Monday, February 27, 2017
Sieging Manganela by Charon Dunn
Release date: February 17, 2017
Subgenre: Dystopian fiction
When you’re waging war against the people who sold your ancestors those multigenerational bioengineered supersoldier enhancements, you can pretty much predict they’re not going to meet you face-to-face, especially if they happen to have an endless supply of remote controlled drones.
The city of Manganela has been sending drones after the army camped outside for the past several years, and now it looks like the war might be ending soon, and Corporal Turo Berengar might even get to meet that city girl he’s been surreptitiously texting. Assuming he can survive the drones.
The siege had been going on for seven years.
Manganela was not quite an aircity, but it was similar to one because it was enclosed, and self-sufficient. A cluster of shiny white towers and bubbles, eight thousand meters square, one thousand meters tall at its tallest point, extending a good distance into the ground below. Capacity for half a million people, supplying them with food and solar power, filtering the torrential winter rains and adjacent seawater for them to drink, and converting their trash and sewage into useful products, like drones.
They had no soldiers, in fact. Anyone on the enemy side who might be considered a soldier was fighting over the mineral deposits in the Canyon Belt, far to the east. In Manganela they just sent various kinds of drones out through a doorway that was guarded by chemicals and bacteria. The soldiers outside had given up trying to get inside after the first several months of siege, which had culminated in a gruesome measles epidemic, and ever since, the standing order had been to kill anyone trying to get in, or out, while leaving the city itself alone.
Turo hadn’t been here long. Only a couple of months.
“… intrusive memories?” Quicksilver was looking at him expectantly.
“No, can’t say that I have.” Turo turned around and folded his arms.
“You’ve got a history that indicates potential for behavioral disturbance. And you did jump in front of a drone.”
Turo’s anger rose. Quicksilver saw it and flickered his eyes toward a nearby alarm button, and Turo froze and took a deep breath, reflecting that whatever tools the medic had used to put him back together could probably disassemble him rapidly. “Don’t be a nox. If I get kicked out on a crybaby discharge, I lose my pension and my mother gets kicked out of her hospice.”
“There’s no one else?” Quicksilver’s face was very sincere, but Turo still didn’t entirely trust him.
“Just mom is left. She’s in one of those homes where old ladies live. Needs attendants. Blind.”
“What does she get if you die an honorable combat death?”
“Full pension,” he answered right away. Then he wondered if he should have pretended he didn’t know that.
“You almost died in your last assignment.”
“Rage plague. I guess you know all about it, being a doctor.” It came on like the flu, then the symptoms went away, and the next thing you knew, you were spontaneously bursting into a fit of violent rage. Most sufferers would try to kill anybody near them, passing the infection along to anybody that got close enough to sustain a wound. Some would get self destructive instead. If they still had enough presence of mind to figure out how to operate weapons, things could get very ugly. They’d rage and rage, without eating or sleeping, until they dropped dead. It usually took a few days.
“I know about it.” Quicksilver grimaced.
“My whole unit caught it.” Turo returned the grimace. “I was the only survivor. Got promoted to corporal and sent here.”
“They’re going to release the cure.” Quicksilver suddenly said after a long pause. “Some of their scientists got caught, and they wanted to avoid the war crimes tribunal so they gave up the recipe. This is recent, couple days ago. Decisive victory will happen soon, and you heard it from me first.”
Charon Dunn originated in Maui, lives in San Francisco, and is leaping into self-published science fiction authorhood with a series of YA adventure novels set in a far-future, asteroid-reconfigured earth. She does nerd stuff for trial lawyers in the daytime, and she loves tandoori chicken, video games and her thirty pound cat, not necessarily in that order.
Sieging Manganela is a standalone side novel that accompanies the Adventures of Sonny Knight trilogy. Volume one, One Sunny Night, is available on Amazon, and volume two, Retrograde Horizon, will be out later this year.