History of the Division One Agency By Agent Sigma (∑) [Formerly known as Stephanie Osborn]

*Sorry to readers and to Stephanie that this is so late.  Our neighborhood is plagued by a pack of coy-wolves, and in the middle of the night they were all making beautiful night music in our backyard, which interfered with sleep a bit. Yes, I should have scheduled it last night, but it was my 31st anniversary, so we were a little busy- SAH*

History of the Division One Agency

By Agent Sigma (∑)

[Formerly known as Stephanie Osborn]

 

History of the Division One Agency

Text © 2016 Stephanie Osborn

http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Fiction

First electronic edition 2016

This document is a publication of Chromosphere Press.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent publisher.

Disclaimer

This document is classified Maximum Security PGLEIA and may not be shared with the general public. This document and/or its contents may be shared only with members of the Division One Agency, members of the Pan-Galactic Law Enforcement and Immigration Administration (PGLEIA), and their duly-appointed representatives. It may also be included in the Alpha Line Agents’ Handbook, Galactic Division One Agency for the PGLEIA, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy.

Under limited circumstances, potential recruits may be shown the information, provided the Cerebellar Holographic Mnemonic Re-Encoding Induction System is used upon them after reading.

All other uses are expressly forbidden, with or without the written consent of Agent Sigma. Failure to abide by these restrictions will result in permanent memory re-encoding to a level deemed sufficient by the Agency Director and/or the Ennead.

 

1.0     Visitations

Aliens have been visiting Earth for many thousands, if not millions, of years. This much is demonstrable from the many sightings documented in ancient manuscripts, from the vimanas of the Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic writings, to the Judeo-Christian Bible testifying of Ezekiel’s “wheels within wheels,” flaming chariots, and more.

This rich history in ancient literature includes events during the Siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD; Flavius Josephus reports, “There appeared in the air over the whole country chariots and armed troops coursing through the clouds, surrounding the cities.”

The records of Plutarch, still earlier, noted that “all of a sudden, the sky burst asunder, and a huge, flame-like body was seen to fall between the two armies. In shape, it was most like a wine-jar, and in color, like molten silver,” in Phrygia, Asia Minor, or what is now known as Turkey, in 74 BCE immediately prior to a battle between the Roman Army and that of Mithridates VI of Pontus.

Livy also recorded, in Ab Urbe Condita Libri, that “an appearance of ships had shone forth from the sky” over Rome as early as 214 BCE.

From this it can be readily deduced that Earth and its superpowers have been closely watched over the course of human history. However, there is also evidence that we have not only been visited, but possibly colonized, at least for a short period of time.

For, going back even farther, it must be noted that the structures under the ice cap in Antarctica, while bearing strong resemblance to those of the Maya and Aztec cultures, certainly predate those cultures by a substantial amount, and likely were, somehow, the inspiration for same. There is evidence to indicate that they were already in place when Antarctica was still in subtropical climes, possibly as early as the era in which the Antarctic plate was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. Yet all indications are that the workmanship required high precision execution and sophisticated machining and placement, the techniques and tools for which were far beyond the capabilities of proto-humans such as Pierolapithecus, Nakalipithecus, and other members of the family Hominidae.

 

2.0     The Modern Age

The modern age of UFO sightings began with the saucer crash in Cape Girardeau, MO, USA in 1941. The US military arrived, took charge of the site and its debris, and swore all witnesses to silence. In the wake of this and other such similar events, the military developed a small cadre of investigators and ‘handlers’ from the US Army Air Corps, which later became the US Air Force. This cadre’s highest priority, even during wartime, was the investigation of UFO and extraterrestrial sightings, the confiscation and analysis of material therefrom, and the maintenance of national security over all. Its original, classified name was Project Signpost.

