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Holy blazing dragons, it's the Game of Thrones S7 trailer!

Posted Thursday into Raven On by girlclumsy

War! Homecomings! Stabbings! Nude Grey Worm!

The Game of Thrones Season 7 trailer contained so many delights, that of course I must put pen to papyrus and recap the seven hells out of it.

But there was one thing in that 1 minute 35 seconds of glorious GoT bounty that thrilled me more than any other.

“Oh, yes, here she goes again, ranting about Jon Snow like a sad obsessed cat fancier,” I hear you say.

NO!

I mean, yes, I am obsessed with Jon Snow in a sad, cat fancier kind of way. And we’ll get to our beloved King in the North later.

But the cutaway in that trailer that gave me the most joy was...

THE LANNISTERS’ HUGE WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP!


Jaime is all at sea.

I have been waiting seven years for this, and it’s everything I ever wanted and more.

I have now placed a call to a home decorator to rip up my large format charcoal grey tiles and install a FANTASY MAP OF WESTEROS in my living room so I can walk over it pointing and plotting tactical army movements and supply routes because I am a FICTIONAL QUEEN OF EVERYTHING.

Oh, it will be grand. Setting up the foster kittens to represent the different warring families, instructing them on when and how to attack each other, STOP RUNNING UNDER THE COUCH MICAH YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE TULLYS OF RIVERRUN AND HAZEL GET DOWN FROM THE SCRATCH POLE DOTHRAKIS DON’T LIKE HEIGHTS.

It will be epic times at my place, people.

But back to the trailer. Let’s make like biodegradable shopping bags and BREAK IT DOWN, starting with everybody’s favourite super villain, Darth Cersei. Her voiceover goes as follows:

“Enemies to the east, enemies to the west, enemies to the south, enemies to the north. Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it. We are the last Lannisters. The last ones who count.”

This is delivered while shots of the Lannisters’ many enemies are spliced in with a tracking shot over a 3D map of Westeros (and the WAR ROOM MAP!). Did anybody else notice that when she said “enemies to the south” it passed over the Vale of Arryn, which is totes NORTH of King’s Landing, but then you don’t want to ruin the momentum of the shot, do you?

The enemies pictured are Grey Worm (not yet nude and at the head of Daenarys’ army), a large sailing ship in the gloomy mist (Iron Islanders, either Euron or the Yara/Theon alliance?), an axe being sharpened (really could be anyone), and ARYA FRICKING STARK.

There’s a brief glimpse of marching Lannisters flying the golden lion, and then a throne room sequence, with Jaime standing by his murderous usurper sister lover lover (mmmm). Cersei has always been scary, but the underlying mismanagement of her grabs for power have always grounded her in some reality. Now that seems to have gone, and she appears utterly terrifying. YOU GO GIRL.


Darth Cersei with some dark side of the force hand moves.

I loved the fact that immediately after we hear Cersei saying “We are the last Lannisters”, it cuts to a shot of Tyrion. “The last ones who count.” ZING. Of course Tyrion has more than a few things that make him count in the great game - there’s his faith in his new Queen, Daenarys, and her reliance on him as her Hand. Then of course there’s those enormous dragons, we which see slicing up through the air beside the cliff Tyrion is seen striding towards (more brilliant advertising for Northern Ireland).

We transition to hearing Dany’s voice, as she gazes on the opening gates of what we assume is Dragonstone, her birthplace, and formerly the seat of Stannis “Fewer” Baratheon.

“I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms,” she intones. “And I will.” Strong Churchillian language there from Our Dany, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Wearer of Less Revealing Clothes This Season, Somewhat Disappointingly. We see her touching the sand (Kevin Costner’s return to Dover in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves remains the gold standard of touching the sand, best movie ever, no arguments please), and sitting on her angular, rocky throne.

It’s sad to think we won’t have the luscious Maario Doharis standing by her, quietly flexing, and as for Ser Jorah, there was no sign of him in this trailer at all. Hopefully he’s finding that cure for Stoneman’s Disease - I would hate to find out halfway through the season that he just turned up dead at the Oldtown docks and nobody noticed because he looked like part of the jetty. For devotees of the “Ser Jorah is Azor Ahai” theory, it would be positively disastrous.

There’s also what looks like a raid on the Red Keep - or at least I assume it’s the Red Keep, given all those archways are giving it much more of an Alhambra vibe than in previous seasons. We see some helmeted heavies fighting in a courtyard and on a balcony. This is about as much analysis as I can do on that one:


Next up it’s time for MY SWEET SWEET BELOVED JON SNOW WHOSE ABS SHOULD BE PRAISED AS GODS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT.

