However, this boring job quickly turns hot, when an enemy convoy comes up the mountain pass Anjali is supposed to guard.
This is a prequel story of 4500 words or approx. 18 print pages to the “In Love and War” series, but may be read as a standalone.
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- This is a story of 4500 words or approx. 18 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone. This story is also available in the science fiction anthology The Guardian, edited by Alasdair Shaw.
- Baptism of Fire was one of the stories I wrote during the 2017 July short story challenge. The idea was to write a short story per day in July 2017.
- Like many stories in the July challenge, Baptism of Fire was inspired by a piece of concept art, namely this one.
- A further inspiration was a call for submissions for a military science fiction anthology based around the theme “The Guardian”. And indeed, the story can also be found in that anthology.
- I had long planned to write some stories taking a look at Mikhail and Anjali’s respective military careers before they met. In some ways, Graveyard Shift is that sort of story, even though Mikhail is more of a supporting character and doesn’t have a POV in the story (unlike his mentor and commanding officer turned nemesis Brian Mayhew). However, I also wanted to explore Mikhail’s and Anjali’s military career with them as the POV characters (and maybe write something more along the lines of traditional military science fiction). Hence in Baptism of Fire, we meet Anjali as a newly minted cadet in the Shakyri Expeditionary Corps.
- Anjali’s commanding officer Captain Vikram and fellow new Shakyri cadet Anil Golkhari will show up in future In Love and War stories, because Anjali and Anil became very good friends (and nothing more, in spite of Mikhail’s suspicions to the contrary) in time.
- I once read that many armies actually prefer women snipers, because being a sniper requires patience and women are considered more patient than men. I have no idea, if this is true. However, it is notable that US TV shows like NCIS: Los Angeles or Hawaii Five-Oh tend to put their female characters behind the scope of a sniper rifle. And Captain Vikram certainly subscribes to the notion that women make better snipers.
- Many thanks to Alasdair Shaw for his help with some of the technical aspects regarding snipers and military procedure in general.
- The cover is once again stock art by the talented Thai artist Tithi Luadthong a.k.a. Grandfailure.