An interview with Brian Dorsey – Draxius Lost

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EC:  Welcome back Brian!  First off, for those who may not have read Gateway yet, can you give us a brief synopsis?

BD:  Gateway is a military space opera that examines how our perspectives on the truth, and to some degree our reality, are formed by the civilization and culture in which we are raised. The protagonist, Major Tyler Stone, is a highly decorated officer in the Humani Elite Guard. Despite frustrations with the class-oriented nature of his society, puffed-up political officers, and abuses of the commoners at the hands of the elite, Tyler believes in the value of his society and its rules. All of this is challenged, however, when a series of events forces him to look at his society through the eyes of his enemy—in this case, a beautiful Terillian Scout Ranger named Mori Skye. What follows is a roller-coaster ride of deception, action, and revelation as Stone must determine if honor is more important than duty.

 

EC:  I understand that you spent some time in the Navy.  I would imagine that you draw from this experience in order to write so effectively.  Can you tell us about something outside of your military service that influences your writing?

BD:  I did spend a little time in the Navy…23 years. 😉   Although I did draw a lot from my military experience, I also draw from my academic background. I have B.S. degrees in History and Radiation Physics from Oregon State University and a Master of Social Science from Syracuse University. Although that sounds like an odd combo, the Radiation Physics and my military experience with nuclear power give me insight into the tech using in military scifi and my history and social science background were invaluable in world-building.

 

EC:  There seems to be a fine line between Military Science Fiction and Space Opera.  How would you classify your writing?

BD:  I would classify it as both.  In my opinion, I think it has the dramatic and epic elements that space opera fans can identify with while at the same time I definitely don’t shy away from the military/combat elements of the story—the lead and almost all supporting characters are in the military so it would be hard not to focus on that element.  Maybe military space opera would be the best descriptor.  Some readers have, however, stated they enjoyed the character development and interaction as much the action and military aspects of the story.


 

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EC:  You have a novella that was just published this week, Draxius Lost, which is a prequel of sorts involving one of the main characters.  Could you tell us a little about it? 

BD:  Draxius Lost, and a follow-up novella Draxius Redeemed (which I hope to have released before the end of this year), follows Captain Emily Martin from the Gateway main series as a young lieutenant learning how to be a leader. When a mission goes bad, she is thrust into command and must deal with old enemies, some new ones, and her own demons to save herself and her men.

 

EC:  Emily Martin has become quite a popular character, is this why you decided to make her the subject of Draxius Lost? 

BD:  The short answer is yes. When I started Gateway, my plan was for her to be an important, but secondary character.  Over the process of writing Gateway, however, she kind of took on a life of her own…at times I think the character was actually telling me what she was going to do next, as if I didn’t have a choice. In fact, she basically shares the stage with Tyler Stone as the main characters in the upcoming second book in the main Gateway series, which is titled Saint and will be out this fall. She quickly became my favorite character to write and I received a lot of positive feedback about her, so it made sense to dig deeper into her character.

 

EC:  Can we expect to see more side stories based on other characters in the Gateway universe? 

BD:  There is a bit of a plan forming. It is still tentative, but I actually spoke with my publisher about increasing the novellas supporting the Gateway Universe. Following Draxius Lost will be Draxius Redeemed which will close out the storyline of Martin’s first mission in command. After that, I think I’ll go after the story of the wolf clan from Gateway.

 

EC:  One last question, if Gateway were to be made into a movie, who would you like to see play the character of Emily Martin? 

BD:  That’s a tough one, and one I’ve thought about a little. Right now, I’m thinking either Gina Carano or Rachel Nichols.

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An Interview With Brian Dorsey. Author of the military science fiction novel, Gateway…

I came across Brian Dorsey quite by accident.  In my early days of twitter, I was checking out the followers of another science fiction writer and happened to see his profile.  After looking at his website and reading a sample of Gateway, I knew that this was a writer I wanted to engage with.  He is one of those writers that honestly likes to talk with his fans, even if it is just about ordinary, everyday topics.