Ongoing reports of ‘foo fighters’ by both Allied and Axis observers occurred all throughout WWII, notably during the ‘Battle of Los Angeles’ in 1942, but became especially prominent in 1944 and running through the end of the war, as off-world observers took note of the planet-wide conflict, watching and waiting to see what would happen. The use of atomic weapons to end the war drew galactic attention, and UFO sightings continued to increase, as the Pan-Galactic Law Enforcement and Immigration Administration maintained intelligence and strict quarantine of Earth. While we swiftly matured into a space-faring planet, later reports from these observers indicated that there was some doubt in the minds of these off-world entities as to whether or not that would happen at all — there was, in fact, considerable concern that the species would destroy itself.

On Earth, the handling of UFO evidence was spun off to a black operation, dubbed Project Grudge Match, in the years after the war, coming to particular prominence with the 1947 crash in Roswell, NM, USA. This event was handled — somewhat inadequately — by the agents of Project Grudge Match.

Over time, this black op buried itself so deeply that even the originating US Federal Government forgot its existence. This produced some degree of consternation and intrigue when the USAF later opened up Project Blue Book; the two organizations began to cross paths frequently enough that the black op risked being discovered. To solve this problem, Project Grudge Match recruited scientific consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek, charging him with diverting the Air Force from investigating more deeply, thus avoiding the potentially disastrous public revelation of what was really occurring.

For in the process of its investigations, Project Grudge Match began linking up with — or founding — additional subordinate organizations in other countries, all with the purpose of determining what was going on and why, and protecting the Earth from any external threat. Eventually the old US military name was dropped altogether in favor of a more ambiguous, and more international, reference: the Agency. It must be emphatically stated that this was, however, not the Agency we know today; Division historians refer to it as ‘the pre-Agency.’

As time went on, pre-Agency contacts began to be made with various extraterrestrial groups. By the time NASA was formed in 1958, a well-structured, world-wide organization had coalesced, and was actively pursuing contact with what it was coming to realize was a pan-galactic civilization. Unfortunately, that same pan-galactic government still maintained its hands-off-Earth policy, so attempts to negotiate a more sweeping galactic agreement on behalf of Earth were stalled.

Also during this time, the pre-Agency had developed several trade agreements with member systems of this pan-galactic government, enabling the import of certain advanced technologies in exchange for more esoteric items to be found only on Earth, including entertainment videos (film and television), bacon, lava lamps, and diet sodas.

 

2.1     Franz Levy and the Six-Day War

This status quo was maintained through the next forty years, except for one incident in 1967:  During the Israeli Six-Day War, an aging Mossad agent, Franz Levy, inadvertently and unexpectedly found himself protecting an alien potentate — visiting Earth on vacation as a tourist — who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite discovering the obvious alien nature of his fugitive, he recognized that the extraterrestrial was an innocent, caught up in a conflict not its own, and at risk of perishing as a result. Levy’s personal background dictated that he assist the stranded being.

 

2.1.1  Levy’s Personal History

Levy had himself survived WWII as a child in the Majdanek concentration camp. He was the only surviving member of his family, who were among the first interns of the camp in late 1941. He was freed in July 1944 when the Soviet Army captured Majdanek. He was then 14.

Recognizing that the Soviet regime was unlikely to be much more beneficent than the Nazis, he used the skills he had learned to survive in the concentration camp to slip past the Soviets, and made his way into Western Europe before the war ended. There he spent the next three years living hand to mouth as a street urchin refugee, moving from town to town as necessity dictated. As soon as the United Nations partitioned off the new, modern nation of Israel, Levy promptly stowed away on a ship bound for Tel Aviv from the French Mediterranean port town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, making aliyah in Israel twelve days after his 17th birthday.

He was welcomed with open arms by his fellow Jews, but the lone boy quickly found himself falling between the cracks as the new nation was flooded with immigrants, many of which were extended family groups. As war loomed on all horizons, the young nation began preparing for war, and Levy found his calling.

Enlisting in the Israeli Defense Forces, which not only gave him a sense of purpose but a means of living, Levy quickly moved through the various levels of military training and found himself a military field intelligence agent during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. There, his street urchin skills stood him in good stead, as did the fourth-level black belt in Krav Maga he obtained in the course of his military training. He successfully executed several missions, bringing back important intelligence information for IDF Command each time. For this he was awarded the War of Independence ribbon and the Haganah ribbon. He was also ‘posthumously’ awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service (this award was not instituted by the Israeli Knesset until 1970).

