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Friday, March 8, 2024

(c) 2023 Kyrinn S. Eis
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Our love in tangles, many factors
writer and singer, we're not actors, love
right time, wrong town, it seems
Renewed, You, Girl of My Dreams

Exit our entrance yet unfulfilled
In turns of phrases we've grown quite skilled
You always subtler, the rarest of scents
Each such missive my most cherished event

You asked after transplant that she would survive
to be placed in new soil more than but thrive
I'll return to the mountains, but this time you drive
can't repeat the silences over which I've cried

So, what do you say, love, give it a try
both of us willing to once more a bride
we'll mount up on wings black as midnight
After three decades, I'm sure this is right

A Tangled Web We Weave
(c) 2024 Kyrinn S. Eis  All Rights Reserved Worldswide

[Excerpt][Fiction][Green Ruins & Shallow Blues][Book II][Chapter 35] Dogs of War

Green Ruins & Shallow Blues Book II: FRUITFUL
(c) 2024 Kyrinn S. Eis  All Rights Reserved Worldwide


-- "Commissar, we have his transponder signal on the scope."

Devyn clenched his jaw, moved away from the window as he lowered his vision enhancement gear to his chest; the strap chafed his prickly skin.  The Commissar stooped to look at the monitor for himself.
"Realtime overlay."

He watched as interpolated drone feeds were stitched together in situ to form a larger panoramic view.  Wild Ones did an admirable job in their role.  The Camp Warriors were less effective, although their numbers were intrinsically significant -- each NMC asset injured caused his stomach to churn; he had learnt to hate other humans, and that -- that he hated the most.
"When will they stop losing their numbers by the tens and hundreds?"

-- "Studies indicate that population control and authority-gap-stop assurances are more beneficial to these forms of social structures, sir.  In short, it behooves them to fight -- to thin the troublemakers while making a show if it for morale and, of course, narrative control purposes, sir."

"How old are you... Loomer?"

Loomer, a brunette with corrective lenses, looked up a little nervous,
-- "Sixteen and three months, sir.  Why?"

Qomz-Beecher looked on, frowned a smile, shook his head and thought to pat her shoulder, but worried how that would be interpreted.
"Carry on, soldier.  Good work."

Devyn then stood, and returned to the display-enhanced windows.  He again raised the optic to his eyes, and the combination of technologies provided him names and statuses for each NMC asset: health, performance, stress, ammunition count, grenades, drone coverage, etc. The Commissar ground his clenched teeth.

"Tell me when he's within Zone Orange; I'll be in my office; don't disturb -- nevermind -" he shook his head.  He looked up at -- children who each raised their eyes to receive updated orders.  He waved them back to work at their respective stations. What this uninvited battle -- war -- had done to NMC would not soon be forgotten...Devyn hoped...

Twenty minutes passed and no update.

"Did I fail to mention--

-- "No update sir. The target is on foot and has not advanced into the staging area as stated in your last order, Commissar."  Loomer looked hopeful, but adamant. Devyn waked to her station.

"What the hells is going on?"  Someone cleared their throat at the breach of protocol.
Devyn snorted softly, looked down to Loomer who smiled, looked up at him sympathetically.
"May Metatron forgive me even as you forgive me, please."


Loomer wore a naughty smile, subdued, but there nonetheless. She looked cool in those glasses, Devyn determined.
"I'm going out and Loomer is my uplink to you folks. Understood?"
Unanimous acknowledgement.  He thought better of looking back to her, and simply grabbed his kit and walked out.


The irritant in the air was both acrid and putrid; what had they concocted it of, he wondered. Devyn chose to use the nose filters rather than a mask, and instead wore his goggles. With a flick of his wrist, they linked into the situational display network. He made various somatic gestures to invoke different menus, and from these he enacted options from each; scrolled through updates; and had two audio reports playback simultaneously; these, too, he controlled with hand movements. Commissar Qomz-Beecher walked to the vehicle shed, motioned for assistance, and stepped into an animorphic frame. The techs had him strapped in and online with soft, external neurofeedback links to the suit's limb and torso servos.

