Meet EarthGov

The following excerpt explains a little bit about the way EarthGov is set up and what Beck and company are up against.  As always, comments are welcome and encouraged.

 

The news of the Nowhere Men’s base destruction was received at the penthouse office in Geneva within minutes of the explosion.  The penthouse was a large ornate conference room with a large conference table in the middle of the room.  The walls were decorated with tapestries and large paintings in the Renaissance style and the domed ceiling was a replica of the paintings in the Sistine Chapel.    There were six chairs occupied around the table and numerous chairs placed around the wall.  This was the most exclusive conference room in the world.  Seated in the six chairs were the heads of the six families that made up EarthGov.  Each family had a specific area of responsibility in the management of EarthGov and all those who live within it’s domain. 

The Malone family, headed by Jacob Miller, was in charge of all aspects of labor, employment, and the setting of wages.  The patriarch of the Perlman family was Marshall Davis and they headed up the education system for EarthGov citizens.  It was the Perlman family who decided in what profession each citizen would be employed.  Despite what citizens were told, these decisions were all based on needs established at these regular family meetings.  The testing all citizens went through had nothing to do with choosing citizen’s professions, it was all based on needs and projections.  The Weiss family, currently headed by Karl Hansen, was responsible for maintaining the health of earth’s citizens.  Hospitals, doctors, medicines and vaccines, as well as dietary and food choices were all determined by the Weiss clan.     

All six of the families had one vote each and all participated in the leading and decision making for EathGov, but these three families had the least amount of power within the organization.  The remaining three families constituted the majority of the power as they controlled the military, the press, the police force, and the money. 

The finances for EarthGov were governed by the Furneaux family.  No project could go forward, no buildings constructed, or employees promoted or hired without the approval of the Furneaux family.  Emily Furneaux was the current head of the family.  She was the youngest member of the group of six, only 47 years old.  She was very attractive with long auburn hair, coming down just below her shoulders with a slight curl, but she always wore it up for these meetings.    Her big brown eyes were usually looking down at her notes on the conference table and her bright red lips rarely opened to speak.  She was highly intelligent and didn’t need her notes to know where every credit was, but she preferred to make her arguments elsewhere, in more private settings. 

Dimitri Medvik was the leader of the Orlov family.  The Orlovs were responsible for maintaining order using the heavily armed police force.  Demonstrations, dissidents, or political activism was something not allowed on earth.  They also decided what the citizens were to be told and what they should think about it as the Orlovs also controlled the media.  There were no independent news outlets, all news came from government organizations and were EarthGov approved.  The Orlovs also handled the internal security issues from terrorist groups and groups that would seek to damage the integrity, reputation, and ability of EarthGov to do its job.  Taking care of the Nowhere Men problem fell to the Orlov family.  Medvik was nearing 70, but you couldn’t tell it by looking at him.  He was still in good shape, showing very little excess weight on his six foot frame.  He had olive skin, almost Mediterranean, and his short, black hair, which was heavily peppered with gray, was the only aspect of his appearance which gave away his age.  

The last of the six families was the McCallum clan, headed by the sixty year old Sean O’Day.  O’Day was short, only 5’5″, but he was a fighter. He had short, blond hair and bright blue eyes that could stare down anyone in the room.  He rarely had a smile and always gave the perception that he wanted to be somewhere else.  The McCallums controlled the military, both earthbound -the Army, and in space – the ANS.  O’Day had a numerically smaller force as compared to Medvik, but his group had more firepower and generally had a higher favorability among the citizenry since the military rarely had direct contact with the private citizens. 

It was O’Day who opened this meeting of the families. “It looks as though our Nowhere Man problem has been taken care of.  By the ANS, by the way.”  O’Day looked slowly to his left at Medvik who was sitting on the opposite side of the table and at the other end, “Isn’t terrorism your responsibility Dmitri?” O’Day asked with one eyebrow raised and his voice full of contempt. 

