Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Guest Post & Giveaways: Part Two: The Juggernaut Batallion by Amelia C. Gormley
Do you like DVD extras? Yeah? So do I. In fact, it’s entirely possible I’ve watched the appendices on the Lord of the Rings extended editions more times than I have the movies themselves.
So for the Strain blog tour, I’m going to try to make my posts a bit like the “behind-the-scenes/making-of” documentaries you might find on a good DVD. A lot of things the world-building and events that Strain depends on happen long before the events of the book itself, and while an in-depth recap of them during the course of Strain got in the way of the flow of the story, I find some of the back-story fascinating and hope you will as well.
Be sure to check the blog tour page at Riptide to see when each of these posts is scheduled.
Commenters at each stop along the way will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three eBook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, the all-in-one edition of my novel-in-three parts. Please include your contact information, either email, Twitter, or Facebook. The Contest will be open until February 28th, with the winner being announced March 1—just in time for the release of Every Inch of the Way/To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #4 and #5), the final two installments of my series with Heidi Belleau. So stay tuned for that as well!
The World, History, and People of Strain, Part Two: The Juggernaut Battalion
When the surviving troops of Project Juggernaut were exiled from the Colorado Springs Clean Zone, they split up by company and divided the continental United States into sectors. Each company would canvas a specific sector, hunting for revenants and quarantining uninfected civilians for escort back to the Clean Zone. It was a project which would take years, but only once all the Gamma-infected revenants were eliminated and the uninfected population accounted for could they be confident that the plague would be over.
Of the companies who remained in the western part of the continent, Charlie Company was sent to clear the lower plains states and down into Texas, with the goal of eventually moving into Mexico. Bravo Company cleared through the Pacific Southwest, and Delta Company was charged with working their way through the Rocky Mountain states to the Pacific Northwest.
What few fuel cells were unclaimed by the civilians rebuilding in Colorado Springs were set aside for two purposes: one, to power infrared scanners which would help locate pockets of revenants and survivors, and two, to power a radio network the companies used to keep in contact and report on their progress.
It was Sierra Company—assigned to clear the upper plains states and into the Midwest toward Chicago—who first noticed something wrong with Charlie Company’s operations. One of the Sierra Company detachments sent to escort recovered civilians to Colorado Springs twice a year encountered a detachment on a similar mission from Charlie Company. The Jugs of Charlie Company were unaccountably stand-offish, though, in light of the fact that such chance meetings were generally times for celebration and becoming reacquainted with their comrades. But what truly troubled the squadron from Sierra Company was the state of the civilians the squadron from Charlie Company was escorting. It became apparent that they were neglected and regarded the troops of Charlie Company as jailors, rather than rescuers. When discretely questioned, however, the civilians recovered by Charlie Company were reluctant—one might even say terrified—to speak about their experiences.
Until one angry woman stormed forward and began yelling defiantly about the enforced labor the civilians had been subjected to during their time with Charlie Company, and the abduction of her teenaged daughter and son out of the quarantine. They were taken into Charlie Company’s encampment and never returned, even when the rest of the civilians were sent on to Colorado Springs.
No sooner had the woman finished sharing her tale, than a bullet through the back of the head silenced her for good. A surprise attack by the Charlie Company squadron against the Sierra Company troops followed. When it was over, all but two of the Sierra Company detachment—including the civilians they had been escorting—had survived. Those two managed to evade capture by the Charlie Company troops and rejoined their company to report what they had learned.
Though the power to their radio network was nearing depletion, Sierra informed the rest of companies of the 1st Juggernaut Battalion. The others were too far east, and so it was decided that Sierra would join with Bravo and Delta Companies to march against Charlie Company’s encampment where they were entrenched along the Rio Grande. There was no way to prevent Charlie Company overhearing the radio traffic and learning of their intentions, so while the other companies converged, Charlie Company had time to establish their defenses. Though Sierra, Delta and Bravo had numbers on their side, it would be a bloody battle with casualties the Jugs could scarcely afford.
