The Defense of Gipper’s Twist

Read a scifi story about future warfare. Set in the Panamanian jungle, “Defense of Gipper’s Twist” is a future retelling of “Defence of Duffer’s Drift”, the classic tactical morality play.


Jungle humidity is murder for Army-issued HUDs. Mine stopped working about 24.38 seconds after we touched down at Tocumen Airport, so I switched on my aftermarket specs and connected them by laser cable to the STAC—Systemic Tactical Awareness Controller. My old man gave me the specs as a graduation gift (West Point class of 2048). How he knew my Army-issued gear would stop working so quickly, I can’t say.

I stowed my HUD and shrugged at Staff Sergeant Morris. “Figures. Aftermarket tech works better.”

Morris grunted and motioned for the other human members of the HST (hybrid strike team) to debark. Morris had been distant the whole flight.

“Sergeant Morris,” I said, pulling my ruck onto my shoulder. “I hope this doesn’t feel like a babysitting assignment.”

His eyes narrowed. “It’s not that, Sir. We didn’t even rate a C-17 from Bragg, and we didn’t even get to jump from the plane. Panama’s been quiet for twenty years, and we have ROEs so strict they wired them into the STAC.” He flipped down his HUD and STACked in, nodding towards the rear ramp in frustration. “Besides, a whole HST is overkill for a three-day area defense mission.”