Having thus distinguished himself during the war, he continued as an IDF intelligence officer, emerging from the War of Independence at the rank of First Sergeant, and later being promoted rapidly through the ranks until achieving First Lieutenant.

He was recruited by the HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim (Hebrew for “The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations,” aka the Mossad) upon its founding in 1949, where he again served well and honorably, through the Sinai War and other, lesser skirmishes and missions, until the events of the Six-Day War.

By that time, he was 37, and becoming somewhat long in the tooth to execute the job of a field intelligence agent, especially given the hardships of his youth, the deprivations of which were beginning to catch up to him in the form of medical problems — the Mossad physicians gave him only a few more years before multiplying health issues would force his retirement.

Two weeks before the war’s outbreak, he was notified that he had Stage Four lung cancer, presumed to be as a result of long-term exposure to dilute levels of Zyklon B in the air of the concentration camp where he had spent a significant part of his youth. Doctors gave him less than a year to live.

 

2.1.2  Pulgey Entiyti Intervenes

In order to successfully extract the potentate, who proved to be no less a personage than Pulgey Entiyti of Emdali, the then-head of the Pan-Galactic Council of Nine (otherwise known as the Ennead), Levy opted to make what was essentially a suicide move, acting as a decoy by stepping into the path of a Syrian force invading the Golan Heights, and opening fire with two Uzis in double-tap mode. (When asked about his decision, Levy was heard to remark that he thought it would be faster, and prove more useful, than “letting the cancer have me.”) This enabled Pulgey to reach its spacecraft and crew in safety, but Levy took several rounds to the torso, at least one of which nicked his descending aorta, as well as causing considerable internal lacerations. He managed to stagger to shelter in a back alley before succumbing to his wounds, and his cover identity is listed as the only Israeli officer to die in that skirmish — with certain changes to the details made, in order to hide the involvement of a Mossad agent.

However, Lord Entiyti, in gratitude for its rescue, ordered its crew to use all its ship’s devices — to include active cloaking and tractor fields — to capture and bring aboard Levy’s body. When Levy awoke — much to his surprise — three weeks later, he found himself not only healed of both cancer and bullet wounds, but rejuvenated, now a perfectly healthy human with a physiological age of approximately 28.

More, he was on Entiyti’s homeworld of Emdali, and on retainer to Entiyti as one of his personal bodyguards, a position he filled for some three decades. This was much to Levy’s liking, as he was fascinated by all the new worlds he visited, learning everything he could on each planet, and leaving behind a myriad of friends and contacts. Over time, he became Entiyti’s chief and favorite bodyguard — and its friend.

 

2.2     The First Envoy; The Agency Forms

In March 1998, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, orbiting the Jovian system, transmitted data to Earth indicating that Jupiter’s satellite Europa had a liquid ocean under all the ice. This in itself was a fascinating discovery for the humans, but the same historic event was seen in the Ennead as a potential threat, since a mining colony from the water world of Ivalde, in the Groombridge 34 system, existed below the icy crust. This, at last, provided sufficient impetus for the Pan-Galactic Council to act.

A carefully-coded signal was sent to the concomitant head of the pre-Agency, codenamed Oboe, instructing her to bring a contingent of her most trusted agents to a low-population area in west Texas, outside Ozona, there to meet with an envoy from the Pan-Galactic Council that summer. Oboe followed instructions to the letter, and brought a contingent of seven agents, including herself.

The location was chosen for several reasons, including its low human population density; the relative flatness of the area, suitable for several spacecraft to land; and the presence of certain ore bodies in the geological strata which tended to result in a natural cloaking of spacecraft entering the area.

