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D. A. Blankinship

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The Scoloderus Conspiracy
by D. A. Blankinship   

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Books by D. A. Blankinship
· Woodcliff Anthology
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Category: 

Action/Thriller

Publisher:  Barred Owl Publishing ISBN-10:  0982998619 Type: 
Pages: 

368

Copyright:  November 2010 ISBN-13:  9780982998618
Fiction

A futurist thriller of abduction, deception, betrayal, and revenge

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Barred Owl Publishing
The Scoloderus Conspiracy

 

It was an ordinary day. Professor Taylor walked to the lecture hall to deliver his talk. He would resign today; he was disgusted with the futility of university life. He did not know that within minutes of leaving the hall he would be racing against time to find a missing military leader and stop an espionage team from destroying the country. He would argue with generals, infiltrate the enemy’s site, and watch a woman die in an explosion meant for him. It began like any other day; it changed his life forever when he was immersed in the Scoloderus Conspiracy.


Excerpt

Chapter One

COLONEL ANTHONY HAMMOND SAT STARING intensely at the glowing orange embers of the small, dying fire. Occasionally a tiny flame flickered up from the charred wood and disappeared into the cool, moist night air. Smoke drifted into his face, stinging his eyes. He was tired, exhausted. He had been in the field for almost a week. They had encountered at least three detachments of Libre Voyageur Militia. Each time, the enemy offered little opposition. Their progress along the land bridge had been rapid, perhaps too rapid.
They now controlled forty miles of territory that had been a Voyageur stronghold. They were within fifteen miles of one of the LV’s major supply points. It just did not make sense. He always trusted his gut; his gut told him something was wrong.
“Colonel, you were brilliant today. You showed the LV what superior leadership can do.”
Hammond turned to see who was flattering him. In the darkness, he could see an officer approaching him from his right side. As the officer came closer, Hammond recognized him. It was Captain Marcus, a company commander assigned to his battalion about three months ago. Marcus had not been in combat prior to this assignment; however, in the past five battles, he had proven himself a capable company commander.
Marcus approached Hammond and stood next to him as he surveyed the area. Marcus touched a small communicator clipped to his collar and spoke with authority, “Command secure.”
As Marcus turned to walk away, Hammond said, “Captain, sit down; I’d like to talk with you about today’s events.”
As Marcus sat down, he resisted the panic prickling up his spine. Was he in trouble? Had he performed poorly during one of the engagements?
“Do you think the Voyageurs led us here? Is this a trap?”
Hammond’s question surprised Marcus. He had expected a critique of his performance, he had not been thinking about the enemy’s plans, only his response to them. He did not know how to answer the question.
“Colonel,” Marcus ventured, “the Voyageurs thought they could beat us. It did not take them long to find out they were wrong, so they retreated, and they have been retreating for three days. They don’t want to die in a war they know they can’t win; they know they will never have the resources or leadership to defeat the UATF Army.”
“Yes,” Hammond said. “They could be retreating. They may have been trying to get away from us; however, they never moved too far in front of our lead assault group. They just kept moving. This afternoon we had four skirmishes that all ended within minutes of each other. It was a coordinated cease-fire. I think they were leading us. They want us in this location. I think this is a trap.”
“I’ll get the troops ready to move,” Marcus said. “We’ll be out of here before—”
“Not yet,” Hammond interrupted. “We don’t know our best course of action. Why do they want us here, right now?”
“Perhaps they are going to surround us,” Marcus speculated, aloud.
“Perhaps, but there’s no troop movement to support that,” Hammond said. “A few hours ago, I sent First-Sergeant Kemp and Sergeant Ventosa to run reconnaissance. They found nothing, not a trace of LV anywhere near here. Bravo Recon reported a group of LV about four miles northeast of us: a small group of seven soldiers. The other LV squads have withdrawn further north. The Voyageurs have left us here; without a chaperone.”
“They could be waiting for reinforcements,” Marcus said. “We’re too close to their main territory; they wouldn’t just leave us here and they aren’t going to let us move north without a struggle. They must be planning something for pre-dawn or early morning.”
“Captain,” Hammond said, “tell the lookouts to increase the watch perimeter by 50 yards. Set sensing equipment to the highest levels. The LV know we are here, but they are keeping their distance. We need to be ready for anything and what we do not know can kill us. I will be meeting with the senior officers at 5:00 AM, just before sunrise; I would like you to be there. Lieutenant Colonel Zychowski can fill you in on the plans for the day and I would like to hear your ideas about the LV’s battle strategies.”
“And Captain,” Hammond added somberly, “we are in a dangerous situation. The Voyageurs are aggressive fighters. They would not leave us to rest unless it suited a greater plan, a malicious plan.”
“I will be vigilant, sir, and I will be at the meeting,” Marcus said as he stood and walked away feeling like an important member of the battalion. Colonel Hammond had taken an interest in him. He would be attending an early morning briefing for the senior battalion officers. Lieutenant Colonel Zychowski would fill him in on the day’s plans. He smiled as he imagined other briefings in which he and Colonel Hammond would discuss combat tactics and review the battalion’s performance. Yes, this was an eventful night. He used his communicator to signal the sentries that he would be approaching them with new orders, direct from his meeting with Colonel Hammond.
As Marcus walked away, Hammond turned back to the fire and he thought ‘It has been too long since I talked with a junior officer. They are always so enthusiastic and this is a good time to train them. I need to find more time for these new, young leaders. I should just give up on Zychowski and Ukiah. Major Ukiah has to do everything by the book and Zychowski does not even know there is a book. Oh well, in six months Zychowski will be retiring and in three weeks Ukiah is transferring to the 2nd Shadow Warriors Battalion. Marcus will be here a long time, he is worth the effort; perhaps someday Marcus will have his own battalion to command.’
The late night air was cool and silent as Hammond sat alone with his musings. He turned his attention back to the small fire. The embers faded slowly as he began his ‘hour.’
The ‘hour’ was an important military tradition. Every warrior had one hour in every day in which to meditate, sleep, or engage in any activity that revitalizes the spirit. Hammond typically spent his hour meditating or reminiscing about his family. Over the years, he had learned these places and memories are important. Private places only he knows; places in sharp contrast to the reality of his daily experience.
He sat motionless in a deepening trance; his breathing was slow and regular, and his heart beat at a minimum. His memories drifted to the distant past, to times and places that seemed remote. Images, sounds, and feelings that were not clear but in some part of his being he knew how they should be. He refined each part of the picture, enhanced each sensation, each touch, each thought that made the past real.




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Reader Reviews for "The Scoloderus Conspiracy"

Reviewed by ellen george 11/7/2008
I do not usually enjoy books or movies about war. When I was reading The Scoloderus Conspiracy, I realized, the confict described in this book is Universal. War is war, hate is hate. No matter 300 years in the future or current day.

Universal.

Dave Blankinship has written an intruing story with poignant overtones for everyone...even those of us who don't like to think of it.

You see, we screwed up the world. (again)

Three hundred years after that cataclysmic event, the world is being fought over again. In what was North America, the ruling force is The United Americas Trade Federation. In direct conflict with the Federation is the Libre Voyaguers, guerilla type warriors who want to overthrow the Federation.

Colonel Anthony Hammond of the Federation, was one of the brains of a particularly nasty weapons project, code named The Spider Project (or in Latin, The Scoloderus Project. His unit is attacked by the Libre Voyaguers and although there are many casualties, the colonel is simply missing.

He is part of an elaborate plan to have him tell the Libre elite the final pieces of the puzzle of this great weapon, and they have stopped at nothing to make that work.

The Federation taps a brilliant professor, a civilian, Taylor, who is a whiz at analysing and assessing to help in the search for the colonel.

The events to unravel the conspiracy and see what war and conflicts breed, is absolutely riviting. It is like Spy vs Spy vs Spy..you don't know who is in the right, who is telling the truth. Kind of like real war.

There are frightening references to the distant past, where characters marvel at things from the old (pre-Federation era) that show how the world has lost so much because of never ending conflict.

Mr. Blankinship writes crisply and delivers a book that only encompasses the events of three days, but shows what few actions can truly change the war.

An excellent read.

ellen george
Reviewed by Benjamin Blue 8/17/2008
The Scoloderus Conspiracy has, what at first appears to be, one plot that slowly evolves to multiple plot within plots. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the author throws you a curve and makes you want to read more just to figure what the real objective of the "bad guys" plan is. The ending twists your view as to who the really "bad guys" are.

My hat is off to David Blankinship for a well written, well-paced literary effort. I look foward to more from this author.



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