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Introduction and Important Background Info from Dave Grossman

I am Pallas Athene, and I know the thoughts of all men's hearts and discern their manhood or their baseness.


From the souls of clay I turn away, and they are blessed but not by me.


They fatten at ease like sheep in the pasture and eat what they did not sow like oxen in the stall. They grow and spread like the gourd along the ground, but like the gourd they give no shade to the traveler. When they are ripe death gathers them and they go down unloved into Hell and their name vanishes out of the land.


But to the souls of fire I give more fire, and to those who are manful I give a might more than man.


These are the heroes, the sons of the immortals who are blessed, but not like the souls of clay, for I drive them forth by strange paths that they may fight the titans and the monsters and the enemies of Gods and men . . .

Tell me now, Perseus, which of these two sorts of men seem to you more blessed?

—Charles Kingsley
Canon of Westminster and
Chaplain to Queen Victoria


The life of a ship, propelled only by wind: not as the wind listeth, but obedient to command and guided by an almost occult power, acquired only by long practice and experience.

The rush and bustle of peopled deck: ringing orders, peremptorily expressed and instantly obeyed; eternal vigilance, the price of salvation; and the right thing done instantly, on the spur of the moment, at the right time.

This was a realm prolific of poetry: poetry of romance and poetry commemorating deeds done. It was the time of the after-dinner songs and elaborate toasts, and these Words helped supply such a need.

The period of steam and steel has produced nothing like it. The locomotive, the telegraph, the steamship: these were the beginning of the end of deep thought. True thought, distilled and aged over months and years of solitude became rare . . . 

From the introduction to
American Naval Songs and Ballads
by Robert W. Neeser, 1938

On Poetry and Science Fiction:

In this series of books I've tried to craft a world in which deep respect, even veneration for poetry could exist. But in reality there's no need to make up such a world. Throughout history, from Homer to Kipling, we existed in such a world. And no where was this more so than at sea.

In an environment such as the shoreless seas of two-space, in this book, where advanced technology can't exist, the power of well-crafted Words would again be the key to men's hearts. A leader (such as Melville, the captain of the Fang) who masters such Words would have a powerful edge in mastering his men.

When you read these poems, I encourage you to read them aloud. Or, if you're in a public place, at least mumble them quietly! For poetry was meant to be spoken, not read, and you lose half the joy if you don't let these Words, these ancient, powerful Words, roll off your tongue and o'er your lips.

Hopefully the words in between the poetry will give you some small measure of pleasure as well.


On Fans and Readers:

I would like to make a note of thanks to all the Baen Books fans who responded so kindly to the first volume to this series. But many of my readers have not had past experience with military sci-fi. These individuals were drawn to the book from the military and law enforcement communities, based on their experiences with my nonfiction books and my "Bulletproof Mind" seminars.

There has also been a sizable number of 'nautical fiction' fans (especially readers of the Hornblower and Jack Aubrey series) for whom my work was their first taste of military sci-fi. The response from these wonderful readers has also been gratifying.

For all of you who generally do not read science fiction but are pleased by this series, I would like to strongly recommend that you take a look at other Baen books. John Ringo, Eric Flint, David Drake, David Weber, Leo Frankowski, and all the other 'race horses' in the great 'stable' of Baen authors are true giants in the land. Their books have given me great joy over the years, and I highly recommend them to one-and-all.


On Warriors and Warrior Scientists

I said in the first book of this series (and it bears repeating) that my 'day job' is to be on the road, almost 300 days a year, training soldiers (Green Berets, SEALs, British Special Boat Service and Royal marine Commandos, Army Rangers, the USMC, etc.) and cops (the FBI, the ATF, the CHP, the RCMP, etc.) about the psychology and physiology of combat. It's a great job. I teach them and then they teach me, in an endless, ever-refining feedback loop. I can never thank them enough for putting it on the line for us, every day, and for sharing their experiences with me. You can get a better feel for what I do, and take a look at some of my scholarly writings on these topics, through my web site:, or my books, On Killing and On


I need to thank my fellow 'warrior scientists.' The concept of science fiction has usually involved the integration of science, or projected science, into fiction. This series is the first time that anyone has integrated the new field of 'warrior science' into fiction. The characters in my book cite real '21st Century' researchers. (You can find out more about them, and this field, in On Combat.) I sincerely believe that hundreds of years from now these pioneer friends of mine will be remembered and cited.

