Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Arden - World Building - Part 3

Welcome to Rhomane
Okay, I bet that surprised you and I'm sure none of you ever imagined Rhomane City would look anything like this. But - that's how the concept started...let me explain:
 
As some of you will know, I moved out to Greece from a small city in the southwest of England called Exeter. The map above is a medieval rendering of a more ancient Roman map of Exeter when it was under Roman rule. Although in those days they called it Isca.

Roman legions liked to protect things. Indeed, at the end of a day's march, they would build an entire fortification - walls, ramparts and ditch (an actual mini-city) in which to safely spend the night.
So that gave me an idea for where to base much of the action. A futuristic version of a well-defended city. But what elements to incorporate?
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Below, you'll find some examples I used to inspire me.
(And although I couldn't find out who the artists were - all credit to them)

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Above are the first pieces of artwork that started to fashion a landscape in my imagination.
I wanted something supershiny - sleek - and seamless to represent a civilisation more than twelve thousand millennia in advance of our own. BUT, I also wanted to include elements of decay and ruin. (After all - the setting would be hundreds of years after the original invasion).
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So I also included things like this:
 
Perhaps you can begin to visualize how beautiful Rhomane would be?
Fluted spires, graceful arches, baroque architecture with a slick - hi-tech slant.
A core structure that would be a city in itself surrounded by gardens and further facilities to provide a sound infrastructure to the centre of a grand civilization. Then, once you'd reached the limits of the main hub, there would be a distance of 5 miles to the outer barrier - an area that could incorporate vast parklands, fields and all manner of delights.
 
Sadly, I'm not a graphic artist, as I'd have loved to include some of the sketches I devised to weave these elements together. Just as well...Sometimes, its better to provide the foundations and materials for YOU to build the city yourself with your own imagination.
 
Enjoy
 
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Arden - World Building - Part 2

I'm sure quite a few of you will remember this map from the inside cover of The IX, and I have the excellent talents of Roy Mauritsen to thank for it.
 
I think a picture paints a thousand words. But more than that, it helps me during the writing of the story itself as it helps to visualize what's where.
What you see above, started off on a much more amateurish scale. Take a peek at the maps I devised to help me navigate myself around Rhomane district....
 
My original Rhomane map
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My original Shilette Abyss map
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I know what you're thinking...Thank goodness for professional graphic artists like Roy. I know I did when I saw the futuristic version he produced to blend with the special tablet computers our heroes use.

But the important point that comes from this is that my incompetent attempts helped me map out a world and bring it to life. I had scale, I had distance, I had features jumping out and becoming part of the story. It's a pity I can't show you what I printed off and scribbled on. (Even more colors to show the extent of forests, and all sorts of other things that add depth to your narrative.

Any way - I produce them here for your enjoyment, and hopefully it might spur some of you on to greater detail in your own sories.

Enjoy...
 
 
Arden - World Building
 
 
Welcome to the setting of The IX
 
Arden, the homeworld where our story takes place is a planet on the far side of the galaxy, and is situated along the Scutum-Centaurus Arm of the Milky Way.
 
Here are a few facts to help you picture where she is in space a little more:
 
System Star: Soleíl - a K-Class Red Sub Giant
 
Planets in system: - 5. Issander - Arden - Danobe - Vesta - Ladesha
 
Planets within habitable zone: Arden - Danobe.
 
Arden's Satellite: Se'ochan - half again as big as Earth's moon.
 
 
Soleíl System showing Arden to the right.
 
So there you go - this is where The IX is set.
 
On the next blog, I'll tell you a little bit more about Arden itself and the environs of Rhomane.
 
 

The IX - Main Character Interview
 
 
 
Name
Alan McDonald – but only my mother calls me that. I’m Mac to everyone else.

