Monday, September 16, 2013

Chapter 22: Mission Briefing

Chapter 22:
Mission Briefing

Day:  E-Day+5
Time:  1900 CST / 0200 GMT
Broadcast Location:  CLASSIFIED
Received Location:  Bastion Combat Air Transport (CAT) Blue-7, somewhere over Lake Michigan

Next Chapter --->>>

An easy way to show your support for Bastion: The Last Hope is to vote for the story on the WebFiction Guide website or other webfiction resources.  

If you enjoy Bastion: The Last Hope, perhaps consider Mind the Thornsa reader-directed web novel telling the story of Regan Fairchild: Accountant, Bachelorette and Vampire.   He also blogs regularly at Fictional Omens.

Mr. Osterman's first novel FantastiCon can be found on in both print and eBook editions.  It is also available on Smashwords

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chapter 21: O'Dwyer, Mags

Chapter 21 
Trooper Mags "Spice" O'Dwyer

Day:  E-Day+5
Time:  1842 CST / 0042 GMT
Location:  WWIZ Station Headquarters, Milwaukee, WI

The office building was quiet, the sound of heavy boots the only noise to cut through the silence.  Maggie moved around another desk, scanning her field and she covering the team’s left flank as they crossed over the open work area.  Long shadows reached up and around the rows of cubicles to create long lines along the walls and forcing her to look twice with nearly each step.  Carefully she stepped over another skeletal corpse, the fourth they had seen.  She motioned quickly down once with her left hand before returning it to support her rifle.

They had found no survivors thus far.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chapter 20: Ferrera, Felice

Chapter 20
Felice Ferrera

Day:  E-Day -3
Time:  2215 CST/ 0415 GMT
Location:  Madison, WI

An easy way to show your support for Bastion: The Last Hope is to vote for the story on the WebFiction Guide website or other webfiction resources.  

If you enjoy Bastion: The Last Hope, perhaps consider Mind the Thornsa reader-directed web novel telling the story of Regan Fairchild: Accountant, Bachelorette and Vampire.   He also blogs regularly at Fictional Omens.

Mr. Osterman's first novel FantastiCon can be found on in both print and eBook editions.  It is also available on Smashwords.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chapter 19: Beaubien, Marie

Chapter 19
Gunnery Sergeant Marianne Beaubien, USMC

Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  1810 EST / 2310 GMT
Location:  Bishop International Airport, Flint Michigan

“So what do we know?”  Major Thompson folded his arms and listened.

Marie looked around the gathered officers and civilians.  Major Thompson stood at the front of the cargo crate they were using as a table, his arms crossed as he studied the map marked in red grease pencil.  To his left was Lt. Sobal, her sandy tresses tucked behind her ears, just long enough to be long but not enough to necessitate being tied up.  Continuing around the map were the two pilots from the 717, Parker and Morgan, still in their uniform coats.   Then there was Bob Hastings, a civilian who flat out refused to be left out, herself, and the tall lean figure of Bull.  She liked Bull and his easy attitude, even though he seemed unable to remember to call her “Gunny” rather than “Sarge”.  As he was seventy and a veteran himself, she was willing to cut him some slack.

Lt. Sobal was the first to speak.  Marie let the top page of her clipboard fall back into place and focused all of her attention on the young officer as she spoke.

“At approximately 1330 we started to receive a transmission of unknown origin directing all survivors to converge on a given chart coordinate.”  She indicated the location on a large, fold out map.  “The message cycled through English, French, Arabic and Spanish and claimed to be jointly sent by American, Canadian and Mexican governments.”

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chapter 18 Transcript

Chapter 18: Hanson, Steven

Chapter 16:
Senior Trooper Steven "Colt" Hanson

Day:  E-Day +4
Time: 0200 CST/ 0800 GMT

The Hiatus

The following is Cross Posted across all of my blogs:  Fictional Omens, Mind the Thorns, and Bastion: The Last Hope.

So much to talk about and so much to write and to do and honestly no time for it all.

This is the end I want to make a public explanation of what's going on.  As many of you know, my day job is teaching.  This time of year is always incredibly challenging as the school year comes to a close, students seek extra last minute help, papers need to be graded, and life just has to wrap up.  To this end I've just been unable to keep up with much of my writing.

Mind the Thorns has suffered a great deal from neglect of late, partly from timing, partly because of the nature of writing something reader-directed.  Bastion has completely eaten up its buffer and while I love my blog, and I have plenty to comment on, there isn't time.

Officially, all web novels will return to regular posting on or around July 1.

Now, why the wait?

