Friday, July 31, 2020

FALLEN EMPIRE What Might Have Been #2: Independent Stories

In a previous post, I described how I would have continued writing in Lindsay Buroker's Fallen Empire science fiction universe had Amazon continued the Kindle Worlds program. My main focus would've been the "Choi and Watson" prequel series ("Ten Davids, Two Goliaths" and "Discovery and Flight"), but I had several ideas for independent stories.

Fallen Titan-This one takes place in the aftermath of "Ten Davids." The survivors of the Imperial warships the Tri-Suns Alliance rebels destroy--mostly trainees--have to survive on the swampy surface until rescuers arrive. Survive while being hunted by...something. This is loosely based on accounts I've read about the Battle of Ramree Island during World War II in which Japanese soldiers were attacked by crocodiles. The protagonist is an Imperial enlisted seaman ("starman" since we're dealing with spacecraft) under the thumb of an abusive superior who gets progressively sick of her to the point they he frags her and calls the Alliance salvaging crews overhead for rescue instead of waiting for the Imperials. In the canonical series Buroker has protagonist Alisa Marchenko reference the Imperial military's stern disciplinary practices (potentially including flogging), so many members of the Tri-Suns Alliance might've been Imperial personnel who'd deserted due to mistreatment. This one is fully outlined and partially written.

Rebellion of the Dead-I'd heard on a podcast that zombie fiction fans were voracious readers, so what better way to make some cash than by writing a zombie story set in the Fallen Empire universe? This ties in with the ruthless side of the Alliance mentioned in the canonical novels--the zombie virus is created by the Alliance, not the Empire, to compensate for their lack of numbers. The zombies can be controlled by pro-Alliance Starseers (more on them later) or simply unleashed as indiscriminate weapons like Arcturus Mengsk uses the Zerg in the original Starcraft. Fully outlined and partially written.

Apprentice-The Fallen Empire universe features a subspecies of humanity called "Starseers," who have psychic abilities. They're divided between a good (or at least neutral) faction and an evil group called the chasadski, which want to take over the Tribus Solis system much like their ancestors had attempted centuries past. Although some took sides in the rebellion, most stayed neutral and pursued their own goals. This particular story was inspired by "Darth Maul: Apprentice," a Star Wars fan-film in which Darth Maul hunts a group of Jedi who find his training ground. However, when the villainous chasadski Lord Thomas Smith has sole "Good Starseer" survivor Khaila Sokolov--powerful but young and relatively untrained--at his mercy, he decides not to kill her. Instead he claims her as his new apprentice (and heavily implied concubine). This is very much like Dryden Vos did Qi'ra in the back-story for the Solo film, even I don't recall using the movie as a model.

(I recall discussing this one with Lindsay and pondering this as the back-story for a member of the main villain's entourage in one of the later books. Given how...uncomfortable...the whole plot is, I was planning a second story in which a fully-trained Khaila gets the drop on Smith and disposes of him Sith Apprentice-style during a mission--incidentally like Qi'ra ultimately does to Vos in Solo. I don't have a synopsis in my notes for the second story, so I mustn't have gotten very far after outlining the first.)

It would have probably needed a new title, to avoid being too blatant a rip-off, but I didn't get the chance to get started on it.

Kurultai-In the Fallen Empire universe, the victorious Alliance was only able to take control of three planets, while the Imperial capital remained under the control of the dead emperor's successor. The rest of the Tribus Solis system fell under the control of various warlord types and Mafia bosses. In this one, a retired Imperial general of Mongol background deposes the corrupt Imperial governor of his largely Mongol-Chinese planet and is chosen by the people to be the new khagan (Great Khan). Once in power, he suborns some local Imperial spacecraft and launches a war of conquest against a nearby world that had been a historical rival of his own. Like "Apprentice," I outlined it but didn't get started.

Commander of the Faithful-Somewhat similar to the above, except it's an Islamist instead of a wannabe Genghis Khan. In Angle of Truth, the adherents of the Old Earth religions are shown to have been largely exiled to one outlying planet in the system and I can't recall any discussion of serious fighting on the planet during the rebellion. Either this happened somewhere else or got squashed pretty quickly. I don't even really have a plot here, just a concept.

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