Also known as

Chapter 1 A Drug Lord’s Yacht

Which is a screenplay scene title, not a chapter name. Oh well, let’s get started with our memorable first line!

I had just finished measuring the depth of water in relationship to this yachts’ keel.

In general the first line of a novel should be the one you spend the most time working on, since it’s supposed to hook the reader. I can remember plenty of opening lines, from “April is the cruelest month” to “I was just a child when the stars fell from the skies.” I do not imagine “I had just finished measuring the depth of water in relationship to this yachts’ keel” is going to find its way onto that list. Every time I try to recall it when I haven’t just been looking directly at it I get something along the lines of “I had just finished measuring the water something something yacht’s keel.”

I noted my measurements on my waterproof note pad and I climbed aboard. I stowed my underwater gear in a handy alcove that I spotted near my entry point there on the starboard deck and I covered it up with a loose section of tarp.

So let’s have a quick count now, how many things are or will be wrong with Operation Gary Stu?

  1. He’s alone, he doesn’t even have a backup guy to call on if he gets in trouble or to stop people screwing around with his gear if they find it.
  2. He’s not in regular radio contact with anyone, meaning if he’s killed or captured it’s going to be a long time before anyone realises. It also means the writer has skipped the initial scene of him reporting in which would have provided the reader with some idea what the hell is going on.
  3. As will be stated later, his entire armament is a .22 calibre manually-operated pistol. This is great unless anything of any kind goes wrong, at which point he’d be trying to win an ass-kicking contest with his pelvis on backwards. Luckily he doesn’t have to worry about that because he’s a Gary Stu and the author would never allow him to actually mess something up, but military planning tends to consist of assuming everything that can possibly go wrong will, most likely all at once. So you’d think he’d be carrying a carbine rifle or combat shotgun as insurance even if all he actually uses on the op is his handgun.
  4. He has so little idea of the layout of the vessel that he doesn’t even know how deep it would normally sit in the water, which should be piss-easy to work out from any sort of shipbuilder’s plans, or could be measured with any half-decent imaging sonar device rather than having to go right up and do it by hand. He didn’t even know where he was going to stow his equipment until he actually got on board, which would have been great for him if there wasn’t anywhere.
  5. This mission itself is never really all that well defined; typically you wouldn’t send guys in without at least some idea what they’re supposed to be looking for, with a preference for knowing absolutely everything they possibly can, but his briefing appears to be “get on board and erm err drug lord drugs explosives and that.”
  6. He’s in a position to shoot the guy he’s after or blow up the boat several times and doesn’t for absolutely no reason other than the writer wants to do something “cool” instead. Steve has the common mediocre writer issue of forcing the story to contort around scenes he thought it would be cool to write regardless of whether or not it makes any sense for them to happen.
  7. For a guy who’s trying to be stealthy he leaves a ton of evidence he’s been there.
  8. He’s a complete moron.

Also, we’re not going to find out this guy’s name until the second chapter, so for now he is called Useless.

Next I made my way stealthily inside this fancy millionaire’s yacht.

“I’d had enough of infiltrating run-down poor people’s yachts to last me a lifetime.”

I was silent. I had been trained as a navy seal and stealthy type of work was our business. But I’ll let you know more about that later.

You’d think a SEAL would know that SEAL is an acronym (SEa Air and Land), or at very least that it’s a proper noun. You’d also think Steve would be a little nervous about making the protagonist a SEAL since they’ve historically been very closely associated with the CIA’s SOG special operations unit, but that would involve Steve doing some actual research on something.

And here we come to the problem with in media res done wrong. There’s no point starting the story out in the middle of something if that something doesn’t tell us anything at all about the character we’re watching. All we find out here is that he’s an ex-SEAL and he’s careful, except that he isn’t actually very careful. The flat descriptive tone gives us no idea how he thinks; you’d think he’d either be thinking in ultra-professional operator-speak to show how focused he is or noir-style over-description of how the beautiful yacht contrasts to the dark heart of the etc to give some insight into why he’s doing this. Instead we just suspend chapter one until chapter two so we can have a really dreary “action” start.

In addition, there’s no framework set up here to explain who the reader (who the character just addressed directly) actually is. Typically in this kind of story the reader is given the role of a “silent interrogator;” they aren’t given lines, just the role of the journalist / board of inquiry / court / interrogator / torturer / whoever who the protagonist is interacting with. This kind of framing device is good because it gives a reason for the character to be recounting things they already know in detail, and can also make the reader feel more involved if the character indirectly responds to them (“What? Oh, I see what you mean, I’ll elaborate…”)

Neither is it clear when Useless is recounting all of this. Since the tenses don’t change he presumably recounts all of this at the same time, but because this is written one-pass a lot of the things he says now aren’t informed by things that happen later.

We will find out later who Useless is supposed to be talking to. It will not help in the slightest.

