A General in Virtual Reality Warfare,
Now He Was in Danger of Becoming a
Low-Ranking Corpse in Realtime!
New Kashubia was a planet rich in heavy metals, but utterly lacking in carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Even dirt had to be imported at great expense. The colonists, moved there from Earth against their will, lived in tunnels drilled through solid gold but still were the poorest people in the universe. Since their only resource was people, they sent draftees out as mercenaries, fighting in tanks in symbiosis with a highly intelligent computer. And Mickolai Derdowski had fought bravely and brilliantly for nearly a decade, losing many friends in the process, and risen to the rank of General—he thought.
But then he found out that it was all in virtual reality. The war had been faked, no one had died, and he was still just a tank commander, not a general at all. But New Kashubia had been well paid by the planet that had hired the mercenaries for the war they had faked, severe food rationing back home was no longer necessary, and people could now afford such extravagant luxuries as food, homes and clothing.
There was just one problem. A real war was looming on the horizon and this one couldn't be settled in cyberspace. A lot of people might get really, permanently killed. Such as Mickolai.. ..
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Besides Leo Frankowski's popular Cross-Time Engineer series for Del Rey, which has gone through six novels to date, with frequent reprintings and translated editions in Italy, Spain, and Poland, he has written the novels A Boy and His Tank, The Fata Morgana and Conrad's Time Machine for Baen. Frankowski was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. His occupations have ranged from scientist in an electro-optical research lab to chief engineer to company president. His work in chemical and optical instrumentation has earned him several patents. Currently a writer and consulting engineer, he lives with his new Russian wife and teenage daughter in Tver, Russia.
Dave Grossman is a retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel, West Point Psychology Professor, Professor of Military Science, Army Ranger, and lifelong SF fan. He started his military career as a paratrooper and a sergeant before attending OCS. Colonel Grossman is the author of the Pulitzer nominated book, On Killing, which is used as required reading in courses at military academies, police academies, and colleges worldwide. He has written many other scholarly and popular works, and since his retirement from the military in 1998, he now travels the world almost 300 days a year, training elite military and law enforcement organizations.