“King in the North!” comes the resounding cry as we flick past Jon’s beautiful, brooding face in the Winterfell Great Hall, Sansa and Brienne watching from behind, and a flash of what looks like a war council of Northern lords. You can just about make out the side of Lyanna Mormont's face. SO keen for more of her, please.


Then it’s time for Mr Snake in the Grass himself, Petyr Baelish, to get all Wormtongue or Wormtail (but not Grey Worm) up in Sansa’s grill. “Your father and brothers are gone, yet here you stand - the last best hope against the coming storm.” I know his control of the Vale knights saved Jon and co in the Battle of the Bastards, but I do wish Littlefinger would go away. Or at least get a clue and realise there’s no point in playing his stupid power games anymore.

Luckily at that point we hear Littlefinger’s total opposite in character chime in, and once again, it’s Davos Freaking Seaworth who brings the true emotional punch to proceedings. “If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die,” he says. “And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”

PREACH. Once again Davos represents the everyman, the pragmatist, immune to the trappings of power and much more concerned with basic survival. If you did a poll of most loved characters in the show, the Onion Knight would have to be up there, which means of course they’re probably going to kill him off this season and I WILL CRY ALL THE TEARS AND THREATEN VIOLENCE.

It’s at this point of course that the trailer builds in speed and pace and frequency of shots included. Here are some of the things I noticed:

*Jon Snow outpacking Tormund in a snowbound steeplechase.


*record scratch* Yep, that's me. You're probably wondering how I got into this situation.


*Kate Bush looking quite sad in a castle somewhere, watching soldiers go running up that hill, or rather, ramparts. It looks too nice to be the Iron Islands, and not nice enough to be Dorne, so where could it be?

*Jon Snow grabbing Littlefinger and shoving him up against a wall, in a totally non-sexual but still highly sexy way.

*Ellaria Sand snogging Yara Greyhoy in a totally sexual and highly sexy way.


Just make sure she took her lippy off first, Yara.


*Missandei ripping off Grey Worm’s shirt. Finally, some action in their relationship beyond courtesies and low-level chit chat.

*A burning ship, bodies falling into water and Theon Greyjoy surrounded by licks of flame - an attack on the combined Targaryen/Greyjoy army, or perhaps a dragon fart with follow through?

*Arya all alone and making a fire - come on Nymeria, you come back now, good doggo.

*Cascading packs of rampaging Dothraki.

*Rugged up northerner types running away from something, and forming a circular guard.

*The Mountain, helmeted, but I’m pretty sure it was him.

*Dany and Tyrion checking out Stannis’ old tabletop role-playing board on Dragonstone.


"Has this been disinfected? Anybody?"


People we didn’t see in that trailer include: Sam and Gilly (on SWOTVAC), Ser Jorah (MIA), the Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners crew (revenging), Bran and Meera (defrosting), White Walkers (ice cold), Olenna Tyrell (cheese, bitch) or any flashbacks to Ye Olde Times Like Twenty Years Ago.

The crescendo of music builds until we see a majestic wide shot of barrelling Dothraki on horseback, with the stupendously huge Drogon carving up the sky above. It’s the greatest fly-by since Top Gun.


After this, a quick game of shirtless volleyball.


But then we fade to black, and my beloved’s sonorous words remind us of the *snort* gravity of the situation.

“The Great War is here.”

Final thoughts? GARRRGHHHHUUUUMMMBBAAARGGGGHHH WHY CAN’T IT BE ON NOW.

For me the focus of this season is Daenarys’ transition from hot weather slavery-busting conqueror to winter homecoming queen. She has never stepped foot on Westeros; is it ready for her? Does it want her? She seems all-powerful, but her father’s rule sparked revolution and there may not be the appetite for the Mad King’s daughter. Cersei is nobody’s favourite, but then she’s proved time and again how resilient she is. Can she consolidate her power in King’s Landing and prove that a Queen Regnant can do what so many King Repugnants couldn’t?

Jon Snow is being heralded as King in the North, but is it a job he really wants? After his whole death-and-reanimation experience, he’d kind of given up on being in charge. But like Monkey, Jon Snow’s nature is irrepressible. He can’t help being a good guy, even if he has the odd sulk along the way (let me comfort you and your abs, beloved).

This trailer definitely seemed more focused on the Great War of families, rather than the Ever Greater Holy Crap War Against Monstrous Armies of the Undead. I kind of want them all to win, in my own special way. But of course there’ll have to be some losers. As long as they don’t KILL anyone, I’ll be fine.

OH GOD I’M DOOMED.

See you on July 16, beloved Throners!

26 Responses to ‘Holy blazing dragons, it's the Game of Thrones S7 trailer!’

Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
You have a point. If HBO and GRRM haven't got a merch deal for huge Westeros-mapping carpets ready to go when that trailer dropped then someone's asleep at the wheel.