You might also notice you can’t visualise any of this. This is because Steve very rarely describes anything (and when he does it’s usually useless and trivial). We don’t know what our protagonist looks like, what he’s wearing, what gear he has (because we skipped the traditional gear check scene), where the yacht is in relation to anything else, what the yacht looks like or even what colour it is (it’s not the one on the cover), or even what time of day it is.

I made my way about the interior corridors of this floating mansion and checked out compartments as I went.

It’s weird how he keeps emphasising it’s this yacht, as if he’s trying to stop us noticing a much more interesting story happening on the other yacht moored alongside. Maybe that’s why he isn’t describing anything.

It wasn’t long before I found the main cabin and I could hear sounds of laughter coming from beyond the doorway.


Carefully I loaded my mini cam with a fresh cartridge and held it in my palm. I pointed the flexible lens into the half open doorway to the cabin. I moved the camera about slowly so as to get a complete record of all its occupants for my Captain.

Steve’s a little out of the loop regarding technology, as in a good thirty years. Even police SWAT units have cameras to look under doors or around corners, and those have built-in monitors so you can see what the camera sees in real time. Nevermind the ridiculous anachronism of using one of those newfangled high-tech Super 8 film cartridge video cameras in a story written in 2012.

Also, this floating palace doesn’t have any kind of security system. Drug lords live in villas built like fortresses, surround themselves with guys with military-grade firepower and build ersatz tanks and yet we’re expected to believe this guy hasn’t even bothered installing cameras.

I made sure to survey the entire cabin from side to side and top to bottom. Then I pulled back and ducked around into an empty cabin nearby.

I love how he describes in nauseating detail how he checks the one cabin and then just ducks straight into the other without bothering to explain how he knows it’s empty.

I activated the instant replay of the cam and observed the contents so as to know for sure if I needed to go on further in my investigation, or if this was another false lead.

Wait, so how the hell many completely innocent people have they done this to so far?

Sure enough, the image of one of the most despicable drug lords appeared on my mini screen. My captain was right again, there he was, the hated drug lord Jose Garza El Jalapeno, alias the (Little Pepper).

The drug lord is also a quest item. Congratulations, reader, you got the (Little Pepper).

Also present and stoned out of their minds were 3 women.

If you ever need a textbook example of what “objectification” is, Steve’s here to help you. Of all the women in this story, one has a name and one actually speaks. For bonus WTF points, the one that speaks is not the one with the name.

And we are indeed dealing with an author who can’t be bothered to write out the entire word “three.”

They had just snorted a few more lines of cocaine, there on the table between them. Jose was also stoned and he enjoyed the sight of his women getting their minds blown away in a haze of a drug influenced high.

Because obviously he has nothing better to do than get wasted on a yacht, it’s not like he has a business to run. In real life, drug lords often don’t even touch their own product. Being even more crazy and paranoid usually doesn’t help and if they’re constantly stoned out of their gourds they’re going to either be killed by their non-stoner underlings or their non-stoner rivals.

Also, “getting their minds blown away in a haze of a drug influenced high?” If you can’t decide which of three descriptions to use, the correct answer is not “all of them.”

Anyway, Useless chips in with a bit of entirely necessary perverted enthusiasm as El Stereotypo starts undressing one of the women.

They were just getting going! This would go on for a while!

Thanks, Steve.

Useless explores more rooms and calls the place THIS FLOATING MANSION again because telling us it’s a mansion lots of times is kind of like bothering to describe it in any way. During his quest to not advance the story, he whips out another gadget that might have been impressive a few decades ago.

I have a heat sensing device that I can wave by doors and easily check for the presence of human habitation.

It senses…habitation? So I guess it beeps and says “you’re on a yacht, you idiot.”

So, he’s got a handheld heat sensor. He pointlessly tells us he’s used it on “other missions” as well, as if we really care all that much, and it’s pretty clear we’re supposed to think it’s neat and high-tech. Let me show you what high-tech looks like.

If you want to be all tacticool futuristic you need to be carrying enough hardware to divide by zero, most of it on your gun. Neat and high-tech is having an eyepiece combining sensor data from all that junk on your weapon, the submarine’s sensors, your little mini-UAV that’s circling overhead and sets of blueprints and floorplans. It’s firing around corners and seeing through walls, not having a sensor that you could have gutted from a children’s toy.

This isn’t some top-secret ultra-classified program, if you Google for “future soldier” a page listing the NATO future soldier programs is the second result. And as you’ll see later, Steve definitely has Google.

So after examining quite a number of cabins with no results except lockers of food stuffs and other consumables along with cleaning products and linens

I’m sure glad Steve decided to state the specific kinds of pointless shit that Useless found while he was killing word count. And given that this is an account from a later point in time, Useless isn’t just noticing all of this, he remembers all this when he looks back at what he did.

