Michael W. Davis
Earthcom is gone. The distant colonies ruled by the Space Federation are on their own, including the miners on Josuwa, hellhole of Aquarii B, second sun in a quad star system. The perpetual conflict with the indigenous keystone species has depleted their resources, and most of their men. With the settlement on the edge of annihilation, they are left with one choice, a desperate plan to end the war. The radical solution is supported by all in the compound, except for one man, Derek, the only survivor capable of lighting the fuse to end the war once and for all.
This was an interesting little short story, sort of a cross between Dune and The Forever War. It’s set on a desert world that has underground worm-like creatures, like Dune, and takes place at the apex of a long and pointless war with humans long separated from their home planet, like The Forever War.
What makes Brok Hon interesting is that there is a race of sentient pterodactyl-like creatures who are bent on destroying the abandoned team of humans. Humanity instigated this war by harvesting nutrients and chemicals from the sentient race’s newborns’ broken shells, bringing on the wrath of the adults. While the writing can be a bit mired in backstory, as there is a lot of it, and the characterization can seem a bit off at time, the story moves forward fairly quickly when the humans capture one of these sentient beings, intending to end the war once and for all.
The ending was, well, interesting. It reveals the desperation these humans feel and their desire for things to be over for good. While this was a short story and the shorter format fits this plot, it could have been expanded to maybe twice the size to weave the backstory in a little better and allow the reader to delve into the characters a little deeper. Overall, though, it was a satisfying read.