(Anyone else think "wait, they're going to settle this with a game of Azad"?)

Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
Yes. Where's Jernau Morat Gurgeh when you need him?

:)

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Sousy Wench would have you know...

Posted Thursday
Could the place with the lions and dead Lannisters be Casterly Rock?

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
"Your suppose to be the Tully's...." brought it all back to me - I miss the Blackfish.

Needless to say if the trailer is any indication the series 'living at home with Grey Worm and Missandai' is going to need an adult raiting.

I also want to see more of my favourite witty banter between Varys and Tryion.

Surely your war room map can be next to your library with the clockwork model of the 7 kingdoms.

Outstanding recap and can only imagine how much more awesome it will be once you start doing the episodes.

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Sam Clifford has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
I suspect the Alhambra Lannister place is either Lannisport or Casterly Rock. I don't think even Cersei is vain enough to paint a golden "L" above an archway in King's Landing. There's a handful of Lannister cousins left, but yeah, none that matter.

Half-man! Half-man!

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girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted Thursday
Good pick-up on the Casterly Rock/Lannisport observations, peeps. We've never seen it, so it didn't occur to me initially that they might actually place some action there. Also Cersei is clearly in the Red Keep, as evidenced by her sitting on the Iron Throne.

Back in the day, Robb Stark's plan was to GO WEST (life is peaceful there) and beat the Lannisters on their home turf. Maybe Jon, or Dany, is going to try that strategy?

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Tony Leggett asserts...

Posted Thursday
Wow. Such prose and analysis from less than two minutes of footage.

This will set high expectations for your recaps, Mother of Kittens.

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Tony Leggett reckons...

Posted Thursday
Followup thought bubble:

I think the screenshot showing what looks like a raid on the Red Keep is more likely just a raid on the (probably only lightly defended) Casterly Rock.

IMHO anyway...

Tony Leggett mumbles...

Posted Thursday
...and guess who went "tl;dr" when scrolling through the comments.

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The White Witch is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
Oh how I've missed these recaps - almost (I said ALMOST!) as much as I've missed GoT, and the Beloved Abs-man! But I must confess - I have a dirty secret! I find Petyr Baelish rather sexy, in a sleazy, velvet-voiced way! I don't want him to die or go away, but to turn into a kind of nearly almost nice guy! A nice sleaze, if you will! Oh dear - I fear there is little hope for me!

girlclumsy has opinions thus...

Posted Friday
YOU CAN'T CHANGE HIM, WHITE WITCH!

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Ken Father of Dire Wolves ducks in to say...

Posted Thursday
Look at the armour, the spears, the fighting style. The helmeted heavies are the unsullied, expressing their distress at being unmanned by unlifeing the Dragon Queens enemies.

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she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted Thursday
Yep, I've just abandoned my dreams of jarrah parquet flooring and I've totally moved on to GIANT FLOOR MAP as the jewel in my interior decorating crown. Bring on 16 July!

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floki snow puts forth...

Posted Thursday
Geez the Lannisters are coping a good old thrashing, early season wins are not always a good sign.
And who's dragonscale arm was poking out of that jail cell?

floki snow swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Thursday
greyscale i meant greyscale

CatDragon would have you know...

Posted Thursday
Ser JM of course! Looking grim.

girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted Friday
Yeah, someone else showed me that as well, and I'm pretty mad I didn't pick up on it. BRING OUT THE SHAME BELL.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted Thursday
and given the magnificent prose of Ms Bochenski stretched to 1,728 words for this piece from a trailer 1minute 48 seconds long. That means for the average 55minute episode were are going to get 52,000 witty and erudite words per episode.

Ken Father of Dire Wolves reckons...

Posted Thursday
Excellent. May the gods, old and new be praised.

girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted Friday
OH GOD I'M GOING TO DIE

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Graham C asserts...

Posted Thursday
"...the Onion Knight would have to be up there, which means of course they’re probably going to kill him off this season and I WILL CRY ALL THE TEARS ..."

Well, duh! You always get "all the tears" when ....

You cut onions!

girlclumsy reckons...

Posted Friday
BOOOOOOOOMMMMM

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Heidi mutters...

Posted Thursday
Great to read your recaps again Queen Nat. SO looking forward to this season! In countdown mode now! Bring on July 16! Woo Hoo!

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JBtoo has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
So good to have you (and GoT) back

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Morts puts forth...

Posted Friday
Nat

I think your kitties are better thought of as the dragons (just as hard to control) which makes you Dany and you know she's going to hook up with Jon at some stage. Also you could direct your 'dragons' by throwing raw meat on your Westeros map on where to attack and you get the added bonus of realistic blood splatter.

