The Veil War

"and then I was like, 'Holy crap, goblins!'"

Month: September, 2012

Ever wondered how the Marines jury-rigged digital cameras and cell phones to their M4s, and went about shooting goblins? These informative videos should give you an idea.

The setup:

The action:

h/t Garaballo

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It’s begun

The battle comes to Lewis, at last. Chapter 27 is up, read here.

Behind him, Lewis heard the tonk of mortar fire. Sixty millimeter mortar rounds fell like thunderbolts on the trolls, digging craters and tossing the enormous creatures like a discarded child’s rag doll. Almost every time, though, the black-armored dolls stood again, and resumed their steady progress.

Pethoukis leaned back and shouted over the din to Lewis, “Mortar rounds are hitting. Are they slacking or is our mojo winning?”

“No fucking clue. Pour it on. Grenades and mortars, Pethoukis; maximum rate of fire. Give them some love.”

I can hardly believe that no one has found any typos in the last couple chapters. While I would be pleased to imagine that I am in fact that good, the more likely explanation is that you all are slacking. Point out errors, misconceptions, delusions and cock-ups in the comments, and I’ll be eternally grateful.

Catastrophe

This has nothing to do with the Veil War, but I found it interesting. A while back, some researchers claimed that they had evidence that a comet had hit North America around 11,000 BC. Most scientists poo-pooed the idea, and went about securing government grants like good scientists.

Undeterred, the researchers went out and found more evidence.

Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist in USC’s College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author on the study that upholds a 2007 PNAS study by Richard Firestone, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Firestone found concentrations of spherules (micro-sized balls) of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites that his team examined. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the earth’s atmosphere. Among the sites examined was USC’s Topper, one of the most pristine U.S. sites for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples.

“This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene,” said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. “It’s both exciting and gratifying.”

Younger-Dryas is what scientists refer to as the period of extreme cooling that began around 12,900 years ago and lasted 1,300 years. While that brief ice age has been well-documented – occurring during a period of progressive solar warming after the last ice age – the reasons for it have long remained unclear. The extreme rapid cooling that took place can be likened to the 2004 sci-fi blockbuster movie “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Firestone’s team presented a provocative theory: that a major impact event – perhaps a comet – was the catalyst. His copious sampling and detailed analysis of sediments at a layer in the earth dated to 12,900 years ago, also called the Younger-Dryas Boundary (YDB), provided evidence of micro-particles, such as iron, silica, iridium and nano-diamonds. The particles are believed to be consistent with a massive impact that could have killed off the Clovis people and the large North American animals of the day. Thirty-six species, including the mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, went extinct.

Then here’s a funny quote:

The scientific community is rarely quick to accept new theories.

And why might that be?

a 2009 study led by University of Wyoming researcher Todd Surovell failed to replicate Firestone’s findings at seven Clovis sites, slowing interest and research progress to a glacial pace. This new PNAS study refutes Surovell’s findings with its lack of reported evidence.

“Surovell’s work was in vain because he didn’t replicate the protocol. We missed it too at first. It seems easy, but unless you follow the protocol rigorously, you will fail to detect these spherules. There are so many factors that can disrupt the process. Where Surovell found no spherules, we found hundreds to thousands,” said Malcolm LeCompte, a research associate professor at Elizabeth City State University and lead author of the newly released PNAS article.

Catastrophic explanations for geological events have been out of favor for most of two centuries. Alvarez’ Dinosaur Killer asteroid was one of the first non-uniformitarian ideas to gain general acceptance, but the that happened safely in the distant past. We know that something hit Siberia just over a century ago – the idea that something larger and more devastating hit us doesn’t seem like that unreasonable of an idea.

Just imagine what that would have looked like.

Netwar

Beyond thinking about the weapons and techniques of destruction we might aim at the invader, how would we organize? A civilian resistance army might be composed to a large extent out of veterans, and to be sure there are many civilians who have served in combat over the last ten or more years. But any ad hoc organization will not have the traditions and structure of a regular army unit.

People caught, away from home and threatened with death will fight back. How will they organize? Will they use the internet? The infrastructure of the United States outside the areas of enemy control will remain largely intact – and even in areas they have overrun, communications and power may remain operational for days or even longer depending on a variety of factors. Smart phones and laptops with cellular data links will still be functional. Twitter and Instagram could be an enormous source of valuable intelligence should anyone be able to handle the firehose of information that would be uploaded in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.

Could services like twitter be used to organize not flash mobs, but flash armies? (or at least flash platoons or companies, conducting flash-ambushes?) Would wiki pages located on servers out of harm’s way be useful ways to aggregate intelligence? Forums with upvoting tools, like reddit, could allow crowd-sourced sorting of raw intelligence and insight both. Geocaching games could be adapted to means of supplying troops on the run safely. Armies could be dispersed until almost the moment of battle, organized by sms, email, twitter and googlemaps.

What else can you think of?

Wolverines!

Seeing as the remake of Red Dawn looks to be leaning toward the suck – North Koreans? Srsly? Let’s consider what would happen if something entirely more plausible happened: Goblins invade.

