Archive | April, 2012

Welcome to the Chrishanger

30 Apr

Hi everyone

I’ve started building a new website (not CTT) to promote my kindle books – and I have also placed some free stories on it, most notably the Second Chance series.  Please could people check it out, tell me what they think and see that all the links are working?

Thanks very much – http://www.chrishanger.net/

Chris

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Background–The Troll War

29 Apr

The Troll War Timeline

23rd March 2435The Trolls open the war by attacking New Marseilles and destroying the UNNS ships in orbit around the planet. A pair of scout ships escape the massacre and escape to warn Earth of the new threat. The Trolls destroy human settlements through the use of nuclear devices and orbital bombardment. Commander Janine Herald of UNNS Rubicon takes command of the ship after her CO is killed and successfully escapes into flux space.

24th March 2435 – Troll forces hit Casanova, Cartage and Ramadan. Casanova is nuked, while both Cartage and Ramadan are isolated and presumably marked down for later attention.

27th March 2435 – An emergency session of the UNSC is convened on Luna by First Admiral Ivanovo. The First Admiral warns that the Trolls attacked without warning and slaughtered millions of humans on at least two worlds. Humanity must assume that this is a war of genocide. The UN declares a state of emergency and starships are rerouted to form defence lines in the Omega Sector (towards New Marseilles.) UNNS Survey Command vessels are ordered to start hunting for enemy fleet deployments and homeworlds.

29th March 2435 – The RockRat asteroid mining colony at Beta Nine is attacked by the Trolls, presumably for the rich raw materials in the system. RockRats dig in and launch a space-based insurgency against the occupiers.

13th April 2435 – Troll forces engage UNNS reinforcements at Cadiz, a Spanish-ethnic colony settled 100 years ago. The UNNS enjoys some brief success by deploying starfighters against the Trolls – it is a mystery why the Trolls never deployed starfighters of their own – before Troll reinforcements arrive at the system and force the UNNS to retreat. Cadiz is subsequently invaded and population centres are nuked, however – as there was an emergency evacuation – most of the population survives and continues to fight.

14th April 2435 – a UN raiding force hits the Troll occupation force at New Marseilles. The Trolls bring reinforcements out of flux space and ambush the raiders, destroying the entire squadron. Their sacrifice does, however, win time for the insurgents on the planet to get a shuttle away from the planet and into flux space, bringing with it the first recovered alien body.

15th April 2435 – Commander Herald brings Rubicon to the UNNS base on Capricorn and reports in to UNNS high command. She is confirmed as commanding officer of her ship and the combat records from New Marseilles are rapidly analysed by UN analysts. They conclude that the alien force beams are terrifyingly powerful and their tactics seem inclined to force close-range engagements where their ships can tear apart human vessels. Commander Herald’s response; “no shit, Sherlock.”

1st May 2435 – The UN dispatches a high-level diplomatic mission to Cadiz, which the Trolls appear to be intent on colonising, in the hopes of opening a dialogue with Earth’s enemies. The Trolls merely issue a demand for Earth’s surrender and refuse to talk further. The peace mission is fired upon when the UN High Commissioner attempts to force the issue, with only a single ship surviving to return home.

2nd May 2435 – Earth’s Ambassadors to nearby alien powers formally request assistance in the war, citing Earth’s support to two nearby powers during their conflict with other Galactics. Most races refuse to aid the human race openly, pointing to the superior firepower demonstrated by the Trolls. Some do send war materials and supplies to Earth, but they insist that all such arrangements remain undercover.

5th May 2435 – The Trolls launch their expected attack on Capricorn, bypassing the other colonies in the Omega Sector. For the first time, the UNNS halts the attackers through near-suicidal tactics and desperation. Eventually, the Trolls retreat when the 5th Fleet arrives to reinforce the defenders.

8th May 2435 – Believing that the Trolls have received a bloody nose, the UN General Assembly insists that the UNNS make another attempt to talk peace with the aliens. The Trolls merely destroy the dispatched courier boat without even bothering to attempt to answer their hails.

