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Literature / War With No Name

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Cover of the first book, Mort(e).

"Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?" Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!" But the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way?" And he said, "No." Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face…"
Numbers 22:28-31, The Bible (Opening Narration for Mort(e))

War With No Name is a xenofiction book series by Robert Repino. The first installment, Mort(e), was published in 2015. A sequel was later published, called D'Arc, and a novella.

A colony of intelligent giant ants has decided to eradicate the human race. They use their advanced technology to cause an Anthropomorphic Transformation worldwide. Then starts the war with no name, a war between humans and animals.

The first book focuses on Mort(e), formerly known as the house cat "Sebastian", a soldier who searches for a dog named Sheba that he knew before the Change. He gets a message from the surviving humans, saying Sheba is still alive. They continue to send messages, and Mort(e) discovers that the infamous human bioweapon EMSAH isn't what it seems to be.

War With No Name contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: The most prominent are Wawa, dog assassin and second in command of the Red Sphinx, and D'Arc, training for Hosanna law enforcement. There's also Grace Braga, warrior in the Sons of Adam.
  • Animals Fear Neutering: Neutered animals are called "chokers" and generally looked down on.
  • Anthropomorphic Transformation: The Colony releases a hormone in the water supply that changes most surface animals into bipedal and sapient creatures with Humanlike Hand Anatomy.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Wawa the pit bull participated in dogfights before the Change.
  • Berserk Button: Hymenoptera remembers the horrors of religious fanaticism from a Genetic Memory from the Lost Queen and those memories are slowly driving her mad, so signs of religious activity results in her sending disease and an Alpha troupe to destroy the believers.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Colony is a mix of giant (specifically Queen Hymenoptera Unus as well as the Alpha ants) and normal-sized ants.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": 'Chokers' are neutered animals, and death-life is the afterlife.
  • The Chosen One: Deconstructed. The humans create a prophecy about Mort(e) and Sheba, unbeknownst to them. However, Mort(e) has no loyalty to the humans, and only works with them because they can get him to Sheba.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: When D'Arc leaves the ranch, Mort(e) is left completely isolated for several weeks. He does not take this well, and starts "devolving" and acting like a pre-Change cat.
  • Hive Caste System: Besides the usual queen, drone and etc, the Colony has some specialized ant "subspecies" including the Alpha warriors, the "medical engineers" who care for Hymenoptera and are the reason for her being so Long-Lived, and special "interpreter" ants who have the ability to read with chemo-receptors in their feet.
  • Hollywood Acid: Some of the newer Alphas have the ability to shoot concentrated acid out of their abdomens. When the Alphas were sent to destroy the animals in one sector suspected of rampant EMSAH, a number of the Alphas simply dissolved them with a few acid streams.
  • Insect Queen: Hymenoptera Unus is the millenniums-old ant queen for the Colony and the one who led the war against humanity.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Mort(e) and D'Arc are very close friends. One is a cat and the other is a dog.
  • I Will Find You: Mort(e) spends the first book looking for Sheba.
  • Meaningful Rename: All the animals pick new names after the Change.
  • Mutant: The Colony are a mutant race of ants who besides having sentience, they also have Genetic Memory and the ability to shape their evolution.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: The translator gives enormous knowledge, and this is a danger for a first-time user.
  • The Reveal: There is no human biological weapon called EMSAH, which is just a corruption of the word "messiah". Instead disease is spread by the Colony to any population that shows strong belief in an after-life.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first book features a pig soldier named Bonaparte. Mort(e) asks if Napoleon was already taken.
    • Mort(e) took his name from Le Morte D'Arthur.
  • Super-Soldier: The Alpha are specially bred warrior ants made for the purpose of fighting modern human armies with brute force.
  • That Man Is Dead: Most of the former pets refuse to be called by their "slave names". Sebastian/Mort(e) is an exception to this: he figured out that the word "Sebastian" was a word that the humans used to command him to do something, but never understood that it was his name.
  • Uplifted Animal: The Change caused animals to become more intelligent and anthropomorphic, giving them the ability to talk, understand human speech… and hold a lethal grudge against their owners for being their long-time oppressors.
  • Wham Line: There are clear hints about Sebastian undergoing an Anthropomorphic Transformation throughout the first chapter of the first book, with a mention that his last meeting with Sheba was when he first felt self-awareness, and his paws being described as turning into fingers, but the moment which affirms that he's achieved total sapience is when the actual English speech of his two human owners is shown to the audience, showing that Sebastian can understand exactly what they're saying.