For that matter, why does the yacht’s storage seem to consist entirely of randomly distributed lockers? Wouldn’t there be actual storerooms and some logical order to where things were placed in relation to the places they were needed, so that the people who actually worked on this yacht could find them if they needed them?

Maybe eventually he’ll find an actual story so he can start doing things that further it. Keep checking those lockers, Useless!

Finally, Useless decides to stop screwing around and discovers a locked cabin. Eager to catalog more random junk, he picks the lock, which for some reason he decides to note takes “about five seconds.” Needless to say, focusing all his attention on a lock with nobody to act as lookout is not a good idea at all.

Inside I found a stash! Yes, ‘The Stash’ of this drug lord’s main business product.

It’s amazing the things you can learn from Steve. For example,

Drug lords keep all of their drugs on board their personal yachts rather than, you know, smuggling them to places so that people can actually buy them. And they keep their money in bundles on board the same yachts rather than using it for things.

I guess Steve imagines that people who have a lot of money just kind of stack it up somewhere until they have enough to swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck.

Wrapped in plastic sealed bags were hundreds of pounds of cocaine and some of the green stuff as well. I ran my razor sharp blade about the packets of dope puncturing most all of them thoroughly.

I assume given the next sentence “the green stuff” is money rather than weed, but “dope” is usually used to refer to heroin or cannabis, not cocaine (which would be coke). So something’s wrong here. Also, since they’re going to blow the entire ship up I really don’t see what the point of puncturing the bags is. It’s like the SAS sneaking on board the Tirpitz to let down the seaplane’s tyres twenty minutes before the Lancasters flew in and dropped Tallboys on it.

I can’t really even tell why he’s doing this when he recognised the guy as a drug lord already; if the place was deserted he might be looking for evidence of who owned it, but I don’t see why he’d think the drug lord would have enough product to kill everyone on board several dozen times over and a ton of money he can’t possibly need on a ship he owns, all stuck in a locked cabin. Why’s the Stash™ in a cabin rather than a safe, anyway?

Hastily I stowed several packets of cash with large denominations into special storage pouches on my wetsuit. “Well that’ll be enough to compensate us for this trip I guess,” I whispered to myself.

Useless’ wetsuit has special pouches for stealing money. Well, I can see why he’s only carrying a handgun, obviously this was much more important than pouches for silly things like ammo. Also, I don’t know why he keeps cracking wise (well, not wise, obviously) to himself about what he’s doing, but it doesn’t exactly paint him as the most mentally stable person in the world.

And yes, we’re supposed to believe the entire massive operation we’ll be shown later is financed with stolen drug money. Ethical!

One other thing to watch is how Steve uses the word “packet” throughout this story, it’s always one of the worst words he could have chosen for whatever he’s talking about. Here “bundle” would be more appropriate.

I photographed the lot with my mini cam and made a quick exit and headed for other sections of this big ship.

I think Useless and his Captain have rather missed the point of being a vigilante. Any evidence you gather is also evidence that you were breaking the law in getting it, so it’s not like you can present it to anyone. Just being in radio contact would allow him to report what he was finding, so unless his chain of command are paranoid and don’t believe anything he can’t show them a photo of, there’s no reason for him to be doing any of this.

I could just about buy it if Useless was less Stu-ish and didn’t magically know exactly who the drug lord was (so he was taking photos so others could study them), but since he recognises the guy there’s nothing for anyone else to do with the photos, let alone the ones proving that money and drugs exist.

I came upon what was the communications center of the yacht, and I set up an overload to burn out the communications console in the next few minutes.

A private yacht’s radio has an integral blow-itself-up function with a predictable timer.

It wasn’t long that I came across the radio man returning to his post with a cup in one hand and a sandwich in the other.

That evil maniac!

I had to dispatch him without a sound, so I waited till he passed and gave him a quick karate blow to the back of the neck and head.

Either that’s two blows or Useless has very big hands. Also you’d think he’d have some weapon for doing this (cosh, piano wire, whatever) rather than hoping he can knock people out silently with his bare hands every time. Stacking the deck in your favour never hurts when you’re playing for your life.

He was out instantly, and I drug him into a storage locker, where he was out of sight. I also gave him a knock out injection to keep him out for as long as I needed.

Steve has this weird habit of having Useless dispatch people in not-very-violent ways even though he’s going to kill all of them later anyway. Also:

There’s a good reason why police and military units don’t use tranquilisers the way they’re used in fiction; they don’t work that way. Knocking someone out is a fine balancing act between them being wide awake and dead, which is why there’s such a thing as an anaesthetist rather than any old doctor doing it. It requires fairly comprehensive knowledge of the patient’s body mass, medical history and so on, not just sticking them with an all-purpose syringe. There’s also no injected tranquiliser in the world that can put someone down fast enough for it to actually be worthwhile, even if you get the dose spot-on.

