Thursday, May 19, 2016

Boom Boom Capone: Short Live Fiction Reading

I read Boom Boom Capone, my short story set in a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic Chicago, at the Gumbo Fiction Salon. People enjoyed it, so I present a studio recording of the audio here, so that you, too, can hear the dulcet tones of my voice.

The title comes from my early travels to Chile and Belgium as a child, to visit family.  People would ask me where I was from, and I'd say Chicago.  They would often reply, "Oh! Chicago! Boom Boom Capone!"  I thought it was pretty funny that I got this response in both South America and Europe.

Click here and all will be revealed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, C-beams glitter in the dark

Diplomatic Mission Brings Surprise Victory!

A while back I played my first and only game of Full Thrust, using the Cross Dimensions rules. I greatly enjoyed the game and finally experienced an Epic Space Battle.  Our attempts to do this as kids, using Starfleet Battles rules, resulted in 2-day long games with a metric ton of paperwork. Using Full Thrust, we were able to finish a multi-ship game in 3 hours, with minimal bookkeeping.

Our host had a cool starfield mat for our game, and Pat and Ryan had impressive ship collections, so I was able to borrow a fleet.  Together Ryan and I would have a total of 6 capital ships and 6 gunships; Pat would have 2 battleships, a number of missile destroyers and smaller capital ships, and at least 6 gunships. However, his force would be split; some waiting in-system, the rest forced to wait at least 5 turns before coming on to the board.  I'm going to continue in narrative form, because the game really fired my imagination!

With great care and stealth, we infiltrated a gunship squadron of 3 ships and and 1 small escort into a gas cloud near the flagship of the enemy Neu Swabian League (NSL).

We approached in 2 groups and made good speed towards the planet.  The stance of the NSL fleet changed in a manner that seemed rude and hostile.  We sent out communications assuring them that we were on a diplomatic mission while putting our crews on battle-alert.  After a short while it became obvious that the enemy fleet was moving to attack, and we decided to activate our insurance.

The gunships exploded out of the gas cloud and massed around the sides and stern of the enemy battleship. Attempts at communicating with the battleship were pointless, as it immediately opened fire on our ambassadors of peace. My gunship Kukri was crippled almost immediately, and was soon lost with all hands. However, my allies scored many hits on the battleship, and my gunships Dagger and Raj fired all they had.

Our capital ships were still too far to assist, so the gunships were all on their own for a while.  They continued to inflict heavy damage on the battleship, but before long gunship Raj was obliterated. The Dagger finally pulled away and made towards the planet. About that time the capital ships came into contact, and the darkness of space was filled with missiles, torpedoes, and beams.  To be honest, my gunners did only slight damage to the enemy fleet, but my allies scored hit after hit; many of them well-placed shots to power cores, life support, and fire control systems. Our right flank advanced steadily, while I held the middle, and sent the CL Victory to meet gunship Dagger at the planet. Victory had a full complement of elite and heavily armed diplomats that planned to land at the planet’s capital city.

The NSL’s reinforcements had arrived and entered the fray by now, scoring many hits on the Dagger but failing to destroy her.  She would shortly take up orbit around the planet and begin to disrupt planetary communications. My allies continued to disable or destroy enemy ships; the first of the NSL battleships drifted, without bridge control and a failing life support system, directly into the path of my battle cruiser Vengeance.  Vengeance’s boarding parties, wearing vacc suits, were soon swarming over the crippled hulk.

The light cruiser Victory took heavy damage on its way to the planet but took out a gunship in return and was well on its way to landing troops, I mean diplomats, on the planet, when the NSL fleet retreated and engaged their FTL drives.  Our colonists could rest a little easier, knowing the border had been pushed least for a little while.