Age
Thirty-five

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was a lieutenant in the Royal Marines, and the officer commanding SBS 4 Troop, UK Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Wing. I’d been in the job, what? Longer than I care to remember, coming up through the ranks. And just as lady luck would have it, was due to be promoted to captain in the month following our little mishap.
It was a great life, at the cutting edge of the military and being able to play with all the latest toys. And we got to kill bad guys on a regular basis. What more could modern day assassin ask for?
As you’ll know by now, my troop specialized in anti-terrorism in just about any theatre you can imagine, rotating with two others on standby or training. It meant you didn’t get much of a social life, but you get used to that. Married to the job is what my lifestyle was all about.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.
A bit like Craig Daniel...just more handsome HA!

Would you die for those you love?
Like the others, we weren’t really sent a postcard about it. Our number came up, and we died doing the job we loved. I think when the brown stuff ended up hitting the fan, it was more a question of doing what we could to contain the matter and take as many b******s with us as possible. But we did alright there, eh?
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths? Attention to detail and – despite what happened – a never say die attitude. I know lots of people say all sorts of things about Special Forces. But as other operators will tell you, the regime you become part of keeps you fit, keeps you well trained, and it up to you to stay motivated enough to apply what you learn whilst looking out for the little telltale signs that can make all the difference between life and – well – life again on a planet far, far away. Damn – but I’ll miss Star Wars episode 13 now!
My weakness? Expecting the same standards from others. That and a cutting sense of humor that can hide the fact when I’m being serious.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why
Personal relationships? No, I don’t really have the time, and when you think about it, what woman in her right mind would agree to get close to a guy like me? I’m in the thick of it too much to even contemplate putting someone I care for through that much stress.
Saying that, I have met someone special since I’ve been on Arden...but we’re keeping things low key. (Let’s just say, she’s kick-ass in more ways than one...sigh!)
As for closeness. I don’t think I’ll ever really be as close to anyone as I am with the guys on the troop. We rely on other for so much, it’s like we were forged in the same womb. Hoo-ha!
J
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behavior? How do you think it influences you?
Yes. It was in the mid 2020’s when extremists gassed the center of Berlin’s main subway system. Although I was just a boy, I couldn’t understand why the police and other authorities didn’t do something about the bad guys who kept committing such atrocities. I mean, all I ever saw were politicians on the TV arguing about this or that – and human rights – but not doing much; while those responsible for terrible crimes just did whatever they wanted.
I vowed there and then that if I was ever in a position to stop such people, I would.
And look how perfectly that worked out!
And now? I think my attitude is influenced by our ethic in Special Forces. If in doubt, take it out. I know it might sound harsh, but if anyone threatens me and mine, or the people and nations I’ve sworn to protect, I’ll kill scum-bags without losing any sleep. I will not hesitate. Man, woman, child. If they represent danger, I will gladly take responsibility for their timely demise.
Do you have any phobias?
Spongers who’ve never worked a day in their life. Bring back compulsory military service – or similar for Law Enforcement/Fire and Rescue. Give people a sense of pride, and they’ll become the citizens we need them to be.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.
I love cats. What can I say? If I had a more stable homelife, you’d see dozens of them in my garden.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.
As the other guys have already mentioned, Arden is a breathtakingly beautiful. Its mix of forests, grasslands and mountains look like they’ve come right out of a picture book.
Once all the troubles are over, me and some of the guys plan to climb the Erasan Mountains...Followed by the Erasan Mountains. Evidently, one of the peaks there is half again as high as Everest back on Earth.
The whole place is surreal, because although certain things remind you of home, the colors...wow!  It’s like Final Fantasy come true.
And the moon -
Se’ochan – it’s out all the time, even in the day.
Little reminders like this scream, hey! This isn’t Kansas anymore.
Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?
Oh yes, we use Rhomane city’s hovercraft (skimmer and skidders) to go just about everywhere. Sadly, our job means we don’t get much time to admire the view, as we’re often on the way to or from a mission to bag a brace of Horde ogres.
Name and describe a food from your world.
Well, like every other person with a pulse, I adore rhobexi. Why God thought to restrict them to Arden when I’m sure the teeming billions of Earth would gladly put this gorgeous beast to the top of the barbecue list, I’ll never know. Low in fat, high in taste, it’s a culinary dream come true in handy rib-sized portions. Yuuuum. (I’ll need to put a bib on soon, just the thought of that succulent meat makes me salivate).
What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)
We don’t have politics here. Just as well. They’d all be talking about survival and the soul-suckers’ rights to life while they drain us all dry. No, most of us are from one form of military service or another, so we’ve kept to that format. Everyone’s alive. We’re hanging in there. Once everything’s over and we want to spoil paradise, then we’ll give politics a chance I’m sure.
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?
I come from the twenty-first century, so I suppose you could say mankind was on the verge of dipping their collective toes into the pond of the vast unknown. The first manned spaceflight to Mars was due the following year. New particles were being discovered that would radicalize propulsion. And some bright spark had just demonstrated the feasibility of a near-light speed engine design. Yes, mankind – if it got its act together – was on the verge of something great. As it was, that meant we had all sorts of special toys to play with, in the Special Forces. Chameleon shields with incorporated stealth fuzzers to help you sneak up on enemies. Rotating optical sensors to allow you to scan multiple frequencies. Ultra silent weapons with magnetized rounds to cut through just about any obstacle. Sigh – life was good.
Now? believe it or not I couldn’t do without my trusty combat knife. It’s been with me since the beginning of my career. And although you have to get up close and personal to use it, it never runs out of ammo. Hee hee
J
 