It might be a pretty common way to make the hero look more heroic because he isn’t killing his enemies, but Steve tends to just do it because he’s lazy and wants to ignore the consequences of knocking someone out instead of killing them (or later, to get out of writing dialog and ignore consequences). So he doesn’t get a free pass for it.

Continuing aft I came to the engine room. I set some small charges about the instrumentation panels there, and timed them to go off just shortly after my return to my ship.

Um…The instrumentation panels aren’t actually a vital part of the engine, they just tell you what it’s doing. Now if you’re going for the control panels or, hell, the actual engine itself…But it’s not like Useless would have any idea how much explosive to bring along since, as mentioned, he doesn’t know anything about the yacht at all.

Then I headed up a shaft that I knew would take me to the helipad, where this fancy yacht had a chopper secured.

Oh, except he knows immediately that a random shaft leads to the helipad. I guess he memorised exactly one thing from the briefing.

I really can’t visualise what shape this yacht must be to have a vertical shaft from the engine room to the helipad. The narrative puts me in mind of a modern first-person shooter level, where the world is a pretty, arbitrarily shaped corridor which might as well be drilled through a solid block of steel.

Upon arrival at the helipad, I found a goon on duty. Was he the pilot or just another drug goon in the employ of the Little Pepper?

Whichever he was, it was really unimportant, as he needed to go! I snuck right up and gave him a right cross that dazed him, and I gave him a heave, and over the side he went! He bubbled a bit and then was gone.

Steve’s action sequences are so one-sided it’s like watching someone playing a game with all the cheats on. Useless gets the drop on the guy, disables him in one punch, throws him into the sea, and then it turns out the guy can’t even swim. You can’t sell a character as heroic when he’s never in any actual danger of losing.

“Can’t swim, shouldn’t be on a boat,” I mumbled quietly.

Pointing out that what you wrote is incredibly stupid does not really mitigate the fact that what you wrote is incredibly stupid.

I climbed into the pilots’ seat, and cut some important control wires under the instrument panel. “Now this chopper won’t lift a feather!” I whispered to myself.

“There’s no way anyone on this yacht would know how to reconnect some wires to some instruments, and the instruments are the same thing as the controls!”

I headed down through the yacht one more time. I was, on my way to my stashed underwater gear, at my entry point on the starboard bow.

Given he specifies it was the bow (as opposed to the stern where sane people would infiltrate a ship) this presumably means Useless climbed the sheer side of the bow to get on board in full view of the bridge. Perhaps the Drug Goons™ let him screw around with their ship out of pity.

I wanted to check again, because I thought that I had heard something off the main corridor.

Which he somehow missed out on narrating despite telling us every other pointless detail of his locker-spelunking adventures. Also bear in mind he presumably did not include this when setting the timers on the charges in the engine room, since he’d have no way to know how long searching this room was going to take.

Arriving at the suspect door, I paused a few moments, and listened carefully. Sure enough, I heard a whimpering cry of some sort.

Then a cougar jumped out and ate him the end.

Hey, I can dream.

I carefully opened the door, to find there on a bed, in the semi darkness a very pretty young girl.

Luckily, Useless is here to disturb us with his misplaced enthusiasm once again.

She was bound and gagged!

Thanks, Steve.

Useless resists the urge to put on his robe and wizard hat, and instead, um…

I couldn’t risk a lot of sound, so I removed another hypodermic from my emergency medical kit. I fitted the needle with my knock out drug cartridge, called K14

You know if you can’t think of a good name for something you don’t have to name at all, the traditional method of dealing with it is to not name it. Not just look at your keyboard for a few minutes and press the first few keys your eyes land on.

Or you could type “anaesthetic” into Google and, you know, research it and stuff.

Steve also didn’t research the method used; soldiers have been using syrettes since World War Two and these days a soldier would be far more likely to have an Autoinjector if he was going to carry anything. There’s no good reason a non-medic soldier’s basic field kit would include syringes. But if Useless is trying to be as quiet as possible he’d be carrying as little gear as possible, so he wouldn’t even have a medkit. Given the nature of his mission, if he gets banged up his best treatment would be a self-administered bullet to the head before they can capture him anyway.

and gave the girl an injection. Instantly she went out like a light. I took a few minutes to check her breathing and heart rate. They were just fine.

Gotta love the chivalrous Useless administering a sedative with no idea of her medical history. Or for that matter him wanting to rescue her but not the other three who were with El Stereotype in his cabin. I guess because they’re WHORES and all, but for all he knows this girl just fell asleep after a little light bondage and is trying to get someone to untie her.

I checked the corridor and hauled her out of there, heading for my date with my equipment.

“I’m sure I’ll get to second base with my oxygen tank this time.”

I was almost there, when I ran across another goon just examining my stashed equipment.

