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Spoiler warningEdit

This makes no attempt to hide key plot details that have yet to be revealed in the actual story, so I thought I would stick this warning up, just in case.

OverviewEdit

Before I started putting up more chapters, I thought I'd explain a little of the background universe so that someone making edits would have some sort of basis to go on.

The start of Chapter 1 gives a general overview of where these people came from, the Earth they left behind. The Earth Empire isn't very well explained yet, however, and modern Volitanian society is left completely unmentioned. This is partly due to it being a first draft and partly because the reader is supposed to put 2 and 2 together as they read. Here I'll go into a bit more detail, however.

HistoryEdit

EarthEdit

All knowledge of Earth the Volitanians have is taken from the Exodus, some time around 2050 (this was when they went into orbital colonies, not when they took off for deep space). Before they left, they downloaded as much of the digital information as they could. This being many years from now, the internet-equivalent would've been gigantic (even despite it probably having collapsed during the mass riots), and so would storage mediums, so they probably got away with a great deal of information. Historical information especially, so they are well aware of their species' past.

Similarly, they're well aware of military history, which is why the Earth Empire didn't wipe them out entirely upon first contact (although they had a bit of warning in the form of pirates who had fled the expanding Earth Empire and (foolishly) attempted to hit Volitanian targets, giving them sporadic bits of information about this belligerent entity).

What happened to Earth between 2050 and 2100 (the Second Exodus, when an accident involving a nuclear missile launching from the surface resulting in the destruction of one of the orbital colonies prompted them to leave the solar system entirely) is sketchy at best, and what happened from 2100 to the present day (which is somewhere in the 2600s) is completely unknown to the Volitanians, until roughly two-thirds of the way through the novel.

In essence, the Volitanians and their ancestors, those who originally left Earth, were all the people who could have helped Earth rebuild into a "moral" society. When you take the conscience out of a culture, you encourage corruption and tyranny, which is exactly what Earth got. After about a hundred years, it formed the vicious Earth Empire, which began seizing every planet it could get its proverbial fingers on. It takes them over 300 years to reach Volitanian space (mainly due to the fact that the Volitanians were simply in deep sleep and weren't focused on colonizing every planet they came across, and were only heading in one direction, while the Earth Empire expanded in all directions and did focus on colonizing every planet it came across), but when they do, "first contact" goes somewhat poorly for the Volitanians. Unsuspecting of the total viciousness of the Earth Empire, the fleet sent to meet them was almost completely wiped out (and since the only enemies the Volitanians had faced up until then were pirates, they weren't very heavily armed or armored).

First EncounterEdit

The Volitanians were more than a little outraged at this, however, and far more destructive ships were constructed very quickly, as the Volitanian Exodus had taken a great deal of scientists, engineers, and programmers, resulting in powerful, advanced, and automated construction facilities. In fact, despite the fact that Volitanians had only been working on improving essentially 2050-era technology for 200 years (compared to the Earth Empire's 450 years), they were far more advanced than the Earth Empire, which had only needed to fight its own citizens before and very few technical experts both survived the chaos on the surface and didn't join the Exodus. The Earth Empire, surprised at the ferocity of the Volitanian counterattack, was routed, and the Volitanians claimed victory. This was the First Encounter, and didn't result in Volitanian defeat solely because the Earth Empire hadn't been expecting to find anyone in the first place, meaning most of their ships weren't even remotely in the vicinity.

The Earth Empire didn't like having their noses bloodied, however, and began organizing their scattered fleet into a fighting force to reduce the Volitanian Empire to cinders. The Volitanians weren't stupid, however, and had already begun constructing additional ships and devising new weapons in order to defend themselves in case the Earth Empire came back.

Second EncounterEdit

10 years later, they did. Both sides had, at some point since 2100, discovered subspace travel, and with it, the Earth Empire managed to assemble ships from all over its vast empire in the span of months. The rest of the time was spent building more and putting more and more weapons on the ships they did have. Once they thought they had enough firepower to smash the Volitanian fleet and obliterate their planets entirely, they made their move.