15th May 2435 – The UN Fleet in Capricorn, reinforced to the tune of 2343 starships of various classes, is ordered to prepare a counterattack to be launched against Cadiz.

17th May 2435 – Unknown to the UNNS, a number of Survey Command starships are detected, tracked and eventually destroyed by the Trolls. The Troll superiority in sensor grids would not be fully realised until several months later, by which time the Trolls had used it to bait a trap.

1st June 2435 – The UNNS is ordered, against the advice of the First Admiral and Admiral Connors, the CO of the Capricorn Fleet, to advance on Cadiz and liberate the world from the Trolls.

5th June 2435 – The first stage of the Second Battle of Cadiz goes well as the UNNS drives back the enemy from orbit, only to be ambushed when the Trolls bring a sizable force out of flux space right on top of the UN fleet. Most of the fleet is destroyed, with only a handful of vessels managing to escape from the disaster.

6th June 2435 – Admiral Connors expresses his opinion of his political superiors by committing suicide, having managed to extract only 246 starships from a fleet that had once been powerful enough to destroy any UN-held system.

9th June 2435 – News of Second Cadiz reaches Earth, causing widespread panic and a desperate hunt for political scapegoats. An enterprising reporter discovers that the attack was launched against the advice of military experts and forces mass resignations from the UN General Assembly. However, it seems clear to many that there is no political solution to the war.

13th June 2435 – The Trolls launch their second attack on Capricorn. Lacking the force to do more than delay them, Admiral Quintana orders the main body of the fleet to disengage while sublight spacecraft and starfighters fight a desperate delaying action.

19th June 2435 – Taking advantage of the UN General Assembly’s sudden unwillingness to issue orders to its military advisers, the First Admiral alters tactics and deploys smaller starships and escort vessels to keep raiding enemy territory. A political alliance with the RockRats – who rarely trusted the UN before the Troll War reminded them that they were human – led to a series of covert strikes against enemy-held territory. Mass construction programs were also ordered, hoping to boost the UNNS’s fighting power by the time the Trolls resumed the offensive.

Analysts studying the Troll body are at a loss to explain why the aliens have decided to fight Earth without any provocation. Some secret research programs are started into biological weapons that might give Earth a way of threatening their racial existence. More productively, the UNNS Covert Operations Division starts work on Iceberg Base, a secret fall-back position for the UNNS if Earth itself is lost. Finally, thousands of human refugees are allowed to flee into territory controlled by the Galactics. It may keep some of them safe if Earth is destroyed by the Trolls.

20th June 2435 – 23rd December 2435 – The war comes to an uneasy stalemate as the Trolls concentrate on securing their conquests and the UNNS concentrates on hassling their convoys and supporting raiding operations against their flanks. UNNS survey missions finally locate a Troll world, although first scans suggest that it isn’t a particularly important tactical base. Plans are laid, however, for a long-range strike into their territory.

24th December 2435 – The Christmas Eve Probe. A number of Troll starships launch an attack (or a survey mission in force) against Terra Nova, the first world to be settled from Earth after the invention of Flux Drive. Although all, but one of their starships is destroyed by the world’s orbital defences, they are unable to prevent the Trolls bombarding the planet with nuclear-tipped missiles or destroying the cloudscoops that fuel the planet’s economy.

26th December – 28th December – The Trolls follow up their success at Terra Nova by raiding Zion, Lucas, Elf and New Deseret. Elf is effectively depopulated when an orbiting asteroid is knocked out of orbit and slams into the planet’s surface. It is not actually clear if the Trolls meant to commit mass slaughter at Elf, but the results were impossible to ignore.

1st January 2436 – The UN General Assembly orders total mobilisation. Pope Luther VI, Grand Mufti Abdullah and numerous other religious leaders issue calls for total war, proclaiming the Trolls to be demons. More practically, the UN starts studying plans for a strike into enemy territory that should knock the Trolls back on their heels and win time for Earth to build new starships and defences.

5th January 2436 – A Troll raid on Wolf 356 (the RockRat regional capital, insofar as they had one) is wiped out by the system’s defenders. This is a great boost to human morale.

