Angel in the Whirlwind Background Notes

31 Mar

Comments would be welcome.


2030-50 – Return to the Moon. Establishment of American, Japanese, European, Chinese and Russian mining bases. Fusion power entered widespread service on Earth. Long-range missions dispatched to Mars, Titan and Jupiter. Collapse of Middle East, Third World as resources start flowing in from space. Development of quasi-fascist governments in US/EU.

2051-53 – NATO-Chinese War over settlements on the moon. War ends with the collapse of China and NATO hegemony in orbit and beyond.

2054-2108 – Large-scale settlement right across the solar system. Hundreds of asteroids settled, some independent, others closely linked to founding corporations, religious bodies or governments. Fascist states evolve, but still see mass emigration of young and smart people who want to live free. UN grows in power, slowly bringing more and more failed states back into the global mainstream.

2109-12 – Professor Anderson develops the first prototype hyperdrive. Exploration starships set out at once, only to discover that navigating hyperspace is far from easy. Eventually, very limited beacons are devised to allow navigation from Earth and an eventual safe transit to a new star,

2113-80 – Discovery of nineteen life-bearing worlds within range of Earth. First Expansion Era begins, with national power blocks claiming and settling worlds. UN creates first large-scale navigational service, constantly monitoring the storms and freak shifts in hyperspace that could make the difference between a successful transit or disaster.

2181-2358 – UN Survey Service locates an additional 500 worlds within months or years of Earth. (Hyperspace travel times are picking up as the monitoring service is expanded and technology for FTL communications is improved.) Worlds are settled by Corporate-backed development corporations, religious groups, artificial societies and ethnic groups keen to preserve some element of their pre-space nature. UN assumes full responsibility for governing Earth and the Sol System, then starts expanding its claims over the first settled worlds.

2250 – Tyre settled by Tyre Development Corporation.

2291 – Tyre Development Corporation folded into the Kingdom of Tyre (actually, a veneer over a state dominated by multiple corporations.) Tyre rapidly establishes its own shipbuilding industry, intending to cash in on the growing demand for colony starships of all shapes and sizes. King Thomas crowned; establishment of House of Lords and House of Commons. The Royal Tyre Navy is founded.

2359-2367 – The Breakaway Wars/Breakdown. The UN attempts to assert control over various more productive colony worlds, claiming an overall right to rule mankind. Unsurprisingly, the colonies do not accept this argument and eight years of increasingly bitter fighting breaks out. In the end, rebel factions bombarded Earth, only to see their homeworlds bombarded in turn. Effective collapse of UN authority; termination of navigational service, either through war damage or as part of the general collapse.

2366 – Tyre formally declares independence from Earth. This is largely a formality, as Tyre was never in serious danger during the Breakaway Wars.

2369 – The Royal Tyre Navy provides assistance to Gamma Orion, a nearby colony world, against raiders. With the concurrence of the Monarchy, the Lords and the Commons, the RTN starts rebuilding parts of the navigational network, patrolling local hyperspace, suppressing raiders and reopening contact with other colony worlds. Local businessmen soon follow, intent on building up new trading networks to replace those destroyed by the war.

2370 – Gamma Orion formally requests annexation by Tyre.

2372 – After a bitter debate, Tyre founds the Commonwealth of Tyre. Gamma Orion is the first out-system member state.

2373-2390 – The Commonwealth expands to claim fifty-seven star systems, most of whom are grateful to join the Commonwealth. Those that aren’t are kept outside the Commonwealth’s Free Trade Zone.

2389 – Hadrian, Prince of Tyre, is born.

2391 – Kat Falcone born on Tyre. She is the youngest daughter of Duke Falcone.

2397 – Cadiz rediscovered by the Commonwealth. It’s rulers choose to decline the offer of membership.

2399 – The Commonwealth’s traders make first contact with Ahura Mazda, another multi-system successor state. Worryingly, it rapidly becomes clear that Ahura Mazda is a theocracy – and expanding rapidly towards the Commonwealth. Worlds are being forced into its grasp without being offered a chance to resist. Prince Hadrian is one of the strongest voices demanding preparations for war.