 

One of the exciting things that Brian has done is to develop a website that is a virtual Gateway encyclopedia.  There you can find specs, lineage, personnel records and government data as it pertains to his books.  Plus, it has really, really cool pictures!  It is one of the better websites I have come across for a book series and he’s done it all by himself.  You can find the link at the end of the interview.

 

EC:  I noticed that you created a very in-depth website for your books.  I love it when an author provides behind-the-scenes goodies for their stories.  Could you tell us about it?

BD:  Thanks.  At first I started the website because my publisher wanted me to start one.  I am by no means tech savvy when it comes to social media and IT so I did a little research (and asked an IT guru at the company I was working for at the time) and decided to go with wix.com for the platform.  Luckily, it’s fairly user-friendly so it didn’t give me too many headaches.

As for the content, it was (and still is) a work in progress. My idea of a website is that it should be a place where readers/fans can interact with the writer, learn more about the universe in which the story lives, and find out what the author is working on next.  I added the basic pages I think you would expect to see on an author site such as links to buy, cover photos, and reviews.  After that, I tried to think of things I would want to see if I were a reader that really ‘got into’ the storyline.  I think from that perspective, three things have been very successful.

1.  Concept Art: Although my publisher handles the cover art and other aspects of marketing, I went out on my own to have some additional concept art done.  I was lucky enough to find Jed Tarkowski and he and I have worked pretty well together developing concept pieces for the Gateway Universe.  I think the concept art helps people in two ways: First, it shows people a little bit of what I think things should look like (with some input from Jed) and secondly, some people are more stimulated by visual information and it can actually draw them into the story more than providing excerpts.

2.  Excerpts: I added links to some samples of my writing to give people an idea of the story and the characters in case they aren’t sure Gateway is for them but want to at least check it out. I also occasionally include extra ‘stuff’ that I have written as character development that may not be part of the main storyline.

3.  Wiki/Gateway Universe:  This is my favorite part.  I wanted to provide a way for people who enjoy reading Gateway to be able to dig deeper into the society, the military, and the characters.  If you really like a character, some of them have military records that you can access.  If you like the ships, some have their specs available.   Jed Tarkowski and the concept art came in pretty handy in this area too; he did several ‘schematic’ drawings to go along with some of the ships.  Also available are government structures and some family lineages.  This page will always be a work in process for two reasons:  First, as I continue to develop the series, I will also continue to develop and intertwine the underlying frameworks of civilizations and people involved.  Secondly, I have more information ready to post, but I also try to balance the release so that people have a chance to read the next book in the series and let some of the information be delivered more naturally through the storyline.  What that means is that when Saint (Book 2) releases, there will be another spike in information available on wiki.

 

EC:  Brian, what kind of research do you employ to base your battles, ships, and maneuvers on?  Do you use military experience or gathered information from other sources?  Both?

BD:  It’s a combination of experience, interviews, and research.

I retired from the Navy after 23 years of service, both enlisted and as an officer, so some of that can be seen in my writing although I purposely change some things slightly such as names of compartments and equipment.  (You won’t see a Combat Information Center in the Gateway series; it would more likely be called Combat Center and instead of the ship establishing Material Condition Zebra for combat, it might set Combat Containment).  My plan was to write it in a way that a novice would get the idea but still be close to technically correct. So if there are vets out there that read a line and say “that’s not exactly right,” it’s on purpose to be more inclusive.

For ground combat research, I spoke with some friends with infantry experience as well as utilized my own research (in addition to sci-fi, I have also published historical nonfiction, mostly military history).  An example of interviews is the use of a PLIC (Personnel Clearing Line Charge) which I adapted from discussion with Marines about MICLIC (Mine Clearing Line Charges) and their adapted uses in the recent wars.

In addition to my military experience and academic work in history, I also have a degree in Radiation Physics and have worked in Navy’s nuclear propulsion program throughout my military career and currently as a civilian Navy employee.  This technical background also helps with some of the science in the series.