“The base was located on an asteroid in space.  An area much more accessible by the military’s ANS forces.  It would be difficult for my counterintelligence forces to eliminate the base without space craft, no?”, Medvik responded, sounding almost bored.  But inside he was seething.  O’Day was trying to remove the Orlov family from the group.  He had been arguing for months that consolidation of his police forces and O’Day’s military would be more efficient.  He would never make these suggestions openly, but his questions and comments lately were aimed straight for Medvik.  He was undoubtedly trying to undermine the Orlov clan and have them removed from the group.   

This would be a bold move.  The families controlling EarthGov have remained unchanged since the creation of EarthGov in 2078, nine years after the end of the Second American Civil War.  That’s 200 years of continuous rule by the same six families.  Eliminating one of the families, any one, would alter the balance of power at these meetings, by removing one of the most powerful families, that could lead to a fundamental change in the structure and function of the EarthGov council.   

“Of course Dimitri.  A good point.  I only point it out as it seems my Army and ANS forces have been forced to handle a great many of your internal security situations of late.  I only enquire if you might require some assistance.  Perhaps the council can look at moving some of your counterintelligence operations to my group?  To alleviate some of your burden?” 

“Thank you Sean.  I can handle it.”, replied Dimitri again with the same bored tone masking his internal rage. O’Day had finally done it.  He made the suggestion openly to take away the counterintelligence functions.  

This was going better than O’Day could’ve hoped.  Numerous recent failures by Medvik, some genuine and some engineered by O’Day, would soon give him, at the very least, the counterintelligence functions from the Orlov family and potentially all of the Orlov power.  The Malone, Perlman, and Weiss families were easily controlled and would bend to his will.  They were not a concern.  That would only leave Furneaux between him and complete control of EarthGov.  But Emily Furneaux was a special case.  Gaining control would take time, but O’Day was a patient man when he needed to be.  The end goal would be worth the wait.  

Falling behind

I’ve had a very busy week, unfortunately very little of it involved adding to the novel. I do have a tentative title though – The Nowhere Men. 

My wife has had some medical issues and has been home all week and I’ve also had to do some work at my in-laws that they were unable to do themselves. I may have a little more work to finish up on Monday, but I hope I can get back to writing tonight.  I’m very far behind the schedule that I put together, but with a couple of really good days, I should be able to get back on track.

I’ll do my best to get a couple more short excerpts posted here during the coming week. As always, feedback on what I’ve already posted as well as any new excerpts are always appreciated.  I’m writing because it’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I also want it to be enjoyable to read and your feedback is essential to that goal.

Our Bookshelves

Books have been very important in my life.  Here’s just part of our bookshelves:

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We’re also trying to make sure they are important to our 4 year old son as well.  Here’s his bookshelf.  I think he probably has more books than most adults.  Yes, his cat likes to keep an eye on him as he plays 🙂

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I’ve always owned a lot of books from all types of genres – mystery, political, history, fantasy, you name it.  Some of my favorite authors are John LeCarre’, Tom Clancy, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Weber, Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, and Robert Ludlum.  There are many, many more that could be added to this list, but I think you get the idea.  As I create the vision for stories in my mind, I notice I incorporate different elements from my favorite authors as well; Clancy’s technical descriptions, LeCarre’s cynicism, Weber and Tolkien’s creation of entire “universes” in which their stories take place with lot’s of backstory and history.

I hope the final products I put out pay a fitting tribute to my favorites and you, the reader, find them interesting.  Thanks for following along with me on this journey.  Now, back to creating my dream…

Plan, Plan, Plan

I have to set goals.  I have an eclectic writing schedule, spending 2-3 hours in the morning (when I can) and another 2-3 hours at night after everyone has gone to bed.  I tend to get more done at night which fits my night owl nature I guess.  So I set up a calendar, now that I’ve really started to roll, with daily writing goals.  Based on this calendar, unless I hit some roadblocks, I should be very near wrapping up the writing portion of this novel by the middle of April.  Then begins the editing process, stepped up self marketing (not my strong suit), and cover design.  I have a copy of photoshop, but absolutely no graphic design experience, so if anyone knows someone who can do some cover design work for me on the cheap, I would greatly appreciate suggestions.  Also, anyone with any editing skills, I would be willing to discuss some copy editing work.  I’ve quickly discovered that most of the grammar rules I learned in high school have evaporated into the ether and are slowly having to be being relearned.