17th January 2436 – Captain Herald volunteers her ship and a handful of UN Marines to undertake a risky mission to capture a Troll starship intact. No one expects the Trolls to leave Earth’s fallback defence line (centred on Avalon) alone for much longer, while the raiders are starting to face problems in fighting the Trolls.

19th January 2436 – The UNNS is ordered to launch a strike against the first identified enemy colony. The orders are clear. If the aliens do not surrender, the UNNS is to destroy the enemy population centres on the planet. Admiral Quintana protests her orders, but is overruled.

12th February 2436 – Locating an isolated Troll ship, Captain Herald attacks – and uses the experimental EMP cannon to knock out the enemy defences. The enemy ship is boarded and stormed by the Marines, who eventually capture the ship before the enemy CO can trigger the self-destruct. However, an undetected enemy ship observed the battle and reported home. The next attempt to use the EMP cannon turns into a bloody failure.

15th February 2436 – With her captured ship in tow, Captain Herald is ordered to take her ship to a top secret UNNS base near Earth. There, they hope to dissect the alien craft and duplicate the alien weapons.

16th February 2436 – Operation Retribution I, the attack on the alien planet, departs Avalon. It will take upwards of a month to reach its destination.

19th February 2436 – An increase in enemy contacts in the Avalon System suggests that the Trolls intend to attack the system within weeks, perhaps days.

24th February 2436 – The Trolls attack Avalon. After they are beaten off from the planet and the UNNS fleet base in orbit around Avalon, they establish themselves in the outer system and launch round-the-clock raids on Avalon. The first Troll gunboats, their counter to the starfighters, are seen for the first time. They made a devastating pass through the starfighters before tactics are adapted. However, the gunboats and the advanced beam weapons on the refitted Troll ships mean that Earth’s starfighters have been grossly reduced in effectiveness.

28th February 2436 – Troll starships attack Britannia and Washington, making sweeping passes through their defences before retreating back into flux space.

1st March 2436 – The UN General Assembly suffers another round of political strife caused by the massive roundup of all starships that can fly and energise a beam, including ships from planetary defence forces. Several worlds announce their intention of leaving the UN and forging a separate peace. This fails, largely because the Trolls aren’t interested in talking. An attempt to approach them through the good offices of another alien race results in nothing more than a reiteration of the surrender demand.

5th March 2436 – Captain Herald and her crew reach Area 51, where the Troll starship is analyzed.

12th March 2436 – The UN 6th Fleet attempts to break the blockade of Avalon by launching a major flanking attack on the Trolls, including the first combat deployment of the ‘Holy Warriors,’ humans inspired by religious fanaticism. The first assaults are successful, with many Troll starships taken out by suicide tactics, but the Trolls rally and clamp back down on the Avalon System. The battle does, however, win time to evacuate most of the wounded and dependents from the system.

19th March 2436 – Operation Retribution attacks the Troll planet, destroying most of the world’s population centres after the Trolls refuse to surrender. The Trolls launch a counterattack at once – their FTL communications system is judged to be better than humanity’s – and take out five of the UNNS ships before they retreat.

23rd March 2436 – News of Operation Retribution reaches Earth, using a hidden chain of communication relay stations left behind by the squadron. The news is a shot in the arm to Earth’s morale. The UN makes much of the news arriving on the anniversary of the attack on New Marseilles that started the war.

24th March 2436 – Attempting to return to human space, the ships involved in Operation Retribution stumble across a major enemy base, only ten light years from the system they attacked. Its destruction could shorten the war.

1st April 2436 – In retaliation for Retribution, the Trolls launch nuclear strikes on Washington, New Bonn and New Moscow. The human deaths are in the billions.

15th April 2436 – Avalon finally falls to the Trolls after a desperate defence.

17th April 2436 – 20th May 2436 – With hundreds of ships freed up after the fall of Avalon, the Trolls launch a devastating series of hit and run attacks on human colonies.

21st May 2436 – The Trolls launch their first attack on Earth, a kinetic bombardment of the Venus Terraforming Stations and the destruction of the cloudscoops orbiting Saturn.