Morts

PS Are there VIP packages for those who want to contribute more for the recaps? Maybe we could get them 30 mins before anyone else. :)

Anyway really looking forward to the start of GoT and your rundowns. You're the extra spice that goes into a Walder Frey pie.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
These recaps are the hot pies of my soul.

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Star Trek Discovery trailer

Posted Tuesday by John Birmingham

Looks great. Makes me think that if they can get a strong multiseries story arc out of first contact with the Klingon Empire (I assume that's what's happening here) it could provide a platform to do something very Game of Thronesy.

10 Responses to ‘Star Trek Discovery trailer’

tqft asserts...

Posted Tuesday
It's trek, gonna watch it no matter what, thank you netflix

On the subject of trailers, saw the spiderman trailer when waiting for gotg2 . First spiderman film i actually want to watch.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
Indeed thankfully we will get to see it on netflix in Australia in the US they are using this series as a draw card for CBS new streaming service.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
Hitting all the right buttons for me, I has hesitant when I heard the Walking Dead Alumni Sonequa Martin-Green was joining ST:D (sorry but thats going to be how its abbriviated) but seeing her as First officer Burnham and Michelle Yeoh as Captain Phillippa Georgiou really looks great.

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted Tuesday
Looks cool. Seems the Klingons have evolved a bit more from just skin colour and forehead protuberances.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
First contact with the Klingons happened long before Discovery. Archer was dealing with them in Enterprise (which is about 100 years before Discovery). Enterprise is set in 2151. Discovery in the 2240's.

Bangar reckons...

Posted Wednesday
I saw the title and already knew who'd beaten me to the correction ;) First Ep from memory, please check memory is now an unreliable subroutine.

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jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Wednesday
I haven't watched Star Trek since William Shatner set the world record for holding your stomach in while fighting with Styrofoam aliens. Do i need to be across all the other spin off shows to get this one or is it possible to watch it in isolation?

Barnesm mutters...

Posted Wednesday
from what little has been revealed, looks like it could stand on its own. I myself hold out for a cross to the mirror, mirror universe from ST:TOS.

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Don Bagert would have you know...

Posted Friday
I think the main thing to realize is that even though everyone is saying this is a prequel to the original TV series from 1966-69, the trailer's look (e.g. uniforms, ship interiors) is like it's part of the Kelvin timeline that was created by the new movie series which started in 2009. So if you do want to get an idea of the look and feel of Discovery, it appears that the three most recent Trek movies would be the best way to do so.

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Welcome to EN151. Literature for the Easily Triggered

Posted Monday by John Birmingham

From ASB. Probably not the sort of thing I can do at Fairfax:

Here in the Faculty of Caring About Everything we understand how important it is that students be taught in a way that never, ever upsets or challenges them because as our school motto reminds us, “That’s Not Cool.”

Students enrolling in EN151 will study the classics of western literature safe in the knowledge that the texts have been scrubbed of any and all graphic or horrifying images, confronting ideas, difficult characters, upsetting situations and unpleasant dialogue. Be assured the faculty has consulted with world class empathy specialists and traumatic risk managers to ensure that you will not be discomfited by these dangerous screeds or put in a situation that threatens even the most ridiculous of your half-baked sensibilities.

aliensideboob.

2 Responses to ‘Welcome to EN151. Literature for the Easily Triggered’

Surtac mutters...

Posted Monday
Good article. Lots of snark.

Reminded me of a lot of the PC / SJW shit I see coming into my twitterz feeds these days.

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Miss Maudy ducks in to say...

Posted Monday
I so agree with that entire post. Words from my brain in your email and all that.

I don't understand why people get so damn worked up about unpleasantness. Shit happened. And still happens. There's one book I read a while ago, triggered the fuck out of me about issues I didn't know I had. I still finished the damn book though. And learned something about myself that I could deal with or not as I chose. (It was Coraline, which is a kids book. I also screamed all the way through Bambi. Apparently, I have abandonment issues.) But that's me, and I am a grown up and I still love reading Neil Gaiman.

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Immolation launched

Posted May 11 into Books by John Birmingham

Friend of the Burger, Mr Lambright has released the final volume of his military sci fi trilogy, The Valley. Best cover so far, I reckon.

You can check it out here (universal link), and read the extract below.

For those on my mailing list I'll be sending a blast out later today when the whole series goes free for a day.

But you should really think about crossing Jason's palm with a few coins anyway. I will be.

18 Responses to ‘Immolation launched’

Surtac would have you know...

Posted May 11
Yep. Just purchased via the Beast.

Timing is good - I had just got around to reading the second book a couple weeks back.

Happy to send Jason a few shekels.

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jason would have you know...

Posted May 11
I read this in Beta and I highly recommend you get around it. Great mix of gritty reality and fantasy. The twist in the tail is great.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted May 11
Nabbed it. I liked the first two. A lot.