There, the seven agents were met by a specially-organized team from the Ennead, led by Entiyti itself, with Levy along as bodyguard; it would be his last mission caring for Entiyti. The galactic leader had decided that it was time for Levy to return to his homeworld, and had given him one last round of medical rejuvenation treatments; upon his return to Earth, Levy had a physiological age of approximately 32, but a chronological age of 68, with the corresponding experience and knowledge of a seasoned galactic traveler. Entiyti put Levy into the hands of Oboe, instructing his faithful, curious bodyguard to work with the organization they were forming, and serve as a kind of formal liaison between it and the Council.

The meetings lasted several Earth days. A considerable amount of detail had to be thrashed out, and the UN Secretary-General at the time, Kofi Annan, was brought to the negotiations in secret, somewhat to his surprise. There, he ensured Earth became a signatory to what would later become the Sydys Concordat, the governing treaty for the Pan-Galactic Government as a whole.

During the course of negotiations, a 17-year-old boy, the son of the recently-deceased rancher — one James Robert Bryant — on whose property the First Contact took place, made the rounds of the fencing on the ranch in order to effect any needed repairs, and accidentally encountered one of the spacecraft; he wandered aboard out of intense curiosity. Inside, he found negotiations actively under way, and Alexander Ian Bryant was promptly co-opted into the organization; Cerebellar Holographic Mnemonic Re-Encoding Induction technology had not yet been introduced to Earth. It would be another five years before this technology was given to the young Agency for general use.

[Once the mnemonic re-encoding system technology was in common use within the Division One Agency, the Agents gave it the handy nickname ‘brain bleach,’ due to the unwieldiness of the formal name, ‘Cerebellar Holographic Mnemonic Re-Encoding Induction System,’ when used on a daily basis. And, as has been pointed out many times by virtually every new recruit to the Agency, the acronym — CHMRIS or CHMREIS — is not much better. —∑. ]

The story was given out that young Bryant had been attacked by a rogue cougar, or possibly a chupacabra; the mangled body was then scavenged by a pack of coyotes, with little left in the way of identifiable remains. Nalin Iyaaye Bryant, the boy’s grieving mother, now bereft of husband and son, returned to her family on the Lipan Apache reservation, ‘selling’ the ranch to a holding company owned by the Agency. It was thus held in trust for the boy.

By the end of July, the former Galactic Territory One had been officially re-ratified as Galactic Division One, to be headquartered on Earth, Sol System, as the most central and densely-populated area of the division. The covert international organization which had previously handled all matters of interplanetary interaction and commerce with excellent coordination and method was confirmed as the newest branch of the Pan-Galactic Law Enforcement and Immigration Administration (PGLEIA), for Galactic Division One.

 

2.2.1  The Originals

The seven original human agents, plus Levy and Bryant, became known as The Originals within the Agency, referencing their status as the first official Agents of PGLEIA Division One. They included:

  1. Oboe
  2. X-ray
  3. Pip
  4. Duff
  5. Ink
  6. Golf
  7. Union
  8. Fox
  9. Echo

Oboe took Fox in hand as ordered by Entiyti; Fox became Oboe’s assistant, as well as the first Agency liaison to the Ennead. Fox also wrote most of the techniques and training handbooks that were eventually used across the Agency, and was heavily involved in the development of the Diplomacy department.

X-ray, the next-highest ranking agent present, took the very young Echo as his partner, training the boy and treating him as his own son. When Echo came of legal age, he was able to designate the family ranch as a safehouse/site for fellow Agents; its cover story advertises it as a guest, or ‘dude,’ ranch, and it remains an active, working ranch, run by the Agency and carefully-chosen adjuncts. Though it is not well-known, he visits occasionally, choosing to stay there when in the region, for business or relaxation. The property is held in trust for Echo by the Agency in the event of his retirement.

Echo and X-ray were still partners at the time of X-ray’s demise in 2013, when the older agent sacrificed himself so that his partner and other colleagues could take down an interstellar terrorist that had just wiped out a young family, including two small children. The terrorist did not survive the altercation.