Refer to earlier note about not having anyone left behind to stop people screwing around with his equipment. If he’d been another few minutes studying the linens he’d have come back to find this guy had pitched all his shit over the side and sounded the alarm. This is why you do not do this. Luckily through the miracle of not thinking about what he’s writing, Steve erases any concerns about the guy radioing in or even having a weapon, and the not-described thug just stands there waiting for Useless to beat him up. Which he duly does in the dumbest way possible.

I put down the girl and slammed into the drug goon! I gave him two rapid fire punches to the head, and a jab at the throat! He began to wheeze unable to get air, as I had smashed or severely damaged his larynx.

While Steve forgets to mention it, Useless has a suppressed, very quiet pistol and he’s dealing with a bad guy who’s distracted with his incredibly fascinating diving gear rather than running to tell everyone there’s an intruder. Rushing him is the worst thing he could possibly do since it’s only going to take one shout or a finger tensing on a trigger for everyone on the yacht to come running. So obviously that’s exactly what Useless does.

Crushing someone’s throat with one jab is a little far-fetched; it might be possible, but it’s more likely to work with a sharp chop and that’s what Steve should have gone for. Of course what he should have gone for is Useless standing back and shooting the guy, which would definitely have worked.

Then I gave him too, the heave ho, and over the side he went!

A grown man falling into the sea does not make noise. Also, when you kill someone they vanish from history and people who were expecting them to report in will forget they ever existed.

Then I strapped on my underwater gear, cutaway the gag from the girls’ face, and fastened a small breather unit, capable of 15 minutes of air over her face.

Obviously this is a good thing to use on someone who’s sedated and not in any way likely to result in her death. Regardless, Useless fastens a line and goes over the side (which means he did climb the sheer side of the bow and is currently in full view of anyone looking out of the bridge windows again) and goes over the side holding her “securely,” whatever that means.

She was light weight for me to handle, because I’m used to rather heavy weights in my usual daily workout.

Benching heavy weights doesn’t really prepare you for lifting someone who’s sedated while you’re wearing diving gear. Also, it’s lucky there are no innocent fat people.

Upon reaching the water, she became limp and even lighter.

I’m not sure why Steve thinks that she would suddenly go completely limp when she was sedated the whole time before.

I checked that her breather was in place and then took her under for my next date with my waiting underwater sub scooter!

“So my oxygen tank wasn’t interested, time for some rebound action.”

I found my sub scooter right where it was supposed to be, trailing just aft of the slow moving yacht.

Unless the tow line was magnetically clamped to the underside of the hull (which, you know, would make sense and so obviously isn’t true) I really can’t figure out the logistics of getting off this thing and onto a moving ship, then tying it off without anyone noticing. And it doesn’t help that Useless didn’t do anything of the sort at the start of the chapter.

I set my course and jammed down on the accelerator, heading in quick time for my next most important of dates, my ship.

“I hope my submarine doesn’t find out I’ve been seeing my scooter behind her back.”

My sub scooter was like an underwater Motor Cycle, it was fast!

Operator-speak for a thing like this is SDV (swimmer delivery vehicle). Generally the only reason you’d use something like this is if you had a lot of gear (which Useless doesn’t), you were performing a long-range mission and were using the SDV’s air supply to supplement your own (Useless isn’t) or to move multiple people at the same time, and there’s no way Useless could have known that Nameless Bondage Girl (who is not the one who gets a name, if you were wondering) was going to be there.

We’d reach my ship in a matter of minutes. This was good as the girls’ air only had about 11 minutes left in its supply.

Tension does not work like that.

I didn’t know who she was, but I was glad to have rescued her and yes, she was young and quite lovely to see, with her hair flowing in the water as we sped toward my waiting ship.

A submarine isn’t a ship, it’s a boat. Also, Useless sees the world in third person perv-o-vision.

My Captain would be dealing with Jose shortly, as soon as I made my report. He would also be happy with my efforts this evening. Yes, very happy!

Yeees, master will be happy with Igor, he will not put Igor in the naughty closet again…

Join us next time for a hideous infodump. Bring something else to do.

Tagged as:


  1. swenson on 10 October 2012, 12:49 said:

    I had been trained as a navy seal

    Ooh, ooh, so he does mine detection and stuff?

    alias the (Little Pepper).

    D’awww, little Jalapenito! Did his mommy give him that name?

    Also present and stoned out of their minds were 3 women.

    Boy, that escalated quickly.

    On a side note, man, those are some sweet guns in the pictures you posted.

    In regards to knocking the guy out, not only are tranquilizers pretty difficult to use in the field, but you can’t reliably knock someone out, anyway. In a traumatic brain injury involving loss of consciousness, loss of consciousness is entirely dependent on the individual, the way they’re hit, how badly they’re injured, a huge number of factors. And there’s no such thing as knocking someone out for hours and having them recover totally fine. If you’re out at all, that’s a bad thing; if you’re out for more than a few minutes, you need medical attention. If you’re out for more than a half-hour you probably have permanent brain damage.