"Mount two cluster hives, and give me two microcalibre salvo guns. Is the new blade iterated?"
-- "Yes, Commissar, ready for use, dripping with nanofilm; fetch it?"
"Yes, please, Novak. How's Tshalmers healing up?"
-- "She'll be good as new -- better with the Mark VIII prosthetic, sir. I'll be right back with that. -- Thanks for asking, I'll let her know."
"You do that. We need her back, ASAP."
Novak looked back; then it dawned on her, TowerSpeak. When she returned, the blade rested across her wrists, accompanied by a look of strain upon her scarred face.
-- "here you go, Commissar.

Qomz-Beecher took-up the sword and moved it about in the suit's mechanical hand, its movements barely slower, millisecond latency at most, he gauged.  The opaline iridescent coating over the black metal with rainbowed silver edge caught the slivers of western sunlight and scintillated and created a strange multi-refractive hologram ahead of the edge.  It looked like amber bubbles which effervesced and disappeared in pops of yellow-white light.  Devyn walked to the test area and worked his way up through the materials test.  It cut like a dream.  Once he finally encountered a substance which wouldn't cut clean-through, he toggled the control for the active nanoparticle surface, and worked the simulated rotary cutting routine.  Nothing actually moved forward or back, only down or up on the blade's edge -- in either 'direction', in rapid succession.  That did passive cutting which added to his own mechanical leverage provided through the suit.
"Yes.  Yes!"

Novak looked pleased.  She was a thicker body type than Loomer or most of the other girls in Control, more like --.  He looked away, which made her screw up her face, then laughed it off.
-- "How's Avrhon and the kids these days?  They coping well enough?"
He nodded, smiled, shyly.
"Those kids -- ..."

Novak smiled, nodded.  She moved to retrieve her dataslate and swiped through her screens of diagnostics.
-- "All green; nominal.  May I ask what your plans are?"
"Wake 'em up, Kymm.  Give the girls their daily exercise."
Novak smiled grimly.  She walked the distance to the kennel, and with her slate, opened the doors.  Scrabbled sounds of nails on metal, and metal on metal scrapes then yielded to the slow emergence of shy creatures.  They were like the various creatures from which they were derived: forest catchling, loper hound, and their base stock: brain wulf.

"Sybil, come."  Devyn decoupled his right hand from the servo control, and patted his thigh, "Come on girl, don't be shy."

She was, and she was the pack leader.  Only for the brain implant and the conformity routines piped through her and her sisters could they even begin to approach without killing intent.  Lopers were common enough, loyal and nervous hounds.  Forest catchlings had the most human faces in the animal world: their feature ratios and their jowl fur leant them a roundness which, together with the proportion of their muzzles, was most aesthetically pleasing.  Furthermore, they were keen observers, and showed fascination with human activity, especially dexterous ability.  But what Sybil and her sisters were, through and through were Brain Wulfs.  The creature which Aleks had eaten after he had killed it in combat had previously been thought extinct for so long as to have been ascribed a thing of fable.

Sybil came close and sat, forelimbs outstretched; her obscene, blood red tubule of a feeding tongue lolled in the dust.  The cranial armour hid her black orb eyes behind mirrorshade, but the Commissar could feel her almost malign intelligence as she, with augmented polysense observed him as hoped for vittles and also as pack-mate, or perhaps simply mate.  She was the key to the pack's obedience, and she broadcast almost audible signals once thought attributed to faeries.

"Come on, girl.  Come on.  Do I have to woo you with song?"

Sybil lolled more heavily, her breathing rate increased, and she rolled onto her side, lifted her leg.

Novak stifled a laugh, put her thumb and knuckle to her mouth and nose.  As she mummed, she craned her eyes only to Devyn.  He wore a sad lover's face, traced with bittersweet.  He could see her out of the corner of his eye; he didn't mind.  Working with women was much better than other men -- they rarely gave him that, 'oh...' look when he moved softly, looked sweetly upon pretty things, or just smiled at sunlight in the breeze.  Then, a violent sadness overtook him: Yqut.  Sybil then rolled back to her feet, and approached the Commissar, pawed at him.  His sob washed over his words,

"Good girl.  Good girl, Sybil.  Get your sisters ready, okay?"

