QSFer Justin Rodriguez has a new queer alternate history book out:
Movement of The New Age is a visionary science fiction drama that takes place in an alternate world where the events of 9/11 lead to an all out war. Themes like revolution, gender, sexuality, liberation round up this riveting story whose lead characters are queer and trans people of color.
Two weeks passed and hoverjets flew across the southern sky as the sun rose in the distance. There were dozens of them in all. Inside one of them was a group of soldiers in desert camouflage relaxing and talking. Jasmine was standing up and talking with Bashir about next steps. Once they finished, they walked over to Nassim who was staring out the window.
Leaning against the side of the hoverjet in front of Nassim, Jasmine started conversing with Nassim. “Nassim, what’s a Tigray woman like you doing out here in North America?”. Nassim seemed a bit nervous, as Jasmine kept talking. “Your father’s surname was Gebre, right? He thought things would be ok after he converted to Islam and changed his last name. That all changed once he married a dark skin Somali woman”. Jasmine squatted down in front of Nassim. “If I couldn’t find out these things, I wouldn’t be good at my job”.
Nassim took a sigh of relief. “It wasn’t easy growing up in Ethiopia, when it existed. I just wanted to get out and fight all over the world”. Nassim’s voice became more sarcastic. “I’m allowed to do that right?”.
“Yeah, you are. I just believe in getting to know the people who work right besides me. We’ll be there soon”.
Jasmine briefed the different groups via com devices. “The mission entails helping people hiding out in this section of the town near the river. We are going to give immediate supplies to everyone who needs help. If any of those fascists refuse to surrender then do them like we did in NYC. My two teams will find a way to hack into their comms”.
The Rio Grande could be seen a few kilometers away as the hoverjets dodge missiles being fired from the ground. The hoverjets replied with their own missiles that hit targets on the ground. Finally the dozens of crafts landed in different sections spread out across kilometers of land. Jasmine’s team went out and split with Bashir’s team. Everyone began running out and laying low.
As gunfire rained down, Jasmine took their two teams of sixteen people each into an apartment complex. Jasmine directly lead a team while Nassim led the other.
After a few minutes of shooting the two teams arrived at a fortified building. The people guarding it stopped shooting and allowed the soldiers in. Inside were brown and black families. Some of them looked malnourished while others had knife and bullet wounds. Others had burn marks and scars from being tortured.
Jasmine began talking in Spanish, “Listen everyone. We got you medical supplies and food. Everyone of us here has first aid training, and we can help”.
In English Nassim addressed the crowd. “We have supplies to help you. We have medicine and food”.
Some of the soldiers joined the people shooting out of the bullet ridden building. Most of the others, including Nassim and Jasmine, attended to people’s physical, nutritional, and mental needs. After an hour, a hoverjet landed on the roof of the building to take the people away. The two teams of soldiers continued moving from building to building to find survivors and transport them away from the gruesome killing fields. As night fell, the soldiers continued their mission. Bomb flashes and tracer rounds brought intermittent moments of light to a city devoid of electrical power.
A warm morning sun ran over clear blue skies. Many of the noises died down as fighter jets fired at buildings killing the enemy soldiers in mass, while others surrendered. Meanwhile, Jasmine led their teams to a slightly damaged auto repair building. Busses were being used as barricades around the front and back entrances.
As the two teams stealthily approached, the enemy soldiers began shooting. Jasmine ducked behind one of the buses furthest from the front door. It was was covered in light brown sand and seemed fairly new. Apparently the bus were reinforced with steel as bullets failed to hit Jasmine’s teams. As the team ducked against the bus, Jasmine looked at Nassim, “Alright let’s split in two and take the soldiers from, either side. I’ll flank the right and cover your team. Then I need you to in there fast and take out those five soldiers towards the right. I got the other four.”
Justin [pronounced Juh- STEEN] Rodriguez is a 31 year old biracial black genderqueer girl who currently resides in the Seattle area. They first began their community organizing work in 2008 by successfully petitioning for better homeless services at the Gateway Center in Atlanta, where they too received services.
They continued their community work for the next seven years supporting the homeless of Washington DC through direct services, community organizing, outreach, and policy.
Justin’s more aggressive organizing work did not end during their time in Washington, DC after they became part of the Occupy Movement. Justin’s work in the Occupy DC Movement included organizing protests, managing finances, and creating the Food Committee for Occupy DC.
Now in Seattle, Justin remains dedicated to community building and fighting to create a better world through consulting. Now an author as well, their writing focuses on combining their own life experiences with scif-fi political themes.