22nd May 2436 – The First Admiral is quietly informed that if the Trolls take out more than 50% of humanity’s remaining cloudscoops, the UN will literally be unable to fuel its starships and defence platforms. New rationing schemes are ordered, but they threatened to disable much of the economy.

23rd May 2436 – With additional panic sweeping over Earth, the UN General Assembly orders an attack on the military base identified on 24th March 2436. The starships newly constructed in orbit around Earth and Mars will be formed into reinforcements for the remains of 5th Fleet, while 2nd and 3rd Fleets will be combined into a hammer and launched at the enemy system. The fleet, designated as Retribution II, is planned to be launched within two weeks.

7th June 2436 – Retribution II is launched from Earth.

9th June 2436 – The Trolls raid Titan and ravage the Ceres Asteroid Federation. Jupiter’s cloudscoops are severely damaged in the raids.

12th June 2436 – Citing the need to look to home defence, Edo orders its squadrons to return home from the combined UN fleet. The General Assembly condemns Edo, practically accusing the Emperor of outright treason to humanity, but the First Admiral manages to talk the Security Council out of ordering strikes on a human world. Edo’s cloudscoops and shipyards may be needed in the future.

13th June 2436 – Area 51 produces the first Phoenix-class battlecruiser, with Captain Herald as her CO. Phoenix is capable of going toe-to-toe with a Troll starship, at least according to her designers. Captain Herald is ordered to put her ship through its paces and then travel to Earth to convince the increasingly desperate General Assembly that the human race now has a fighting chance. Other improvements drawn from the captured enemy ship are improved starfighter weapons and targeting systems.

14th June 2436 – 20th July 2436 – The war seems to stalemate again, after a Troll raid on Brasilia’s cloudscoops is destroyed.

21th July 2436 – Earth discovers what happened to Retribution II. The fleet assigned to the mission arrived at its target – and flew straight into an ambush. Later analysis reveals that the Trolls picked up Earth’s communications signals and were careful not to reveal their hand until it was too late to save the fleet. All, but three ships are destroyed in the ambush, although they do manage to bombard the planet, inflicting terrible damage upon the population.

22nd July 2436 – First Admiral Ivanovo is sacked by the UN Security Council after the scale of the disaster leaks out to the public. He accepts his dismissal and commits suicide the following evening. However, with Earth badly frightened by the disaster, all kinds of rumours start leaking out, starting with the suggestion that he was murdered by the UNSC to conceal their incompetence. Threats of a military coup trigger the arrests of a number of officers on suspicion, while several other national navies withdraw their units from the UN chain of command.

29th July 2436 – First Admiral Thompson makes an emergency broadcast to the UNNS, reminding the officers and enlisted personnel that they swore an oath to defend the human race against all outside threats. Threats of a military coup are deftly neutralised, although Thompson manages to convince the UNSC to prune down the powers it gave to political commissioners appointed to oversee military operations.

2nd August 2436 – Captain Herald and the Phoenix arrive in Sol System after the battlecruiser has been worked up. Admiral Thompson uses her arrival as a chance to convince the politicians that humanity can still force the Trolls to back down and accept something less that unconditional surrender. However, he is unable to convince the UNSC not to recall the starships on the defensive line. Earth, they say, must not fall. Some of the national navies agree, dispatching their own starships to join the defence line.

15th August 2436 – Having amassed a force of over 5000 starships, the Trolls attack Earth directly, coming out of Flux Space in LEO and firing on the surprised defenders. Much of the Home Fleet is destroyed in the battle, with only a handful of starships managing to escape into Flux Space. With Earth’s defence grid destroyed and Troll starships in position to bombard the planet, the UN General Assembly offers Earth’s unconditional surrender. The Trolls accept and order all remaining planetary defences and starships to stand down and prepare to receive surrender parties.

The UN General Assembly is permitted to order the remaining human colony worlds to surrender, with all UN personnel ordered to turn themselves in to the Trolls. Some go rogue, others attempt to set up defence lines even without Earth, but the battle seems hopeless.

