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Mamelukes Snippet #1

Jerry Pournelle’s Janissaries series is alive and well. Drop in to discuss it and — especially— the latest addition: Mamelukes by Jerry himself with a little posthumous help from Phillip Pournelle and David!
Mamelukes Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:40 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

PROLOGUE



During the height of the Cold War the United States Central Intelligence Agency sent volunteer US military units to Africa to aid anti-communist insurgencies against regimes which the USSR supported with Cuban mercenaries. One such unit was headed by Captain Rick Galloway, a track star ROTC officer who had intended to be a history teacher. Although he believed in the liberation effort, he was never quite certain why he had volunteered to go to Africa. He was discerning enough to realize that he was sent in large part because he was expendable; the Regular Army was being held to fight the coming big war in Europe when Russian divisions would pour through the Fulda Gap in a race to the Rhine and beyond. His unit was hardly elite, made up of troopers of varying experience.

Rick's second in command was Lieutenant André Parsons, a soldier of fortune whose background was obscure but almost certainly included a hitch in the French Foreign Legion.

Rick's company was surrounded and under attack by Cuban assisted forces that greatly outnumbered Rick's light infantry unit. Someone in higher headquarters had called off the rescue attempt, and it would be a matter of hours at most before Rick's surrounded force would be killed or captured. The unit had been warned of the doctrine of plausible deniability; and someone in the government had decided to deny Rick's unit had any legal US status. Thus, surrender meant trial as mercenaries and probable execution.

They escaped when an alien spacecraft landed in their midst. Rick thought it might be an experimental US craft, but all doubts were gone when he was invited aboard and met three Shalnuksi, humanoids but certainly not human. This was an alien spacecraft, no matter that Rick did not believe in flying saucers.

The aliens invited Rick to bring his men aboard, and urged haste, as the Cubans must not see the spacecraft. Rick persuaded his men to board. They were taken to a base on Earth's Moon where they met a human who claimed to be a police inspector for a multi-racial interstellar Confederation. Inspector Agzaral wanted to be certain that they had been rescued from a hopeless situation, not kidnapped. Rick convinced him that this was true. Agzaral then told them they would never be allowed to return to Earth. However, the Shalnuksi, the alien merchant race that had engineered their rescue, wished to employ them as mercenaries on Tran, a human-inhabited planet with a civilization comparable to Earth's Middle Ages. Their task would be to assure the growth and processing of a crop of rare recreational drugs much prized in the Confederation. The Shalnuksi would purchase the crop and give them ammunition and some modern conveniences in exchange.

Their only other alternative was to be wards of the Confederation – wards who had refused employment. Inspector Agzaral made it clear that this would not be pleasant.

* * * * * * * * * *

When they landed on Tran, Rick was astonished to find that there had been another American aboard the starship that transported him and his troops from Earth's Moon to the colony world. Gwen Tremaine, onetime student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, had become the mistress of Les, the ship's pilot, and was pregnant. When she would not consent to abortion, Les had no choice but to abandon her and the baby. He explained that the Galactics would routinely execute the child; breeding of the human servants of the Galactic Confederation was carefully controlled. He left her on Tran with Rick.

* * * * * * * * * *

Immediately after landing on Tran, Rick was deposed as leader in a revolt led by André Parsons, who persuaded the troops that he was more qualified than a college boy. Corporal Art Mason was permitted to accompany Rick into exile. Gwen Tremaine chose to go with Rick rather than stay with Parsons.

On the road east Rick met Tylara do Tamaerthan, heirless Dowager Countess of Chelm and daughter of a highlander clan chieftain. The clans of Tamaerthan were menaced by a reconstituted Roman Empire, and the County of Chelm was under invasion by another empire, the northern Five Kingdoms. Chelm's Castle had fallen. Tylara was treated as spoils of war by the invaders, but had been rescued and taken out of the dungeons by one of her father's Tamaerthan henchmen. As they traveled they fell in love, and were married in her father's highland stronghold, making Rick the Eqeta – Count – of Chelm, and obligating him to reconquer her dower lands.

Rick gradually pieced together the history of Tran. Every 600 years or so a group of Earth soldiers had been brought to the planet. Each group was used to secure local power and grow crops in one particular region of the planet. Each group founded a culture which diffused into the surrounding cultures without replacing them. The result was a variety of governments. In every case the intrusions corresponded with what local legends call "The Time", when the seas rose, there were storms, and the weather got increasingly hotter.

Rick deduced that the Romans were late eastern empire when heavy cavalry dominated and infantry was despised; sometime after Constantine and Adrianople, but before the Fall. The Tamaerthan clansmen, probably Welsh, were menaced by the Roman Empire, and faced hunger or starvation unless new sources of food could be found. The clansmen were already excellent archers but had no tactics to use against the Roman heavy cavalry and combined arms army. Rick taught the clansmen the use of pikes, and by using pikes and bows in combination was able to defeat a Roman provincial army and levy tribute on Roman provinces. This led to a revolt in the Empire. Marselius, formerly a provincial governor, declared himself the new Caesar, and negotiated a peace treaty with Rick and Tamaerthan, thus pacifying the eastern part of the planet's major continent.

