The Free Guard

The Free Guard is the military arm of the League of Free Systems. While there has been no open warfare in the Galaxy since the conclusion of the Great War with the Hegemony over a millennia ago, the Free Guard serves as police and security forces for all member systems.

The Guard was founded by General Supreme Fa’ryn Terrifian, a Xelt warrior and tactician who was renowned not only for his leadership abilities but for being willing to lead his troops into combat, whether by air or land. General Supreme Terrifian served as leader of the Free Guard and liaison with the newly established Free Parliament, advising in all things tactical and defensive. Many, especially among the armed forces, desired to make Terrifian emperor of the Free Systems. Terrifian, to his credit, refused such accolades. It has long been remarked that the General Supreme said: “No system is free so long as a single being controls all.”

The modern Guard is led by Admiral Supreme Korhal, a Shivae huntress of galactic renown for her military accomplishments against marauding pirate bands in the Eastern Reaches. The galaxy is divided into four regions, and each of the four are defended by a large Guard fleet led by a Fleet Admiral. The Admiral Supreme, along with her duties as Parliament Liaison, commands the Parliamentary Fleet positioned in the capital system of Xyrr. Each Fleet Admiral is assisted by no less than three Vice Admirals, who each lead their own fleets beneath the command of the Fleet Admiral.

Commanders oversee capital ships, along with their contingent of star fighters, within the their respective fleets. A fleet has as many Commanders as it has capital ships, though usually this consists of only one or two. Smaller ships, such as frigates, are overseen by a Captain, which is one rank lower than Commander.

Other ranks within the Free Guard are as follows: Lieutenant Commander, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, and Ensign. These ranks are given to those who serve as crew of a Free Guard ship in the naval arm.

The Free Guard does not have a dedicated army, therefore those specially trained for ground combat are known as Marine Commandos and receive rank comparative with those who serve in the naval forces. There are, however, several ranks within the Marines that do not correlate to any naval ranking [See the below table for a complete list of Free Guard ranks].

The leader of Marine Operations bears the rank of Marine Admiral and is second in command to the Admiral Supreme and is also based in the Xyrr system. Marines, while not having standard crewing responsibilities aboard ship, oversee security and weapons systems.

Publication1

Survey Report: Camvoor

Galactic Planetary Survey: CAMVOOR
Survey I.D. # 0012-0321-0006
System I.D. Camvoor (#1601)
Surveyor I.D.: Calea Merille, chief survey engineer (GPS-03)

REPORT:

Though records of Camvoor’s history are plentiful, the recent colonization by human mining operations necessitates the updating of League records.

The Camvoor system possesses one of the most interesting colonization histories in all of League space. Originally settled by the industrial genius Camvirran of Ataxes. The current name of the system is said to be a corruption of Camvirran.

Prior to the rebellion against the Hegemony, Camvoor has had various levels of non-native populations. In the years following the rise of the League of Free Systems, Camvoor has seen rapid growth. A human mining company has received authorization from LFS Parliament to begin mining the copious amounts of duranium in the upper crust of the planet, and on several of its moons.

Due to the rapid expansion of LFS military forces, and the recent founding of the Free System’s galactic policing agency, the Free Guard, Camvoor is becoming a central hub for ship-building. Industrial analysts suggest the system will become the leading source of ships and duranium in the Free Systems.

The presence of duranium, an extremely hard metal ore, has been known from the time of its first colonization. Current scans suggest that the planet can supply at least three billion years worth of ore before the deposits begin to deplete.

Very small pockets of indigenous people-groups dwell on Camvoor and its inhabitable moons, currently dubbed Camvoor-I and Camvoor-IV. These indigenes have called the system home for millennia. They are primitive and tend to shun interaction with outsiders, as such, very little is known about these peoples. Most will not approach the mining zones, and a Parliamentary edict has forbidden incursion upon the observed territory of the indigenous people.

Camvoor-I and Camvoor-IV each possess large swaths of ore rich mountain ranges and equatorial temperate rain forests. There has been little activity on the satellites, but that is certain to change within the next century as the operations on Camvoor expand.

In construction is a lunar base on the atmosphere deficient moon of Camvoor-II. It is to serve as both a staging area for the fledgling Free Guard forces as well as to guard the burgeoning industry. Rumor suggests that a penitentiary will also be constructed as part of the base.