Chapter One [unedited]

The bridge of the USS Damocles was quiet while the ship sat moored in space dock. The decks weren’t vibrating with the steady, rhythmic drum of the engines, computers were not chirping while working on data analyses and course computations. No other time would the bridge of an IPX class starship be this quiet. And Captain O’Bannon was enjoying it. O’Bannon had been the captain of the Damocles for the last 6 months and she was always a hub of activity. Enjoying the peace and quiet, O’Bannon was shocked to reality when the alarm at the engineering station went off. He never even got the chance to turn toward the station before the fireball consumed him and his ship.

Captain Beckett Adams was walking across the courtyard at the ANS Academy for his meeting with Admiral Pratt. It was just before 7:00 on a chilly December morning and there was a cool breeze blowing out of the north. Winter in Atlanta was usually mild, but there were the occasional chilly mornings. It was unusual to have a meeting this early and Beckett was curious what it might be about. His ship, the USS Hyperion, was currently in space dock receiving upgrades and much needed supplies and he hoped this meeting wouldn’t cut that short. The Hyperion and her crew had only just arrived home two weeks prior after a very long six week tour of duty and rest and refit was just what they needed right now. But when you’re an officer in the Air Naval Service, you go when and where EarthGov calls whenever they call.

31 year old Becket “Beck” Adams was at the pinnacle of his career – a starship captain in EarthGov Air Naval Service (ANS). His career, like everyone else’s, was chosen for him in his teens. All students are required to take various tests as they progressed through school which determined both their career and tailored their education to equip them. Some even said that EarthGov knew how far one would progress in their careers, but Beck doubted that. Even EarthGov couldn’t predict how people would perform when the pressure was on. Beck performed well under pressure – he actually preferred it to the more mundane chores his duty required.

He arrived at the Admiral’s office shortly before his meeting was due to begin and settled into one of the plush, comfortable chairs in the outer office to await the signal to enter. Just as Beck sat down, the computerized voice chimed, instructing him to enter the Admiral’s office for his meeting.

“Figures,” muttered Beck as he stood back up and stepped quickly into the admiral’s spacious office. He took his place, at attention, in front of the Admiral’s desk. “At ease captain and take a seat,” the admiral said.

“Thank you, sir” said Beckett as he sat in one of the two chairs. “I have to admit, I’m a little curious what this is about.”

“How familiar are you with what happened to the Damocles?”

“Only what I’ve read sir. Some sort of engineering accident while she was in space dock. It completely destroyed the Damocles and 12 crew on board, including Captain O’Bannon. Lucky for them, most of the crew was planet side when it happened. There was also damage to the space dock We saw some of it when we arrived back two weeks ago.”

“The Damocles was blown up by a terrorist group, Beck. They call themselves the Nowhere Men, ever heard of them?”

“No sir. I’m not familiar with them at all. I was under the impression EarthGov had eliminated all these types of groups decades ago.”

“They’re an anti-government group that been around since the Second American Civil War. They’ve been in hiding, which is why you probably weren’t aware of them, but we know where they are right now and you’re going to go get them.”

“I would like nothing more, but my ship is being refitted and refurbished. I need a little time.”

“Time is something we don’t have. These guys move around too much and we can’t afford to lose this opportunity, so you’re going to do it yourself. There’s a skiff outfitted, fueled and ready to go. You’re going to take that skiff and destroy the asteroid they’re using as a base. The skiff is located on Sat-3, door 2 and the asteroid’s coordinates have been transmitted to the skiff’s NAV system.”

