The Zimmer Insurgency
Insider's Guide and Extras
Extras, character bios and insider's information from my debut novel, The Zimmer Insurgency
Quagga's Sting (psychedelic breastmilk)
One of the elements I had the most fun incorporating into this novel is the drug quagga's sting, sometimes also called tainted milk. It's human breastmilk enhanced with psychedelic properties. Women are able to produce this (without having needed to have been pregnant) simply by consuming the meat of the quagga mixed with artificial hormones. To compensate for declining megafauna, various extinct species have been cloned and reintroduced into new environments. These include the thylacine, the woolly rhinoceros, the megalodon shark, the dodo and the quagga. It was discovered that with synthetic hormones, enough quagga meat can cause lactation in women that can produce this tainted milk.
The drug must be consumed directly from the source, as it turns to spoiled milk after an hour outside the body (this doesn't stop the mad Empress Xeku from hooking women up to milking machines and attempting to bottle it). Too much of it causes users to lose bladder control in their sleep. It's effects start off with an obscene boost in confidence, then it mellows out, then the user enters withdrawal where they usually begin ogling women like adolescent boys.
Jusuf Penh is a sting addict, and his addiction leads him to making some of the bizarre choices he makes throughout the novel.
Xiangzhong - the current Emperor of China and Son of Heaven. He's often called 'the boy emperor' because he's only nine years old. Nonetheless, he's the supreme, unquestioned absolute monarch of the Xiao Dynasty, surrounded by only palace eunuchs and his end...less imperial concubines. It's rumoured that he has an string of wet nurses even at the age of nine, and some of the bolder rumours imply quagga's sting. There are those that believe it's merely a boyish fascination with breasts and not substance abuse, but the utterance of either can get a man chained to four horses and torn in four directions, so no one dares mutter anything where prying ears might hear.
Tseng Tetreyevnya - a Chinese-Russian mercenary that grew up in the far Russian east. He enlisted in the Russian military at the age of 16, but dropped out shortly thereafter and went rogue, where he became a soldier of fortune. He has fought in Pake's Revolution on Mars, has done jobs on the failed state of Xekuvian Io in the Jovian system, and he is most well known for his ...work during the Period of Anarchy on Saturn's moon Titan. While en route to Titan, he had an eye gouged out in a dispute over a prostitute, and had a replacement organ drummed up on Titan, which turned out to be the wrong colour. He has a certain weakness for women. He has at least one bastard that he knows of, a daughter now entering adolescence, whom he does not have a relationship with. He finds the presence of children discomforting, in ways the horrors of war are not. Despite his apparent nihilism, he does appear to have some sort of a heart, and appears to care both for Zimmer's cause and a stranded young child separated from her mother. He has been hired as a key player for the events of the Zimmer Insurgency.
Air Marshal Garcia - The Joint Chief of the Air Force for the Republic of Panamerica. He's seen as very shrewd and calculating. As the Panamerican military is "factionalist as hell", he has a tremendous amount of power behind him and little oversight. If there was ever going to be a regime change, he would be one to watch.
\Vice Premier Hamidijmurkhu - Vice Premier, the sort of Number 2, of the Samarkand Association, a loose trading block from Saudi Arabia through Siberia. He's the more moderate side of the Petrova Administration. Whereas Petrova is seen as slowly crafting a sort of junta through the militarization of the Continental Peace and Security Force, Hamidijmurkhu is seen as respecting ...the national sovereignty of their member states and the constitutionality of Samarkand's power. He has openly defied Petrova before. During the Qatari Uprising, he suffered an assassination attempt, and fled to his native rural India, where he was in hiding for a number of months. In cafes in Beirut and bars in St. Petersburg, it is rumoured Petrova himself orchestrated the assassination attempt.
President Castillo-Ruiz - a former president of the Republic of Panamerica. His picture, as an oil painting, hangs in the sitting room of the Presidential Mansion in Panama City next to a 10'x20' oil painting of the Battle of Churchill, from the Manitoba Rebellion. He is rumoured to have believed that the ilicit drug "quagga's sting" was the key to immortality, and fed it by the gallon to everyone, including his pubescent daughters and the family cat. He had the drug mass produced, which ruined any psychadelic effects, and turned it merely to spoiled milk.