    Nelson hasn’t quite violated this one yet, but I wanted to get it out there. I foresee it coming eventually… it always comes up in books like this. Just once I want to see someone describe a realistic concussion!

    because I’m used to rather heavy weights in my usual daily workout

    He would be using different muscles and lifting in a different way from benching weights, and anyway, wouldn’t he have to use one hand to hang onto the line? So what he’s saying here is that in his daily workouts, he regularly lifts substantially more than 100 pounds or so with one hand. Seems like an odd workout, although I’ll admit to not being an expert.

    Anyway, that was horrible and awkward. Can’t wait for the next chapter! Is this the girl that speaks, by the way?

  2. Fell Blade on 10 October 2012, 13:27 said:

    Tim, I have to ask how this compares to “Tomorrow’s World”. Which one is worse?

  3. Kyllorac on 10 October 2012, 13:51 said:

    .22 calibre manually-operated pistol

    When you say manually-operated, you don’t mean single-action… do you? Because that would be just…

    Not that a double-action would be better.

    Jose Garza El Jalapeno, alias the (Little Pepper)

    Is the missing eñe part of the original? Also, on a side note, jalapeños are a medium sized pepper. So he should be called the Medium Pepper, or the Middling Pepper. Or the Green Chili Pepper.

    I’m also pretty sure Jalapeño is not a valid surname. Though Jalapenito is indescribably adorable.

    “I’m sure I’ll get to second base with my oxygen tank this time.”

    You slay me with the double entendre.

  4. Epke on 10 October 2012, 14:08 said:

    I noted my measurements on my waterproof note pad and I climbed aboard. I stowed my underwater gear in a handy alcove that I spotted near my entry point there on the starboard deck and I covered it up with a loose section of tarp.

    While not an incorrect pair of sentences, there are nine words that point to the self: ‘I’ and ‘my’ here. Nine in two sentences. Blergh.

    I had to dispatch him without a sound, so I waited till he passed and gave him a quick karate blow to the back of the neck and head.

    I get what Nelson is saying here: Useless used a blow from martial arts to subdue a guy, but someone correct me if I am wrong: the US Navy (and other branches of the military) don’t use any particular style when training hand-to-hand combat (which is, I believe, an extra option but not mandatory for all recruits) but simply focus on the basics of subduing a foe with minimal effort: something along the lines of Systema or Judo. Why didn’t he grab the guard over his face (covering his mouth) and smash his head into a wall? I don’t know, it just sounds very odd to me to use that description.

    Why is Useless talking to himself whenever he does something? I realise he’s crazy, obviously, but is he the Joker or Gollum?

  5. HimochiIsAwesome on 10 October 2012, 14:38 said:

    I realise he’s crazy, obviously, but is he the Joker or Gollum?

    Naaahhh, they’re far too awesome and interesting to be… wait, what’s his name again? checks
    Oh wait he doesn’t have one yet. What.

    Inside I found a stash! Yes, ‘The Stash’ of this drug lord’s main business product.

    Is Steve a fan of Tesch, by any chance?

    […] getting their minds blown away in a haze of a drug influenced high.

    Sort of like Steve when he wrote this book, I guess.

  6. Finn on 10 October 2012, 15:41 said:

    Tim, I have to ask how this compares to “Tomorrow’s World”. Which one is worse?

    If Tim has read Tomorrow’s world, he can say better than I, since I haven’t read it (And I don’t intend to) but Tomorrow’s World would definitely be worse.

  7. Fair on 10 October 2012, 16:50 said:

    I’ve read the free 20% of the sequel to TW on smashwords, and I’d have to say it’s worse. Far worse.

  8. Prince O' Tea on 10 October 2012, 17:09 said:

    From what I’ve seen of Tomorrow’s World, it is horrible. Extremely horrible. It made my nervous system flare up in revulsion and then turn to dust.

    Why do I get the feeling that if the girl was ugly or average looking, Useless would have left her there?

  9. LoneWolf on 10 October 2012, 17:33 said:

    I didn’t really understood the nuances of what’s going on. Sounds mildly sociopathic.

  10. Mingnon on 10 October 2012, 23:34 said:

    Now look at the intro…

    “Almost No Foul language!”

    Now back to this…

    “Also present and stoned out of their minds were 3 women.”

    Now back to the intro…

    “It is suitable for young adults and up.”

    Now back to this…

    “They were just getting going! This would go on for a while!”

    Because depicting a scene of someone taking advantage of drugged women is really appropriate. You know, for ‘young adults’!

  11. Tim on 11 October 2012, 00:28 said:

    Ooh, ooh, so he does mine detection and stuff?

    Naw, he’s the one who dies because he won’t catch fish and just sits there saying there’s a conspiracy by the bigger seals to take away the fish he has a right to.


    Tim, I have to ask how this compares to “Tomorrow’s World”. Which one is worse?