For Mind the Thorns, posting will resume much sooner than later.  I just need time to sit down and write.  Thankfully there's a plan in place I just need to keep pushing on.

For Bastion, I really need time to rebuild that buffer, collect videos from my cast, plan the next dozen chapters, and then be ready to write so that if I am forced to fall a little behind your regular updates aren't disrupted.

I appreciate the patience of all my readers as I push through this period and hope you all return at the beginning of July to engage in these projects.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chapter 17: Winters, Angelica

Chapter 17
Angelica Winters

Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  2015 EST/ 1615 GMT
Location:  Sugar Grove, IL

“What is that?”

Angel watched as her father pulled a long tube from the back of the second gun locker in their survival bunker basement.  It looked like a massive poster tube, big enough around that it took two hands to fully circle.  He hefted it over a shoulder by its strap and let it hang.  He did not answer as he grabbed more ammunition magazines and slid them into various pouches on his vest.  He grabbed a second vest and continued to load it as well.

“Seriously, Dad, what the hell is that?”  Angel hated when he went silent on her, even when it was not the end of the world.  Now she was really starting to reach a panic level.  For eight hours they had monitored the radios, tried to make contact with others in their area on the internet, called every emergency hotline they could think of, and done everything short of venturing up stairs and outside.  Finally, her father had declared it was time.

Wordlessly he held out the vest to her.  “Strap this on, you’re going to need it.”

She started to protest, stomping her foot on the slate tile of the bunker.  He shook the vest in his fist but did not say anything.  Relenting she reached out and took the garment, surprised at its weight and begin to slip into it.  “Now will you tell me what it is?”

“Stinger antiaircraft missile deployment system with modifications for dumb fire direct line deployment.”  His flat tone matched the manner in which most men might describe the ingredients of a salad.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chapter 16: Transcript

Chapter 16: Morgan, Emma

Chapter 16:
Emma Morgan

Day:  E-Day+4
Time: 0800 CST / 1400 GMT

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chapter 15: Sobal, Jackie

Chapter 15
Lt. Jacqueline Sobal, USMC

Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  1730 EST/ 1810 GMT
Location:  Bishop International Airport, Flint Michigan

Lt. Jaqueline Sobal was one of the last of the survivors to get a tray of food.  As far as she knew, only Major Thompson had yet to take a portion of the Christmas Dinner feast that had been scavenged from the small food court in the airport terminal.  The two of them had gone through every document they could find on her tablet computer, on their small shelf of manuals, or on what defense networks they could log into.  She had hoped that the Major would have had clearance for something unique, some hidden orders for the end of the world or the like.  If he did, he was not sharing with her or the rest of the crew.

She took another bite of the burger Lefty had made for her.  It felt weird to let an enlisted cook for her.   It ran counter to all of the Marine traditions, but every effort to relieve Lefty of the cooking duties had been met with a smile and an insistence that he needed a chance to relax and grill.  While she had waited, he had regaled her with the stories of his mother's homemade Tamales and how bittersweet every Christmas was since she had passed.  His sister, apparently, had never learned the art, and thus the tradition had died with their mother.  Jackie still would like to take a turn at the grill, but if this was Lefty's idea of down time, she would grant it.  She and Gunny had eaten in silence, sharing one of the tables near the windows overlooking the tarmac.  Any survivors of the first clouds must have taken refuge in a shelter nearby, a shelter that had not proven sufficient.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chapter 14 Transcript

Chapter 14: I Survived - A Documentary

Chapter 14
Excerpt from "I Survived - A Documentary about the End of Days"

Day:  E-Day+1820 - 5 years after the End of Days

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chapter 13: O'Dwyer, Mags

<<<--- Chapter 1

Chapter 13:  
Trooper Mags "Spice" O'Dwyer
Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  1912 CST / 0112 GMT

The edges of the masking tape were worn and peeling away from the metal locker door.  Tight print declared this her space, the name "Spice" displayed in black permanent marker.  Trooper Mags O'Dwyer ran her finger over the end of the tape strip pressing it back into the black door as she had done so many times before.  As she pulled her finger away, the tape coiled back as it always did.  She shook her head, tugged up the towel around herself with one hand, and opened the locker with the other.

Her black combat uniform hung neatly inside, along with the flack vest, and other components.  She reached up to the top shelf to snag a clean sports bra and panties.  She had hung up her towel on the corner of the door and started to slide into her underwear when a male voice called over the locker wall.

"Hey, Spice, you know if this is another drill?"  That would be Colt.

"I swear it's not," another voice called back.  Mags grinned.