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she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted May 11
I've just put all three onto my to-read list. Can't wait!

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DarrenBloomfield mumbles...

Posted May 12
So glad to see the last part of the trilogy is out! I've been hanging out after buying the first two last year. I've grabbed Immolation via Kindle Unlimited, so 'free' to me, But I hope JL gets a few coins through that arrangement.

jl would have you know...

Posted May 13
Darren- KOLL does pay the author, so thank you much, sir. It's an honor.

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Bondiboy66 has opinions thus...

Posted May 12
Thanks for the link! Books downloaded and added to the reading list!

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jl mutters...

Posted May 13
I'd like to say a public thanks to the people here at the 'Burger, and especially JB. Immolation's launch was a success, you all made it so.


Thanks much for reading my stuff!

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted May 13
If it is good, it gets read. This is some good stuff.

jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13
Rhino, you have to drop in and chew the fat with me at "Confluence," the sci-fi con in Pittsburgh this summer. I'll have a table there in the dealer's room.

Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted May 13
Jason ... I would love to ... but I'm a Damned Yankee now ... moved south of the Mason Dixon in 1993. Make my home in Atlanta now. But, I do miss the Burgh, but not the weather.

You need to set your sights on LibertyCon in Chattanooga.

For those of you that don't know ... A Yankee is a northerner that visits the south and leaves. A Damned Yankee is one that visits and stays.

jl mutters...

Posted May 13
Got it, missed you by a mere 24 years!

Seriously, though, everyone moves south- few remain in these little coal towns. I've thought about moving too. Six months of OK weather, six months of hell. Winter is good for writing, though. It concentrates the mind.

I'll look into LibertyCon.

Rhino mutters...

Posted May 17
I'll tell you what concentrates the mind - not needing a snow shovel.

Oh, and seeing women in shorts until the middle of November. I mean, I don't look, of course. Unless there is a medical basis for doing so.

Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 17
Meant to also ask ... do you live in the Burgh?

jl mutters...

Posted May 17
Nah, I live fairly close by, though. Go to the VA there, and of course shopping and so. Another advantage of living in Atlanta you may have forgotten- no more Fort Pitt tunnel.

To paraphrase JB, the love of women in shorts is the root of all suffering.

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insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted May 13
Purchased 2 & 3. I got part way through 1 but couldn't continue. Not because it was no good. It was too good, too real for me. I'll try again.

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Graham C has opinions thus...

Posted Thursday
Serious question, if I may .. do authors get anything out of Kindle Unlimited?

For a skinflint like me, 50c/day for pretty much all-you-can-read is a great deal - but I worry that authors don't get royalties (or not many)

Oh, I know that not all books in series will be on KU, and I'm likely to pay for those that aren't included if I like the series enough - but is there any money in it for writers?

jl ducks in to say...

Posted Friday
Hey Graham. Kindle does compensate us a small amount per page read. I am always gratified to see the "blue graph" on my stats page trending, it gives me a real-time view on how many pages of my books were read on a given day. So by all means, "buy" books on KU. If the books are good and they actually get read, we get paid.

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Extract. Immolation. Jason Lambright

Posted May 11 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

Battle Shock

December 2345 Earth Standard, planet H-476, 49.4 days after landfall

Sons of the mothers who gave you
Honor and gift of birth
Strike with the knife till blood and life
Run out upon the earth.

—Robert Leckie, “The Battle of the Tenaru, August 21, 1942”


Lt. Col. Paul Thompson was making a dying world die faster. His soldiers, Third Battalion of the 405th Infantry Regiment, were assaulting the Harpies’ last holdout on the world the human forces had labeled H-476. The unlovely, devastated planet lay deep in the Harpies’ sector of settled worlds. Humanity was making good its threat to destroy the aliens’ civilization; millions of soldiers were fighting on dozens of worlds to tear out the Harpies, root and branch.

It was an ugly, squalid, deadly affair, and Paul had been recalled from retirement to participate. And here he was, driving his soldiers forward into the bowels of Aerie 325. His Bravo Company was currently the “main effort,” and as Paul watched his stats on his helmet’s visual display, the people assigned to his unit were dropping like flies.

Paul was doing his best to save his soldiers. But when a soldier’s unit was picked to be in the vanguard of an attack on a heavily defended structure, there is only so much one soldier can do. And Paul had done everything in his power for his people. He had trained his soldiers, he led from the front during forty-nine days of combat, and he had used up his assigned Punishment Battalion.

The partial body at his feet attested to that fact. Paul glanced downward and noted the corpse was shrouded in a prewar M-15 armored suit. Only the damned in the Punishment formations used those things these days. Paul and his troops were in the new M-42s.