 

EC:  Are any of your characters based on yourself?  People you know?

BD:  Not really.  Some of the main characters have names (or part of them) based on friends or family members but not their characteristics or personalities.

Of particular note, however, is the Tyler Stone character.  You may notice the character does not use his more formal name (Venarius).  This is for two reasons.  First, if you check out the family lineage tab in the Gateway Universe tab on my website (www.briandorseybooks.com) you can see the reason that fits the plot line.  Secondly, the character is named after a close family friend (and best friend of one of my kids) that lost his battle with cancer a few years back at the age of 14 (his father was a Navy friend of mine that was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2008).  Before Tyler passed, I made a promise to him I would name a character after him and it just seemed right for it to be the lead character.  In support of the continuing fight against cancer, 10% of my 1st year’s profits from Gateway will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program under Tyler’s name and my publisher has graciously agreed to match that amount.

As for the other characters, Cataline Tacitus was based on two of the worst leaders I met in the Navy but I’m not naming names.  Likewise, some characteristics of other characters such a Captain Emily Martin, Captain Hugh Jackson, Captain Mori Skye, and Major Tyler Stone are based on a combination of traits from some of the best (or at least most interesting) personalities I have met along the way.

 

EC:  Of these characters, have you ever received an unexpected review of them?

BD:  I would say it has to be the Emily Martin character.  At first, I added her as a supporting character because I wanted show a female in a leadership role in the book.  After a while, however, the character seemed to just write itself as if she was telling me what the character would do next.  From the feedback I have received so far, she has become several readers’ favorite.  Besides seeing her in book 2 of the series (Saint) due out in summer 2015, I am developing a novella based on her as a young lieutenant which should hopefully be available by fall 2015.

 

EC:  Do you classify Saint as space opera?  Military SciFi?  Both?  Neither?

BD:  I would classify it as both.  In my opinion, I think it has the dramatic and epic elements that space opera fans can identify with while at the same time I definitely don’t shy away from the military/combat elements of the story—the lead and almost all supporting characters are in the military so it would be hard not to focus on that element.  Maybe military space opera would be the best descriptor.

Some readers have, however, stated they enjoyed the character development and interaction as much the action and military aspects of the story.

 

EC:  What makes Saint different from other books in the genre?

BD:  I think (or at least hope) two things make Saint, and for that matter the Gateway series, stand out from the rest.

First, I attempt to write the storyline on three levels.  The first level is the typical shoot ‘em up military science fiction with battles, spaceships, and even a little swordplay.  With the second level I attempt to develop the characters in a way that people understand why and how they interact with people around them and why they react the way they do in the situations in which they are placed.  One of my best moments as a writer was when I saw two readers having a ‘discussion’ about why Emily Martin would or wouldn’t have done something in a scene.  Finally, at the lowest, underlying, level I try to look a societal element.  In Gateway, I try to show how society, cultures, and government actually shape our perception of reality and what happens when that reality is challenged.  In Saint, that third-level aspect will look at religion used as a weapon.

Secondly, the main character will not reach full development until the fourth or fifth book in the series.  The Tyler Stone character is one that ‘thought’ he understood his purpose when Gateway begins but eventually has his perception of his universe shattered.  He wants desperately for the world to be black and white and has used codes and principles to guide him and help him to categorized things to fit that mindset.  Once his reality is destroyed, he now has to struggle with a world that is much grayer than he likes.  To help, or maybe make things worse, he has two very strong-minded women (Emily Martin & Mori Skye) pulling him in two directions (which you really begin to see toward the end of Saint).  Both believe what they are doing is right but pull Stone in two different directions. Eventually he will need to choose and the choice will have significant ramifications not only for Stone and his friends but for entire civilizations.

 

EC:  I’d like to hear about your writing that is not in this genre.  