Vincent Halverson - an agent with the Antarctic Security Agency (basically the Antarctic CIA). He's stationed in a one room tech-bunker four hours outside of Decennial, in Queen Alexandra Province, Antartica, in the Transantarctic Mountains. Many agents have gone mad and blown there brains out at that posting. He resists researching just how many. He has grand aspirations for his country, and plays the same spy games the Panamericans or the Samarkand Association plays. Off-the-books assassins, freelance operatives, jackals. He is the handler for Jusuf Penh, who he's deploying to assassinate a Panamerican jackal...
Cairns – an underground black market dealer. He runs a “legitimate” business in drapery at the end of the line, where the subways end in Old Hialeah, a suburb of Miami. In the gloom of the dripping domed tunnels on the Florida sea floor, his business is surrounded by sting mules, pimps and drug dealers. The bulk of his real business is selling dildos and the like, though he does specialize with other things, such as fake IDs.
Xiangxu – the Emperor of Xiao Dynasty China and Son of Heaven. He is known for his agrarian policies that led to famine called the Red Reforms. Although he's often dressed up with the superfluous title add ons “may he live a thousand years” or “the most esteemed emperor”, his legacy is that of the famine, and the bloody Feng Rebellion. After the Rebellion, he ate and drank and fucked himself to death in his imperial harem, leaving his nine-year-old son on the throne in neofeudal Confucian China.
The Deadlock (with a capital D) - during the Feng Rebellion in China, a scandal erupted in the Pacific Union when it was revealed certain Japanese biotech firms were supplying the Prophet Feng with more than just anal hymens. For whatever reason, the maglev companies deadlocked the Japanese isles to protest biotech involvement in the Feng, and the Pacific mob refused to allow the maglev companies to let off. The Deadlock lasted well into the third week, where no transport to or from Japan was allowed by the maglev monopoly. As a result, Japan was ripe for piracy and savagely raided. This occurred four years prior to the events of the Zimmer Insurgency.
Pake's Revolution - An uprising against the Republic of Panamerica on Mars. Led by General Pake, one of the chief military authorities of the Republic, it was an attempt for Martian independence. Despite it being coined "Revolution", it did actually fail, and the Pake family was ripped stem and seed from the Panamerican aristocracy. This served as a reminder as to how factionalist the Panamerican military really is. Today, there are still many Pake loyalists on Mars, and the red planet remains as delicate a diplomatic situation as ever. The loss of Martian potato farms would be devastating for Panamerica.
The Feng Rebellion – a murderous messianic pseudo-Protestant puritanical theocratic uprising against the neofeudal Confucian Xiao Dynasty of China, finally brought to a bloody end in 2161, four years prior to the events of the Zimmer Insurgency. This was an uprising not just against the Xiao, but all established Confucian society, as a sort of resurgent Taiping Rebellion.
Those that know the me personally know that I have a bizarre obsession with the 19th century Protestant uprising in China that claimed 30 million lives known as the Taiping Rebellion. When it came time to update this novel, to divorce it from the series it was originally apart of (but no longer), I found I had to add a number of new things in to compensate for the elements I had to cut. What I did was lazily tap the well on things I have an interest in, and those new elements became: pirates, the Taiping, and boobs.
The Prophet Feng, as he calls himself, named ceremonially for South King Feng Yunshan from the Taiping Rebellion, launched this violent clash with the Xiao. The Rebellion was eventually crushed at Fuzhou by the ruthless Weizhung Guard, the Emperor's personal guard. Feng had paid off a pirate to deliver him to Taiwan, where Pacific authorities arrested him and granted him immunity under house arrest. The Weizhung Guard laid waste to Fuzhou, “disemboweling” any young women they came across – often without their swords.
The Rebellion sparked a deep divide between the pro-Xiao and pro-Feng sides of the debate outside China. On one side you have neofeudal absolutist monarchy defended by a royal guard that rapes an entire city to death, on the other you have absolute ruthless naked theocracy and a satirically absurd puritanism that guts anyone whom so much as masturbates. Outside China, Feng's movement sparked a new fundamentalist religious denomination, the Church of the Taiping, whose adherents observe unquestioning celibacy and are often seen as apocalyptically ranting about a coming “Great Peace”.
