Thursday, December 4, 2014

C.A.D.S. #2: Tech Battleground

C.A.D.S. #2: Tech Battleground, by John Sievert
April, 1986  Zebra Books

If you’ve read Doomsday Warrior and wish there was more of it, you owe it to yourself to seek out the lesser-known C.A.D.S. series, which was by the same authors. And like Doomsday Warrior, I suspect that C.A.D.S. was more so the work of Ryder Syvertsen writing alone, as Tech Battleground is identical in style to that more famous series, which Syvertsen apparently wrote solo after the first four installments.

In fact, C.A.D.S. is so similar that you could hunt throughout the text and replace the names of various characters with the names of characters from Doomsday Warrior. Colonel Dean Sturgis becomes Ted Rockson, Tranh is Chen, Fenton is McLaughlin, and Marshal Veloshnikov is Colonel Killov. Everything, from the breathless storytelling style to the OTT violence and sex, is here; the only thing missing is the mutant monsters of the other series, though in exchange you get robotic armored suits.

Another series C.A.D.S. is very similar to is Victor Milan’s The Guardians – make that very similar to, with the same storyline in the first volume of the C.A.D.S. team rushing to save the Vice President, now the President, after the previous chief of state died in the nuclear war. And just as in The Guardians, this new president, Williamson, now lives on a military base with our heroes.

But really the series is basically Doomsday Warrior with robotic suits. There’s even an analogue of Century City’s chief scientist, in the form of Van Patten, who has created a Light Wave Amplifier, aka the LWA, a “laser subgun” which will explode if it’s fired too much and goes into the red. But Sturgis, ready to go back out in the field and fight the Russianss five weeks after the war began, thinks it might just be the edge they need to take on the better-equipped invading army. Also, the LWA as described sounds suspiciously like the pistol shown on the lame covers this series was graced with.

Sturgis is also fired up to reconnect with Robin, the ex-wife he still loves. Robin is in fact still alive, and the last we see her she’s made her way into Virginia, trying to reach the rendevous point she and Sturgis decided on in the first volume. But, just like the Rock-Rona-Kim triangle in Doomsday Warrior, Stacy brings up potential fireworks here with the introduction of hotstuff Dr. Sheila de Camp, chief psychologist of the C.A.D.S. base in White Sands, New Mexico, who in a handful of pages goes from hating Sturgis’s guts to planning to get in bed with him someday!

Meanwhile, the Russians are continuing their takeover of the US, and there appear to be three central Russian characters who will be important in the series: General Bukarov, who is situated in the White House; General Petrin, commander of the C.A.D.S.-style Gray Suits and military man who does not hate the Americans and in fact respects their soldiers; and finally Supreme Marshal Veloshnikov, who operates from the nuclear submarine Lenin and hates America with a passion, due to the death of his wife and child in Saigon in 1972, thanks to a bombing raid by the US military.

Intel at White Sands has learned that the Russians are planning a mass attack on Charleston, South Carolina, with the possible intent of leveling the entire city. Sturgis proposes “Operation Tech Battleground,” which is just a goofy name for “Let my C.A.D.S. soldiers go out and fight them!” After pointless internal squabble and discussion, Sturgis’s plan is approved and he choses his soldiers from the hundred or so who make up the C.A.D.S. force, also known as Delta Commando. Just like in Doomsday Warrior, the team is made up of Sturgis’s never-harmed “inner circle” and a whole bunch of redshirts who will die.

Completely following the template of that other series, the plot goes on to having Sturgis et al roar across the nuke-blasted countryside and taking on all kinds of freaks before they get to their destination. Most interesting is an obese millionaire who travels around in an armored limo, escorted by a tank and trucks, who is named Pinky Ellis. The CEO of Exrell Corporation, Ellis apparently will factor into later volumes; he willingly sold arms to the Russians, making their takeover of the US a reality.

Ellis also has taken captive Morgana Pinter, a hot-trot blonde who is now his complete slave. When Sturgis and team run into Ellis on the road, the man berates Sturgis for still giving a shit about America and asks him to team up with Ellis’s own crew. It develops into a battle in which, of course, Sturgis’s team makes short work of the opponent, however Ellis escapes in his limo, Morgana still a prisoner, and given how he’s mentioned later I suspect he will return again someday.

In Tennessee the team meets up with the descendants of the Hatfields, who are still at war with the McCoys. Otherwise they are friendly country folk, and invite the squad to their well-fortified hideout in the mountains. After a big feast, that other patented Ryder Stacy element presents itself – the OTT sex scene. This arises in the form of Anne, aka “Cat,” a busty and attractive local girl who leads Sturgis away for some explicit shenanigans – a scene that features the unforgettable line, “She sat up upon him and took in his hot manhood into her love-opening.”

Sturgis succeeds in uniting the Hatfields and McCoys for an attack on the invading Russians in Charleston. This sequence, despite being the main plot of the novel, occurs around midway through and doesn’t last very long. Here Sturgis and team destroy Russian ships in a massive fight, with an appareance of the Gray Suits onto the scene. Petrin has been ordered to capture one of the C.A.D.S. suits, and after the battle Sturgis isn’t sure if his missing men are KIA or are MIA – their suits taken away to be studied by the Russians.

I should mention that, when the action goes down, the author(s) as expected really let the guts fly. Heads explode, organs are blasted out, and in several memorable instances the C.A.D.S. soldiers literally rip Russian soldiers to shreds, or smash them into pulp with their metal hands. All of which is to say, Rydery Stacy (or Syvertsen alone) is one of those men’s adventure authors who clearly understood that total and utter exploitation is mandatory for this genre, whether it be sex or violence. There is no pretense at making it all seem like a straight sort of “regular” novel.

More focus is given to the slow escape of the C.A.D.S. men, fleeing from the pursuing Russians after having destroyed their plans to level Charleston. We get another of those bizarro scenes where, hiding in the Okefenoke swamp in Georgia, they are waylaid by “swamp Indians,” cannibalistic and tattooed freaks who zap around the swamp in weaponized swamp boats and really give the C.A.D.S. team – the armored suits almost inoperative due to drained power – a run for its money. The authors deliver their usual memorable sadism with the revelation that the Indians abduct women and keep them in iron cages, expressly for eating purposes!

The Okefenoke stuff also has repercussions for future novels, as further in the swamp the team discovers an old mansion on an island that was apparently built by runaway slaves, over a century before. Sturgis decides to make the mansion a forward base for any future operations on the east coast. In a “why not?” bit in the very last pages, Stacy also introduces a reincarnation motif, with Tranh looking at the grave of a slave named Cyrus and announcing that he was Cyrus in his previous life.

Sturgis basically takes this in stride, but he has other things on his mind – after a quick boosting of his armor’s power, he takes off to reconnect with Robin, who should be within a few hundred miles. And there the authors leave us, until next time.

Overall Tech Battleground was fun, if too long – like most other Zebra publications – but didn’t really provide the same sort of entertainment you get from the superior Doomsday Warrior books.

1 comment:

halojones-fan said...

Any chance you'll do some of the "warbots" series, or that too much of a techno-thriller to fit this website's purview?

I remember when I was a kid trying to convince my parents to let me get those books. They kept saying "now you're actually going to read this one, right? You're not just buying it because it has a neat cover?"