“Necessary For Survival” by Ian R. Faulkner is the longest story in this issue. A complex tale with suspenseful plot twists leads to a most unexpected ending. Alluding to guerrilla warfare, terrorism, and insurgency, Faulkner portrays, in stark detail, how difficult it is to figure out who the enemy is. Balancing some rather gruesome scenes of Sim to human combat and maser blasts, Faulkner raises the tension with a good dose of psychological warfare.
Carson, a journalist from Planet Wide News, has been recruited by Tru Gen Party headquarters to write “without gloss or spin or antigovernment propaganda” a report to “service the public’s growing concern” over those interned in camps to protect the world from their affliction. Carson is embedded with Delaware Coombs, the organic officer in charge of a Mek expeditionary force.
This futuristic war is a clear reference to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the detention (and intention) of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay, and the dangers facing both troops and journalists trying to do their jobs. Their fates are no less horrific, maybe even more so, than those beheaded or blown up by roadside bombs.