Charlie Company might have won, if not for one decisive factor—the civilians they had pressed into service as harem slaves. Among these were Bailey and Brenda Morris, the son and daughter of the brave woman who had been killed reporting the truth to the Sierra Company detachment. By happenstance, they had come to realize that they possessed strength, reflexes and stamina equal to those of the Jugs—they had, in fact, become Jugs. No one understood how, but since none of the field or domestic slaves had acquired similar abilities, it was later deduced that they must have contracted the Alpha strain by means of sexual transmission. The harem slaves had guarded this secret closely for months as they listened to their captors plan Charlie Company’s defenses against the coming attack from their erstwhile comrades. And while Charlie Company was engaged in combat, their slaves attacked from behind, providing the distraction Bravo, Delta, and Sierra companies needed to break Charlie’s defenses and triumph.
The commanding officers of Bravo, Delta and Sierra quickly established a tribunal and held trials for the remaining members of Charlie Company. Though not all of Charlie Company had taken slaves, they had nonetheless permitted, abetted, and fought alongside the ones who had.
Not a single member of Charlie Company—even those who claimed to disapprove of what the others had done—had tried to stop or turned against her own brethren. The tribunal debated the matter bitterly, but in the end decided that no one with a Jug’s abilities who lacked the conscience to speak up or stop such an atrocity could be permitted to exist freely, and both the perpetrators and the collaborators were sentenced to die.
Those sentences were commuted for a handful of Charlie’s men and women, thanks to the slaves. They reported that some of those members of Charlie Company who had remained neutral had worked behind the scenes to aid the slaves and see that they were treated well when they could. Those men and women were divided among Bravo, Delta, and Sierra Companies, where they would replenish their numbers after the losses sustained in the battle, and where they could also be monitored closely for any possible future threats.
The harem slaves who had contracted the Alpha strain could never join the rest of the civilian population in Colorado Springs; they were now Jugs and would remain so. Most stayed in Texas to establish a new Charlie Company, with training and assistance by volunteers from the other Jugs. Brenda Morris was one of those who stayed behind, and eventually became Charlie Company’s CO. Her brother Bailey chose to go with Delta Company and became one of them. The uninfected domestic and field slaves were given the choice between escort to Colorado Springs or becoming voluntarily infected with the Alpha strain to help bolster the Jugs numbers after their losses. Most of those who chose to become Jugs went with Bravo Company, which had taken the heaviest casualties, and thus Bravo Company became the first company of Jugs to recruit from the civilian population.
The necessary steps involved in “recruiting” caused considerable consternation among the remaining companies of Jugs, but the last of the fuel cells powering the Jugs’ radio network were drained before a universal policy regarding recruitment could be implemented. As a result, each company was left to its own devices, and each was keenly aware that if another company went bad the way Charlie Company had, there would be no way to coordinate a response to stop them. The companies now exist and function entirely independently of one another, unaware of each other’s activities except when they meet while delivering civilians to the clean zone twice a year.
The Strain Blog Tour:
Part One: Project Juggernaut
Part Two: The Juggernaut Battalion
Part Three: Does a Sex Scene Have to be Sexy?
Part Four: The Women of Delta Company
Part Five: Bonus Deleted BDSM Scene
Part Six: Giving Life (Fluid Exchange as a Theme in Strain)
Part Seven: A Sneak Peek at Bane, the prequel to Strain.
Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might provide immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader.
Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself.
But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved. And that means that Darius might soon have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.
Available in eBook and paperback at Riptide and other retailers.
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), and Strain. Stay tuned for her upcoming Riptide releases, which include the final two books in The Professor’s Rule (coming the first week of March) and Saugatuck Summer, coming in May.
You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookLikes, Tumblr, or contact her by email using the form on the About page at http://ameliacgormley.com/