For several years now I've been playing around with various stories that take place in a certain universe - as such things are in the writer's mind - over a timeline that stretches for several hundred years into the future. Most of these stories are things I've written under my so-called "normal" identity and include two novels and numerous short stories. Recently, however, I included an Al Steiner story in this universe/timeline, mixing some of my serious science fiction type work with the erotic elements of the Steiner identity. The result was the novel "A Perfect World", which is currently being run at Ruthiesclub.com. I was pleased with the mix of the two elements and decided to experiment with it a little more. "Collateral Damage" is the result and I'm posting it here instead of at Ruthiesclub mainly to get a little feedback, so please, please, let me know what you think about it.
But first, a little explanation of the universe and timeline itself.
In this world I've created, everything is just as it is in our own world until January 1, 2009. On that date, a devastating conventional World War begins when Chinese and Indian armies make a surprise attack into Siberia. Within months of this initial attack, overwhelming numbers of "Asian Powers" forces conquer Russia and the Middle East, dig in solidly in Eastern Europe, and then invade North America via the Bering Straight into Alaska. From Alaska, they drive southward, through Canada and into the continental United States before finally being stopped at the Columbia River in Washington. From there, they swing east, crossing Snoqualmie Pass, taking Spokane, and then turning south, where they are halted again, after a particularly vicious fight termed "The Battle of Viola", in a broad line in Southern Idaho. From there, the war enters a long period of stalemate, with millions dying on both sides, but neither able to force the other back. The stalemate is finally broken when the Western Hemisphere forces (as the allied armies are called) develop practical anti-tank and anti-aircraft lasers, allowing them blast a hole in the lines and slowly push the Asian Powers back to Asia.
In "A Perfect World", this portion of the timeline is touched upon in the later sections, although the majority of that novel takes place 188 years after the war, when Mars has been colonized and has rebelled from its mother planet, forming it's own government. The idea of what life would be like during these war years, however, is what prompted me to expand upon that theme in one of my conventional novels and in the story you are now - hopefully - about to read. "Collateral Damage" is a fairly basic erotic fiction plot taking place in an unusual setting - a normal American suburb in the first years of this devastating war.
Again, please let me know what you think of it - whether it's good or bad, sexy or boring.
April 11, 2011
The Roseville High School cafeteria was particularly crowded with students during the lunch period on this day. Every table was full and a few kids were even forced to sit in the corner, in plastic chairs that were usually reserved only for official assemblies. The crowding - while unusual - was not because of the special announcement Principal Bauer was going to make. Everyone already knew what the announcement was going to be, had been through such announcements many times before, and had little or no interest in the words he would speak other than a morbid one. No, the real reason everyone happened to be inside today was an unseasonable rainstorm that had been pounding the Sacramento region all that day. The students who normally ate outside had been forced in.
Principal Bauer knew this but didn't really care. His enthusiasm for such announcements had faded long before as well. They were all too common these days, especially in the last two weeks, since the Asian Powers' spring offensive against the Western Hemisphere Alliance had begun. Still, it was a part of his job and he walked with dignity to the podium at the front of the room where he asked for, and eventually received, the relative attention of the early lunch students, most of whom were juniors and seniors.
"It is my sad duty to announce," he said into the microphone, "that another member of the Roseville High School alumni has given his life for his country on the active front. May I draw your attention to the Wall of Remembrance?" He nodded in the direction of the south wall, which was covered with framed, 8x10 photographs taken from yearbook files. Each one was of a Roseville High graduate who had been killed in action. With this latest addition, there were now 93 of them up there - 78 males and 15 females. And these were only the official KIAs. They did not include the 124 alumni who were listed as missing in action. Nor did they include the 84 who had been killed in training accidents or in non-combat situations. Nor did they include the 345 who had been wounded in action severely enough to be discharged and put on a lifetime disability pension.
"Newly unveiled on our wall today," Bauer continued, "is the image of John William Ringwell, Class of 2010. He was a member of the United States Army assigned to the 12th Armored Calvary Regiment and stationed on the active front in southwest Idaho. He was killed in combat two days ago during a tank battle with Chinese forces. Let us all bow our heads for a moment of silence in his honor."
Everyone dutifully bowed their heads and kept their mouths shut as asked. When the moment was up, Bauer invited them to pay their respects to the photograph as they left the cafeteria that day. He then made his leave, hustling back to his office to continue working on the budget reports for the next fiscal year.
At a table near the rear of the cafeteria, Eric Rowley sat with a group of his friends. Eric, a senior, had turned eighteen just three weeks before. He was technically old enough to be drafted now but like any high school student he was still covered under the Primary Education Deferment, which forbid the United States Selective Service from compelling him to go to war while he was still in school. The moment he graduated or dropped out of school, however, that deferment expired. "Anyone hear how Ringwell bought it?" he asked his friends as he shoveled processed lunchmeat into his mouth.
"The dumb fuck was in a tank," said Tyler Bentley, another senior. "They burned his ass to a crisp. That's how the tankers always go."
"That's a fuckin' retreat," said Matt Smith, who was munching on a microwave burrito.
Tyler simply shrugged contemptuously. "That's what he gets for going low-pro," he said, which meant that Ringwell - who they all remembered as a shy, somewhat nerdy senior while they had been juniors - had chosen to go "low profile", which meant he had not volunteered for the service upon graduation, instead waiting for the draft board to call him. Low-pro was considered a pussy thing to do among the 16 to 19 year old crowd. And it was also nothing more than a delaying tactic. Internet statistics showed that a graduating senior going low-pro would get nailed by the draft within six months anyway. The statistics also showed that a disproportionate number were assigned as crewmen on tanks, which everyone knew was the most dangerous place to be in an extremely dangerous war. Ringwell was a perfect example of the statistics in action. He had been drafted three months after graduating and had been assigned to tanks in southern Idaho - the most active portion of the front line, where more than two million soldiers from the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil were faced off against more than two million soldiers from China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. And now Ringwell was dead, burned to death by a Chinese-designed, Japanese manufactured anti-tank missile, just one of nearly a million Allied soldiers killed since the war had started a little over two years ago.
"I'm tellin' you," Matt said. "Put me on the fuckin' line with a rifle. I'll kill all the chinks they want and take my chances against the artillery. Fuck that tank shit. Can you imagine? Being stuck inside one of them death traps and burning to death? The dumb fuck probably never even saw it coming."
"That ain't propaganda," Eric said solemnly, sipping out of his milk carton.
Matt gave him a sour look. "What the hell do you care about it, Rowley?" he asked. "You're Mr. Valedictorian, aren't you? You and your goddamned 3.9 GPA. You ain't gonna be going to the line when you graduate. You get to kick it in some college for four fuckin' years and if the war ain't over by then they'll just stick you in the rear somewhere."
Eric blushed a little at this jibe. It was true that he was set to graduate with a GPA higher than 3.8, which, under Selective Service Rules, would qualify him for one of the rare college deferments from the draft as long as he actually attended an institute of higher learning. Among his friends he was the only one with a high enough GPA, something that caused a considerable amount of resentment at times. "Hey, sarge," he said. "Just because I get the college deferment doesn't mean I have to take it. I can still volunteer, you know."
"Yeah right, like you would do that," Matt said.
"I'm just keeping my options open," Eric said. "You think I want to be some pussy college student while all my friends are on the line? Fuck that shit."
.... There is more of this story ...