The story we’ve been telling here is only half the story. The men that Captain Lewis commands in the Middle East are highly trained members of the United States’ armed forces. Marines, for the most part, but also USAF, Army and Navy. (No coasties, as yet.) This is one advantage that they have in their fight against the forces of darkness – their discipline and training has allowed them to keep fighting in the face of the powerful magic that the invaders have at their fingertips. And of course, uniquely they have had the assistance of friendly forces who also have access to magic.

The invasion is world wide, of course. While Lewis fights in Iraq and Saudi Arabia; Europe, Asia and North America are also under attack. The Veil crosses the northern tier of the United States – starting in Washington and moving east across to Chicago, then dipping down to West Virginia before moving across the Maryland panhandle and heading up just inland of the coast to meet the Atlantic in the neighborhood of Boston. For the most part, there are not large numbers of military units in these areas. There are no fortresses or walls. Each state has its national guard, but many of those units are deployed overseas, or located out of state for training or other purposes.

What weapons could a resistance employ against the invaders? What sort of improvised munitions could be readily devised from supplies obtainable at the local Lowes, Walmart or Farmer’s Exchange? More to the point, how quickly could these weapons be created and deployed?

If the Veil went right by your house, what would you do?

Half deck

Chapter 26 is now finally done. My apologies for the delay, but my employer was unreasonably insisting that I do work on their schedule, not mine. Such is life.

Above, the sky was deepest blue, almost purple. There were no clouds, but whenever Lewis laid his hand upon the hilt of his sword, he saw undulating banners of incandescent plasma drift above the heads of the Marines and knights who stood on the hill waiting for the coming assault.

Unlike the aurora he had wondered at a week and half ago, these luminous bands were more defined in structure. The banners twisted in response to invisible winds, they snapped and coiled in response to forces that he couldn’t perceive. It was disturbing to watch.

Whether they were actually there or just a vision provided him by the sword, he had no idea. He understood now that it was a visible sign – to him, at any rate – of the vigorous defense that the crusader sorcerers were mounting on his behalf.

Out on the plain, the enemy had regained focus. Across the plain to the east, six thousand red-armored goblins were gathering for another assault on the Snake River Brigade. Enemy messengers were once more criss-crossing the plain in front of the two American positions.

As always, I encourage, harangue, conjure and compel you to note in the comments any typos, grammatical errors, faulty logic or general screw-ups in the comments. Likewise, if you have anything nice to say, I wouldn’t take offense at that either.

Not yet

My work schedule got rearranged on me this week, so Chapter 26 will go up later today. In the meantime, enjoy this:

Subredditing

As in, the SF Subreddit. To which I submitted the Veil War in a fit of unreasoning social media optimism. Go here and upvote and/or comment and see if you can get me a movie contract like the Marines v. Romans guy.

Update:

Added a question in AskReddit, for which I am genuinely interested in seeing what sort of comments appear. “If the earth was invaded by aliens, how would you use reddit (and other tools) to organize resistance and fight back?”

It’s a kind of magic

It’s Veil War Thursday, and that means Chapter 25 is here. Your teaser:

The black cloud sent tendrils of smoke like questing fingers toward the shimmering dome that Jerome had manifested. They touched and Jerome cried out in pain, bent over like he’d been gut shot. The apprentice slowly straightened. His dome stretched inwards, compressed not by force but by pure ill intent. There was a buzzing in the air, almost inaudible but unnerving.

Van Buskirk’s men were looking around for the source of the sound. Seeing nothing, they ducked their heads like they were expecting incoming fire. The malevolence in the air raked Lewis’ nerves. This was no magical version of artillery, lethal but senseless. He could feel, though he had no idea how, that something conscious and evil was outside that fragile shield. It was hungry and it wanted in.

Things are starting to heat up. As always, use the comments to point out errors, make critiques or just say random things to annoy people.

One other request: if the spirit moves you post links on your blogs and facebook wall. Pitch the story on your tv show. Incorporate it into your next movie. Ask your local representative to mention it on the floor of the House of Representatives. The audience for the Veil War has already grown far beyond what I expected. A huge part of that has been word of mouth (thank you all) and I’d like that to not only continue, but expand. Look at this way: the bigger my audience is, the easier it will be to sell this book. And the quicker I can become a full time writer and kick this stuff out even faster. So really, it’s in your best interest. 🙂

Dramatis Personae

I’ve also added another page, a cast of characters. I can’t guarantee that the information on this page is entirely accurate, because I created my original cast list way back at the beginning and successive edits may have changed things in subtle and hard to remember ways. Hard to remember because I totally failed to keep updating this past about chapter 12.

So, there might be some inaccuracies. Also, there may be some characters you don’t recognize because they appeared in some early drafts of chapters 9-11 and then magically disappeared when I brutally edited those sections. I still have plans for those characters, and I may yet reintroduce some of the text I excised.

(If you’re new to the Veil War and weren’t around for that confusing yet exciting time, you can still see the original versions: chapter nine, chapter ten, chapter eleven.)