In Need of Redshirts

“I gave everything, and all I got was a lousy ‘Thank you for your service’ letter.”

“Better than a closed casket funeral and a flag for momma.”

“…point. But would getting paid on time be too much to ask?”

“And where you going to spend the money? I haven’t seen any sign of a store or something like that since we docked at Belleza Sutil.”

“We’re in a war zone now, doos. Bound to be a whorehouse or something ’round here, right?

— Excerpt from Wraithkin, © 2011 Jason Cordova

Can you see what I’m supposed to be working on right now? Outside the usual “Jason’s bouncing around his fiction worlds like a ferret on speed” moment, I’ve been working on (i.e., editing… yuck, but necessary) something that isn’t in the Wraithkin universe (for the next anthology, Adventurers in Hell). Which is a shame because after running into some science-y problems with my mech suits earlier, I’ve fixed a lot of the problems that have been plaguing the pacing of this book. It’s also became much more fun because I get to expand the amount of characters, since they’re now merely super-soldiers instead of Death’s Walking Incarnate. This means I get to redshirt people!

Line ’em up!

Seriously, I have a list somewhere with about 20 people who want to die gruesomely in battle against an alien species in a war for the soul of man (don’t ask), but I need… more… bodies. A lot more. Like, probably sixty more dead guys.

What I usually do is look at baseball players who play for teams I despise (yes, I pick on the Red Sox and Phillies a lot in stories) and steal parts of their names for characters. But this gets stale after awhile, since I tend to run out of creative ways to morph Youkilis’s name or, worse still, discover that I have a Cole Ortiz and a David Hamel and want to kill everyone.

Yes, they die brutally, my fellow Braves fans. No worries.

But I’m looking for a few torn and rendered bodies good men (and women, I don’t discriminate) who would like to die gloriously (and not so gloriously… that’s for you, Tim Kelsey, you poor, poor bastard…) in this book. The back story of your character is pretty much the same — you are an Imperfect, genetically “inferior” to the rest of society due to some genetic anomaly in your DNA (propensity for cancer, ADHD, etc) that hasn’t been wiped out yet. You can’t have a job, no special upbringing, probably illiterate (save for a few who were discovered later in life when they applied for a marriage license… and those spots are claimed). However, you are all varying shapes and sizes who are fighting for your Emperor against the alien blight known as the Abassi with the hopes that you will earn a rare “gold” pass which entitles you to all the benefits of your superiors.

This is not leading to a civil war (well, there will be a civil war eventually, but this Perfect/Imperfect differential has nothing to do with it). This society has been operating like this for hundreds of years and, while cruel and harsh to you and I, is typical and accepted because nobody knows any better.

You can describe your genetic flaw in detail. I’ll run with it. I just need bodies (man, I sound like an undertaker now…).

susceptible to strokes? Born with a cleft palate? Partially deaf? Then the Dominion of Man is looking for you! Service of five years guarantees your gold pass and a shot at life. See a recruiter for more details!

Leave comments below if interested… and details…

6 thoughts on “In Need of Redshirts

  1. Jason, feel free to red shirt me, met you at liberty con, I’m the guy who brought t the pulled beef. Talked to you about kidney stones if that jogs your memory. I’m a type two diabetic if that gets you press ganged in your universe

  2. You should know by now that I’m up for tuckerization or redshirting should you need it, Jason (and Lisa will, too)

    • I had just assumed that being Jewish was hereditary, but because of the political climate of this universe, I need a better reason to see that you’re “defective”, Dale. 🙂

    • Yeah, it’ll make Buckley’s death in One Day On Mars (or was it The Tau Ceti Agenda?) seem pleasant and comfortable.

  3. What about the need to take apart things just to “see what’s inside?”

    It’s the getting them back together part that’s the hardest.

    Always a few extra pieces left over…

    Oh, and a touch of ADH….ooh! Cookies!

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