jacc in the box  -  about


The story...

The Earth has become a garden planet, a world of leisure and indulgence, but the underlining trouble with that...it's dullsville.  For most that's not really living so, instead of marking time as
a consumer, human beings took their act on the road.

At the dawn of the 24th century, after two nasty little wars of attrition around the Hyades, the proverbial shit is about to hit
the fan yet again.  Gloving up in that corner is the juggernaut, Steel Chain Cooperative, and in this corner is the understated welterweight, Steel Annex.

Two guesses as to...who floats like a butterfly?



The books...

PART 01 - saltare cüm diablo

        Don't fuck around boy—and if you want to hang
        around people who do, don't be surprised when
        the bill comes due . . .

Jacob Graves, a smart underachiever, quite by accident finds his niche with the Steel Annex—a military organization in the Pleiades Cluster—and no matter how much he looks at this job as just a job, through the years he has earned a reputation that has instilled unimaginable fear in the heart of their adversaries.  Now, being a straight male (an oddity these days) has its share of drawbacks, but Jacob's life is more complicated than most.  Torn between his ex-wife, Maria, and his on and off again lover, Nicole (front cover), as well as all his children, Jacob soon finds out that even he can be redeemed from the indiscretions and collateral damage of his past.

In worlds without hunger, disease and poverty—where wealth
is abundant and want is for naught—it's in the exclusive A-List of politics, industry and society where ambition, avarice and debauchery are redefined.  In this instance children cloned for the sex and military trade have been discovered, and it is up to Field Marshal Graves and his people to rescue them…only to learn that it is a young girl, playing a very dangerous game of manipulation, who is pulling the strings and guiding mankind
to the abyss of interstellar war.


PART 02 - pearls before swine

      He who would foresee what has to be should reflect
      on what has been . . .

Maria Ramirez, a chola from the Lincoln Heights, after decades with the Steel Annex she now finds herself in charge of the whole damned mess. Not exactly the expected outcome when at twenty-one she wandered into One-Klick all sliced up and bloody but those were the cards she was dealt.  Now with an
ex-husband who she loves but hates all in the same breath, a cherished son who has become their daughter, a stepdaughter in league with her as if they were blood, and a cloned batch of fifty-two megalomaniacal pre-teens who have come to see her as their mother figure—all Maria can do at this juncture is to step back and drink it in.  Oh, to be so loved.

Now in command of the most powerful military force in history Maria secretly wishes to return to the simple life—like those knife wielding days in East LA.  Maria is looking to start a fight, an interstellar war in fact, and she doesn't want to do this but to control the outcome there is no choice.  How many will die on this go round?  Could it be tens of thousands or maybe even billions?  It all depends on the first few hours and so far it's not looking good.

Oh, yea, and then there's the aliens…


PART 03 - diet of worms

      Let us have faith that right makes might and in that
      faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty . . .

Nicole Burke, on the lam at eight, her deliverance was by a slim chance encounter with Robert Jackson, a Deputy Marshal from the Steel Annex.  Raising her as his own when Nicole comes of age she joins the SA looking for payback-and it takes all of thirty-six years before Nicole gets to dish it out in full.

Heads rolled, people died...in all it was a good day!

With her children, Jessica and Seth, old enough to fend for themselves, and looking to cut ties with Jacob and Maria out of self-preservation, Nicole finally finds a sense of belonging with the most unlikely of people, Scott Rutledge.

Now, with this new war in full swing the Annex is purposefully losing ground to spread the forces of the Co-op thin.  Problem is that the media is actually covering it this time, and with all the nations pushing to bring this conflict to a swift end the last thing anyone in the know wants is peace.  A negotiated peace will only put off the inevitable, which is war, and seeking peace against the tide is suicide.


PART 04 - deus ex machina

      He was preparing hell for those who pry too deep . . .

Scott Rutledge, formerly an Ashanti warrior named Abeeku, his freedom and birthright was taken from him off the Gold Coast of Africa by the Islamic Slave Trade.  Ending up in the sugar cane fields of Jamaica—he was having none of that.