"Probie's right," she answered, loud enough to be heard over the lockers.  "I saw the req sheets on my way through from the gym.  We're shipping out to somewhere."

"I don't know," Colt called back again.

“Team Able shipped out, for real, a couple of hours ago,” Mags noted, her voice still raised.  “Some big-wig Watcher found a problem with one of the light houses and needed an escort out to see what it was.  I'm pretty that we're past the point of drills."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chapter 12 Transcript

Chapter 12: Mission Briefing

Chapter 12:
Mission Briefing

Day:  E-Day+3
Time: 1940 CST/ 0140 GMT
Broadcast Location:  CLASSIFIED
Received Location:  Bastion Combat Air Transport (CAT) Green-3, somewhere over southern Wisconsin

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chapter 11: Winters, Angelica

Chapter 11:  
Angelica Winters
Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  1210 CST/ 1810 GMT
Location:  30201 Maple Tree Drive, Sugar Grove, Illinois

The space ship rocked with another explosion.  The woman in the pilot’s chair turned to shout at the last remaining crew member.  “Get in the escape pod, Jester.  Get in there, now!”

“No, Captain,” he shouted back as he held to the edge of the hatch to keep his balance.  “I’m the best pilot in the fleet.  I should be the one flying.”

“There’s no return flight on this one, Jester.”

“I know, Ma’am,” Jester answered, his eyes blinking as he argued.  “But there’s only one shot to put the Lexington into Grim Queen's Battleship.  You need the best to be sure it gets there and hits that reactor core.  Otherwise this suicide mission is just... suicide.”

The captain shook her head.  “That’s not good enough.  Ever since our mission on Thanos I’ve had a connection to the Queen.  It’s not enough to destroy her ship, I need to destroy her psychic core too.  I need to be there when her body is destroyed.”

“I can fly the ship in and you can jettison the pod just before impact.  You don’t have to die, Captain.”

The woman turned around in the seat to look back over her shoulder.  Her face was grim and resolute.  “Yes I do, Jester.”  

Their eyes locked for moments that felt like eternity.  Finally, Jester pulled himself up and saluted.  “It’s been a honor to serve under you, Captain Serra.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Poll: Which Minor Character?

Which "Minor Character" would you like to see featured in an upcoming chapter of Bastion: The Last Hope?

Chapter 9: Spencer, Bartholomew Albert

Chapter 9
Dr. Bartholomew Albert Spencer
Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  0710 EST/ 1250 GMT
Location:  Georgia State University, Institute of Public Health, Basement B

Al awoke to the sensation of falling, followed immediately by the jarring pain of the back of his head against a hard surface.  He looked up at the lower half of one of the Institute's full body bio-hazard suits.

"Excuse me?"  The tin voice projected from the suit's filtration system.  "You okay?"

It took Al a few moments to register what had just happened and why he was now lying on his back on the floor of what the wallsign identified as floor B in the Institute.  It started to come back to him in flashes: charging up the stairs at the sounds of the Biohazard Security Compromise alarm, banging on the door to be admitted to the floor, sitting down with Cara to wait, his back to the door, and falling asleep there.

Why had he wanted so desperately to go towards the BSC in the first place, and why had he been trying to break into it?


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chapter 8 Transcript

Chapter 8: Beaubien, Marie

Chapter 8
Gunnery Sergeant Marianne Beaubien, USMC
Day:  E-Day -4
Time: 0800 hrs EST / 1300 hrs GMT

Next Chapter --->>>

Editor's note:  After consultation with technical advisers there have been some revisions to Chapter 7, most notably that GySgt Beaubien is not part of Lt Regal's recon mission.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chapter 7: Beaubien, Marie

Chapter 7
Gunnery Sergeant Marianne Beaubien, USMC
Day:  E-Day +3
Time: 1330 hrs EST / 1830 hrs GMT
Location:  Bishop International Airport, Flint, MI

"Gunny!" Corporal Frias looked up at Marie as she came through the hatch connecting the main cargo area with the flight deck.  He was wrapped in a blanket, his big arms surrounding one of the survivors they had recovered the day before.  Frias smiled easily, his eyes bright with hope.  His companion glanced once towards Marie and then quickly turned deeper into the blankets, hiding her face from them.  She gave a shiver, perhaps to indicate some chill, that her movement was a necessity of the weather and not an effort to avoid looking at Marie.

Marie knew better and she was getting tired of it.

None of the survivors had said a single word to her since they took to the air, moments ahead of a cloud of death that swept over the airfield.  Not that there had been a lot of talking over the last twenty four hours.  But, she had been the one to decide, rather arbitrarily, who would and who would not be saved.  She had been the one to shoot the one man who had defied her and attempted to board the plane without her permission.  She had killed someone.