Of the nine Originals, three still survive as of the writing of this document:

  • Fox (current Agency Director, stationed at the Headquarters Office, 31 Division Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City, New York state, USA),
  • Echo (new department chief, Alpha Line; also designated Agency Director successor, stationed at the Headquarters Office, 31 Division Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City, New York state, USA), and
  • Pip (McMurdo Office chief, retired to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia).

 

3.0     Agency Expansion and the Future

By the time of the writing of this history, Division One has offices in all of the major cities of Earth, on all continents and subcontinents as well as two deep-sea offices — one in the Atlantic, outside the ruins of Atlantis; and one in the Pacific, near the Muan capitol Naacali. Consideration was given to establishing an Indian Ocean/Lemurian office, but no seismically-stable site has been found as of this writing.

Ongoing trade agreements continue to be negotiated with other stellar systems, to the benefit of Earth and the rest of the Galactic Confederation.

The Agency has also participated in at least one interstellar war, during which an attempt was made by the Klydonians to invade Earth itself. The PGLEIA Division One Agency successfully repelled the invasion without substantive physical assistance from outside the Sol system; however, intelligence information was supplied by the Council, and put to good use. They were assisted by the firepower of Earth’s major armies, which were subsequently subjected to the Cerebellar Holographic Mnemonic Re-Encoding Induction System to ensure matters remained classified.

 

3.1 Headquarters

The Headquarters for the Division One Agency is at 31 Division Avenue, Brooklyn, in New York City, in the state of New York, USA. This site dates to pre-Agency days, when it was the New York hub for pre-Agency activities, though not its headquarters. While the exterior comprises some four stories in a modest brick building, the installation of a local space warp inside allows for no less than three sub-basements, an extensive underground evacuated-tube maglev train station, and well over two hundred floors, including expansive, comfortable housing for numerous Agents on the upper floors.

Many departments are included in this facility, including Logistics, Diplomacy, Engineering, Sciences, Weapons Development & Testing, Medical, and more.

In addition, lower floors are set aside as interstellar embassies; each system wishing to place an embassy on Earth is allotted half of one floor. The total number of embassies at this time is 83.

Fox was heavily involved in making this the Headquarters location, due in part to the symbolism of the street address, and partly because of its location on the edge of a substantial Jewish population, which allowed him to feel a sense of connection to his old life. Ease of transportation was an early consideration, with its proximity to the East River.

The area also provides ample apartment dwellings for Agents interested in living off-site, as well as numerous convenient markets and delis for hungry Agents on the move.

 

3.2 The Los Angeles Office: Cover And Entertainment

The establishment of the Los Angeles Office enabled the laying down of additional layers of cover for the Agency, in the form of various film and television scripts written by Agents at that Office, and often produced by the Office itself, under one or more of several fronting corporations. These include a long-running television series; at least two film franchises, each of which spun off animated series; numerous video games based on each franchise; and even several novels and comic books.

The office has since become a hub for entertainers throughout the Galaxy who are interested in breaking into film.

 

3.3 Alpha Line

Consequent to the Klydonian Invasion, Division One has seen fit to inaugurate a new department, the Alpha Line, an elite unit intended to provide the ‘point’ in the event of future interstellar disagreements of such virulent nature. Application is open to all agents; however, each must pass rigorous qualification testing before they may be assigned to Alpha Line.

This new department is headed by the youngest member of The Originals, Echo, with the assistance of his most recent partner Omega, an augmented human recruited from the NASA Astronaut Office. Together, these two comprise the successful prototype team, Alpha One.

Echo’s previous partner, Romeo, an ex-Navy SEAL who replaced X-ray during the events of the invasion, and Romeo’s current partner, India, a former ER physician, comprise the Alpha Two team.

Additional teams and sub-departments are being created as Agents qualify and need arises.

