The book comprises a collection of 21 fast paced and action packed science fiction short stories.
The main story Trathh is based on a story arc pod cast on the Beam Me Up Pod cast site during 2012 and 2013. A powerful alien prisoner, innocent of all charges against him, survives the crash landing of his prison star ship on Earth only to be hunted by the Earth military.
In The Young Old War the ineffectual middles passively tolerate a world wide trend of increasing violence against the elderly by roaming feral youthpaks. In Nerdforce the meetings behind closed doors of a small group of nerds can have consequences beyond our Earth.
In The Streamers, aliens detectable only by their manipulation of human emotions and their ability to stream have our best interests at heart. Or do they? A Multiverse war pitting the gods and mystical powers against the cosmic powers has led to no winners and few survivors, yet somehow life finds a way.
In Treldron an enigmatic alien from an unknowable alternate reality shows that humans don’t have a mortgage on courage and nobility. In Forgotten Soldier, an alien soldier programmed for zero tolerance to crime gets accidentally left on Earth.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A life long love of science fiction and science fantasy books and movies and a desire to give something back to the genre.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I often come up with my characters either taking very long walks or of a night time when I am unable to sleep and start immersing myself in a storyline.
Trathh was intended to be a very powerful alien being deeply wronged not only by his own people but also by the Earth military. Yet here was an individual able to overcome his bitterness towards us and help us, rather than turn his back on us, when that help was most needed
The Young Old War (aka the rise (and rise) of Grey Power)
Canberra, Australia – an aged persons defence committee meeting
Sooner in our future than you think
“The “middles” aren’t doing enough to protect us against this latest wave of extreme violence,” was the plaintive cry. “There are no rules any more and we are seen as the easiest targets.”
“We can’t rely on the police and other authorities,” was the determined response. “We need an organisation of our own. We’re a huge demographic, time rich, and collectively have vast financial resources. We have to protect ourselves, no matter what!”
Little did the author of these words realise how prophetic they would become.
A few years later
The aged care facilities computers crashed for the third time in as many days. The competent administrators doing their best against a wave of well organised hacker attacks. Trouble was the facilities defensive systems were largely dependent on the computers.
Outside the facility a large and growing number of menacing feral youth laughed at the token arrival of two ineffectual law enforcement vehicles. After all they weren’t doing anything wrong were they? Just hanging about really. If the facility was having trouble with their computers that was hardly the ferals’ fault.
Accompanying the four law enforcers were two senior citizen advisers carrying the new Grey Power arm bands. A new development but one that only brought even more derisive laughter from the youth.
“They are clearly breaking the new law!” said one of the arm banded senior cits “use the immobilizer, use it now!” It was a voice accustomed to command.
“Not without warning them first!” argued one of the coppers who was holding the unusual weapon.
The youth were surging. Some of them towards the two law enforcement vehicles but more of them towards the aged care facility. At the same time bringing out all manner of hidden weaponry; lasknives, energy knuckle dusters, vicious little laspens, nuisance noise bombs, miniature IED’s and a variety of other small “nasties.”
“The hell you say!” yelled the older man taking the weapon from the copper and firing it into the “ferals.” The strength of the older man was surprising leading the law enforcer to believe he might be on granny boost.
It was the very first operational use of the new semi-perm immobilizer weapon anywhere in the world and with spectacular results. All of the youth would recover, at least to some degree, and of course given enough time.
Formidable as it was the immobilizer was only the first of a number of purpose built offensive and defensive weapons devices being developed in secret by the new multinational organisation representing the elderly. Grey Power. It was destined to become a name either lauded with praise or condemned with virulent hatred and fear depending, of course, on just how old you were.
A few more years later
The two old men looked out past the huge double steel front gate and the attached transparent force blocks. Out the entrance of the retirement village to the semi abandoned, derelict suburb beyond.
They couldn’t see anything out there. Though they knew with a mixture of hatred and fear that the “feral” youth were there. Just watching and waiting like they had nothing else to do.
