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Literature / Dirigent Mercenary Corps

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The Dirigent Mercenary Corps is a series of Military Science Fiction novels by Rick Shelley that follows the career of Lon Nolan, an officer in the eponymous PMC.

Having been washed out of Earth's Military Academy on purpose so that he wouldn't have to go into State Sec, Lon winds up on Dirigent, a planet whose primary business is supplying weapons and mercenary armies to the galaxy at large. He's granted a commission as an officer cadet, but the DMC does not allow you to command until you've seen a tour of duty. It's a waiting game until the DMC gets a contract for a battalion-strength job to put down a rebellion on some rock in the middle of nowhere.

Things get complicated, fast.

The books cover a broad span of years, following Lon as he rises from an Ensign Newbie to a Colonel Badass. They've received critical praise for their realistic depictions of life in a military unit (Shelley was a US Army veteran).


This series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • One-Product Planet: Dirigent's industries are built around the DMC, and their primary exports are soldiers and guns.
  • Private Military Contractors: The DMC has strict limits on what jobs it will take and the soldiers pride themselves on professionalism, but they're in it for the money.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Army: The DMC provides mainly light infantry, although they also use their drop ships for close air support.
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  • Universal Universe Time: Dealt with on Dirigent by lengthening the second to make a Dirigentian day 24 hours.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: One of Lon's fellow cadets is engaged to a prostitute at a brothel, and recommends her to all his friends. The implication is that on Dirigent it's a legal, regulated profession. Lon still isn't comfortable with it, although it's more having a hangup about not sleeping with another man's fiancee.