane, and that's how I felt; we were surrounded by a storm. "Pack it up. We're leaving." My team seemed only too eager to comply.
Despite our haste, it still took over half an hour to load the radios and the two remaining antennas into our packs.
We were set. The lieutenant had regained most of his awareness and was standing, loaded down, just like the rest of us. I had the PRC-77 set up and on, the tape antenna protruding from my pack and the handset clipped to my H-harness. "O.K. stud muffins, here's the deal. Jonesy, you got the lead, then Stinky. I'll baby-sit the LT and Plants, you bring up the rear."
I laid the map on the counter and showed our route to Jonesy and to Stinky.
"We go fast, understand?" All heads nodded in agreement. "We have to get those eight numbers back to the ship, then it's their ball game." 4287 3561. Those numbers were burned in my mind. I had to get them to someone who could do something with them. The ship had both Snakes (AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters) and Frogs (CH-46 Sea Knight medium lift helicopters). They could get in, grab the hostages, save the day, and get out in a matter of minutes. That was their job.
We had done ours. All that remained was to give them the grid coordinates.
"Rock and Roll, Jonesy." He turned and stepped out the door. Stinky watched him go, waited about ten seconds, then followed. I did the same, the lieutenant beside me. We walked quickly down the side of the street, staying close to the buildings. A couple of houses ahead, Stinky walked at the ready, a thirty round magazine locked into his M-16. Jonesy was a ways up ahead, looking everywhere, yet moving forward at a fast pace. I turned around. Plants was a couple buildings behind the lieutenant and me. Plants smiled at me, then checked to his rear and gave me the thumbs up.
We had only covered two blocks when automatic weapons opened up in front of us. Jonesy dove into a bomb crater in the street. Stinky broke into a run and dove into the same crater. I stepped through a doorway near me, the lieutenant right behind me. I heard the steady tread of a Marine running and an instant later, Plants barreled headlong through the doorway.
I stuck my head out and gave Stinky the "wait" sign. He waved back "O.K." I keyed the handset, knowing my chances of getting through were about zero. Transmitting from inside a building was rarely successful. "Bravo Niner X-ray, this is Yankee Six Sierra, over." I called twice more, then clipped the handset back to my harness. I looked out the doorway once more and waved to Stinky and Jonesy to come over to the building. Jonesy aimed his M16 over the edge of the crater in the direction of the weapons fire. I added a few rounds of my own to cover the repositioning of my point man.
Stinky jumped up and ran straight to the doorway. When he was in, Jonesy popped up and sprinted for us. As he neared the doorway, a machinegun sprayed the face of our building. He dove through the opening and rolled behind the wall.
"Stinky, look for a back door!" I peeked out a nearby window. A number of ragged militia ran from behind a building across the street. Plants and I fired at the running targets, causing them to scatter. Two jumped into the crater Jonesy had just vacated and the other five ducked into the open building directly across from us.
"No-go, TH. This is the only way in or out."
"Don't they make back doors in these places? I'm beginning to severely dislike these people."
"O.K. What can they do? They can call in mortar fire on us. They can blockade us. They can call up some reinforcements. What can we do?" I thought out loud. There didn't seem to be much that was in our favor.
The longer we waited, the worse it would get.
As they say, no time like the present. "Dump your packs. They're staying." We organized our packs into a neat little pile. I took out our one Thermite grenade, pulled the pin, then set it on the packs. We watched as the radios and antennas melted under the extreme heat of the burning thermite.
"TH, something's going on." Plants had been keeping an eye on the building across the street and it seemed that indecision was also gripping our adversary.
"Stinky, you have the best arm. Put one grenade in the crater. Jonesy and I will send a couple more across the street and by the time the smoke clears, we better be around the corner and setting a new team sprint record." The three of us pulled the pins together.
Stinky launched his first, then jumped to the side as Jonesy and I sent our grenades skittering across the street. The explosions came quickly and we dashed out the doorway. As Stinky and the lieutenant were turning the corner towards freedom, the sound of a rifle crack echoed down the empty street behind. Then more shots followed. We had been seen.
We stopped behind the corner. I grabbed the lieutenant’s harness. "You get these men back to the ship. Do you understand?"
"What are you going to do, Sergeant?" the lieutenant of old demanded.
"I'm gonna distract them. I'll catch up with you, but for now, get those coordinates back to the ship." I leaned around the corner and fired a couple rounds. There was a brief shuffle behind me. I fired another round. Not wanting to look back, I listened as my team moved out.