Abeeku escapes and joins the Maroon but, as thing go, they catch him and flay him and leave him for dead.  Rescued by the Nefer Key he was offered a new lease on life in a world full of curious pleasures and new possibilities…

Virtually immortal, Abeeku now wanders through the centuries at the behest of these startlingly beautiful creatures.  For all of his successful undertakings he is left empty but in this latest mission, to infiltrate the Steel Annex, he blunders into purpose, belonging and family.

As this second war with the Cooperative comes to a head, he is torn between his duty to these aliens and a new found love of humanity.  Now approaching the turnaround battle at Polaris, Scott comes to the self-realization that his loyalty to both never wavered.


PART 05 - violent delights

      Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue . . .

Jessica Burke, a snarky loner at twelve, finally sticks her neck out and it pays off big.  Allied with the Steel Annex, as Jessie grows into adulthood her abilities, along with her brother's, are being channeled towards a greater purpose.  Only a few know the truth about Jessica, and fewer still know about her brother, and from the nebulous shadows they direct the war and guide it towards a permanent end of hostilities.

All because of their machinations over a billion lives have been saved, but the thing that still haunts Jessica and her brother to this day is that they couldn't save their mother.

Fact is, they arranged for Nicole's untimely end.

Throughout the war everyone in the Annex watched as Jessica used their tech and flew their ships, going from one secret intel or interdiction mission to the next, and not one of them had the slightest idea what she was about.  It wasn't until close to the end of the war that she finally became one of them.


PART 06 - until peace and then

        The greatest way to avenge your enemy is by
        learning to forgive . . .

Boxter Hartcourt . . .

               (More to come when it's close to done!)



The people...

Jacob Graves (Buzzard Chow) considered mediocre at best, and voted "most likely to die" by his fellow recruits, yet when put to the test he surprises them all.  He finds his calling as a soldier, climbing to the rank of Field Marshal, all the while his personal life becomes an unmitigated disaster.  His wild abandon as a youth (though culturally acceptable nowadays) net Jacob scorned lovers and children popping up all over the place—leaving him taken aback as he approaches sixty…

"All the women in my life have been exoskeleton
 hard psychopaths.  Just the kind of babe that
 devours the male of their species like a mantis
 after copulation."  - Jacob

Maria Ramirez (Tiger Bitch) went through boot with Jacob and ultimately ended up as his ex-wife.  Now, as his superior, she would rather opt to strangle him dead if it wasn't for the one son they share.  Their love/hate relationship is legendary in the ranks of the SA, and the sarcasm and hostility she pukes his way fails to quell the sobering realization that her life would be so less interesting without him...

"You ever see me give one of those big doe-eyed
 can't live without you looks for his ass, do me a
 favor I beg you…shoot me."  - Maria

Nicole Burke (Red Hell) a bone of contention between Maria and Jacob, Nicole started life as a clone conceived for the flesh trade.  Having been a lover to both she continues to nurture her strong bond with Maria but struggles with putting Jacob behind her even though she's had two children by him...

"I think I'm the only woman alive who preserved
 her sanity by getting a uterus."  - Nicole

Scott Rutledge (Vader) is an example where the Annex, like the French Foreign Legion, will take all comers and erase their name and past.  Nobody knows where he came from and, whats more, nobody wants to know.  Sincere in his Jamacian wit and "looking behind" grit he is an endearing soul...

"I'm in love...with a woman!  How the hell did that
 happen?"  - Scott

Jessica Burke, the twelve year old daughter of Nicole and Jacob, isn't your normal preteen.  A loner by choice, she tends to be derisive, on just this side of insolent, but she is more than she lets on…

"You mean deny or evade.  Okay, I'll play, father.
 Only to watch you squirm."  - Jessie



The author...

Nicholas Ralph Baum is currently an Information Management Analyst with a utility in Phoenix, AZ.  He has one son who he bonds with via -Minecraft- and -Team Fortress 2-  (hdgehog6).  He was married in Feb of '08 to Nedka Petrovova.

That was then—now he is writing full time, his son is all grown up, and he's in a mad scramble to get shit done ASAP because the clock is ticking and he's only getting grayer...

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