By Mark A. Ciccone

Two presumed-dead genetically augmented soldiers search for the truth of their origins... and discover far more than they ever imagined.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Further News

Hello, all!

Now that pressure from the Outside World has abated--a little, anyway--I'll be putting even more effort into promo work for Discarded, here and everywhere else I can. The first round of direct messages is slated to go out today; with any luck, they'll give the sluggish pledge rates of late a boost. If you receive one and have already pledged, please pass it on; shares and recommended pledges are the keys to crowdfunding!

Here's the latest snippet from the Discarded outline; pass these on as well, or critique at your leisure! Since there are only a couple more after this, starting week after next I'll be sharing certain details (don't worry; no spoilers!) on the characters and technology involved in this scifi, and possibly on the story's development from a single, random idea to the draft now being funded here. Should any of you have specific questions or requests, I'm ready, willing and able to answer them!

2034: A spike in armed assaults that summer across southern Russia and central China, as well as public shootings and other attacks in major cities, prompts the regimes of both nations to institute even harsher domestic measures (curfews, checkpoints and the like) and leads to speculation of U.S. involvement. Combined with still-present tension over the “unjust” outcome of mediated disputes over Ukraine and other spheres of influence (Belorussia, Taiwan and the South China Sea), this spurs Moscow and Beijing to increase forces along their borders with these areas, sparking a rise in fears of WWIII. The U.S. makes repeated overtures for peace, and sends small detachments of reinforcements to Europe and SE Asia, while pushing mostly ineffective economic sanctions. In early August, news comes of attacks by “shadow men” on terrorist cells in each nation, and precision strikes on energy plants, rail lines, and communications centers; it is later determined that these are intended to both weaken the real cause of tensions (terrorism) and force the regimes to focus on problems at home, at the expense of their hostile foreign policy. The latter aim briefly backfires when Russian troops enter central Ukraine as “peacekeepers” at the end of August, but this advance is halted three days later when it becomes apparent that its logistical infrastructure is fatally undermined by the “shadow men.” Though the troops are withdrawn soon after, and talks opened, the animosity remains high…

2035: On the morning of July 4th, a dirty bomb is detonated in downtown Hong Kong, killing over two thousand in the initial blast and contaminating nearly the entire city. Almost simultaneously, a cyber-attack crashes the market exchange in Shanghai. When no group immediately claims responsibility, the Chinese government concludes that “Western-backed terrorists” are to blame, and immediately mobilizes for a strike against Taiwan and the U.S. Pacific Fleet, with a hold on nuclear weapons. In a supposedly rare fit of brinkmanship, the U.S. brings additional forces into the region under DEFCON-2 status. When a July 15th maneuver by a U.S. Air Force squadron is misconstrued as a prelude to attack, the Chinese fleet opens fire with SAMs, prompting retaliatory strikes from U.S. ships. Both nations trade harsh rhetoric and occasional airstrikes and cruise missiles for the next four days, until at last evidence is brought to light (supposedly by one of the “shadow men”) pointing to a burgeoning rebel movement in Xinjiang as being behind the attacks. This, combined with the mushrooming economic catastrophe brought about by the Hong Kong and Shanghai attacks, brings the U.S. and China to the table…just as the main phase of the "Turmoil" begins…

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