Andre Parsons as leader of Rick's former troops had sold his services to the Five Kingdoms. Five Kingdoms forces had already overrun Tylara's County of Chelm, and were about to conquer all of the Kingdom of Drantos. Tylara owed allegiance to the Kingdom of Drantos. Rick's marriage to Tylara automatically put Rick at war with Parsons and his employers.

Parsons had not proven to be a good leader, and many of the mercenaries had deserted him. Most of the others were disloyal. Parsons tried to kill Rick during a truce conference, but Tylara, armed with a pistol Eliott had given her, killed Parsons. The remaining mercenaries returned their allegiance to Rick and named him their colonel.

Due largely to Rick's reputation derived from defeating a Roman army, Rick and Tylara became the guardians of Ganton, the boy king of Drantos. By combining the forces of the Tamaerthan clans, the mercenaries, and the Drantos feudal army, Rick was able to defeat the remnant forces loyal to Flaminius Caesar and thus unite the Roman Empire under Marselius. One result of this alliance was the formation of an international university at the Tamaerthan border, with Gwen Tremaine as Rector.

Rick then used the alliance forces to halt the Five Kingdoms invasion of Drantos and begin the work of reconquest. He was also able to begin production of the recreational drug crops for sale to galactic merchants. This convinced the alien faction which had taken him to the planet that he would continue to produce the desired crops in profitable quantities, and ammunition and supplies purchased on Earth were traded for his initial drug crop. The Drantos-Tamaerthan-Roman alliance was able to beat back a number of threats, including an invasion of the high plains nomads known as Westmen, probably descendants of Scythians. There were many other threats, and Rick was feeling overwhelmed.

Unknown to Rick, Tylara formed an intelligence and assassination corps of war orphans known as the Children of Vothan. They were raised in crèches and taught personal devotion to her. She used her assassins to remove a former ally who had become a mortal threat to Rick, but Rick knew none of this. The strain of keeping secrets and Tylara's jealousies led to the estrangement and informal separation of Rick and Tylara. Tylara in particular was consumed by guilt for deceiving her husband. Rick, having learned of Tylara's trained assassins, was afraid of his wife. They remained polite, but drew further apart, and spent little time in each other's company. Their two children, Mikhail and Isobel, were to be heirs to the County of Chelm, but affairs of state occupied both Rick and Tylara, so that the children were largely raised by governesses and bodyguards.

The Five Kingdoms began a new invasion of Drantos, a main attack through Chelm and a second attack in the east exploiting disloyalties of certain Drantos border lords. Tylara attended Morrone, the king companion, in the battles to the east, while in the west Rick held Chelm despite being outnumbered. When Tylara was captured by Prince Strymon, heir to one of the Five Kingdoms and nominally in the service of the High Rexja of the Five Kingdoms, Rick turned over control of his army in the west to his second in command, and rushed to her rescue. He arrived in the middle of the battle of the Ottarn River during a storm. Rick discovered Wanax Ganton was holding steady on the threatened right wing of the army, but no one was effectively in overall command. Rick quickly organized a flanking maneuver against the forces attacking Ganton. While this did turn the battle, Rick quickly became the target of a charge led by Matthias, Highpriest of Vothan and Marshall of the Great Host of the Five Kingdoms. Just when Rick thought he would be killed, Tylara appeared like a Valkyrie out of the gloom and struck down Matthias.





Part One: Treason


Chapter One: Victory












The rain had slacked off to drizzle, leaving the battlefield wet with both water and blood. There were screams of dying men, horses, and centaurs, but the thick rain and fog softened these if not the sudden crack of a .45 pistol. The smell of blood hung heavy in the air, bright copper smells mingled with the muskier odor of centaur blood. Neither sun was visible for long through the gray clouds, but the True Sun shone through near the horizon for a moment as it set. The dimmer Firestealer made a bright spot two hours high, and through the clouds lit the grisly battlefield with a dull gray light.

Rick Galloway, Colonel of Mercenaries, Warlord of Drantos, Eqeta of Chelm, and one time Captain, United States Army, rode painfully after his wife. There was no way to catch her, not with his horse blown from three days hard travel and a day of fighting.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Mamelukes Snippet #1
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:59 am

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2277
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

NO!!!!!! You can't Stop There!!!!

On the other hand, you did stop there. So More Please!!! :lol:
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Mamelukes Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:57 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

DrakBibliophile wrote:NO!!!!!! You can't Stop There!!!!

On the other hand, you did stop there. So More Please!!! :lol:



Why not? :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Mamelukes Snippet #1
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:06 pm

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2277
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

Question: Why did you stop there?

Answer: To get the reaction that I gave you. :lol: :lol: :lol:


runsforcelery wrote:
DrakBibliophile wrote:NO!!!!!! You can't Stop There!!!!

On the other hand, you did stop there. So More Please!!! :lol:



Why not? :lol:
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
*
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