2402 – After a long debate, the Commonwealth determines that Cadiz is in a position of vital importance for any possible war. The War Hawks insist that Cadiz be annexed by the Commonwealth, even though it is a breach of the Commonwealth’s previous determination never to force anyone into its fold. Eventually, after much horse-trading, Cadiz is formally annexed on a very flimsy basis. Unsurprisingly, despite sincere offers of technical support, an insurgency breaks out on the surface within months.

2408 – Kat Falcone attends Piker’s Peak, the RTN Academy.

2409 – There are a number of ‘incidents’ along the border with Ahura Mazda. Although the diplomats eventually sort out a workable border, intelligence believes that the insurgents on Cadiz are receiving assistance from Ahura Mazda.

2412 – Kat Falcone graduates from Piker’s Peak as a Lieutenant. She is assigned to CL HMS Thomas.

2413 – King Travis dies. Prince Hadrian assumes the throne.

2414 – CL HMS Thomas is attacked by raiders of unknown origin while patrolling the border. Kat Falcone distinguishes herself in combat and is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.

2415 – The Putney Debates. King Hadrian remains firm in his support of the War Hawks, but the Leader of the Opposition – Israel Harrison – is moving against the ongoing occupation of Cadiz, pointing out that the locals are still resisting the Commonwealth, despite all the benefits of Commonwealth membership. Eventually, after much point-scoring on both sides, the government remains in control and Cadiz remains occupied. However, the King becomes more determined to press the issue of war as soon as possible, particularly as the stream of refugees crossing the border has become a major problem.

2416 – Kat Falcone is promoted to Commander and assigned to HMS BC Thunderous as XO.

2418 – Admiral Smith is assigned to Cadiz Fleet Base, following the assassination of his predecessor by a local insurgent. Readiness reports start to sink alarmingly.

2420 – Kat Falcone is assigned to command HMS CA Lightning.

The Kingdom/Commonwealth of Tyre

The Tyre Development Corporation was originally created by fourteen large interstellar corporations based on Earth. Their directors predicted (correctly) that the UN would grow increasingly hostile to free enterprise (taxes were already rising sharply) and wanted a place to establish themselves, their families and their workers. The settlement rights for Tyre were purchased in 2250 and large-scale colonisation began the following year.

As the planet was purchased outright, Tyre never had to contend with debt that gave the UN an excuse to intervene at will. Unsurprisingly, this attracted other corporations and smaller businesses to establish facilities in the star system. Tyre was well on the way to matching the older, better established worlds when the UN was destroyed.

Put simply, the corporate families assumed the aristocratic ranks of an earlier age and nominated the most powerful of them to serve as the Monarch. By the time the UN collapsed, the Monarch owned roughly half of the system’s industrial production facilities, the remainder of which were distributed among the other CEOs. The thirteen most powerful CEOs became the Dukes; the smaller CEOs and their families assumed lower ranks.

Aristocrats are generally created through applying for a Patent of Nobility, which is usually granted if the applicant meets the criteria (specifically, they must have earned a substantial sum of money through their own work.) Alternatively, a promising young person may be invited to marry into an aristocratic family. The precise title they assume is based on the percentage of the planet’s economy under their control.

A born aristocrat is entitled to be called ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady,’ but may not inherit any actual power.

The House of Commons is elected by citizens who pay the Voting Tax – 2% of their earnings. (Significantly, this is actually the only tax levelled on citizens, as opposed to corporations.) MPs may not be aristocrats and there are considerable other limitations on their positions. However, as a body, the House of Commons has the power to delay legislation passed by the House of Lords, thus making them more powerful than it may seem on the surface.

In theory, the military is controlled by the Monarch. In practice, real power is vested in the Commonwealth Defence Committee, which has representatives from both the Lords and the Commons. In addition, the Lords have a considerable amount of influence over promotions, ensuring that nepotism is alive and well. It is often harder for a common-born officer to be promoted past Captain.

Each of the Commonwealth member states has its own local government and internal autonomy. However, the Tyre aristocracy is working hard to integrate potential aristocrats from the more affluent worlds into their numbers.

