In 2006 I was broke. Really broke. I put my house on the market and it was snapped up, but the shrew that signed the legal contract to buy it found a loophole and backed out of the deal with twelve hours to go before escrow closed. In the interim, I'd bought a house in Washington state and moved into an apartment, so that meant I was paying two mortgages and rent at the same time until someone bought the damn house again.
I took a second job, but even working 60 hours a week you still have free time. At first I played free flash games, but, even as fun as they are, they still get old after a while. Eventually I gravitated to MMORPGs (Massively Multi-Player Role Playing Games), and I found one called Vendetta: Online that was really interesting-- a twitch based (which means that your skill is more important than your level or your equipment) science-fiction game.
I made some friends online, and for sixty bucks I played for six months, about twenty hours a week, which sounds like a lot until you realize it was the ONLY thing I did-- because it didn't cost money. (Well, that and work out. I lost fourteen pounds.)
What impressed me the most about Vendetta was the backstory. Literally a novel written by the original writers of the game, it was rich in detail and extremely well done, and sparked a bunch of amateur fiction of its own, including Combat Operations. (I also discovered that about 95% of the online gaming community is politically leftist-- even admitted socialist. Makes the killing more interesting-- and gives a political conservative who can't keep his mouth shut like me all the incentive in the world to get really good as a pilot really quick!) A bizarre quirk of my humor led me to create a character called "Nigel the Indecently Dressed." Through several evolutions, and with a couple of the vowels pulled out, we get "N'gel S'nza P'ntal'ne," or "Nigel Without Pants."
No one gets my humor.
Unfortunately, I finally got the house sold and moved to Washington, where my school and work got in the way both of playing the game and continuing the fiction, but I still have some chapters written, and I think they still set an interesting and rather gritty storyline about fighting in space.
I do want to flesh this into a full-fledged novel someday, if for no other reason than that this is also my tribute to one of the best writers of military science fiction ever to grace this planet. David Drake is the king, but the heir apparent was always Christopher Bunch. His Lost Legion series, the Sten series he wrote with Allan Cole, his Dragonmaster series, these are some of the most compelling works of combat fiction (and essays about why we fight, from the eyes of soldiers themselves) that I have ever seen.
Even if you don't particularly like my writing, if you like military science fiction and fantasy at all (or some naughty sex scenes... hoo boy, check out The Seer King.) please investigate Christopher Bunch.
Christopher Bunch passed away on July 4th, 2005. He left several series incomplete, and many things undone. He was a member of the first troop battalion sent to Viet Nam, and it's fitting that his passing took place on the birthday of the nation he loved.
Fitting, but no less sad.
Virgins Slain, Dragons Rescued.
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