Monday, May 4, 2020

Where War and Politics Converge

 

 War is a continuation of politics by other means.

And in the world of Singularity Sunrise, politics is war by other means.

The Singularity promises infinite rewards to any nation that first achieves it. Governments and megacorps are locked in a struggle to decide the fate of humanity. Every actor plays for the highest stakes; anyone who loses must submit to the will and overwhelming capability of the prime mover. The chase for the Singularity must inevitable lead nations to war.

But war is also inevitably destructive.




Aim augmentation software transforms every human and war machine into a world-class sniper and assaulter. Reflex boosters and cyborg augmentations turns every soldier into a supersoldier. Legions of expendable drones swarm the air, land and sea, all of them deadlier, faster and quieter than their human counterparts. Suborbital spaceplanes armed wit hypervelocity munitions rain death from above. Lasers strike at the speed of light, so powerful they can burn down the heavens.

In the world of Singularity Sunrise, war is extremely devastating, incredibly violent, and immensely stressful. The lifespans of anyone caught in the open is measured in seconds. If you want to live, stealth, camouflage and deception are mandatory.

The war of tomorrow is a war of machines. Swarms of smart but expendable robots, armed to the teeth with cheap but precise weapons. Hypervelocity missiles and artillery launched from ultra-long-range. Stealth aircraft hugging the nap of the earth. Units slowly crawling through gaps in sensor coverage. Men go in only when the robot defenses are wiped out -- or when there is no other option.
And when the men go in, they die in droves.

In other cyberpunk media, you'll find scenes of heroes and villains scrambling for cover as bullets churn up the ground around them, or characters standing up and blasting away at a swarm of enemies. These scenes are dramatic, but they have no place in Singularity Sunrise. In a world where aimbots are everywhere, if you can be seen, you will be shot. Whatever you expose will be destroyed--heads, arms, legs, feet. Try tactics like this and you will die.

Combat is unforgiving. If you cannot overwhelm the enemy from the moment you fire the first shot, things will get real ugly, real fast. Even the slightest mistake spells your doom.

This combat scene from Book 4 takes place inside a cargo ship, demonstrating the lethality of close quarters battle against fullborgs.

--

Lee waited.

The stock of his M80 pressed firmly against the pocket of his shoulder, the cheek rest welded firmly to his face, his support hand stabilized against the bulkhead, he was a living bench rest. The crosshair was rock steady in the window of his holographic sights, centered on the stairwell. His hand grasped the pistol grip, all the strength of fullerene-reinforced titanium without the treacherous twitches of flesh and blood, his finger resting on the frame. He leaned around the corner ever so slightly, exposing only the smallest slice of his upper body. He could wait here forever if he had to.

He knew he didn’t need to.

On the other side of the hallway, Cole and August were also peeking out around the corridor, August standing, Cole crouching, their weapons trained downrange. If this were any other unit, this was an immediate no-go, a recipe for fratricide. But the men had trained relentlessly, building an unbreakable bond of brotherhood and trust. They knew what each other was capable of, they knew their weapons and their angles, and they knew that at the precise angles and spots they had chosen, they would be clear of the crossfire.

A barrage of gunfire shattered the silence. Single aimed shots, high caliber. 8.5mm Win Mag, Lee guessed.

The drones.

He smirked. Maybe they would—

An explosion rocked the ship. Metal shrieked. Dialing up his audio pick-ups, Lee heard men shouting, boots pounding, a mad rush into the ship.

“All callsigns, hostiles have breached the deck house,” Cole whispered.

“Copy,” Morgan reported. “I see five Tangos—”

A rifle fired.

“Correction, four Tangos. Upper deck. Drones are in pursuit. The drones can’t fit through the hatches. Tangos are pausing to regroup. Wait… They are going to the stairwell. Going downstairs.”

Lee grinned.

Time to get to work.

He heard them coming. Fabric rubbing against metal, heavy soles thumping on the stairs, a sucked-in breath.

Lee waited.

A sharp metallic chink.

A metal tube sailed down the stairwell, bouncing off the bulkheads, out into the corridor.

Stun grenade.

Lee did nothing.

The flash-bang erupted in blinding light and ferocious sound. Lee’s augmentations took over instantly, dynamically adjusting his sensors. There was only a nanosecond of white thunder, then he was back at a hundred percent.

And the first black-clad assaulter stepped out into the corridor.

Lee turned a fraction of a degree, placed the red dot in the middle of the man’s face, fired. The ear-splitting muzzle report reverberated in the tiny corridor, deafening to a regular man, a whisper to Lee. Cole and August fired also, and the assaulter’s head vanished in a red cloud.

The second man backed up immediately, ducking down and out of sight. Excellent reflexes; he must be running a combat booster. Cole and August kept up the pressure, laying down suppressing fire. Flechettes screamed and whined and ricocheted into the stairwell.

Lee held fire. From his angle he had no targets, and no angle to usefully bounce bullets.

Someone yelled an order. More metallic clicks.