Novak softly, slowly mouthed, 'Oh-Kay'; played with it in her mind, smiled, lightly shook her head.

-- "They look ready, sir.  Take over control?"  Then she saw the tears,

-- "I'll give you -- whenever you're ready, Commis -- ...Devyn."

He nodded, waved away her gazemeet; she complied and sniffled as she frowned a smile and thought of Behti; he could tell...

They moved through the outskirts of Blackoak; edged the Zetim, fresh again, since the fighting, with red kelp which stank of death. Devyn was in cybertelepathic link with Sybil, and she with her sisters; each of the animals carried a transceiver which acted as a repeater to the signal, fuller, faster for their number, and degraded when a unit was lost. He sent them ahead and they hunkered low even as they stalked, nearly at a run. He looked through her eyes and other telemetric sensors.

The moist air was cold, and he liked it, but knew that most felt uncomfortable without a coat in this weather. The crisp air was an excellent medium for sound propagation. His own, unaided ears, made out the snap of microcalibre firearms. He moved in that direction and had the girls on double-sharp vanguard. Now a tenth-Landmark out ahead of him, Sybil reported back. The software machine-learning continued to improve the Wulfs' intelligible vocabulary parsed from their mixed salad of animal calls, and in a couple or three instances, some of the girls had partaken of a human brain...or few.

__ "Devyn, I have movement on our left flank, Jenny is moving to provide her link-feed. [a window-in-window opened and the Commissar could see three armed actors gathered around a small group of hostages, including one or two civilians.]"

"Encircle at distance, use your noses to keep sharp to their actions. Sybil you're on me. Over."

__ "On you, Devyn, copy."

The Wulf named Jenny moved in, crawled on her belly through rubble, and from under cover, extended her proboscis of a tongue. Fear edged in confused, nervous laughter; words registered as carnally fixated humour of procreative subject matter. Jenny latched on to the weak one of the group, and when he went to make water, she awaited her kill order, and received the Green-Go command. Her vicious jaws tore out his voicebox in one bite. She watched as he bled out, pushed her away with his right hand, he on all fours. Jenny paced around him, and as softly as she was able,

___ "Don't be mad, so sad, you're the best you I ever did had." She then tore into the soft tissue of his face. Soon, she was into his brain.

___ "Accessing data; download underway; time to completion estimated twenty minutes; retreating to cover; over."

"Good girl, Jenny. You're carrying the intel, don't get lost, hear?"

___ "Heard, Devyn; [he] was ...barely able to report for duty; -- was afraid he would be killed by his superiors; -- massive degradation of morale among his and related clans."

"Understood. Digest it and let the AI filter and sort; stay safe, girl."

A warm feeling, somewhere between affection and the sensation of having just finished an enjoyable meal washed back over him from Jenny. His anger at the attackers allowed him to emotionally-divest himself of what she had just done to gather this vital intel. If I live long enough for whatever psychic damage I've done to myself to come home, I'll deal with it then, he thought. The mealbar in his thigh pocket pressed against him and to remove its distraction from his mind, he withdrew it, unwrapped one end, and ate it even as he had to force it down -- it was seedberry puree.

__ "It's good you remembered to eat, Devyn. You aren't a machine, you know?"

He snorted a laugh which threatened to turn full, uncontrolled sob,

"...thank you Sybil; yes, I know." That was the end of that snack -- he discarded it to the ground. A breeze caught the wrapper and it skittered away with some noise. Devyn cursed his stupidity--

__ "Good plan. They are moving in your direction, Devyn. Ambush?"

Through tears and his screwed up face,

"Yes, Sybil, don't risk the girls, but, yes: Green-Go."

The next minutes were filled with such horrific sounds that the Commissar chose to instead skim emails and play the hardest game installed on his suit-deck; by the time his third balloon gondola fell to his death, the killing was done. Maybelle was injured; Sybil was doing damage-assessment. Devyn checked their perimeter and on all clear, he broke concealment and rushed to her. The hostages scattered and he shouted to them to run in a specific direction; some did.