A few of the original six hundred or so convicts were still alive; they had done their one task well. They had been driven pell-mell at the aerie with area-denial bots at their backs and shaped charges in their hands. When they opened a breach in the aerie’s walls with their sacrifice, Paul’s battalion had been right behind them.

And now here he stood, in the basement of the aerie with bat-like mounds of Harpy dead and fragments of his people. His newly promoted staff surrounded him, and they all were laboring to bring this slaughter about. His line companies were pushing upward, clambering up walls, fighting along arches and ramps, and killing everything that moved. Progress was slow, but it was steady and grim.

Paul knew that once his battalion reached Command’s chosen figure of 50 percent casualties that they would be withdrawn, and First Battalion of the 405th would take his place. But that was no comfort to him at all. It meant that precisely 325 of his people had to die before this nightmare would be over.

That meant 325 families who would have to be notified that their dear one had suffered a “hero’s death” near a star not even visible from Earth.

Having been through the process before, Paul almost wished he would die here before having to do that again.

A flying Harpy crashed to ruin by Paul’s feet. Without a thought, Paul shot the creature with his pistol. Just to make sure, he shot it again. The sounds of battle, muffled by his helmet, droned in his ears. The rattle of an auto, the grating zing of a rail gun, the explosion of a round hitting rock, the clang of a suit blasted to ruin—these sounds were his intimate companions, and they were burned into his soul like a brand.

His wearable connectivity device, his halo, crackled. John Stevenson, his Bravo Six, was about to speak. “Dragon Six, this is Bravo Six,” Stevenson said.

Paul was Dragon Six, the commander of a battalion nicknamed the “Dragons.” How original, Paul thought for the umpteenth time. He replied to Stevenson.

“Send it, Bravo Six.”

“Uh, roger, sir. Be advised, my company has hit heavy resistance at the top of the ramp, requesting reinforcements.”

Paul glanced at his battle schematic. The ramp was a structure along his battalion’s main axis of attack; it probably led up toward this aerie’s command structure. It had to be taken; it was a bottleneck for further progress. Paul’s readout showed that Bravo had taken 41 percent casualties. In his mind’s eye, Paul saw the tracers and corpses and heard the confused staccato chatter on the squad and platoon nets. If he would have wanted to, he could have pulled up the battle from any of his troopers’ halos, alive or dead, and watched for himself. But he didn’t need to. He knew what combat looked like oh so well.

Bravo was going to have to suck it up.

“Request denied, Six. Rotate your people as we discussed earlier, and take that fucking ramp. Once you have done that, Alpha will do a passage of lines, and you guys go into the reserve. Any questions?”

Paul imagined Stevenson hated his guts right about now.

A pause. “No, sir, no questions. Bravo Six, out.” Stevenson’s voice sounded hollow and drained.

Paul sent out a prompt to his battle staff. He wanted to get closer to the main effort—that is, the ramp and Bravo Company. Of course, in his suit, he couldn’t see the expressions on his staff’s faces, but he knew they despised his idea. It wasn’t safe where they were now, let alone closer to the ramp. Without a word, he and his staff moved up a wall and passed in single file over an arch to get closer to the scene.

Some tracer rounds flashed past, and his supply officer’s suit automatically dodged a Harpy round. A crater flashed in his wake. Paul’s M-372 cannon barked. The distant, distinctive clank from a dead soldier’s suit being impacted sounded across the guano-filled void. Paul’s staff started to pass through Alpha Company’s area, his battalion reserve. They were getting closer to Bravo Company; the din of battle grew acute.

Alpha Company’s commander appeared in Paul’s visual.

“Dragon Six, this is Alpha Six. What’s up?” Subordinate commanders always wanted to know the scoop when the BC, the battalion commander, showed up in the area of operations.

Paul spoke to Lieutenant Tsongas’s image. “Headed toward Bravo. Sounds hot up there.”

He watched Tsongas nod. “Rog, sir,” Tsongas said.

Paul silently wished him luck.

Paul and his staff threaded past waiting troopers. He imagined he knew what they felt—namely, that they were next and that their deaths might be upon them. Paul had been one of them once; he had stood in their ranks what seemed like an eternity ago. And now, through the tricks of a cruel God, he was in command. And he had to crack this nut.

His own mortality didn’t weigh heavily on him; he had resigned himself to death long ago. What he worried about was the deaths of those in his command, even though they thought he was cold and cruel. When his people looked at him, they saw a prewar survivor, a veteran of Brasilia, and a hard-bitten, slightly crazed leader.

When he looked at himself, he saw a mess.

And now he was getting close to Bravo. He and his group were on the leading edge of Alpha’s area. Paul knew that if he looked around the corner he was behind, he would see the ramp.