“It’s gonna be different this time,” said the smaller man “mark my words!” His companion nodded agreement and gave the universal thumbs up gesture.
Up atop the defensive wall surrounding the village, the Grey Power gunner in the nearest observation post waved almost cheerfully.
On the outside, the massive defensive wall was plastered with traditional graffiti, bullet holes, and a newer type of graffiti – etchings from crude energy weapons.
* * *
Then the convoy moved out. Much like any other that was escorting elderly people from protected retirement village to protected shopping area. In any first world country.
The two buses contained the usual limited force shield protection. They were under passive droid protection one in each bus and there were the not so passive Just over 55 (JO55) arm banded grey power advisers. One in each bus and one each in the lead and rear armored police vehicles.
So what was different about this convoy? Now that Grey Power was the new owner of this and a growing number of other retirement villages and nursing homes?
For one thing the Grey Power advisers weren’t carrying the ubiquitous immobilizer weapons any more. Weapons that the feral youth had found ways to counter in more recent times. Instead they were carrying something quite different. Something much more sinister. For another thing the other occupants of the police vehicles were not the normal regular constabulary. They were all members of one of the new “all seniors” part time police units that often worked under cover. Affectionately dubbed the OAP’s.
Indeed there was just something a little historic about this convoy. The first convoy of this type protected exclusively by individuals aged over 55. If you didn’t count the droids that is.
What none of the elderly passengers knew was that all of their human protectors were on the new superior drug that had only just begun to replace granny boost. The highly efficient Boostein.
* * *
Almost as soon as the convoy was clear of the retirement village the youthpak started firing on it. From various parts of the ruined suburb. “Let the old bastards have it!” came the frenzied cry.
The shooting was fairly accurate and relentless coming from a score or more of ever moving locations. The shooters testing, probing for weak points in the crude force layer protection of each vehicle in the convoy. At the same time multiple laser lights from irritant laspens were directed against the drivers of all four vehicles.
The Grey Power advisers had human thermal heat detection capability almost as good as the droids. More than sufficient to “see” their antagonists among the ruined buildings. Yet they withheld fire. Thankfully this was before the time that the ferals would acquire the miltech “shunter mines” and the few crude IED devices the youthpak had placed in the convoy’s path were easily detected by the late model droids.
With the absence of return fire from the convoy, the youthpak grew both frustrated and emboldened at the same time. About a hundred of them broke cover carrying all manner of weaponry including energy knuckle dusters, old rifles and machine pistols, noise grenades, energy prods, explosive throwpacs, even several rechargeable energy rifles. Some of the youthscum were still shooting at the convoy while others hurled vile abuse together with whatever physical objects they could lay their hands on. Bricks, steel pipes, assorted timbers, all falling harmlessly off the convoy vehicles force shield protections.
It was worse than any attack on previous convoys and should have evoked deep fear in the elderly passengers in the convoy.
Yet as the feral youth scum got closer they saw that nothing could be further from the truth.
Elderly ladies and men were defiantly yelling at the youth and giving them undignified one finger salutes through the bulletproof windows of the force shield protected buses.
“Up yours – you friggin youth scum!” yelled a 90 year old normally very genteel lady.
It served to only further anger the exasperated youthpak.
From the opposite end of the long street a commandeered super-dozer and another equally imposing monstrosity of earth moving equipment fired up and started moving slowly towards the convoy. Slavering ferals were driving both behemoths while other armed ferals clambered atop the gigantic machines.
It was at this moment that the full exo-skeleton equipped Grey Power advisers supported by the OAP officers chose to return fire. Not with merely disabling type weaponry but with state of the art miltech including the new not requiring recharging (NRR) high energy (HE) hand held energy weapons.
Up until now it had been Grey Powers best kept secret. That their JO55 advisers were ex British and Australian SAS, US Navy Seals, and other Special Forces soldiers.
* * *
It was a watershed moment in an already deadly relationship. Now to become even more deadly. A universal signal that the ever more powerful, ever more politically influential Grey Power, had well and truly taken the gloves off.