 

 

Alpha and Omega (Division One)

First in an ongoing series about the adventures of Alpha Line available now for preorder on Kindle with a release date of January 10, 2017.

https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Omega-Division-Stephanie-Osborn-ebook/dp/B01MXNQTFJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482441357&sr=8-1&keywords=stephanie+osborn

144 responses to “History of the Division One Agency By Agent Sigma (∑) [Formerly known as Stephanie Osborn]

  1. Ah, um, ooookay. Hey. I just read the opening, realized it had not been intended for little ole me and let it go.

    NOW — Don’t you dare mess with my memory…

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Of course if such an agency actually existed, they might bankroll a series of books fictionalizing their activities.

    Said series might be good publicity if/when the agency went public. 😀

    • Not only books, but movies and TV shows with just enough of the truth incorporated so that when the inevitable slips occur people will thing it’s just someone acting out that show they saw.
      It’s called hiding in plain sight.

      • This idea reminds me of “Wormhole Extreme” from Stargate SG-1

      • I often wonder why characters in sci-fi, urban fantasy, and horror stories generally act as if they’ve never read or seen any sci-fi, urban fantasy, or horror stories — or even seem to have ever HEARD of sci-fi, urban fantasy, or horror. But maybe that’s just me.

        All that aside, this new series looks to be good clean fun for the whole family!

        • This series will not be like that…

          And yes, fun for the whole family!

          • I will caution everyone that Ms. Osborn does love to torture her characters, so there are some scenes where fun does not materially enter into the equation.
            Entertaining? Very much so, but there are a couple spots where it’s only fun if you’re the type that likes vivid descriptions of the evil bad guy pulling the wings off cute butterflies.

        • Because you have to be very, very, very careful, or it turns into medium awareness. John C. Wright did it well with the Golden Oecumene novels, where they frequently dryly comment on how it doesn’t conform to Daphne’s books, or Eddie Pitman’s Red’s Planet, where Red tries to address the aliens with a mishmash of SF lines, and they hustle their kids away from this obvious lunatic.

    • If they bankrolled it, then I wouldn’t have to sell ’em…

  3. Wasn’t that the address of U.N.C.L.E.?

    • U.N.C.L.E.’s headquarters? In New York it was somewhere near the United Nations, around the lower East 40’s.

      The exact address was not given in the ‘historical record’. If you watch the record you will have to conclude that, for a top secret organization, the location of appears to have not been a very closely kept secret.

  4. Much as readers have enjoyed Stephanie’s Displaced Detective stories, she kept being asked for something in a lighter but old school SF action adventure nature. This short sets the stage for her new series with that in mind. The first book, Alpha & Omega, is up for preorder on Amazon with release on January 10, the next three are in final development with a plan to release quarterly. If response to this series justifies continuing Steph says she has at least four more kicking around in her head.

  5. Sounds right interesting, and I’d like to read more.
    Side note, though: Mr. Levy could not have obtained a black belt in Krav Maga by 1948, as there were no grades in the art until the late ’60s.
    Also, given that one of the things “everybody knows” is that Krav Maga was developed by the IDF (implying that it did not exist in 1948), you might mention that Mr. Levy joined the Haganah or Palmach while in pre-Independence Israel.

    • *wink* Nobody ever said to which universe this series belonged…

      • Also: black belts are generally referred to as having ‘degrees’ or ‘grades’ not levels.

        And one does not ‘proceed through the ranks ‘ to First Lieutenant from First Sergeant, you accept a commission.

        • Hmmm. Are those actual ranks in the IDF?

          • There was a first sergeant 1948-1952. They use master sergeant instead, largely. And yes, Lieutenant 1st class is indeed a rank.

          • They should be actual ranks. I did a bit of research on the IDF ranks.

            That said, I was never military, so I am uncertain about the actual form of progression.

            Black belts use different terminology for different forms of martial arts, insofar as I could tell. My own karate work did indeed use “degrees” but I have seen other forms use the other terms.

        • In the US, a First Sergeant is the senior NCO in a company. In the IDF, the equivalent rank would be “Rasar,” which roughly translates to “chief sergeant first class.” In the US, a First Lieutenant is (usually) a platoon leader or company XO. In the IDF, the equivalent rank would be “Sagar,” which roughly translates to “lieutenant first class.”