BD:  Although I had the basic storyline for Gateway in my head for about 15 years before I actually wrote it, the Gateway series is my first foray into fiction.  Before that, I wrote academic nonfiction historical works.  In addition to journal articles, I have published two nonfiction books.  They are:

A Call to Arms: The Realities of Military Service for African Americans during the Civil War.  This book examines the factors impacting recruitment of African Americans during the Civil War from a regional perspective.

Southern West Virginia and the Struggle for Modernity.  This was my final project from my graduate program at Syracuse which I developed as a book.  It looks at the social, economic, cultural, and political history of Southern West Virginia (as part of greater Appalachia) from post-Civil War through the present.

 

EC:  What would you like your readers to learn from Saint?

BD:  First, I hope they are entertained and connect with the characters.  The series is meant primarily to entertain and tell (hopefully) a good story.  From a social perspective (as mentioned earlier) Saint has an underlying tone that is a cautionary tale for religion gone wrong.

 

EC:  What impact would you like to give readers so they will remember Saint, long after they are finished reading it?

BD:  First, don’t piss off Emily Martin.   But seriously I guess the takeaway is that we are created by the environment in which we are raised and live and in turn form our opinions of other people and cultures based on our created ‘self.’   We should strive to learn more about people different from us even though it may complicate things and challenge long-standing beliefs.

 

Brian’s second book in the Gateway series is titled Saint and will be released summer of 2015…

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You can find Brian Dorsey at…

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The War of Alien Aggression… new military science fiction series from A.D. Bloom

Some of the most realistic dialogue and situations I’ve come across in military scifi…” – Evan Carter From the author of the fantastic dark-future series, STITCH, as well as popular short stories, The 10-Foot-Tall Marine, Hunting Mr. Old Sack Bones, and Tokyo Newsreel, comes The War of Alien Aggression.  A new military science fiction series that has been at the top of Amazon’s Best Seller list for Science Fiction Anthologies. Follow Admiral Cozen, Ram Devlin, and the pilots and crew of the privateer carrier Hardway as they are first to fight in the conflict that quickly escalates from a bloody first contact to a full-scale, interstellar war.

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A.D. Bloom – A Retrospective of Sorts….

I discovered A.D. Bloom in 2012 when I read his STITCH trilogy.  It was one of the first ebooks I had downloaded (onto a now-ancient Sony PRS-350, which has since become a dedicated A.D. Bloom reader).

When I read this story, I was stunned.  Not since Brian Aldiss or perhaps T.J. Bass have I read such an absolutely wonderful suspension of reality.  A.D. Bloom is able to take the reader into a world of such utter and complete strangeness, yet deliver it in such a way that it feels completely normal.  He has a cadence and a way of speaking that attracts the reader and urges one to continue turning the page.  I highly prize the strange and obscure and I can tell you that A.D. Bloom delivers tenfold.

I thought I’d post a retrospective of sorts in order that readers may familiarize themselves with A.D. Bloom’s works.

Click the images in this post to be sent to their respective Amazon page (if available).

All images are created by and property of A.D. Bloom.


The Bone Blade Girl is set five hundred years after the end of the world, in a dark age where noble families are kept in power by Stitchlife gene-witches who rewrite them to post-human perfection. Molly is a young peasant girl from a walled town in the wilds who is rewritten for fantastic speed by a renegade Stitchlife and becomes the people’s champion in the struggle for power.”  – A.D. Bloom

The main character, Molly, is one of the greatest – and most tragic – characters I have come across in a long, long time.  The trilogy includes The Bone Blade Girl, The Fall of the Haunted City, and The Stitchlife Rebellion

Stitch: The Blone Blade Girl
STITCH: The Fall of the Haunted City
STITCH: The Stitchlife Rebellion

The STITCH series was actually preceded by the short story, Snicker-Snack (Kill the Kaiju Queen), which revolved around Teddy Da, a stitchlife construct created by the infamous stitchwitch Kitty Hawk.  I hadn’t read it until after I completed STITCH, but it answered quite a few questions in regard to various characters in the STITCH series…