 
If that’s it, I’ll take my leave? All that talk of rhobexi has given me a craving for meat...I can’t think why. You have a nice day now.
 
Bye for now,
Mac.
The IX - Main Character Interview
 





 
Name
Lexington Fox – but everyone calls me Lex.

Age
Twenty-five

Please tell us a little about yourself.
 was a first lieutenant with 1st Platoon, 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles Cavalry, under the command of Captain James Houston. Originally from Boston in Massachusetts, I enlisted on my twentieth birthday, July 3rd 1855.
I must admit, I enjoyed serving as an army officer, and the only thing that blighted my life were the circumstances leading up to my death in 1860...on earth, anyways.
 
Our unit was selected to complete a special mission on behalf of Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. Little did we know at the time that our commanding officer’s cousin–Governor Sam Houston of Texas–had arranged the entire thing to support his conspiracy among a number other southern state governors to form their own breakaway confederacy.
Anyway, our supposed task was to escort Princess Inuck-Shen, daughter of Chief Blooded Chin of the Blackfoot tribe, into the Bitterroot Mountain range in Kalispell, Montana. Once there, we were to hand her into the safe custody of her husband-to-be, Snow Blizzard, self-styled Chief of all Cree nations.
Is was doomed to failure, for if the wedding went ahead and peace between the plains peoples was forged, it would have strengthened Lincoln’s position in the House, especially against those dissidents who didn’t like the way the war of attrition with the native American peoples was developing.
As it turns out, Snow Blizzard was in on the plot too, and together with a number of other tribes–AND Captain Houston and his ever present lapdogs–he set about hunting us down in an attempt to wipe us out. Of course, the blame would have been put squarely on those tribes sympathetic to Lincoln’s agenda.
It looks like Houston got his way, and I often wonder if our great nation ever split as he intended.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.A cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law.

Would you die for those you love?I didn’t get much choice. Although I died doing the job I loved. My father was a colonel in the 2nd Company 1st Mounted Rifles, and like him, I have a strong sense of duty. Dying for what you believe in is the greatest way you can honor those you serve with, and the great nation we strive to protect. In my case, I’ve been given a chance to do that all over again on Arden.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strength lies in the fact that I have a strong sense of honor and duty. Give me a task to accomplish, and I’ll always strive to complete it to the best of my ability.
As to my weaknesses? Perhaps, it’s trusting others to have the same high standards I do. My presence here on Arden proves there are too many dishonorable backstabbers hiding behind a uniform...and that’s not right.
Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why
Hey, I’m only twenty-five and I’m in the saddle for most of the time. But now we’re on Arden? Who knows, there are a surprising number of women here. They’re tough. Strong. That’s because they’ve had to learn to adapt and survive. I can’t think of a better kind of person to settle down with. So we’ll see...
J 

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?
Yes I can. I was nine at the time, and my own father was on leave from the army. We went to visit his brother, Uncle George, out at Fort Smith in Arkansas. While we were there, a huge group of Plains Indians came into town to trade. It was the first time I’d ever seen any of the Native American people up close, and I found them fascinating, and much friendlier than I was led to believe they’d be.
As a treat, my family went to watch them hunt horses. I saw some of their braves chase after a colt on foot. They kept running and running. It was incredible. I thought, one day, I’ll get to work with people like this and hopefully learn something of their traditions. They were so free, and in harmony with their surroundings, it made me appreciate how much we could learn from them.
Do you have any phobias?
Men without honor. I won’t have them in my company.
 