          • I chose not to use the Hebrew terms so as not to confuse the reader. I also chose not to use footnotes for other languages in the books because footnotes are a PITA to format, and this is my first go at formatting a print book in-house.

            • …so the ranks I used were the American equivalents.

              This series is NOT hard SF, guys. Kick back and let it romp.

            • I didn’t mean to be pedantic, but I found the IDF ranks to be kind of interesting.

              • Well, they are. But given this was a short story used as background for the series, there was a point at which I had to draw the line in terms of how much info I shoved into the thing.

                Note that this is considered part of the Agents’ Handbook for Alpha Line. FWIW, I have the notion to gin up a different section of the Handbook for each book released in the series, then collect them up at the end to issue a complete Handbook as a series adjunct. Does that sound like it would be fun to y’all?

  6. And now I see the Hoyt residence as this:

  7. What is it about traveling VIPs and war zones? You’d almost wonder if there is some inter-galactic variant of Murphy’s Law of Travel that states the odds of a VIP being caught up in a disaster/war/plague varies inversely with the number of security personnel brought along.

    • *snort* They start to think they’re invincible?

      • Well, there’s a reason the King-Emperor of Drakon IV never goes off world with fewer than five personal guards, plus his usual military escort. And he has to be quite a forefoot-to-forefoot fighter as well as general soldier. *Imagines Rada’s look of horror if informed that the King-Emperor had decided to go somewhere with just her.* Something about not tempting either fate or fools . . .

    • That’s because the Intergalactic Princess of the Magellenic Cloud arrived, had her pastry and hot chocolate, and left without incident, so you never heard it happened.

  8. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I suspect the story of how ‘the pre-Agency’ got a presence inside the Soviet block would be interesting. 😉

    • Ooo. Excellent idea for an adjunct book to the series. I might have to think on that one.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Take it away!!

        Seriously, one problem I’ve had with many “the world unites to deal with evil aliens” (either openly or secret organizations) stories is “How do you get people with the Soviet mindset to easily work with people with the American/Western mindset and visa versa”.

        In a non-published SF universe, I cheated. Since it was an alternate history Earth, I killed the Soviet Union at its birth. The “White Russians” had help so Russia became a Constitutional Monarchy with a smarter Tsar. 😉

        • Well, the starting point is close enough to World War 2 that the necessary connections might have been made at that point. The US and the USSR were united against a common enemy (Nazi Germany), with the US (and to a lesser extent Great Britain) shipped vast quantities of war materials to the USSR. People from both nations were going back and forth. The Soviets were sending people to the US to let the American factories know what sorts of features worked best on the Eastern Front. And the US was sending people to the USSR to make sure that everything worked as expected.

          One possibility is that Grudge Match had a Soviet counterpart that Stalin “forgot” to mention to his successors. Over time, the Soviet organization might have entered a joint-partnership organization with its US counterpart to help stabilize funding in the cash-starved USSR. State secrets would still need to be preserved. And the conditions of the Cold War would have ensured an almost entirely separate structure in any case (it would be difficult to send Western Pre-Agency assets to assist behind the Iron Curtain). But a certain amount of communication would be useful.

          The Soviet leadership in the organization would almost certainly be a minor department of one of the national intelligence agencies given both “if you have to ask then you don’t need to know” and “even mentioning the name of our organization is treason” security classifications.

          Alternately, the leadership might be “retired” individuals. Perhaps General Zhukov’s “reassignment” to Odessa and the Urals wasn’t so much a loss of stature as it was Stalin giving Zhukov a new war to fight?

  9. Well, you got the name of the ranchers son wrong but all in all, it’s quite good. 😉

    • Nope. I can assure you, I did not.

      Just because you don’t know him doesn’t make it wrong. 😉

      • Well, seeing as I’m married to the rancher… 🙂

        • Not that rancher. Sorry. 😉

          Actually I pulled the names from my personal genealogy, which I’ve found can be a rich (and occasionally amusing) resource when I’m stuck on a character name.