Snicker-Snack (Kill the Kaiju Queen)

Later, A.D. Bloom wrote Lost Dogs and Monsters (The Kaiju Queen).  This book gave us a glimpse into the beginnings of the Stitch universe before humanity was brought to the brink by Kitty Hawk and her monstrous Kaiju constructs.  This books is also the last of those found in the STITCH series…

Lost Dogs and Monsters (The Kaiju Queen)

A short story that takes place within the Lost Dogs and Monsters timeline was released.  Entitled Patches: All Good Dogs Go to Heaven.

Patches is a bipedal canine freak-pet, and Kitty Hawk didn’t make him to be an acrobat or a veil-dancer or give him an opera singer’s voice, but she gave him thumbs, a better than average brain, and a respectable aptitude for basic accounting. She also gave him a gun.  Up ’til today, Patches handled the Circus’ accounts and told the story of where the money went, but when both human and gene-job blood is shed, the story of murder he’s forced to piece together is a far more chilling story…” – A.D. Bloom

Patches

A.D. Bloom has given me permission to distribute copies of his book, STITCH: The Violet Edition freely to those who would like to read it.  This edition contains some extras such as all of the covers for the three individual books, the short story, Snicker-Snack, and a special Author’s Note.
I am honored that he has allowed me to do this and thank him very much for providing stories that I will continue to read for as long as he writes them.  Please contact me if you would like to read this book.
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A.D. Bloom is also the author of a number of short stories, which include Only Suckers Call It Luck10-Foot-Tall Marine, Tokyo Newsreel, The Burning Circus, Flashbulb Alley, and Hunting Mr. Old Sack Bones.  These shorts can be found in an omnibus entitled Under a Vulgar Sun

Under A Vulgar Sun – 6 dark sci-fi and fantasy stories featuring hyper-sexed inter-dimensionals, giant monsters, shades, shadows, and killer robot marines.  Distilled, high bitrate storytelling.” – A.D. Bloom


Some of his short stories,  10-Foot-Tall Marine, Morituri,  Tokyo Newsreel, Flashbulb Alley, and Hunting Mr. Old Sack Bones were published independently as well.  They are no longer in print…

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Tokyo Newsreel
Flashbulb Alley
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The Dead Tide, an experiment in transgressive fiction.  This one, exploring the zombie apocalypse theme, is now out of print.

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A.D. Bloom’s first published book was Bring Me the Head of the Buddha.  It is no longer in print.

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The War of Alien Aggression

After waiting for almost a year, he has brought a new series to his readers.  This time it is a military science fiction tale entitled The War of Alien Aggression.  There are five main books in the series, Hardway, Kamikaze, Lancer, Taipan, and Cozen’s War.

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The War of Alien Aggression Omnibus is available now.
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A.D. Bloom released the audiobook version of The War of Alien Aggression on October 14, 2016.  Narrated by David Rheinstrom, David provides the voice of at least 68 different and distinct characters.  I haven’t listened to such an amazing undertaking since the audio versions of Dune…
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His short stories Combat Salvage 2165 and Dreadnought 2165 are available as well and are part of The War of Alien Aggression timeline, taking place between Taipan and Cozen’s War.

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The Liberty Fleet Trilogy (comprised of 2166 – Force Liberty, 2166 – Battle of Shedir, and 2166 – Devlin’s War) was released in June of 2015.

After victory in the 2164-2165 War, Humanity expands into the territory of an Imperium that has sworn to destroy them. The first shots of the new war echo through the surrounding systems as Humanity’s neighboring species must choose sides and fight with or against the local cluster’s newest upstart rebels.

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The Otherworld Rebellion is another chapter in The War of Alien Aggression universe.  Released in December of 2015.