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.
I can bend my thumb back until it touches my wrist. An absolutely useless skill if ever there was one. Oh, and I can lasso a fly at twenty paces.
Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.
As I’m sure some of the other guys have already said, Arden is a beautiful. It’s like earth in many respects. Vast sweeping grasslands. Mountain ranges. Forests. But the colors...how can I say this. They’re off. Just when you start to relax, this place reminds you it’s not really home, especially when some of the critters jump out to say hello. They’re not used to humans, so they’re not afraid of us.
Only last week, my patrol were taking a break and enjoying a coffee, when this woodpecker type bird swooped down, perched on the rim of my cup, gave me a “who do you think you’re staring at?” look, and then proceeded to wash himself in my beverage!
I couldn’t believe it. Even when I tried to shake him off, he just kept at it until he was good and ready. Then he jumped down, took his good time preening his feathers, and flew away without even saying thank you. That’s Arden! Shame the Horde spoil it!
Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?
As you can imagine, travel is difficult because of the Horde. Thankfully, we’ve got a large supply of bullets to keep them at bay. I love riding out into the Sengennon plains. It reminds me so much of Oklahoma
Name and describe a food from your world.
This is probably getting quite boring for you, as I know you asked some of the other guys this question. But, everyone – and I mean everyone – loves the rhobexi. God, what a taste. However, I also enjoy provat. It looks very similar to our sheep, and tastes like pork mixed with beef.
What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)
There’s no real politics here. We’re all survivors, and most of us are from one form of military service or another. That’s spilled over into our everyday way of life. It’s strange really...there’s a disciplined aspect to the way things are done, but, everyone is entrusted with the responsibility to fulfill their respective duty. So in one regard, everything is quite relaxed. I like it. If it wasn’t for that idiot, Houston, I think everybody would be happy.
What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?
I come from the nineteenth century. From what I’m told, I lived at a time leading up to a technological explosion on earth...but I guess I’ll never know now. Anyhow, as you can imagine, coming here is like living in a dream. We stick to our own group and methods, especially when we’re out on patrol, but once were back in Arden, wow! It’s like the best of both worlds...My particular favorites are the food dispensers that can serve multiple meals all at the same time, and the sickbay. Life in the saddle can be quite hard, and it’s a refreshing change to be able to heal the niggling injuries we pick up in a matter of minutes. Awesome in fact. J
 
Anyway, thanks for asking me about my life. You must come and visit once we’ve got the Horde under control. Things will be much more relaxed then and perhaps I can show you around?
 
Bye for now,
Lex.
 
 

 

The IX - Main Character Interview
 
 
 


Name
Marcus Brutus

Age
Thirty-three.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was the Triari, - Prime Centurion of the First Cohort of the Ninth Legion of Rome (Hispana), until death took me in the bleak Highlands of Caledonia. As the highest ranking officer to survive, I received a field promotion to General, something I would have preferred to earn by merit. However, by Pluto’s grace, I appear to have impressed those in power, here on Arden, for I was promoted onto their council with the rank of Sub-Commander.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.
I am not concerned by appearances. However those from the centuries ahead of me, tell me I look like a cross between Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas, whoever they are? Hopefully they were warriors of high repute?

Would you die for those you love?
Of course. My love for Rome and for my brothers is without peer, and rightly so, for the life I led did not leave room for a family. Now we are here and building new ties, we must begin again. Life is precious, and so are those we fight to protect.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strength lies in the fact that I never give up, no matter the hurdles I might encounter. Only the strong survive, and I am determined to outlive any who would endanger our safety.
As to my weaknesses? Perhaps it is also my resolve never to give up? I must learn to come to terms with the fact that much now rests on my shoulders. I have more to consider than just personal pride and resolve. My decisions affect others, and the future of an entire new race. Inevitably, this will mean I have to learn to walk away, and come back to fight another day.


Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why
Besides the Legion, my best friend, Flavius Tacitus, is the closest thing I now have to a true brother. He was Decurio of the Legion – what you would call the cavalry officer – until his transference here. Now he serves as my second-in-command.
Unbelievably, I also find I am developing closer ties to some among our former enemies of the Iceni tribes. Cathal MacNoimhin and Searc Calhoun in particular. They are fierce warriors, who, despite their uncivilized ways, have a strong – if somewhat strange – sense of honor. I was astonished to discover how skilled  they were in battle, and the fact that they would fight to the death, rather than let a man die alone. Remarkable!  

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?
I’m from a long line of warriors. As a boy, I was brought up on honor and tradition. One of the first things that made a strong impression was how people treated the former soldiers of the First Legion Germanica following their disbandment for cowardice during the Batavi revolt. They became pariahs within our communities, outcasts who were shunned and forced to live as outcasts in the wilds.
I vowed that when I grew up, I would never shame my family in the same way. Death before dishonour! Strange, how I ended up keeping to those tenets, only to discover death was only the beginning of my adventure.


Do you have any phobias?
Cowards. I hate them with a passion...along with those who refuse to carry their own burden.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.
I’m a rather good cook...even if I do say so myself. Years in the field help you make the most of limited ingredients, and it’s true to say, an army marches on its stomach. If you don’t learn to make even the blandest of foods appetizing, well, you won’t last very long. You ought to see what I can do with worms, garlic and eggs!
Apart from that? I love gardening. It must be something to do with enjoying the peace and quiet of watching what you’ve planted grow before your eyes. (A most welcome distraction from endless conflict).



Tell Us About Your World


Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, Arden is a world situated a long, long way from Earth. On the far side of our galaxy in fact. (I have learned of such things after I arrived here).
A strange place, for it reminds me in many respects of Gaul in high summer. Endless plains, sprawling forests, and rich wildlife just begging for the hunt.


My dream was to retire to Gaul one day and start a family.

It looks like I might still get to do that, although many millions of leagues away from my original choice.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?
Travel is difficult because of the demon Horde. Nevertheless, I seize whatever opportunities I can to take Starblaze, my horse, for a run. He’s a fine stallion of impressive Arabian stock. Black as midnight, with a white sigil upon his forehead. Trained for battle and as surefooted as they come.
I know some among our colony like their hover crafts and other futuristic devices, but I prefer the feeling of being connected to my mount as I journey out into the plains surrounding Rhomane. It reminds me I’m alive.


Name and describe a food from your world.
Everyone loves the rhobexi here, a fine and robust animal with a taste that reminds me of venison. My personal favourite, however, is yithan. Its appearance resembles that of a gazelle, or particular varieties of mountain goat back on Earth. Tastes the same too, and is particularly fine when roasted over an open fire.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)
The form of government here is currently what you’d find in many military regiments, although much more relaxed. A necessity as we face an everyday battle for survival. But in the past, it appears the Ardenese people had a system much like we used to find at home.

From the viewing devices I have witnessed, they had a Senatum, magisters and prefects. Even their main cities posses a similar ring. My men have often wondered if the Ardenese people ever used their vast flying machines to swim the stars to seed distant worlds with the concept of culture and politics. Earth among them, perhaps?

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?
I come from the first century, so everything here stretches the imagination. For example, I am only able to converse with you now, due to the presence of tiny mechanical devices in my blood. I have been told such things are called, “Nano-bots”. They saturate my system, and allow me to learn at a vastly increased rate, and enhance my ability to communicate in different languages – Ardenese and English included.

It seems like magic, to me? Things I cannot see, or feel, working away inside me to produce tangible differences. But there you go. I suppose we must accustom ourselves to such changes, for there is no going back.