The combat experiences of my characters are based on the latest research, on what I'm teaching, and on what those who have been there have taught me. Any errors are my own!


And Finally:

To Bobby A Hudson, Jr., Commander, US Navy (retired), my co-author, partner in crime, and friend: a good man and a great mind with a truly outrageous sense of humor . . .  on par with my own. 'Gentle reader beware: twisted military minds at work.'

To Leo Frankowski, our mentor, guide, good friend, in-house editor. To our publisher, Jim Baen, who has proven himself to be a friend and a man of vision in supporting this series. To our faithful and true friends and proofreaders: Barb (Sabrehawk) Walker, Jim (G-2) Bray, Rocky (High Deacon of the Ever Evolving Church of Violence) Warren, Steel Parsons, John Lang, Elantu Viovodi (author of that great source of wisdom, The Contented Poacher's Epicurean Odyssey, who helped put words in Mrs. Vodi's mouth), Carlie Cockett, Scott Blackledge, Ranger Rob Jones, Eric (ESR) Mryiad, Reb, and many others.

To my extraordinarily competent and long suffering staff, Susan Tacker, Chris McCorkle, and Aubrey Joe Grossman.

And to the sheepdogs of life. Long may they live and prosper so they are there when we need them!

Most of all, to my princess, my favorite proofreader, my bride and friend of three decades: my Jeanne, who stands watch at the door to our world.


Dave Grossman Lt. Colonel,
US Army (ret.) Director,
Killology Research Group


(Note: If not otherwise indicated, the titles and authors of the poetry used throughout the book are listed at the end.)

The Crew of Her Majesty,
the Queen of Westerness'
24 Pounder Frigate, Fang


Lt. Thomas Melville, Captain

Ulrich, his coxswain

Grenoble, his bodyguard, a Sylvan

McAndrews, his steward


Lt. Daniel Fielder, 1st Officer.

Lt. Jarad Crater

Lt. Buckley Archer


Lady Elphinstone, Ship's Surgeon, a Sylvan

Mrs. Vodi, her 'lob-lolly girl'

Pete Etzen,

Thadeaus Brun, corpsmen (medics), 'doc'


Brother Theo Petreckski, Ship's purser, a monk

Roxy, Ship's cook, 'cookie'

Kaleb Jones, Ship's cook


Mr. Caleb Tibbits, Ship's carpenter

Mr. Joby DeWalt, a Celebri, Ship's carpenter


Mr. Darren Barlet, Ship's master gunner, 'Guns'

Sgt. Don Von Rito, Ship's gunnery sergeant, 'Gunny'


Mr. Bronson Hans, Ship's Sailing Master


Marines Lt. Broadax, a Dwarrowdelf

Cpl. Petrico,

Cpl. Kobbsven,

L.Cpl. Jarvis,

Pvt. Dwakins

and others


Rangers Josiah Westminster Aubrey Valandil, a Sylvan


Midshipmen: Anthony Hayl,

Garth Aquinar,

Hezikiah Jubal,

Abdyl Faisal,

Lao Tung,

Ellis Palmer


Ship's Dogs

Ship's Cats

The Monkeys


Cuthbert Asquith XVI, an unhappy passenger



2104: Kenny Muraray creates the first Pier and begins exploration of two-space.


2119: The great Crash on Earth is caused by a two-dimensional virus brought back from a computer taken into two-space. The Crash leads to a catastrophic destruction of most computers and the entire World Net and a collapse of civilization as virtually all computers and computer data-bases are destroyed. Only a few isolated military nets remain intact.


2210: Earth's early two-space Ships first land on Westerness


2420: Star Kingdom of Westerness is peacefully established, as Earth loses interest in two-space.


2628: The Great Two-Space War begins with a Guldur invasion of Stolsh Empire and Osgil. The Westerness exploration Ship Kestrel is attacked by the Guldur, and Fang is captured by Westerness forces. (See: The Two-Space War.)


2629: Fang returns to Earth









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