Then, I was alone. I had the scumbags right where I wanted them. There was no one to slow me down...
|Posted on August 8, 2017 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
Terry Henry Walton Chronicles, Book 10
Craig Martelle & Michael Anderle
The snippets were all spoilers on Nomad's Galaxy, so we decided to go with one-liner quotes from the characters, Terry-isms, and things like that. You'll get one a day over on the Facebook page. Here are the first few...
|Posted on August 2, 2017 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
Unedited (as in, I wrote it and pasted the story in here without re-reading. I apologize for any miscues - we'll have it edited before we roll these shorts into their own book to supplement the Terry Henry Walton Chronicles.
Gene and Fu’s Epic Journey to the Crimea
Gene and Fu left Petersburg with a huge bag of food and household items that Gene carried nonchalantly over one shoulder. It weighed twice as much as Fu, but he didn’t care. They were going someplace warm, because Fu was cold in Petersburg.
The Werebear didn’t even question the journey. Once Fu said she couldn’t get warm, the decision made itself.
Gene wasn’t sure how to get there.
“Where is Crimea?” Fu asked innocently as they walked. Even though Gene shortened his stride, Fu still skipped and hopped every third step to keep pace.
“Head south. Hit Black Sea. Turn left, find Crimea,” Gene replied.
She looked at him out the corner of her eye.
“I don’t know,” the big man admitted. Fu smiled and giggled.
“I think it will be okay,” she suggested.
“Of course!” the big man bellowed in his heavy Russian accent. “We are together, Evgeniy and Fu, Fu and Evgeniy, as it shall always be.”
Fu smiled and tried to adjust her hand. She could only see her wrist. Gene’s fingers could wrap around her hand twice, but at least it was warm. Gene was always warm.
Her personal bear rug. She’d been a servant, but no more. Gene saved her from that life. Sometimes she wondered how she deserved the adoration of such a man, but stopped when she realized those thoughts wasted time. She accepted it, without taking it for granted.
Gene needed so very little from her. He only wanted to love her. The big man, older than she would ever know, had never been in love. The sparkle in Fu’s almond-shaped, big brown eyes drew him to her, made him feel different, self-conscious.
He worried that he was too big, too gruff for such a delicate flower.
She worried that she was too fragile for a man with strength like his. He picked her up and carried her like a child, but she never felt childish. And he was gentle.
“Why you love me, Gene?” she asked in her lilting accent.
“Because you are my Fu,” he answered simply, unsure of the question.
“Gene,” Fu said, prodding him in the chest with her tiny finger as she relaxed in his arm with her head on his shoulder.
“You make me feel,” Gene started slowly, looking down at the ground as he plodded forward, step after step. “I feel everything better, colors are brighter, air is cleaner, birds sing louder, world is better place with Fu in it.”
“I like being in your world, too. You make me feel safe. I never felt safe before I met you.” Fu looked away and pointed to the ground.
He put her down, adjusted the bag over his shoulder, and they kept walking.
South. Always south.
The heat came whenever they walked away from the river, bearing down on them. Gene gave Fu all the water, but his need was greater than hers. And then they ran out, somewhere northwest of Moscow as they were trying to skirt the city, looking for a series of lakes, Ruzos, Gene thought they were called.
Fu collapsed. Gene’s head swirled. He yelled at the sky and screamed at the hard, dead earth. He changed into Werebear form and struggled against the greatest enemy he’d ever faced. His love was dying and there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
He moved her about with his massive snout until he could drape her over his neck. He grabbed their bag, light because there was no food or water within.
Gene started to lope, on three legs as he held his unconscious wife in place with one paw, taking care not to dig his claws in. Being in Werebear form cleared his head enough to use his heightened senses. Water. He could smell it.
He turned in that direction and ran as fast as he dared, Fu bouncing on his neck and shoulders. He knew that she would be bruised and sore, but water was life!
Gene saw the green of vegetation, hiding within a dip, a valley through which a stream flowed where a small lake had formed. Gene slowed to negotiate a bank, jump across a ravine, and plowed into the clear water without hesitation. Fu fell from his neck and sank below the surface.
A human Gene swam below her and brought her up for air. He faced her head down and slapped her back, driving the water from her lungs.
She sputtered as he nestled her into the relative cool of the small lake. Gene dipped his face in and drank. Fu’s eyes fluttered as she came back to the present.