A pair of cylinders rolled out into the corridor, spewing streams of thick gray smoke. Lee switched to thermal vision, but all he saw was a blazing red cloud. Tiny metallic strips floated in the air like confetti, glittering in the light.

The chaff would confuse millimeter wave sensors. But it would also prevent the enemy from using their own.

“Falling back,” Lee radioed.

“Go!” Cole replied.

Lee broke away from the corner and sprinted down a corridor. The Lithsmen laid down suppressing fire, firing blindly through the smoke. As he ran, Lee reloaded, dropping the partially empty mag into his dump pouch.

He rounded a corner. Crouched. Leaned out, M80 at the ready.

“Set!” Lee called.

“Moving!” Cole called.

“Move!”

Tendrils of smoke wafted down the corridor. Chaff drifted in the air. The smoke grenades continued to hiss.

“Set,” Cole reported. “Oracle, are there any other Tangos in the ship?”

“Negative,” Morgan replied.

“Roger. Come down to us. We’re going to pincer them.”

“Acknowledged.”

Down the end of the hall, two carbines rounded the corner. One at head height, one at ankle level.

Guncam, Lee thought, even as he stroked the trigger.

His flechette shattered the upper carbine. The other one rattled a quick burst. A high-velocity round screeched past his ear. Lee ducked away.

The assaulters charged, laying down quick bursts of suppressing fire. Flechettes tore up the bulkheads and whined down the halls. He studied the patterns of sparks and ricochets, saw that the enemy was aiming high. Too high. Keeping low, Lee flicked his weapon to full auto, stuck his weapon around the corner, held down the trigger and swept left to right.

Men yelled. Guns went silent.

Lee leaned out.

Two men lay on the floor, a few feet away from him. A third man stood, a destroyed carbine swinging from his neck, pistol in his hands. The pistoleer’s hands blurred, snapping up his pistol—

Lee shot him in the head. Pressed the trigger again—

CLICK

A fallen assaulter groaned, lifting his carbine with one hand.

Lee retreated.

Dashing down the corridor, he reloaded again. He dashed past the engine room, past the citadel, stopping at a storage cabinet. He flung the door open.

Then pressed himself up against the hatch to the citadel.

The hatch was deeply recessed into the frame, deep enough that the frame could conceal his thin chassis. He flattened himself against the metal, carbine by the side.

Waited.

More bootsteps. A heavy thump, then a lighter one, the gait of a man favoring a leg. He had guts, that one. Or else he was just a fullborg.

The steps grew closer, closer, the assaulter slowly making his approach. His friends were dead, his escape cut off, the only sane thing to do was surrender. But he was committed, loyal to the mission to the bitter end. He was the stuff of heroes.

And he shuffled into view, his attention focused entirely on the open door.

With a deafening roar, Lee leapt out at him, arms outstretched, and seized his carbine.

The assaulter reacted instantly. He drove his weapon through a tight circle, levering Lee down. Lee released his grip. The hostile snapped the muzzle up. Lee slipped out, stepping to the assaulter’s side, and hooked his palm into the assaulter’s temple.

The blow rocked his helmeted head, freezing him for a moment. Lee reached across the assaulter’s throat with his right hand and gripped his shoulder. Dropping low, he scooped up the back of the hostile’s legs with his left arm, then stood upright and flipped him upside down and slammed his skull into the floor.

The hostile flopped limply to the floor. Lee stepped back, raised his carbine, blasted him twice in the head.

Two more gunshots echoed around the corner.

Then, silence.

--

While small unit actions dominate the series, the war for the Singularity is a global conflagration.

Book 3 of SINGULARITY SUNRISE is a war on a continental scale, fought by men and directed by machines. Tens of thousands die in the opening engagement; hundreds of thousands more will die in the days and weeks to come, and with an artificial intelligence prowling the ether, the bodycount could explode into the millions.

No sane actor wants to fight a war. Not directly. No one can benefit from a direct engagement. That leaves major powers to resort to proxy wars and shadow conflicts. Despite the lower profile and body count, the impact of these battles are no less profound.

Book 2 of SINGULARITY SUNRISE takes place in West Africa following a century of Chinese domination. Anatol is ready to break into the market, but Beijing sees it as an intrusion into its sphere of influence. What begins as a series of whirlwind business deals becomes a desperate struggle for survival.

Book 4 is another shadow war, one that spans the length of a divided America. Many oppose the coming of the Singularity, including those willing to use force to destroy what they don't understand. Shadowy forces are equally willing to help them. Old resentments and new flashpoints erupt into a war to decide the future of America--and the world.

Where conflict proves too destructive, other means are just as suitable. Industrial espionage. Economic manipulation. Blocking or granting key business deals. Whispers to journalists and bloggers. There are many ways for players to exert their will.

Where war fails, politics, influence and manipulation step in.

With the future of the human race at stake, no method is off-limit, no rule is left unbroken. To the victor goes the entire world as his prize; everybody else has the dregs, if at all.

Who will win the war for the future? Back SINGULARITY SUNRISE now!


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