    Tomorrow’s World is one of the worst things you could ever subject yourself to reading. This is sub-Tesch level. Tomorrow’s World is off in the land of Chris-Chan.


    When you say manually-operated, you don’t mean single-action… do you? Because that would be just…

    Actually I was mistaken about this, the version he later pictures is a semi-auto and I think the SEAL version is too (the one he pictures is a Ruger Mk III, the SEALs have actually used a version of the Mk II before). I think there is a manually-operated version (you rack the slide by hand) which is even quieter, since the sound of a semi-auto pistol’s slide recoiling can actually be louder than the shot itself if you have a really good suppressor.

    The quietest guns, things like the Welrod pistol and De Lisle carbine have massive integral suppressors and even the sound of operating the bolt by hand is said to be louder than firing the weapon.

    Is the missing eñe part of the original? Also, on a side note, jalapeños are a medium sized pepper. So he should be called the Medium Pepper, or the Middling Pepper. Or the Green Chili Pepper.

    Yep, I’m doing my best to preserve all typos. And there’s a guy called “el Habañero” later on which he translates as “the big pepper” even though jalapeños are bigger. He’s quite comprehensive in his ability to get everything wrong.


    the US Navy (and other branches of the military) don’t use any particular style when training hand-to-hand combat (which is, I believe, an extra option but not mandatory for all recruits) but simply focus on the basics of subduing a foe with minimal effort: something along the lines of Systema or Judo.

    Yeah, that’s basically how it works; you’re not aiming for finesse or the ability to perform in competitions, just strikes that have a very high chance of doing what you want them to. But Useless has both a gun (presumably) and a knife which we’re actually told about, and no good reason not to use either.

    An operation like this would be performed by trying to get someone into El Stereotype’s operation with privileged access to take the photos. When you’re sending armed guys in you should already be convinced there’s something for them to do there. Here what Useless should be doing is assuming he won’t have the element of surprise forever and trying to do as much damage as possible while he still has it, not acting like he’ll never be discovered because the plot says so.

  12. Tim on 11 October 2012, 00:36 said:

    Because depicting a scene of someone taking advantage of drugged women is really appropriate. You know, for ‘young adults’!

    I think by now it’s obvious that most authors and publishers regard that term as interchangeable with “morons.”

  13. sansafro187 on 11 October 2012, 01:18 said:

    This shit owns.

    I love how enthused with himself the narrator seems to be thanks to the exclamation points, like he’s actually excited by his own narration. I want more of this.

  14. Rorschach on 11 October 2012, 02:48 said:

    A .22 calibre?

    A .22 calibre?

    What the fuck is this idiot trying to do? Give them a mosquito bite? No one in the military, law enforcement, or anyone with a functional knowledge of guns would be carrying a .22. If you have a .22, it’s for hunting small vermin or for teaching your kids how to shoot. At the very least, Seals are carrying 9mm. More likely, .40, .44, or .45.

  15. Tim on 11 October 2012, 02:58 said:

    From what I can gather, SEALs have used the Ruger Mk II before (I’d partly confused it with the Mark 22 Mod 0, which is the one with the slide lock, but is a more respectable 9mm), but it’s for shooting sentries or guard dogs who have no idea you exist when you have time to line up your shot; if you aren’t spot-on you’re just going to annoy whatever you’re shooting at. You’d never see anyone using it as their primary weapon.

    Anyway, common sense would give this guy either a Five-seveN because OPERATOR or an M1911 because PATRIOT, not a puny little .22.

  16. Prince O' Tea on 11 October 2012, 08:09 said:


    Because at least when Gloria tries to write about sex, she glosses over it. Ravens sparkle and find themselves on eggs, and Princess Krimmy mercifully had her rape scene dismissed to a sentence or two. No matter how bad Maradonia is, at least it doesn’t have sex-secenes written in excruciating detail.

  17. swenson on 11 October 2012, 08:30 said:

    @Prince – that is one of Maradonia’s few redeeming features: at the very least, Tesch never tried to actually write a sex scene. Thank everything.

    @Rorshach – yeah, a .22 is what my sister and I borrow from my dad when we feel like shooting, because he’s got a nice Ruger that doesn’t kick much. In other words, we are wimpy girls who are awful shots (well, I’m an awful shot) and don’t like recoil and don’t particularly care how big of a hole we make in a target so long as we actually hit it. Under these circumstances, a .22 is perfect.

    I’m pretty sure these are not the considerations of someone trained as a Navy SEAL, however. Possibly they are the considerations of someone trained as a Navy seal?

  18. Tim on 11 October 2012, 09:33 said:

    …That is a really weird-looking gun. Also a seal awww.

    This is the one the SEALs are said to have actually used, it’s a Ruger Mk II version made by AWC called the Amphibian S. As I recall, the theory behind using a tiny round like .22 LR is that with so little pressure you can make it very quiet with a big full-barrel suppressor, though you end up with an effective range measured in the dozens of yards as payoff and nonexistent stopping power if you don’t hit something important.