FINAL ANALYSIS:

    • Very small pockets of indigenous, primitive life-forms
    • Expiration Estimation: 3.4 billion years
    • Acceptable gravitational force
    • Expansion highly likely

APPROVAL OF REPORT:

C. Merille, chief survey engineer (GPS-03)
Dr. P. Terrick, astronomer (GPS- 602)
Dr. D. Lucra, geologist (GPS-109)
Dr. A. Nedra, socio-zoologist (GPS-AUX-36)


Image Credit: NASA

Novel Update #5

Greetings Readers! It has been ages since I’ve updated the Horizon of the Void blog. This is mostly due to being focused on the novel itself. But here I am, back with exciting news about the book and its progress.

I am nearing the conclusion of the first draft. At just over 50,000 words, the book is substantially shorter than I would like (though, it must be noted, I’m still three to five chapters away from the end, so that number is likely to jump up a fair bit). However, I am satisfied with the overall direction of the story. I think it likely that the second draft, which will feature shorter chapters and additional material, will get us up to 80,000 words or more.

As for what comes next, I’ve had the basic plot of the sequel floating around my head since 7 April. I can be that specific because the basic premise is recorded in a memo on my phone. Once HoV #1 is in its final stages I plan to get to begin work on the sequel, tentatively titled Relic. Now, if only the title for the first novel was so easily decided!

Stay tuned to horizonofthevoid.wordpress.com  for more updates and previews in the coming days! And click here to read an excerpt from the first chapter of the book!

 

–M.E. Dill

Horizon Preview!!

I’m about a week behind on this preview. I apologize for that. But, without further ado, here is a small preview of Horizon of the Void Book 1!

 

The Horizon of the Void dropped out of hyperspace in an unexplored backwater system and immediately went into evasive maneuvers as the captain, Amily Saris, attempted to avoid collision with a mammoth asteroid. A metallic rip resounded through the small freight hauler as the rear sensor array was reduced to splinters by the errant asteroid.

“I just replaced that!” Amily yelled as she jerked the flight control hard to the right to avoid a smaller chunk of rock—smaller, but still large enough to reduce the Horizon to space dust. “That was close.”

“Captain Saris,” the uninflected voice of the ship’s onboard A.I. came over the speakers, “auxiliary sensors have picked up three ships entering the system.”

Amily cursed under her breath as she slalomed the hauler through the asteroid field. “Ape,” Amily called over her shoulder to her navigator, a simian-like Arborian whose name was impossible for human mouths to form, “find us an asteroid to hide on.”

Ape chirped an affirmative. “There’s a big one just there, Captain.” The Arborian pressed a button on the navigation console that sent an image to Amily’s screen.

“Got it Ape,” Amily called back. “Grell, ready the mag-clamps.” Her Minoxian co-pilot began to manipulate toggles and buttons with his thick fingers.

The captain maneuvered the hauler to land on the large asteroid Ape’s computer indicated. Landing on the slowly revolving rock proved to be easier than she had expected. The ship settled nicely into a small crater. The freighter jolted as the landing gear settled onto the surface of the asteroid. “Activate the mag-clamps,” she ordered. The ship shook as Grell activated magnetized clamps on each of the four landing struts, meshing the ship with the asteroid.

“Power down all non-essential systems,” Amily ordered the ship’s A.I. The lights in the cockpit dimmed and turned red.

“Sogorians.” Grell huffed.

“What do you mean Sogorians?” Amily asked. Grell grumbled in response. “Well it’s not my fault, you great oaf!” Amily snapped back. The Minox mumbled unintelligibly under his breath then settled back in his chair to sulk.

“Did the scanners pick up any information on our friends out there?” Amily asked no one in particular.

“Grell is correct, Captain,” the A.I. answered, “before we cut power I was able to pick up the ships’ IFF signals.”

“Good job, Riz.” Amily had taken to calling the shipboard artificial intelligence Riz soon after taking over the Horizon. “Any idea what we’re up against?”

“Scanners indicate two Ataxes-class interceptors and a Fomenter-class gunboat,” Riz answered.

“So, we can’t outgun them or out run them,” Ape interjected from his seat to the rear and left of the cabin.

“That would be correct Navigator…Ape.” Ape, as the newest member of the Horizon crew, had introduced himself to the A.I. in his native language, which Riz was fully capable of understanding and pronouncing. Amily had to formally request that she refer to the Arborian as “Ape” because the loud screeching of his given name irritated Grell’s short temper. The A.I., who had developed certain quirks in its personality circuits, continued to struggle with that directive.

Amily was opening her mouth to speak when the whole ship shuddered violently. “What was that?” Before anyone could respond the ship shook again. The asteroid buckled. “Captain Saris, external scanners indicate that the asteroid is breaking up,” Riz stated matter-of-factly.