The Theocracy of Ahura Mazda

The settlers of Ahura Mazda, who called themselves simply the Believers, drew their inspiration from a merger of the best traits (as they saw them) of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This was, naturally, regarded as blasphemous by all three religions and the Believers were … encouraged to leave Earth by the United Nations. Although they had started life as a pacifist sect, the humiliation fired a desire for revenge – and to make sure they were never humiliated again.

There is no room here for a detailed discussion of their beliefs. The important details are that they are only prepared to compromise with other faiths when those faiths are firmly under their thumb – and that they will reward anyone who chooses to join them. A world occupied by them becomes a satrapy, with local collaborators working for a government imported from Ahura Mazda itself.

In some ways, they are very definitely throwbacks to an earlier age. On one hand, he protection of women and children is firmly engrained in their religion. In addition, they have no particular dislike of homosexuality. But, on the other hand, they keep their women under firm control, separating out the male and female spheres of life as much as possible. A man may have as many wives as he can support; a woman may have, but one husband. Indeed, a woman is expected to be her father’s (and then her husband’s) obedient servant at all times, with obedience enforced by force if necessary. Women cannot own property, sign contracts without a male backer or leave the city without their man.

Perversely, women make up the vast majority of the Theocracy’s theoretical scientists. The Theocracy sees itself as permanently engaged in trying to unlock the marvels of God’s created universe. Pure science is, in fact, seen as one of the few acceptable career paths for a woman that doesn’t involve pregnancy, childcare or supporting the men.

The Theocracy is led by the Rightly Guided Lord, the Theocrat, who is supported by his children and the Theocratic Conclave, the assembly of high-ranking priests. (Notably, almost every senior person, military or civilian, holds a religious rank as well as a secular one.) As long as the Theocracy manages to continue to expand, the Rightly Guided Lord and his family will be considered to enjoy the backing of God Himself. If they run into trouble, however, it will almost certainly be regarded as a sign of moral failings and lead to unrest.

Unsurprisingly, their society is firmly stratified between Believers and Infidels. Infidels are expected to know their place at all times – and, if there is a dispute between a Believer and an Infidel, the Believer will always be assumed to be in the right. There are so many legal disadvantages to being an Infidel in a Believer-run society that it is not surprising that the conversion rate is terrifyingly high. Once converted, the newborn Believer is accepted without question, but forced to study his new faith intensively.

Occupation by the Theocracy means the complete destruction of the prior society. Those who collaborate will be rewarded, but they will be expected to convert and work to encourage others to convert. Formal instruction in all other religions will be no longer permitted, harsh restrictions on Infidels will be signed into law (and enforced) and existence as the Infidels knew it will come to an end.

The Theocracy is quite prepared to talk to outside powers. However, it is unwilling to surrender anything, particularly the advantage. After all, if there’s one thing their history tells them, it is that it is better to knife someone before they knife you.

FTL Travel and Communication

Starships travel through FTL by opening gateways into hyperspace, which allow effective speeds of multiple times the speed of light. However, as hyperspace is a very high-energy dimension, storms can disrupt passage through hyperspace very easily. Storms are monitored by the Interstellar Navigational Network, a collaborative project of several interstellar powers that replaced the UN’s old network of beacons.

These beacons also send signals from star to star at many times the speed of light. However, these signal chains can be broken quite easily, simply by taking out one or more of the stations.

The Theocracy of Ahura Mazda is not a signatory to any interstellar agreements on sharing navigational data.

Treaties of Note

Navigational Treaty – charges states to share navigational data.

Survey Treaty – charges states to register claims on newly-discovered worlds within six months of discovery.

Albion Treaty – charges states to treat POWs with respect and decency.

Antimatter Treaty – forbids the use of antimatter on civilian worlds.

Starship Weapons

Gravimetric Missiles (capable of reaching 60% of light speed in normal space.)

-Contact nukes


-Drive Disruptors (cause fluctuations in enemy drive fields, damaging their drive nodes.)

Beam weapons

-Antiproton Beams

-Fission Beams

-Plasma Bolts

-Plasma Cannons

Commonwealth Military Organisation

Royal Tyre Navy

Royal Marines

Fortress Command

Local Defence Forces

Commonwealth Army (consists of various units raised from member planets.)