Little known fact, the word Taiping literally translates to “Great Peace”.
The Period of Anarchy - A recent breakdown of law and order on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan is a hodgepodge frontier of colonies claimed by Panamerica, the Pacific Union and the Samarkand Association, cut off from the rest of civilization by many months or more. During the Period of Anarchy, various warlord kingdoms sprang up, led by cartels, warlords, caliphs and theocrats. Veterans often methodically chant "Anything but anarchy" in response to the name "Period of Anarchy", because many of the warlord kingdoms amounted to absolutist police states.
The current Kazakh crisis - Islamic fundamentalists are in revolt in the Kazakh region of the Samarkand Association. Premier Petrova has responded with ruthless vim, and his Continental Peace and Security Force has been reported as burning mosques and using women and children for target practice. The Pertova administration has come under global criticism for this, though it mustn't be forgotten that the Kazakh rebels are not innocent victims here. Their stated goal is push the jihad through to Samarkand, topple the democratic regime and declare the Islamic Continent of Asia.
Dire wolves - also called "the scourge of the south" or simply "the scourge", these are some of the more invasive of the cloned species initiative to reintroduce extinct fauna. 25-50% larger than current Siberian wolves, they've been known to amass into packs of up to 75 wolves, and decimate the land like locusts. Their current habitat is southern South America, south of Bolivia, in what's called "the Southern Waste", which is largely non-annexed nomad commune territory largely because of the scourge. Rumour has it, dire wolves have been stricken from the archives in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
Warrahs - also called the Falkland Islands wolf, these are some of the more invasive of the cloned species initiative to reintroduce extinct fauna. They look similar to foxes, and are invasive throughout Antarctica. They're described as having sandy white fur, though they usually have snow caked to them, it's hard to tell how sandy they truly are. They're one of the only species to live as far south as Amery, just north of the South Pole, where they routinely slip and fall to their deaths in cracks and fissures in the migrating glaciers. They're said to breed like rabbits, and it's often perplexing how they ever went extinct in the first place.
The malevolus - Unlike most other animals that make headlines, the malevolus is not an extinct species brought back by cloning. In encyclopedias, they're listed as "the krakenus malevolus" (Latin, literally the malevolent kraken), an alien cephalopod discovered in the endless oceans of the Jovian moon Europa. They're said to be vicious, and 'terrorize' French underwater stations. They increase in size as the ocean pressure builds. Near the surface, they're about a meter in length. Lengths of up to 20 meters have been recorded as you go deeper. Given that Europa's oceans go up to 100 km deep (about 10 times deeper than the Marianas Trench), no one has gone deeper than a dozen or so miles, and their true extent isn't known.
The malevolus, as it's most infamously known, is a crytozoological myth, supposedly brought back to Earth where it hatched and grew to gargantuan proportions. Pirates often report graveyards of floating megalodon shark heads bobbing up and down like so many fish heads - it is said to be big enough to floss megalodon heads from its teeth. It is often known in the Pacific, though reports do come in from the Indian and the Atlantic.
It has become the cause du jure for über-liberal types, whom often travel to New Zealand on their weekends to picket the whalers that believe in the the malevolus in what's become known as "save the malevolus" protests. Über-liberals are often laughed at for this and many other extreme causes - proposing solutions to problems that a) don't exist, and b) if they did exist, aren't worth solving anyway.
Megalodon - said to be the apex predator of all apex predators, this colossal shark is the result of the cloning experiments to recreate extinct fauna. Seventy feet long and with a jaw big enough to swallow a tyrannosaur's head whole, it patrols the world's oceans with with virtually no risk of attack - except from the malevolus, that is, the cryptozoological myth that is said to devour megalodons in droves. Raw megalodon is a delicacy in Japan, and one company has even gone so far as to make coffee creamer with its lard, though the coffee is almost universally disliked and the company on the verge of bankruptcy.