__ "She'll slow us down, Devyn. I know this hurts you, but she's not your pup. Let her give us her best -- she'll be in all of us after that."

"No. Maybelle, girl. Talk to me."

____ "Hurt, but not out of the bite, Devyn."

A mucus bubble burst from his nose and he laughed; Maybelle was a tough girl; he beamed that to her and the pack; only she responded with a tailwag-stim.

"Stand for me?"

She did, shakily at first, but with all the vim and vigour of a loyal pet; he could see she favoured her injured leg.

____ "I'll go as far and long as able, Devyn. They can eat me then; I've still got something to give, okay?"

His heart nearly tore in half; she had learnt, 'okay ', on her own. Devyn doffed his pack and withdrew the emergency carrier; Sybil growled. The Commissar cooly looked at her, and she shied away.

"Come here, girl. C'mon, Maybelle."

____ "I -- I would prefer not to, ...Commissar."

"That's an order."

The pack growled. His hand went to the Buzzer; they quieted.

Maybelle limped to him; allowed him to secure the vest on and seal-tight the hook and loop straps, and then tended to her leg wound. It was a through and through; easily patched with nanomeds dispensed from a tube. With her blood-loss stopped, the Commissar readjusted his gear loadout and then hoisted her up in his left hand; the salvo gun in his right, with telescopic stock fully extended and its buttpad planted in the cup of his shoulder.

"Jenny, ride my left flank; Sybil take -- point."

__ "Gladly, Commissar. May I bring Alisonne as my tail?"

"Good thought; affirmative."

They were on the move again, and he could feel the shame of Maybelle in his feed. Devyn didn't have time to soothe her ego. Their point to point "leapfrogging" taught by Aleks and extrapolated by Yqut, brought them to the burnt out hulk of a former mansion. The air still smelled of metallic salt despite three serious rain storms; it was dissolved into the soil, possibly already taken-up into the survivour veg which defiantly straddled the burnline. The girls squatted to make water; the Commissar lowered Maybelle to do the same. They sniffed at her wound; Kellsy licked her chops, but walked away again.

"I'm not going to justify myself to you lot. It's no longer an issue, understood, troop?"

The pack all lit up green boxes to shut him up. He could feel their resentment at his weakness, but they also felt for him, the little whelp. He'd had been a snack early on in their -- Brain Wulf -- society, from what the scientists said.

"What's the wind telling you?"

__ "Not much, Commissar. From Jenny's mea -- Intel -- we have a spinnerhole about forty marks into that field, near that downed aerostat wreckage. There is a small holdout and depot there; manned by a ten plus two at any given time. Last Azhbakh had any information, they were resupplied. Protocol dictates that we designate it for drone survey and H/K; we are going to follow through with that, aren't we, Commissar?"

"Put it through, Sybil. What else did the nominal have to say about the Theatre?"

Sybil neared him, sidled and pushed him,

__ "The fallback point is that [shown image of rapid focus to a distant hillside house in an old style from the the Daggerland Continent] locale. I imagine anyone observing this area has already made us, Devyn. Another designate, by protocol."

Qomz-Beecher heard an explosion to the east; checked the datafeed: a belligerent depot had been found and tactically triggered to effect the degradation of hostile actors in its vicinity. He looked for any prompts for Yqut's whereabouts, but no alerts awaited him. He keyed Loomer,

-- "Commissar?"

"What happened while I've been out? Where did Nominal Y go? I can't find any trace of him in the feeds."

-- "Nor here, sir. I've just sent you the last frames we have; nothing, not even dim percentages of misidentified persons correspond with his last known coordinates, sir."

"So, in essence you are saying that he disappeared before our eyes, drone mesh and everything?"

-- "Aye, sir." She was on loan from Greywater assets.

"These coordinates have been vetted?"

A green box lit up in the feed.

"Acknowledge receipt of the following coordinate package for drone H/K." He sent on the Wet-Vet module and saw that it was delivered.

-- "Intel module received, sir. Checksum nominal; parsed; actionable; -- it's in the works, sir. Package ETA 1-9, please confirm assets are clear."

"Acknowledged: all mission assets clear."