16th August 2436 – A Troll High Commissioner arrives on Earth to take command of the human race and its industrial potential. The Troll War is over.

And yet some still carry on the fight.

Redoing the Remnent

29 Apr

Some of my long-time readers may recall that I wrote a story entitled ‘The Remnant.’ Basically, there had been an interstellar war, mankind had lost and was under alien occupation. One starship survived to continue to fight the enemy, but was hopelessly outnumbered and couldn’t hope to win. They received help from an enigmatically powerful alien race that had its own plans for the galaxy.

To be honest, I didn’t like the ending very much. It didn’t work out.

So I had another idea. Basically, Earth stumbles into war with an extremely powerful alien race – and loses. Complete disaster for mankind, except one starship survives, along with a few thousand refugees. They take refugee with an alien coalition intent on blocking the enemy from taking other worlds, but always bear in mind that their ultimate goal is to free Earth. They are both mercenaries and freedom fighters…

How does that sound?

(I’d call it ‘Flag in Exile’ if it wasn’t already taken.)

Chris

Shared/Collaborative World

28 Apr

An idea I’ve been developing over the past few months is a shared universe where several people write stories set in the same universe. Each story would be stand alone, but it would also be part of an overall series about the rebirth of society and the triumph of the human determination to succeed over stagnation and outright racism. The universe of the Imperium is very much a crapsack universe.

The general background is that humanity’s vast empire (dominating thousands of alien races) is stagnating and slowly coming apart at the seams. Basically, the Late Roman Empire, although I intend to go through a First Triumvirate, civil wars, rise of a first citizen and eventual reform. Most of the stories will be set around people trying to hold back the decline and fall of civilisation – a version of Pompey, a Bruce Wayne-type character who is an operative for Imperial Intelligence, a reporter embedded in an Imperial Marine unit putting down a rebellion…

Obviously, with such a vast canvas, there is plenty of ground for expansion and stories.

Would people be interested in a) contributing parts of the background, and b) contributing stories?

Chris

Force of Nature?

28 Apr

(Based on a throwaway line in Alex’s Crapsack universe thread.)

One of the stupider episodes in Star Trek: TNG focused on environmental damage done to the fabric of space caused by warp drive. The episode claimed that eventually subspace would be so eroded away by FTL travel that warp drive would be impossible and the Federation would become unable to use FTL drives or communications. I thought it was a silly episode at the time and Voyager was quick to show a way around the problem.

What happens if that happened to a real interstellar civilisation?

Maybe you start having dead zones – areas where warp travel won’t work – and then the problem becomes a whole lot worse. Entire regions might become impassable, trapping entire planets in the slow zone (see Zones of Thought.) Maybe some AIs can’t function because their computer networks exist in subspace…

What could we do with this idea?

Chris

Coming Soon

20 Apr

Coming soon…Second Strike (or perhaps Counterstrike)

Five years ago, the human race fought the Hegemony and defeated it, winning a place on the galactic stage. But humanity’s victory has started a chain reaction that will bring down the Association and leave nothing, but chaos in its wake. Taking their chance to establish a new order, a coalition of Galactics makes its own bid for supreme power – their first target; the handful of alien races that have allied themselves with the Federation.

But the Federation is facing the political strains unleashed by victory, strains that may tear it apart. The Federation Council wishes to remain neutral in the fighting, but a rogue human’s schemes to save his adopted people will drag humanity into a war where victory – or destruction – are the only possible outcomes.

And this enemy has matched humanity’s technology…

Fish Out Of Water Idea

18 Apr

The dark wizard Shayde wants an apprentice, so he tries to summon the most powerful untrained wizard in the world. What he gets is a young girl from our world, where magic doesn’t exist and science rules supreme.

Idea A – Charlene actually becomes his apprentice, only to discover that her new tutor is an evil bastard and has to rebel against him.

Idea B – convinced that Charlene is useless, he throws her into the slave market, where a good wizard finds her and frees her from captitive. Charlene has to go to magic school to learn how to harness her powers, which brings her into conflict with her kidnapper…

Chris