“OK. When do I leave?”

“Hope you got plenty of sleep last night because you’re leaving right now.”

“Sounds good, sir. Anything else I need to know?,” Beck said as he stood, preparing to leave.

“No Beck. Get up there and put an end to this now. These guys murdered 13 of our own.”

“Yes sir,” said Beck as he turned and left the admiral’s office.

Sat-3 was one of a number of small satellites orbiting the earth accessible via a space elevator which effectively attached the satellite to the earth. These elevators were only available to members of the military and all but the largest one, leading to the ANS main space dock, were located on military bases. These smaller elevators could take up to 10 personnel up to their respective satellite at once. The main elevator, located in South America, had two elevators operating which could each ferry up to 50 occupants to the space dock.

Beck arrived at the SAT-3 elevator within 5 minutes and, after using the retinal scanner to gain access, pressed the button for the door to open. The door opened immediately and Beck stepped in, pressed the up button, and began the short ride up to the satellite.

Each of the smaller satellites had the same basic design. They were relatively small, no larger than a typical two car garage. Since they were small and had very small energy requirements, there was no artificial gravity in place as there was on the three IPX starships, now two since the destruction of the Damocles. The main space dock, Olympus, also had artificial gravity generators in place.

When the elevator door opened, Beck stepped out into the open space using the handholds placed along the walls to maneuver around the satellite. There were six airlocks, one on each side of the satellite. Beck quickly found number 2, and punched in the code to open the airlock granting him access to the docked skiff.

Skiffs are the workhorses of the ANS. They are small, maneuverable ships that can hold up 12 fully loaded marines plus the two flight crew or carry large amounts of supplies. The skiff has a spherical transparent area at the front where the flight crew sits and this is attached to a long, square shaped cargo area. They are mainly used to ferry items from the surface to Olympus space dock which are too large or heavy for the elevators. They can also transport troops and personnel to and from earth who are stationed off world on either the lunar research lab or the Martian mining colonies. Skiffs have very little in the way of defensive protections and most are completely unarmed. A few skiffs in service are equipped with plasma cannon and particle beams used mainly for training purposes and to destroy the occasional errant asteroid. Beck’s skiff belonged to the latter group.

Beck made his way into the skiff, closed the airlock to the satellite, and headed toward the flight deck. As he began the start up sequence, Beck accessed the NAV system which had the coordinates already uploaded as promised by the Admiral. He also checked the flight computer and found the flight plan and orders which had also been transmitted to the skiff prior to Beck’s arrival.

“Earth Orbit Control, this is Alpha 679er requesting permission to depart Earth orbit per flight plan 1214J, over,” Beck said into the radio.

“Alpha 679er, Earth Orbit Control. Permission granted. You may depart when ready,” replied the controller stationed on Olympus.

“Thank you Control. See you on the back side. Alpha 679er out.” With that, Beck hit the dock release switch, disengaging the skiff from Sat-3, and engaged the autopilot which set the skiff off on her prearranged trip to the asteroid belt.

The beginning

So I decided two things after being laid off in November: 1) I didn’t like having a boss at all and 2) I didn’t want to be in a position where I might be laid off again. After looking into several work at home options and other business options, I decided to try my hand at writing. I had several ideas and thought it would be a piece of cake to put these ideas into book form. I was wrong. My first attempt was about 2 months ago and I struggled to get 500 words written. Then I let it sit without touching it for a while. Last week, I started in again. I rewrote the original 500 words and added another 500. Then it sat again until this week. Now I’m going strong – adding anywhere from 1500 to 2000 words a day. Hopefully, as the “writing muscle” gets strong, I can double that and get this book completed. Tentative release is early May. As I add to this blog, I’ll explain a little about the book, post some excerpts, or maybe just write about my day. Please come with me on this journey, I’ll need your help when the book hits Amazon :-).