Tuesday, July 28, 2020

FALLEN EMPIRE What Might Have Been #1: Choi and Watson

Awhile back, I wrote two Kindle Worlds novellas set in independent science fiction author Lindsay Buroker's Fallen Empire universe, "Ten Davids, Two Goliaths" and its sequel "Discovery and Flight."Both were part of a sub-series called "Choi and Watson" that took place during the rebellion preceding the events of the first novel Star Nomad. They followed Geun Choi, a Korean Buddhist warrior-mystic, and his friend Tammy Watson, a recovering drug addict. Both are fighter pilots for the rebellion that brought down the titular Empire and repeatedly cross paths with canonical characters like main-series protagonist Alisa Marchenko and her lecherous friend Bradford Tomich.

(Since neither character is part of the main series, this avoids the prequel problem of knowing a character's eventual fate. See this comment from Mad Magazine about the duel between Palpatine and Yoda in Revenge of the Sith. Since Choi and Watson aren't canon characters, it's entirely possible one or both of them could die in the events of a story and that allows for suspense.)

However, Amazon shut down Kindle Worlds not long after I started writing for it. Although Lindsay allowed those who'd written KW stories already to republish them ourselves, I didn't see any point in writing more. Here's where "Choi and Watson" would have gone if Kindle Worlds had kept going.

(I had some ideas for unrelated stories, but those will have to wait for a later blog post.)

"Torpedo Protocol" (Choi and Watson #3)-The Alliance unit that includes our heroes expended almost all of their torpedoes during the events of "Discovery and Flight," so the rebels have to steal more. While the mission is being planned, Tomich (who has had an eye on Watson since the beginning of "D&F" at least) finally sleeps with her, much to the protective Choi's irritation. To shut him up, Tomich tries to hook up Choi with one of his (many) previous flings, who's also a Buddhist. This one gets into the Empire's religious policies--in one of the later books, it's revealed the Empire required everybody to join the state religion centered on the three suns and exiled the die-hards of Earth's old faiths to a reservation planet. Choi's syncretic Buddhist faith was tolerated due to its similarity with the official religion, while Tomich's ex had to suffer for her more traditionalist beliefs and is surprisingly resentful of her date. And then the battle starts...

"Fire From The Sky" (Choi and Watson #4)-In the main series the rebels' Tri-Suns Alliance engaged in ruthless tactics like deliberately attacking civilians because they couldn't defeat the Empire in open combat, at least until very late in the game. In this story, we see this firsthand--after the Imperial admiral from "Discovery and Flight" bombards a rebellious planet from orbit, the Alliance uses captured civilian ships as relativistic weapons, devastating a loyalist planet in return. This causes the horrified Watson to break up with Tomich, who abandons his habit of poaching among the lower ranks to start sleeping up the chain of command, which we see throughout the main series. In his mind, Watson didn't want anything to do with him anymore because owing to her lower rank she's not aware of the "big picture," but someone higher on the totem pole would be.

Both of these novellas were plotted out when Kindle Worlds shut down, but I hadn't started writing them. I had some ideas for later novellas involving the characters stealing fighter spacecraft ("Stealing Strikers"), seeking to recover a psychic-amplification device referenced in one of the canonical prequels ("Psychic Fire"), and destroying a factory producing android soldiers for the Empire ("Android Rising"). The latter is particularly important because although sapient androids exist in this world, the Empire didn't mass-produce them to crush the rebellion. The point of this story would be to explain why.

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