After the convoy passed on unharmed to the shopping centre the cowed survivors of the youthpak surveyed the scene. The scores of dead youth and even greater numbers of their wounded. The youthpak had been pretty good at dishing it out but now they were on the receiving end and they were not so good at taking it.
On their way back from the fortified shopping centre the elderly passengers were in good spirits. Resolute, defiant, even singing a few old songs until they passed the scene of the earlier one sided battle. Here even the Grey Power men were apprehensive. Yet they needn’t have been. The ferals were long gone and had even taken all of their dead and wounded with them. Refusing to rely on what would have been the long delayed arrival of an ambulance service run by the ineffectual “middles.”
No one spoke about it but all of the elderly passengers were carrying a supply of granny boost. The fast acting drug that would almost instantly but briefly shave about forty years off each of their lives.
If it had come to it. If the convoy’s force shields had been busted and the Grey Power advisers and OAP’s killed then the oldies would have fought on. Using granny boost and a few nasty little weapons that the boffins in the Grey Power laboratories had come up with.
* * *
This feral youthpak had lost here today. Not even their leaders expecting such a ferocious game changing response from Grey Power.
Next time though the youthpaks of the world would be ready. Next time it would be different.
Or so they thought.
* * *
“If that’s what they want to believe – then let them believe it!” laughed the silver haired chairman of the Grey Power board looking out from his 100th floor palatial office.
The old guy thought of the vast resources backing the world’s most powerful multinational corporation. The huge age demographic, the monetary resources, the vast volunteer base of millions of time rich retired professionals from all walks of life and chuckled.
It gave him a warm inner glow.
A few years later still
“They’ve got us on the run!” yelled the tall, rangy, scraggly individual, leader of the South Croydon youthpak. “I don’t just mean right here and now, but pretty much everywhere! The old farts have got us on the run! How did they do this to us?”
“Two words,” responded his little mate as they scurried for cover, “two words only, Grey Power mate, frigging Grey Power!”
As the youthpak scattered and scurried ignominiously down underground tunnels, basements and sewers the steady tide of Grey Power advisers advanced towards them. Well armed, well trained, well equipped and quite importantly very well paid. Many of them were the front line of Grey Power – former Special Forces, ex-marine, and ex-paratrooper Just over 55’S (JO55’s). Most of them still fit and young enough as not to need (at least not very much) instayouth the very newest drug exclusively for the over 55’s. The wonder replacement for the venerable boostein and granny boost before it.
Noticeably there were no regular police units accompanying the Grey Power advisers not even the undercover aged person OAP units. As was so often the case nowadays this particular youthpak purge was purely a Grey Power affair. The multi-national had full operational control of the purge.
The world’s youthpaks, often impoverished, had been both resourceful and adaptable in so many ways. Yet in the end their resourcefulness and adaptability hadn’t been enough to overcome the mighty demographic and vast financial resources brought to bear against them. Especially with the ineffectual “middles” largely keeping out of the conflict.
Yet most of all the youth of the world failed to respond to the challenge of Grey Power with any equivalent type of organisation. Coming up with nothing better than there diverse and disparate youthpaks.
The Young Old War is not quite over yet – not quite. Yet if the broad smile on the face of the Chairman of the Grey Power Board, looking out from his 100th floor palatial office, is any guide.
It soon will be.
I have been writing speculative fiction for about 7 years and have published two novellas and six collections of short stories. These are all on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/davidkscholes
I have been a regular contributor to both the Antipodean SF and the Beam Me Up Pod cast sci-fi sites and have also been published on the Bewildering Stories, Farther Stars than These, and 365 Tomorrows sci-fi sites.
My 12 part Alien Hunter series for the then Golden Visions science fiction magazine ran for all of 2011/12. My “Trathh” story arc ran for 2012/13 on the Beam Me Up Pod Cast Site
I am currently working on another collection of speculative fiction short stories as yet unnamed. I am also currently writing a “Human Hunter” story arc for the Beam Me Up Pod Cast site
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!