“Drink, my lover, drink. Good water,” Gene said roughly, his hair matted to his head from the road dirt.
Fu sipped at first, then drank more. They relaxed in the water. Gene held his hairy arm over her head to block the sun. Her delicate and porcelain features brightening from their trek under a harsh sun.
They waded ashore where a naked Gene built a small lean-to using the bag, its contents dumped on the ground. He returned to the lake with the flasks, filling them all, while drinking fully in quantities that only a Werebear could hold.
“I don’t mind, but where are your clothes?” Fu finally asked. Once Gene’s head was clear, he knew that he would have to backtrack a few miles to find where he’d changed form. The three legged tracks through the Fallen Lands would be easy to follow.
“That way,” Gene said, pointing. “I get them and come back soon.” He leaned down to kiss her, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled herself to him.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered. He nodded and lay down next to her, handing her a flask so she could keep drinking. Caressing her hair with a meaty hand, he didn’t remember falling asleep.
When they awoke, it was early morning. Dawn’s approach lightened the eastern sky. Gene and Fu drank and then bathed in the lake. They moved upstream to drink some more. Gene picked up Fu and carried her in his arms as he ran through the darkness on his way to recover his clothes, his Were-enhanced vision helping him see the way.
It took less than thirty minutes to run the five miles to where his clothes had been abandoned.
He dressed and bowed for Fu as if they were on parade. She clapped before he picked her up and ran back to their camp. Gene didn’t see an elevation from which they could learn where they were, but it didn’t matter. The sun rose in the east, which meant that the small river leading from the lake was heading south.
They packed their stuff and headed out. There had been no fish, but there were tracks in the muddy shore. Gene thought they were from a deer, but they could have been a wild boar. He trusted their scent more than their tracks, but they were old.
The first day of their new lives was spent hungry, but at least they had an unlimited supply of water.
Gene didn’t risk crossing the open Wastelands again. He stayed near the river, following its meandering track.
South. Always south.
The third day and Fu’s ribs were growing more pronounced against her skin. Gene knew they had to find food. He was starving, but he knew that Fu would eat first.
Terry Henry always ate last and finally Gene understood why. Everyone needed somebody to take care of them. Terry’s love was for all mankind, for the humanity he fought to save. He had taken on the responsibility of bringing back civilization. That meant sacrifice. That meant eating last.
Gene was a Werebear, a solitary creature who fought to live, not to take care of someone else. That was, until he met Fu.
Sacrifice for others, even something so simple as eating last. It made sense. If one provided enough, then everyone ate well. If there wasn’t enough, then the leader failed.
There wasn’t enough. Gene was failing Fu, but she hadn’t complained. She trudged along, smiling when Gene looked at her. When they found the tracks. Gene set up a camp and moved downwind so that his prey wouldn’t smell him.
He wanted to change into Werebear form, but there was always a risk that the animal would take over. Once that happened, the human Gene would be gone forever. He couldn’t leave Fu out there, so he stayed in human form, picked up two rocks to brain an unsuspecting animal.
Gene counted on his unnatural strength to give him the edge. He tracked the animals, looking for where they found shelter. Roe deer. Not much bigger than a dog. A small family.
Survival of the fittest. Gene didn’t hesitate. With one throw, he took out two of them and the second rock nearly took the head off the third animal. He hurried into the glade, snapping their necks, frowning with the act. There wasn’t enough for both of them, but Fu could eat well for a week.
And so she would. Gene ate the minimum he could to maintain enough strength until he found a better source of food.
Fu sensed the Werebear’s unhappiness as he cleaned and cooked the small animals. She ate in silence, knowing that she had to, knowing that he had done what he had to for her.
“We will survive, my Gene,” she finally said. “I want you to know that I’m not cold anymore.”
Gene looked at her and with tears in his eyes, he started to laugh. He stood and started to dance, Russian style, but without music, his arms crossed as he dipped and kicked his legs out, yelling ‘Ha’ with each movement.
After two more weeks of traveling down the river before they stood on the shore of the black sea. Gene had speared fish and a great wild boar that sustained them. Fu found root vegetables and edible greens.
It took both of them to sustain each other. Gene understood the harmony of their partnership. What he would do for her, she would do for him and together, they were far stronger than they could ever be alone.
Gene picked Fu up and swung her around in a circle. “I already like it here,” he told her in his heavy Russian accent.
“Khorosho, i ya tozhe,” she replied in Russian. Good, and me, too.