The year is now 2187 – Lt. Martin Samhain, son of the last man to ever attempt rebellion on Earth, is drafted by Staas Company Intelligence and sent to Otherworld to find fugitive war hero turned rebel, Ram Devlin.  Samhain’s mission is to stop him before Earth’s largest off-world settlement, penal colony, and source of military contractors erupts in civil war.

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The latest offering in The War of Alien AggressionPirates of Alcyone.  This is technically book 8.5 in the WAA timeline.

2180. Devlin’s Privateers strike at Earth’s enemies from their hidden redoubt, but Commodore Ram Devlin himself is now a fugitive hunted by both Staas Company and the Navy. He wants Letters of Marque and the bounty lifted off his head. He’s convinced the only way to achieve those goals is to face down the Voracious, a syndicate-sponsored heavy cruiser that has plagued the system for months. The ‘scourge of Alcyone’ steams under a black flag and carries more guns than the Devlins’ whole privateer squadron put together, but unless the system’s most dangerous pirate vessel is eliminated, none of them will ever be safe. Staas Company and the UNS can’t catch them. Only Devlin’s Privateers are properly positioned to engage Voracious and her gunboat escorts. A young Hank Devlin, the cloned second incarnation of Admiral Harry Cozen, takes command of Absalom and enters the battle with over a lifetime of experience.

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A.D. Bloom types loudly on a 1998 IBM M13 mechanical keyboard (13H6705), prefers writing on vertical monitors, and claims he’ll make portable aerial radar from a $12 usb radio dongle when he’s done with his current project.

You can find A.D. Bloom roaming the aether at….

The War of Alien Aggression

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Guest blog from author A.D. Bloom…

“Space: Above and Beyond – Necessity is the mother of invention.”

I’ve been a fan of the show ever since I stumbled into a broadcast episode way back in ’95. There’s a lot of reasons I loved that show. And it’s not just because it died young and I miss it. That show had great drama, awesome writing and solid production (Glenn Morgan, James Wong). That show also had some great ships.
Like the Saratoga…

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While SAAB’s ships probably won’t go down in galactic history, they all had a utilitarian feel to them that I associate with real things. They were a little awkward and clumsy sometimes, just like real world solutions often force real things to be. Like Kaga

Kaga

The Japanese carrier Kaga was originally built to be a battleship. This required some significant modification and led to a design one would never willfully implement if building from scratch. Note the giant, horizontal exhaust funnel (it used to blow into the flight deck).  SAAB ships are far prettier than Kaga’s real world compromises ever forced her to be, but I maintain they have some of her ugly beauty because of compromises they were forced to make.

Hammerheads are pretty fierce (and finally, a fighter with a turreted gun)…

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But my favorite SAAB ship is the humble ISSCV…

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The ISSCV APC that landed the 58th on the surface of whatever was brilliant in how its design actually helped keep production cost down. The part of the ship it drops on the surface as an armored module is the same proportions as a cargo container. So… CGI ship drops armored module…cut to shot of cargo container with actors coming out a hatch… You never have to show the actors with the ISSCV that way. Constructing the full-size props is one of the most expensive parts of production. That saved a ton of money…

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Same thing with the hammerheads’ cockpits. The 58th always got into these coffin-like cockpit modules that sank into the deck like a burial when they launched. Beautiful…

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And now, you don’t have to have uber-expensive, full size hammerheads around. (Remember, this is 1995’ish and adding CGI hammerheads next to the actors in post-production isn’t a real option.)

I’m pretty sure if the folks who turned out Space: Above and Beyond had been given ten times the money, I’d have really enjoyed what they came up with, but I like to think the slightly awkward, utilitarian quality I love so much in SAAB ships comes from having to get clever and overcome some of the challenges of a limited production budget.

I miss you, SAAB. I hear in heaven we get to watch all seven seasons.

A.D. Bloom has written his own military sci-fi series, The War of Alien Aggression. Read more about it at thewarofalienaggression.wordpress.com.  He would like to thank /r/imaginarywarships along with the folks who gave him Space: Above and Beyond.

All images are used without permission out of the purest fandom and love.