Paper Targets

I have been hard at work on the sequel to SPACE MARINE AJAX and wanted to share with you some of that progress.

Raw excerpt from first chapter of Extinction Fleet Book 2:

So little remained of the men they had once been, before the war, before the blessing and curse of the torcs they wore that captured their experiences and enabled them to resurrect in the body forge. What would make one marine feel kinship with another, out of an entire legion of warriors, much less a group of them, if not some scrap of their former identity? Such loose knit groups of comrades were common throughout the Einherjar ranks, though none could say what forged their bond, for none among them could recall the sorts of details that formed the basis of friendship amongst civilians and conventional military men.

Ajax mused to himself grimly as he added his firepower with Rama’s to bring down a ripper that attempted to sweep up on their left flank. To fight the garm they had to become similar to them, disposable combatants without the cluttered distraction of vibrant three dimensional humanity. The marines had only the most base levels of personality, himself included, and yet in the furious press of combat it was those base traits that held these thinly defined men true to each other.

We have made ourselves like them in order to win, thought Ajax as he ejected his spent carbon magazine and slapped a fresh one in the slot with the sort of mechanical discipline that took years to achieve, but we are still men. We feel the heat of victory, the sting of defeat, and the pain of loss when the warriors who stand with us fall to tooth and claw.

Indeed he had no idea what sports teams he preferred, what it had been like growing up on whatever planet he’d once called home, nor could he┬árecall the last words he’d exchanged with his long dead wife. Such things had been sacrificed for his keen understanding of garm anatomy, roared Ajax in his mind as he shattered the knee of a sprinting drone, causing it to stumble and giving Silas a clean shot at its head. In place of a clear picture of his parents Ajax had the knowledge required to field strip his armor and equipment for cleaning and repairs, along with seemingly infinite tactical responses to the oncoming enemy.

Lost were the memories of happier times and gained was the intimate understanding of how to win.