Join Date: Nov 2002
...Do not out of hand reject the mercenary. Remember that each one of the scum is worth three to you: One more on your side, one less on the enemy’s side, and one more worker in your uranium mines...
Exempt from the teachings of the Legion
“Beware of the mercenary. Most have turned coat once and most have no compunction about doing it again. Still, they are wonderfully expendable should you find yourself in a tight spot.”
Of Warfare, by Nakrod Schim
In the line of soldiers atop the wall was a single outstanding figure. Partly because she was the only woman amongst the soldiers, partly because she knew better than any of the others what was to come. Everyone looked skywards, watching the fiery trails that marked the landing trajectory of the twenty Legion dropships.
AO units had pounded one of the Battleships in orbit, forcing it to withdraw and thus removing a third of the strike force. ‘We might even stand a chance,’ the young woman thought, her contours strikingly beautiful against the blue sky.
“It is said that when you see a falling star, you are allowed to make a wish that will come true,” said one of the soldiers next to Calina.
“If that is right, then we’ve all got a lot of wishes coming.” She wished of all her heart that those stars would stop falling. Her disbelief of such heathen superstition was instantly confirmed.
A small man with a tan, friendly face walked up next to them. “Sgt. Montz just told me,” Jhonsson said, “that there is a Vengeance pattern Destroyer-class warship coming in. It should be here within two days.” To the other CGC soldier he said: “How many, d’ you reckon?”
“Dropping in? Well there are twenty ships. Assuming that they stay outside firing range of our AA sites. With about one hundred men per ship...”
“That figure is off by twenty percent,” Calina interrupted. “The correct amount is 125. That gives us about 2500 able soldiers, including Templar.” As she made the count she realised that, for the first time in her life, she was going to fight for no noble or grand purpose. The data were secure within the moon’s crust. They would be found whether the defenders lived or died.
‘So why am I going to fight,’ she asked herself. Again that ´why?´. Why indeed. Putting the thought away, she returned her attention to the falling stars.
[EDIT:]I've moved the long rant from the top of the thread down here.[/EDIT]
Long rant about the setting.
Interstellar travel is accomplished by means of wormholes. Wormholes connect two places in space to allow for nearly instantaneous travel. Mark that “nearly”, it becomes important later. Wormholes zip in and out of existence everywhere all the time, but they are so small and shortlived that they are almost impossible to register.
With the correct equipment, however, these proto-wormholes can be expanded and kept alive until they are big enough to be useful. This kind of device is called a ´wormhole stabiliser´. This then enables travel at great speeds (and, with a little more equipment, great velocity (which differs from speed in that velocity has a direction)).
However, in an area where a wormhole overlaps a gravitational field, time starts to behave in funny ways. Normally this is not a problem, because it only effects the wormhole itself, but for the traveller who intends to use the wormhole it suddenly becomes very relevant, as the “nearly” that was pointed out earlier is stretched to hours, days, or months, increasing exponentially by the total intensity of the gravitational field(s) in question and proportionally with the travelled distance.
So in order to get reasonable travel times (less than a week in most cases) spacecraft must therefore leave orbit and wait for a launch window before setting off. A launch window is basically a route from where you are to where you want to go to that doesn’t have too many gravitational wells. Launch windows are calculated by extraordinarily powerful computers, using inanely complicated star-maps.
No starmap can be perfect, however, and for this reason living organisms are usually kept in cryogenic hibernation, called cold sleep by many, as an insurance policy, just in case the wormhole crossed an uncharted black hole, white dwarf, neutron star or other nasty, heavy body, which would create oddball fluctuations in the time-stream, killing anyone unprotected.
Communication is accomplished in much the same fashion, but since the signals are electromagnetic waves (radio signals) they can use much smaller wormholes, due to their diminutive size. However, this also means that you can tap such lines, since, basically, you send a signal bundle in a general direction, which then moves along wormholes, becoming increasingly dispersed with the distance travelled.
Therefore, encryption is still required and effective transmission distance is limited to several billion light years. But this only impairs intergalactic communication, and is therefore not relevant to the story.
The Legion and the Republic are by no means the only factions in the galaxy, but since the Legion’s territory borders solely on Republican space, and since the story follows a Legionary, they are the only factions relevant to this story. If I get encouraging response I may make a follow-up, where I broaden the setting.
Note that, so far, humanity has not encountered non-Terran life forms. Every living thing in human space originates in the Terran biosphere, though there has been a certain evolution since the present times (yes, there is evolution in this universe: It’s my setting, so I make the laws of nature that govern it).
I find the notion that a single empire could control all of humanity for an extended period of time silly, given that it has so far been impossible, even on a terrestrial scale. In fact, the size of the Republic is quite fascinating. This, however, is due to the question of food supply.
I imagine that most worlds inhabited by humans have been extensively terraformed*, in fact almost none have been left untouched (with Ranost and similar planets as some of the few exceptions, due to highly radioactive surface, nearby pulsars** bombarding them with cosmic radiation, little in the way of atmosphere or gravity, or similar unfriendly environments).
Even with these extensive alterations, few planets are capable of upholding life on their own (usually it is the most waterrich planets that are terraformed into environments that resemble Terran, and then seeded with part of the Terran biosphere. The process is, of course, not as simple as it sounds). These worlds are used for intensive farming, and can only support few inhabitants, as most of the surface is taken up by agricultural industries.
This means that the major population centers are vitally dependent on these “agri-worlds”, leading to high levels of import and export. It also means that vast amounts of people can be controlled by relatively small armies and starfleets, since it is quite easy to subdue the almost unarmed agri-worlds, should it decide to rebel, and other rouge planets will suffer slow and horrible death by starvation if they don’t surrender in time (in which case they will be disarmed, and then most likely suffer the slow and horrible death by starvation anyway, just to make an example of them).
This situation is in many ways similar to the situation that we would be in if the US took complete control over the oil in the Middle East (since they would have the military and economic strength to survive shutting off the flow of oil to the Western World), though much more severe, since we are talking about the food supply.
Of course this situation also makes the agri-worlds central to any military strategy: If you can capture or fusion bomb an agri-world, then you have likely killed as many as ten other planets at the same time. Since agri-worlds are vital and almost irreplaceable, destroying them is considered the greatest and most unforgivable atrocity amongst civilised factions (including the Republic), though the Legion and a few other frowned-upon organisations kill agri-worlds with impunity if it fits their schemes. Even they know the value of these planets, though, and will take them alive if at all possible. (Slantar and Unari are agri-worlds, whereas Ranost, Anost, and Ecrast are industry worlds).
*Terraforming is the process of changing the climate and crust composition of a planet on a global scale. Differs from climate changes such as global warming in that the process is controlled. This has so far not been tried on the Earth.
**Pulsars are neutron stars that spew massive amounts of cosmic radiation into space in relatively narrow cones. Their name is derived from the fact that to an observer on the Earth they seem to “pulse” as they rotate rapidly.
Last edited by ShadowTemplar; 06-24-2004 at 06:38 PM.