Now we are here, the one thing I can’t do without is Starblaze. He reminds me of who I am, and where I yearn to be.
Thank you for asking me about my life. I’d love to assist you further, but must be away to oversee the Legion as they go through their drills. Modern or not, this society needs warriors who can fight. Men with spirits of steel. And now we’re here, I must ensure the Ninth remains the backbone of their new, emerging army.
 

The Origins of - The IX
 
I undertook the writing of The IX following a lively and opinionated discussion during a veterans reunion dinner in the early part of 2013. Military history has always been a hobby of mine, and several ex-Royal Marine colleagues started a debate as to the fate of the legendary lost 9th Legion of Rome.

A legion was a mighty edifice. More than five thousand strong, they were a self-contained mini-civilization on the march, capable of building an entire fortification at the end of every day’s journey in which to sleep soundly.

And yet, they marched into the swirling mists of Northern Caledonia (Scotland) sometime between AD100 – 120 (Estimates vary, which is a mystery in itself) and were never seen again.

That conversation stayed with me for several months until I happened to catch an old movie on TV, entitled, Millennium. In that film, time travelers visit the present day and steal passengers from doomed aircraft with the intention of repopulating a barren world of the future.

I am an avid science fiction fan, and the conversation from the reunion dinner immediately sprang to mind. Obviously, I began to imagine what if?

What if they were taken? Not into our future...but somewhere and somewhen else entirely. What if their antagonists were also snatched away with them? Obviously, it would create a cauldron of fomenting tension, especially if these adversaries were thrown together in a situation whereby they were forced to work with each other to survive an even greater peril.

I started to let that idea develop, and then came up with an even better twist. How about including other groups of refugees from several other time periods, and throw them into the same nightmare scenario?

It took a great deal of research and preparation, but I chose a US cavalry unit from around the time of the presidential elections of 1860, as that was a period of great interest to me.

Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln was juggling growing pressure between various state governors and congress regarding the issue of the Native American peoples. So, I simply invented a secret peace proposal between him and certain tribes from the Plains Cree nations. Of course, this ‘treaty’ would also be compounded by an ongoing internal conflict between the actual clans themselves, all of which would add to the simmering uncertainty.

Into the stew, I introduced a straightforward anti-terrorist Special Forces team from the near future. That was easy, because of my military experience.

Overall, it was a lot of work, but I was very pleased with the resulting outline, as it provided a fresh approach to what many have felt has become a stagnating genre.

Each unit brings their own particular strength to the story.

Roman legions were renowned for their tenacity and adaptability. They worked and operated under all sorts of conditions in all sorts of theaters around the world. There simply wasn’t anything else like them in the world at the height of their strength. As such, Marcus Brutus and his men bring that dogged resilience to play. Their honor doesn’t allow them to give up. Which is just as well, for they face an enemy that refuses to quit.

The US Cavalry unit brings the gritty determination of temperaments forged at a time of expansion and exploration. They had to be rugged and enduring to remain effective over vast distances. They never knew what to expect. Just the thing you need when death lurks at every turn.

The Special Forces unit posses a unique perspective. Highly trained and motivated, they are the epitome of controlled, lethal aggression. What they can’t attain by strength, they achieve by guile. In battle, they will not stop until their objective is secured. They prove brutal adversaries against an unstoppable foe.

Forged in death, the Ninth Intake becomes the very instrument Arden needs to save her people at their darkest hour.

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Sometimes, we face hurdles in life that seem overwhelming. Then something bigger and nastier comes along that makes you realize, wow, my problems seem so small. In the IX, former enemies who hated each other with a vengeance are thrown into a situation where their choice is really simple. Forget your former animosities, and pull together against a greater enemy…or you simply won’t survive. Being a military veteran who has seen action in a number of theaters around the world, it’s a premise I pondered on for quite a while. You know…what would I do in a situation like this? Remembering some of the people I’ve had to fight against, would I really be able to put aside my feelings and concentrate on staying alive, especially if it was against a relentless, remorseless nemesis who wanted all life extinguished?

The survivor in me answered the question quite easily…Hell Yes!
As the tagline of the IX says, Fight or Die!