Almost two seconds later, a small impact kicked up bucketsfull of black soil and multipurpose crop. An instant later, a dome large enough to cover a small truck bulged-up. A plume of grey-white smoke vented and the entire dome diameter collapsed and a few small pops and whistles could be heard from the destroyed depot. Unsurprisingly a rectangular furrow also collapsed which led towards the hillside house.

"Catch that?"

Loomer green-keyed a wordless response and a logic flowchart process was initiated without human intervention.

-- "Our Lady has a HOLD order in place until the Aerostats vet the Zone for aerial asset approach. Please acknowledge the HOLD order, Commissar."

These required voice authorisation,

"Mission HOLD Order Acknowledged, Commissar Qomz-Beecher, over."

Maybelle stalked away, slunk low. Devyn began to spin round to her when automatic weapons discharge shattered the renewed still. Devyn's natural flinch response instead initiated a gymnastic roll and the suit kipped and brought its legs up to cover its operator from harm. Three marks up above the ground, Devyn was helpless to stop Maybelle from dying as a squad of infiltrators opened up on his girls. Intermediate cartridge rounds stitched the suit's boxy leg armour, but if anything got hit, it hadn't registered in damage cascades of affected systems. Maybelle was gutted, but she pulled herself forward,

____ "Please Devyn. You'll see me again."

He blinked and bit his tongue twice in rapid succession. Her satchel charge detonated to great effect.

More debris rattled across him as the suit's suspension bled overpressure upon his having landed. This time he was hit. Amber condition on a Green location; he was fine. The Commissar immediately invoked his girls' status marquee: Sybil was Orange; Lahni was Black.


The trench had opened beside and behind him without his notice. Rage overtook him; Devyn dashed, landed on the tunnel's floor. He sent a sounding pulse in both directions. Reverberation imaging indicated that the burnt out house's cellar was incorporated into the underground access network. He raced there. Jenny leapt in front of him and the rest of his girls fell in behind him at speed. Perhaps thirty seconds later, as Jenny coursed ahead, she only just managed to skid to a stop and avoid a tripwire. Devyn scraped both sides of the tunnel to slow himself; the sound of nails-scrabble on the pourstone behind preceded their soft impact into the suit's legs. No damage to them, but Andi shook her head violently -- her feed: a wall of pixelated garbage -- cleared immediately thereafter. Devyn recalled Jenny, who backed slowly towards him; he overtook her and AI countermeasures initiated. A luminous gas filled the floor and the multiple triplines became visible, now coated in a microfine rainbowed sheen. Not simply across the breadth, but diagonally, at different heights. AI indications demanded evacuation and the suit would not respond to operator override; it initiated his clamber out. The girls scrambled back to the collapse debris and from there, he was able to fish them out. Just then, a RED/BLACK warning was tripped. Devyn saw the shoulder fired rocket's contrail before everything went white-hot.

So, I'm wrapping up season four of FAUDA on Netflix, for the second time; much like how I had watched prior seasons of LINE OF DUTY while awaiting the next series.  This watch through the four seasons, some additional subtleties have come more readily to mind.

1). Like any society with bureaus and divisions and agencies, politics, jockeying for control, and personal politics are worst felt by the boots on the ground types who are already asked to do so much, and then become the target of someone else's wrong doing.

2). Shabak/GSS seem to be in an unenviable position: not the Corporation, and not the Defense Ministry proper.

3). As I have said elsewhere, 'Asset' is Ethicalese for 'Person', a hop/skip/jump-away from Materiel.

4). When I flew over there to join Mossad, the Assets who made contact with me were very kind and explained that, at the time, no, I couldn't join, and I would have to apply for citizenship like everyone else.

יהי רצון שיתווסף שלום וכל הטוב לביתך.



I had been chatting with the cleaning woman who is 'friends' with the property owner/landwoman, and after, as I just finished my lunch, the chair I sat broke -- talk about a sign...

I'll be heading out for a visit; see you this evening.



When you take me up again as your student, can we please concentrate on notes, chords, -- sounds derived from frets 6, 7, 8, and, 9?  Some of my very favourite sounds live there.

See you soon,