          So maybe we’re related. I dunno.

          • That’s supposed to be a wink emot, but it looks like it’s frowning to me.

          • Huh. Cool! My husband was named for his uncles. We’ll have to explore further.

            • The Bryants are one of the main and close families in my own family tree, and James Robert is a VERY common combo in my ancestry. Alexander not so much, and I don’t think Ian is in there at all. But I always thought if I had a son I’d name him Alexander (and variants on the surname Alexander, Alastair, and McAlister ARE in my genealogy). The “Ian” was chosen as a more common name, misunderstood for the Apache “Elan,” which means “friendly.” Echo was originally supposed to be named Alexander Elan Bryant, only the registrar misheard. (His mom is full Lipan Apache.)

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            What’s confusing to me was this: “a 17-year-old boy, the son of the recently-deceased rancher — one James Robert Bryant — on whose property the First Contact took place”.

            It sounded like the boy was named “James Robert Bryant” but later the boy’s name is given as “Alexander Ian Bryant”. 😀

            • Antecedent for “one James Robert Bryant” is the immediately-previously-mentioned “recently-deceased rancher.” Echo is Alexander Ian; his father was James Robert. Sorry if that was unclear.

  10. Utterly unrelated to the point of the post…

    At what point is “I thought you had to be joking” a legal leg to stand on, especially when a document/agreement is in the format of a sign or announcement?

  11. FWIW, folks, this is not so much a hard SF novel and more of a fun action-adventure SF. I am trying, whenever technical matters come up, to throw in some actual science, but I am not going nuts trying to explain the science and engineering of every little thing.

    Instead, I am making use of the urban legends about what this or that can/can’t do, and weaving together a fun little universe full of things that are mysterious to the average human. That whole Ancient Aliens show on the History channel has been wonderfully helpful (when I’m not wanting to throw something heavy at Tsoukalos et al.)! LOL! And even occasionally, once I restrain the urge to damage our new flat-screen TV, I think, “Whoa! I can actually USE that! Over here, where Alpha One is doing…” and I grab my computer and I’m off…

    So this series will be books to have fun with, not so much to take seriously.

  12. I found this and wanted to share it with everyone, but it didn’t seem on-topic anywhere. This is as good a place as anywhere, I think:

    http://warontherocks.com/2016/12/five-giant-leaps-for-robotkind-expanding-the-possible-in-autonomous-weapons/

    This essay could be a good basis for a story chronicling the rise of the machines (to coin a phrase…).

  13. I’ll read Stephanie’s later (probably buy it, too) – but congrats on the anniversary! That is good busy!

  14. Do you remember hearing about the discovery of the Atlantean defense base under Antarctica? It happened in 2006. Recently in the news again because some UFO groups were causing a fuss about the cover-up. You have to admit that the remains of the asteroid that caused the Permian–Triassic extinction is a bit weak.

  15. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Grumble Grumble

    I’m a bit annoyed at Agent Sigma.

    She made me pre-order Alpha and Omega. 😉

  16. Might be the brain bleacher, but I think she has a subliminal suggestivator because I preordered too.

  17. FYI, for those who prefer tree book formats, Alpha and Omega will be available in trade paperback, which will be released on 24 Jan!

  18. Thanks for that, as I am a rabid tree-killer, both personally and professionally, though it seems I can’t pre-order it yet. Damn.
    JPDev

  19. Happy anniversary!

  20. Full disclosure, we actually finished final processing of Alpha & Omega and uploaded the files to Ingram Sparks in early December. The January 10 release date was chosen on the advice of one of the most savvy book promoters we know, a regular contributor to MGC.
    We actually have two cases of the print book in hand at this time and Steph will have autographed copies available for sale at several cons this coming year.
    If there’s any interest we might do an article at MGC on the process and all the quirks and tricks involved in taking an MS Word manuscript all the way to a real solid book in hand. We used Ingram Sparks, and while there are other options available for the indie writer, we’re rather pleased with the results we got.