    Not to say a .22 LR can’t be tacticool (check out this Browning Buck Mark) but Steve’s reason for using it isn’t sensible anyway. That’s coming later.

  19. Kyllorac on 11 October 2012, 21:28 said:

    No one in the military, law enforcement, or anyone with a functional knowledge of guns would be carrying a .22.

    Oya oya. Don’t go dissing the .22. It is a fine caliber, if you know how to use it and are a good shot. You can drop a deer with a single, well-placed shot (not that I’m advocating that anyone try — it’s cruel to the poor thing if you don’t hit the mark), and it doesn’t have as high a chance of blasting through your walls as a larger caliber if you’re shooting it at a home invader despite being quite capable of killing said home invader. In the past, it was the favored round for slaughtering livestock, particularly cattle and hogs, and for hunting small game. Most of the firearms my older neighbors (and we’re talking old enough to have lived through the Great Depression and remember it old) own are .22 revolvers and rifles, because they were so useful back in the day.

    Admittedly, it doesn’t make much sense as a general tactical round.

  20. Master Chief on 12 October 2012, 01:51 said:

    All of my guns, and which have I fired off the most? A Marlin .22 collapsible emergency rifle. The entire thing folds into the stock, and its 8 rounds semiautomatic. No recoil, little nose, and a range of fifty yards. The tradeoff is that there’s no stopping power and if there’s a strong wind I have to aim into it to compensate.

  21. Kyllorac on 12 October 2012, 11:48 said:

    A Marlin .22 collapsible emergency rifle.

    Papoose. <3

    Which reminds me. I completely forgot to mention that, in a wilderness survival situation, a .22 rifle is the best choice. The rifle and rounds are incredibly lightweight relative to other larger calibers, which means you can carry more, which in turn means you have more shots and supplies with you at any given time. What you lack in sheer stopping power, you make up for in versatility (you can take down a wide range of game, as I mentioned before), quantity of ammunition, and portability.

    The next best is (in my opinion) the .38, especially if you have both a rifle and pistol in this caliber. It’s a nice balance between stopping power and portability, with the recoil being very manageable in both pistol and rifle.

    The 10mm gets an honorable mention just because it’s one of my most favorite rounds to shoot ever.

    The next step up would be the .44, with a .45 being a bit overkill, unless you have really big game to contend with, like grizzlies.

  22. Tim on 12 October 2012, 13:28 said:

    Incidentally, our goofy-ass book title is cribbed from a line in License to Kill, where Bond is asked if he’s a problem solver and he answers that he’s “more like a problem eliminator.” It’s a lot less awkward in that context than on it’s own.

  23. Mingnon on 12 October 2012, 15:58 said:

    But it’s still a VERY silly title even if it came from a Bond film. I bet not too many people knew where this inspiration for it came from either.

  24. Justin on 12 October 2012, 16:21 said:

    Great. My favorite Bond movie (Bond’s a human! He generally treats women as equals! His pre-mortem one-liner is legitimately personal and powerful!) is now associated with these skeezy twits. At least I can imagine these clowns running up against Timothy Dalton’s Bond. That’s a picture I’d happily watch.

  25. Tim on 12 October 2012, 16:28 said:

    Yeah, I mean it’s less awkward in the movie because of the line leading up to it, not that it’s less awkward if you know it’s from a movie.

  26. Master Chief on 12 October 2012, 23:41 said:


    After that you get the 7.62×51 NATO cartridge for dear, bear, and the like. then there’s the 30-06 hunting round, used by the M1 Garand. If you’re a dedicated moose hunter you’d have the .338 lapau, which is as long as a .50bmg round, but slightly less powerful, so its like the .556 compared to the 7.62, except on a larger scale. After that, if you’re trying to slay a cape buffalo or some illegal African herbivore of large size, you use the .410. Then there’s the .50BMG itself, which is for killing the fuck out of people at a range of a mile.

  27. Kyllorac on 13 October 2012, 00:48 said:

    if you’re trying to slay a cape buffalo or some illegal African herbivore of large size, you use the .410


    Itty bitty shotgun vs. really big herbivore. I think the herbivore will win.

  28. Tim on 13 October 2012, 14:17 said:

    I have a feeling he means .408 CheyTac, but you wouldn’t hunt anything with that since it’s a non-SAAMI-approved round designed for military use.

  29. Master Chief on 13 October 2012, 23:34 said:

    Actually, I mean the .410 caliber Rigby big game murder bullet.

  30. Tim on 13 October 2012, 23:51 said:

    Aren’t the Rigbies .416 and .450?

  31. Rhymes with Orange on 17 October 2012, 07:30 said:

    I can’t wait for the next installment of the Retarded Rangers, or should it be the Speshul SEALs.