She had left a lot more to die.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chapter 5: Ryan, Max

Chapter 5
Max Ryan, Watcher

Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  1520 CST/ 2120 GMT

The Command Information Center was the nerve center of the entire Project Bastion facility.  In one location, the Director could see live feeds of every district in the North America.  Twenty six unique zones, each with their own data feeds were displayed on a dedicated monitor as were statistics and analysis of the facility.  Four monitors provided information on the flight deck, another half dozen on personnel, and eight to data from the project’s satellite network.

Max Ryan stood, clutching the rail, looking down at the dozens of workstations.  The workstation and offices of the project director commanded the best view of the space.  Max often thought that it was really so that everyone in the massive room would have to look up at the director whenever they turned to report to him.

“We’re not lighting the Lighthouses until we have met the qualifications for ‘Condition:  Omega’.  You know that, Ryan.”  Director Adams was right.  Max new the protocols inside and out.  He had spent a great deal of time writing the last revision himself.  Adams continued, his voice firm and strong as he came to stand next to Max and look out over the sea of data analysts and systems engineers.  “Until we have independent confirmation that there has been an extraterrestrial landing, we are ‘Condition:  Delta’.”

“Sir,” Ryan argued, gesturing up at the yellow display over the center of the main monitor bank.  “We have multiple sources confirming that the meteorites causing the dust clouds are of alien origin.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chapter 4: Waverly, Rick

Chapter 4
Rick Waverly

Day:  E-Day+1
Time:  0632 CST/ 1232 GMT
Location: WWIZ radio, Milwaukee WI

Next Chapter --->>>

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chapter 3: Spencer, Bartholomew Albert

Chapter 3
Dr. Bartholomew Albert Spencer

Day:  E-Day+3
Time:  0450 EST/ 0950 GMT
Location:  Georgia State University, Institute of Public Health, Basement C

The twists of metal turned slowly, pushing the pair of cream-filled sponge cakes towards the edge of the shelf.  Dr. Bartholomew Albert Spencer watched, his forehead pressed against the glass of the vending machine as he leaned into it, exhausted.  The hum of the fluorescent backlights filled the tight hallway of the lab area, joined by the low mechanical whir of the coil’s motor.

Then, moments before dropping into the space where he could retrieve it, the sponge cakes stopped and remained.  He sighed and rocked back slightly.  He fell forward again, his forehead impacting the glass with a resonating thud.  The confection remained on the small shelf, unattainable.

“You have got to be kidding me.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chapter 2: Ferrera, Felice

Chapter 2
Felice Ferrera, Survivor #9

Day:  E-Day +2
Time:  0350 hrs CST / 0950 hrs GMT
Location:  Aboard a KC-130 somewhere over Wisconsin

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chapter 1: Beaubien, Marie

Chapter 1
Gunnery Sergeant Marianne Beaubien, USMC
Day:  E-Day +2
Time:  0300 hrs CST / 0900 hrs GMT
Location:  An airfield outside Madison, Wisconsin.

She was cold.  Though the weather had been unseasonably warm for December, the temperatures at night still dropped into the forties, or “the singles” as she would have called them back home.  Marie wrapped the blanket around herself a little more and refused to open her eyes.   To save fuel, they had shut everything down, robbing her of the familiar hum of the engines. After their last close call the decision had been made to forgo putting the plane to bed which, while logical in the circumstances still left her uneasy. Curled up in bits of survival gear, her cheek against the troop bench of the KC-130J air transport, falling asleep had been hard enough the first time; she had no desire to hamper its return.

She turned her head away from the rough straps of the troop bench and took another long breath of the cold air.  The cargo ramp was opening, allowing the northern air to sweep up and down it at will.  She forced her eyes shut. Sleep should not be a challenge.  In the last two days she had totalled eight hours of rest, catching brief naps in between the mad dash to refuel after landing, and taking off again an hour or so later.

“Gunny.”  A firm hand shook her shoulder.  The shake was unnecessary.  Her eyes snapped open as a surge of anxious energy filled her with the evocation of her rank.

“Sir?”  The grim face of Maj. Thompson, the plane’s Aircraft Commander, stared back.  He was a serious man, a dyed-in-the-wool-Marine-for-life.  She respected him and all he had done for her over the last few years.  Even now, she knew that he understood what was going on enough to see the crew through this.

“Wheels up in twenty eight minutes.  We’ve got another storm coming.”