20 Responses to “Angel in the Whirlwind Background Notes”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 31, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    A thought on the Lords/Dukes of Tyre. In the earlier version of the first book, it was mentioned that Kat’s father was elected CEO of Falcone Corp by the stockholders and that Kat’s oldest brother would have to prove himself to the stockholders if he was to take over
    the CEO position after Kat’s father had died.

    It might be interesting if the “nobility” of Tyre (perhaps even the King) don’t automatically inherit the “job” of the old noble but have to prove themselves worthy of the job before they inherit. IE when the old Duke Falcone died, Kat’s Father was one of several lords in line to become the next Duke and had to be elected Duke by the Falcone stockholders (including people working for Falcone Corp).

    Of course, this would be the only election Kat’s Father would have to win unless he messed up so bad that he faced a recall vote. (Assuming you want to add the possibility of a recall vote).

    • chrishanger April 1, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      My general thought is that each Family would pick the Duke’s successor, but the rules would be different for each one. Kat’s family (stockholders) would choose the most capable, others would go by strict primogeniture, etc. There are provisions for removing the family head if necessary, although some of them are unofficial.

      But there’s normally a designated heir waiting in the wings at all times. Kat isn’t on this list because she hasn’t done any real work with the family itself.


      Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 22:30:39 +0000 To:

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

        Makes sense. [Smile]

  2. Tom Lamparty April 1, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    I don’t recognize this Universe! So I am going to assume that “The Angel in the Whirlwind” is an upcoming series, hopefully!!!

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 1, 2014 at 1:32 am #

      It is a “new series” but the first book was originally titled _The Oncoming Storm_ and was posted on Baen’s Bar.

      • Tom Lamparty April 1, 2014 at 2:11 am #

        I’ll have to check the Bar then. Lately the 1632 slush pile has been monopolizing my time there!

      • chrishanger April 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

        I haven’t started writing this one yet. It’s up next. Chris Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 01:11:58 +0000 To:

      • chrishanger April 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

        I can send anyone a copy of the first manuscript if comments are offered. Chris Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 00:32:08 +0000 To:

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard April 1, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

        Chris, send me a copy. My current copy was a merge of the Bar Post so it likely has errors. [Smile]

      • chrishanger April 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

        Emailed. Chris Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 16:18:05 +0000 To:

      • niksu April 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

        I’d like a copy too please.

        I’m wondering if the prince is a bit young to be vocal in military/politics at 10 years…

        Otherwise i’m looking forward to this series.

      • chrishanger April 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

        I may have messed up his age a little. (To be fair, I was an opinionated little b-stard at 10, but I don’t think I was wise.) I don’t have a copy of the updated version, just the one I’m going to revise. Chris Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 14:24:50 +0000 To:

  3. Daniel Silver April 1, 2014 at 4:13 am #

    I’m reading the Honor Harrington series and this world setting has some similarities. I think it could be very interesting, especially conflict between the House of Commons and Lords.

    • chrishanger April 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      In the long term, there will be major conflict. Chris Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 03:13:24 +0000 To:

      • Tom Lamparty April 2, 2014 at 1:18 am #

        There is definitely enough background there to support as many books as the Honor Harrington series, hopefully you will make as much as Weber did!

      • chrishanger April 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        Well, I’m thinking about 5-6 books and a story arc, but we will see. Chris Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 00:18:31 +0000 To:

  4. Bill Sullivan April 2, 2014 at 1:01 am #

    This is definitely a well thought out universe with room for lots of storylines and will be another hit space opera.

  5. Charlie Thurman April 16, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    I just finished both The Oncoming Storm and Dauntless. Both are very good, but I found that I was immediately immersed in Dauntless, and had a little trouble connecting with Kat Falcone. I found myself comparing her to Captain Larson and felt that he was a far better officer. Her XO was, I felt, was the reason for much of her success. Having said that, they were both excellent.

    • chrishanger April 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      That’s true enough, although it’s something I will attempt to handle in the rewrite. Kat starts out with much less experience than Larson in TOS. Chris Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:57:09 +0000 To:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: