Author Brennen Hankins takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Brennen’s story is: One Time, One Night on Aldrin Station.
On an otherwise normal weekday, I stumbled upon a unique opportunity, via my Facebook feed. I was in the middle of surfing through my notifications on my lunch break when I saw a call for submisssions to the “Space Force: Building A Legacy” anthology. The title struck me, and I immediately had a vision for a story.
You see, during my military career, I’ve heard it said multiple times that “Logistics win wars.” Off the top of my head, I can think of a few examples of this in action: logistics were a large factor in the reason why Texas ended up part of the United States instead of a Mexican one, why nobody has ever successfully invaded Russia from Europe, and why the Allies won over the Axis powers in World War II.
However, that’s only one part of the equation. In order to ensure a successful supply chain, not only do you have to be able to move goods and troops from one point to another, you have to move them to a secure point, where the resources in question can be utilized effectively. Troops need a place to sleep and eat. Planes, tanks and Humvees all need places to where they can take on fuel and have maintenance and repairs done. And you’re going to need spots to store all the food, cots and tools you need to accomplish this….
Thus, strategically located, fortified bases win logistics, which in turn, win wars.
These bases don’t spring up overnight, though. It’s a long road from a couple of tents set up under natural concealment to a fortified, heavily defended encampment, to an established base, complete with parade ground, Military Personnel & Finance Office, and bowling alley (Seriously). In the Air Force, such accomplishments are usually done via the backs and hands of Civil Engineering (CE) personnel/
It seemed only natural that the fledgling Space Force—which, upon venturing into unchartered space, would need to establish the same bases and supply chains as the American Armed Forces did when island hopping in the Pacific—would follow suit.
My entire military career has been within CE. This story pretty much wrote itself.
A few details needed to be established. Firstly, as America’s earliest migrants discovered along the Oregon Trail, there were bound to be indigenous folk around who didn’t take kindly to newcomers moving into their territory. Enter the Kalanuskanites, proud defenders of the frozen, vapor-shrouded moon of Titan. Second, rank protocols. My NCO buddies and I have been joking for awhile that those of us who got pulled from the Air Force to the Space Force, should it ever happen, would be reclassified as “Space Stargeants”, and I would be very remiss if I passed up the opportunity to use the joke in a meaningful way. Third, characters. Stargeant Grantham is an amalgam of every irritable, frazzled, ill-tempered Staff Sergeant I’ve ever met in my career, but Spaceman Padilla is partially based on a real person. (Specifically, an airman who had the unmitigated gall to play Wham’s “Last Christmas” within my presence last December, forcing me to experience “Whamaggeddon” for the first time, and to also write the single funniest (joke) Letter of Counseling in my career.) Throw in a few side characters, and the rest is history.
So, I had my characters, I had my setting, and I had my plot. But something else was missing.
What makes a person do the things they do? Why do servicemen and women willingly sign their life and freedom (in part) away to serve their county. What motivates them to leave their families, get sent to far-off lands for extended periods of time, and put up with overbearing leadership, regulations that at times can seem impractical and nonsensical, and just the general drudgery of working in a massive organization?
Simple: These people love what they do.
I can speak on this one from experience. My job is awesome. I’ve traveled to places I never would have seen otherwise, made lifelong friends the world over I still keep in touch with today, and trained me in a skill that, if this writing thing doesn’t pan out, should help me make a good living once I finally separate from the military. Shoot, it’s because of the military that I’m even able to afford to sit down and write this blog post. Not exactly sure what I’d be doing otherwise. And I know I’m not the only person who has this mentality.
So, I wrote a story about people whose hearts are filled with dreams of space, who are just as eager to help get the rest of us off this mudball and into the stars. Only difference is in the future, they have the means to lay the groundwork for us.
After all, heart (and logistics) wins wars.