The Volitanian Empire had expanded somewhat, however, in the form of additional shipyards. Even the Earth Empire's pessimistic projections hadn't accounted for the sheer power of Volitanian construction, and the fleet they found was twice the size and triple the firepower they expected. This "Second Encounter" lasted five years before the Earth Empire cut its losses, turning its attention back toward manufacturing new weapons to counter the Volitanian technological advantage. The First and Second Encounters, however, gave the Volitanians combat experience of their own, and developed their Imperial Navy into solid, well-defined fighting force. The Imperial Naval Academy on Hullis IV got far more recruits than anyone expected, and the Navy continued constructing new ships and retrofitting its old ones, always waiting for the Earth Empire to return.

Third EncounterEdit

The Price of Freedom takes place 15 years after the end of the Second Encounter, as the Third Encounter has just gotten into swing. Volitanian analysts have made their projections, and come to conclusions they don't like. Volitanian casualties, taking into consideration a variety of factors including higher tech level and smaller size compared to the Earth Empire, are too high. If things continue the way they're going, the Volitanian Empire will be wiped off the map in 8 years, give or take. Admiral Holman, of Volitanian Central Intelligence, decides to take action. Knowledge of the Earth Empire is fairly limited, due to the sheer size of their intelligence agency/agencies preventing them from gleaning any useful information from traditional techniques. They decide to test a prototype of a nanite-net, designed to create (in essence) the ultimate intelligence agent, by sending one of their best agents on an extended mission with the IVS Ganymede, an Imperial Navy ship commandeered by Special Operations Command on the provision that the Navy be in charge of the Ganymede. As a result, Captain Maris Fenway winds up commanding the IVS Ganymede with Captain Tayn Connor as her XO. Doran Llek, the test subject of the nanite-net, joins the crew of the Ganymede as they begin an extended intelligence operation in Earth Empire territory designed to find a way to "reprogram" Earth Empire society (spoiler warning! Oops, too late. :P).

At the same time, the story tracks Maurin Landar, who starts as a cadet in the Imperial Naval Academy, and ends up a Lieutenant on the IVS Fayton, a heavy cruiser that winds up in the right place at the right time to uncover and, with luck, foil an assassination plot against the Volitanian Emperor. Maurin is accompanied by his childhood friend and classmate Jason Ralwood who, somewhat to Maurin's annoyance, keeps getting promoted ahead of him.

TechnologyEdit

SubspaceEdit

Subspace travel is somewhat similar to Babylon 5's version of hyperspace. Rather than disappearing in one place and instantly reappearing in another, subspace is a separate dimension that both the Earth Empire and Volitanian Empire independently discovered and take advantage of. Subspace is a volatile dimension, with strange currents that can cause trouble if navigational software malfunctions or is disabled. However, unlike Babylon 5's hyperspace, special jumpgates are not required. A subspace drive can be fitted on a ship as small as a fighter and remain decently energy efficient (although "efficient" in this case means the fighter is only incapacitated for 10 seconds... a deadly interval if a jump is attempted during the middle of a battle). In addition, this means that getting lost in subspace is a very real possibility (if your navigational computer is damage in battle, for example), but getting stuck in subspace is much more difficult (even if your navigational computer is offline, you can still force your subspace drive to re-enter realspace).

Subspace is usually rendered by Volitanian navigational software as blue energy waves, indicating the "currents" that push ships off course, with large blue nodes indicating subspace "blips", which sometimes corrospond to large masses in realspace... and sometimes don't. While it is common to jump to subspace and find that the star you were near is now a subspace blip, it is also common to revert from subspace to find that three of the nearby blips are now simply empty space. This is a currently unknown subspace phenomenon, but it is well understood that a ship that gets too close to a blip is torn to shreds. Similarly, entering subspace on top of a blip results in destruction of the jumping ship. As such, jumps into subspace are usually performed at a specific distance from a star or just outside the gravity well of a planet, two places no "spontaneous blips" are known to appear.

See alsoEdit

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