The din of combat was a roar. Purple Harpy blood was splashed about with alien mortal remains, and every other square foot of the area contained a chunk of trooper. They were Paul’s troops—his responsibility.

He placed a call.

“Bravo Six, this is Dragon Six. Am approaching your AO. What is your situation?”

Stevenson answered, his voice a low, panting monotone. “We’ve taken the ramp. Come take a look.” He dispensed with the “sir.”

“Rog, Stevenson. Good work.” Paul took a second to push orders to Alpha, and then he continued. “Coming up.” He started to move, wondering if he was more likely to catch a round from the Harpies or from Stevenson. Paul pinged his staff and directed them to stay in place, but his major sergeant, Joanna Matherson, followed him.

As Paul cleared the corner, his eyes fell on the battlefield within a battlefield. It was a collage of stuff he didn’t want to see: a Harpy intertwined with a half suit; a trooper’s head; a large streak of Harpy blood on a wall, with the dead alien beneath it; a trooper cowering behind a chunk of something, holding her helmet with both hands; craters; smoke; and blood.

As fast as hell, Paul and Matherson beelined toward Stevenson’s position, clearing a path in alternating bounds. As Paul moved, he checked Bravo’s battle schematic and statistics. A squad from Bravo had gained the top of the ramp, and they were holding. Another squad was moving forward to consolidate the foothold. The rest of the company was waiting. When Paul looked at their stats, he realized that a lot of them would be waiting forever. Fifty-four percent of Bravo Company was dead. Sixty-seven of his soldiers were gone.

Stevenson awaited him by the ramp itself, behind some fallen arcane machine with holes blasted in it. Paul kicked a Harpy out of the way and moved by Stevenson. Matherson linked up with the new sergeant first of the company.

After a minute, Paul broke the silence. He looked at his schematic and saw Alpha was passing through Bravo’s position.

“Captain Stevenson, you are relieved,” Paul said.

“Roger, sir. I’m a lieutenant, though.”

Paul imagined Stevenson followed with a mental “dumb ass.”

“No, Captain, you aren’t,” Paul said. “Gather up your troops, and go into reserve once Alpha comes through. You’ve done enough for now.”

Stevenson didn’t say anything; he just rocked his suit in a manner that signaled “yeah.” Nothing more passed between them.

The first soldiers from Alpha Company passed the two men. They were moving fast and erratically across the ramp. Paul’s experienced eye judged them to be veterans. Paul heard the zing of the rail gun at exactly the same moment as he watched one of the troops die in a photo-strobe flash; the clang reached his ears a split second later. A trooper who was waiting by the ramp to cross over paused. The squad leader or platoon sergeant kicked him or her into motion.

That soldier died, too.

Paul knew that this was bad. No one else from Alpha was moving to cross the ramp, and the toehold on the opposite side had to be reinforced, now. He also knew that he hated chickenshits. He had hated them his whole career. One type of commander would order his men to die while chewing on a peanut butter sandwich, whereas another type would share the dangers and lead. Paul had known for a long time which type of commander he was.

He placed an all-call.

“Come on, fuckers.”

And he started to bound across the ramp.

1 Responses to ‘Extract. Immolation. Jason Lambright’

Rhino mutters...

Posted May 13
Damnnnnnn

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Life hacks for the end of the world

Posted May 8 into Funny by John Birmingham

Today's aliensideboob is free. Partly cos I'm not filing a Blunty for tomorrow, due to the Fairfax strike. Mostly cos giving one away every now and then pays off with a subscription bump. Today's came from wondering what a ridiculously upbeat life hack blog post might look like after the end of the world.

My Top Five Amazing Post Apocalyptic Self Improvement Hacks That You Need to Action Today

It can be hard in this post-apocalyptic world of ours to stay focussed on what’s important: you and the better you inside you just waiting to get out of you?—?like the giant tapeworms which helped bring down our civilisation.

People don’t change. (Unless they’re infected with tapeworms or the zombie virus, or if they’ve been injected with a nanite swarm by our robot enemies). Most people still look for secrets, amazing tricks and life hacks that will make everything better right away.

Unfortunately there are no “overnight successes”, not even last night’s successful overnight raid on the rival scavenger camp which had been hoarding all of those tins of premium dog food. We got the dog food, but lets never forget we had to leave old Vernon behind to slow down the human-tapeworm hybrids chasing us.

Vernon was slow. He didn’t adapt. Not to the end of the world as we knew it. Not to the bullets I put into his leg as we fled the scavenger camp. And certainly not to the challenge of all those tapeworm people burrowing in through every orifice.

But think of all the incredible, adaptable people you truly admire in our post-apocalyptic world today. They didn’t succeed because of one power move. They succeeded because they followed my Top Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks That You Need to Action Today.

So stop aiming for radical personal change.

A magic bullet cannot save you.

But five well-aimed conventional bullets into a slow-poke like Vernon almost certainly can.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But there is no more chance of escaping the hard work of self improvement than there is of escaping the robot slave mines of Area 7. So, stop looking for “quick hacks” that bring faster results. The only hacking that works since our computers went dark is the sort involving machetes and the undead, and of course my Top Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks That You Need to Action Today.

1. Think of your time as money.

OK. We stopped using money after the banks collapsed, but we do barter and we only have a finite amount of things to barter with. Time is finite. It’s more important than ever to learn when to delegate a task rather than do it yourself. Do you really need to sharpen all the stakes guarding the zig-zag road into the strategic hamlet? Is dragging a heavy rock to the trebuchet commanding the riverine approaches the best use of your time? Probably not, now that Vernon’s comely young hand-fasted woman is single again and that big old yurt of hers can get cold and lonely on a nuclear winter’s night.

2. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

When those tapeworm-human hybrids sprang their ambush, I improvised a distraction for them. I adapted to the situation, the same way that Vernon will soon adapt to his new life as a giant flesh-eating nematode. And I will overcome his woman’s objections to sharing her yurt and bed roll with the guy who, lets face it, murdered her husband, by offering up a dinner of delicious dog food that Vernon’s unavoidable murder made possible. I improvised, adapted, and will overcome. You can too.

3. Schedule your energy.

It can be difficult to filter out the noise and actually achieve what we set out to do, every day. Rather than trying to avoid distractions completely, we should schedule around our energy instead. Plan to do, say, an hour’s work hammering and grinding salvaged tea spoons into arrow heads, followed by five minutes of rest. Read the Facebook on the hamlet bulletin board, to catch up on who’s had their face cut off by the Inquisition lately. Check on your mail, if the postman still lives. But just be aware of and prioritise around your times of maximum productivity and avoid the infamous afternoon slump when more than one sleepyhead has found themselves waking up in the communal cook pot.

4. Networking.

Did you know that over one hundred percent of people still find their jobs through networking? You can safely bet that successful hamlet elders didn’t get to the top by living in a bubble. Not since the last domed city collapsed. Now more than ever, networking is a necessity.

So how do you pull it off?

It doesn’t involve throwing yourself at everyone you meet. Truly effective networking involves being your authentic, fabulous self, and becoming your own best cheerleader since we’ve already eaten the rest of the cheerleaders. Looking to grab up that sweet, sweet gig as village herbalist? Think you’ve got what it takes to replace the blacksmith one day? You could spend all your time chewing bark and grass or begging for an ironmongery apprenticeship. Or you could just make friends in the Assassin’s Guild. In the modern world, it’s not who you know. It’s who they’re willing to kill in return for a couple of tins of stolen dog food.

5. Get started early.

One thing that hasn’t changed even as everything else has? Successful people get an early start on their success. That crucial hour before dawn, when most people are still hiding from the vampires, you could be up cutting a deal with our vampire overlords to guarantee your position as hamlet chieftain in return for guaranteeing them a regular supply of human blood going forward.

6. Always under-promise and over-deliver.

I promised Five Amazing Self Improvement Hacks, but I’m going to give you Six.

Eliminate ANTS.

Not the giant, man-eating fire ants which have proven all but impossible to eliminate, but the other, even deadlier ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts.

Negative thoughts happen to everyone, but the worst thing you can do is let them bring your day down. Focus on learning how you can change your perspective and realise your most fantastic self even as the world dies screaming all around us?—?it’s well worth the effort.

Don’t think, omigod these human nematodes are going to catch up with us.

Think, omigod these human nematodes are my chance to finally get into Vernon’s hand-fasted woman’s hand stitched britches. Huzzah!

Staying optimistic keeps me almost as excited as those well stuffed britches. And by staying optimistic and excited, your day will always be worth it, no matter how few you have left.

aliensideboob.com

6 Responses to ‘Life hacks for the end of the world’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 8
Thank you, comrade.

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jl mutters...

Posted May 9
LOL. I'm going to remember this piece every time I see a "ten best ways to..." piece in the future.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted May 9
Hah.

I'm starting to seriously rethink my commitment to Fairfax, particularly after seeing Media Watch last night. I'm a customer not a shareholder, and the priority they are giving to shareholders is damaging the product I enjoy buying. The size of executive bonuses (which could pay for many journalists) doesn't help their case.

Dave W puts forth...

Posted May 10
Yep, agreed. I pay for the good reads and there will be a point where there just isn't enough interesting and informative stuff in it anymore.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted May 9
Hand fasted.
?

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted May 9
Bound together as it were...sworn to service, loyalty, that sort of thing

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