On the TV, music began playing. Ash recognized the song as the national anthem. The title was "Through Fire, We Prevailed". The black and dark red flag fluttered on the screen. Large columns of soldiers marched through the streets of New York City in a parade. It was nothing more than an army-recruiting attempt.
The story beings with Ash, a Martinet, being reassigned after a failed mission to provide discipline in a school. Once there, he decides to inquire about the fate of Caitlin's brother, who is at a gulag. I have a problem with Ash simply doing what the girl asks, a choice on his part that is unbelievable given the world in which he exists. It is unclear why he decides to help Caitlin. I mean, let's be realistic, if we can: life is tough, much more so in the world created by the author; it is very hard to get a stranger in the position of authority to do you a favor in present day America; it would be that much harder to get Ash, an enforcer for a Fascist regime, to do a favor for this girl, who is, after all, a member of a lover class.
A lot more development is required here of Ash's character, and of Caitlin's. There should be, too, conflict between them: she wants him to investigate, why should he even listen to her request? Sex? Okay, that seems like a motivation, or at least a beginning of one. And how does she approach him? She seems to have a kind of attitude that is inconsistent, perhaps delusional, in a world where people are sent to gulags. Without careful development of their characters, paying attention to the context that the world that they live in creates, the story loses credibility and authenticity because the characters and their world and their actions that the characters make do not seem to be organic.
Another unbelievable moment comes when Ash decides to share what he has seen at the gulag with Caitlin. Again, why would he do this? As a result of what he sees at the gulag, he becomes disillusioned and ends up becoming a fugitive or the run with Caitlin, heading over to the other side of America that lies beyond The Wall.
The Martinet is a nice creative effort from a promising writer.
You can find The Martinet on Lulu.