“Breaking up? How does an asteroid this size just break up?” Amily stared out of the forward viewport at the asteroid field around them. As she was returning her attention to her pilot station, a flash of green caught her eye. She watched a medium asteroid break into dozens of smaller chunks. Another hyphen of green split open a smaller asteroid a moment later.

“They’re shooting them!” Amily shouted, flipping the activator switch for the sub-light engines. Systems that Riz had only just shut down began to power up. “Looks like we don’t have any other choice but to fight our way out.” Grell flipped a toggle to release the magnetic clamps. They snapped back into place with a hollow thud and Horizon drifted slowly away from the asteroid. “I’m going to need you on the topside cannon.”

Grell grunted and stood, ducking his head so that his horns didn’t drag along the top of the cabin. He swatted Amily’s shoulder with his tail as he walked past. “I know, big guy. We’ll get out of this, I promise.” And then the hatch whooshed closed behind him.

Amily pushed the acceleration handle forward, giving the engines more power just as the asteroid they had been hiding on disintegrated. The shockwave sent the freighter tumbling through open space, out of control. “Activate the ballistic shield!” Amily ordered. Ape chirped an affirmative and a hazy globe of red surrounded the ship. Just in time to protect Grell and the topside cannon from being crushed by the impact of the Horizon with another asteroid. Grell bellowed over the ship’s comm. “Glad to know you’re alright up there,” Amily snapped back, though she was relieved the ballistic shield, a recent addition to the Horizon’s repertoire, had actually functioned—and kept her friend safe.

The impact with the asteroid had the positive benefit of halting the Horizon’s haphazard spin. But it left the freighter an open target for the Ataxes interceptors who had closed the distance while Horizon was out of control. The blue hyphens of their electromagnetic lasers flashed through space where the ship had just been.  “The asteroids were just to scare us,” she said as she maneuvered the freighter away from the asteroid and the incoming interceptors. “They’re not shooting to kill. Ape, activate energy deflectors and plot us a course out of here.”

Ape chirped, as he was wont to do when things got heated, and set to work. “I’ll work on getting us the hell away from these headhunters.” Amily gave Horizon full power, rolling the ship in an attempt to throw off any targeting locks the pursuing fighters might have. The topside cannon started chugging as Grell opened fire on the Ataxes interceptors. The ship shuddered as an EM laser slammed against the energy shield.

“Give me some breathing room back there Grell!” Amily shouted. The big ox’s response was a string of broken profanity. “Watch your mouth you oversized calf!”

Ape shook his head. The Arborians were an austere species and, despite being one of the more humorous members of the diminutive race, Ape continued to be baffled by the biting banter between his captain and her first mate. “Captain, if you can find us a point of egress I have a series of jumps programmed into the nav-console that should shake our pursuers.”

“I’m working on it Ape.” Amily shoved the flight controls forward, sending the Horizon into a deep dive beneath a cluster of space debris. “Be ready to hit the jump on my command.” The Arborian chirped an affirmative.

Over the ship’s comm, Grell’s howl of victory echoed throughout the craft. “Scratch one Ataxes,” the captain called, “nice shooting up there Grell!” She rolled the ship to the left, dodging a massive chunk of rock, one half of the oblong sphere blown completely out by the Fomenter gunboat’s heavy laser. The freighter was slammed sideways and warning claxons blared. “What was that?!” Amily called, speeding the ship towards another asteroid—and cover.

“Deflectors at forty-one percent,” Ape reported. “It appears the gunboat has entered the fray.”

© M.E. Dill, 2017

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts, reactions and comments on this bit of the story.

Discovery: The Kindlers

The following is adapted from the doctoral thesis of Miarim-Ni, associate professor of xeno-archaeology at Galactic University-Nux campus and senior field archaeologist for the Inter-species Cultural History Project. All Rights Reserved, used by permission of Galactic University Press and the author.

It has been said that all sentient forms of life experience what amounts to a “coming of age” moment–when genetic evolution, social amelioration and cultural advancements coalesce in a perfect storm that produces rapid intellectual, literary and cultural growth over a short period of time.

It is this observed reality that this paper seeks to discuss. Evidence from various, and far flung, planets uncovered over the last six hundred years of archaeological endeavors suggests that all of these major periods of rapid progress owe their genesis to a race of exceptionally advanced beings known to archaeologists and history scholars as “The Kindlers.” It is generally agreed that these accounts are based in history, though perhaps distorted through time and the religious context many of these species ascribed to their work.

Evidence suggests that the Kindlers may have aided evolution in its task–that is, they helped to accelerate the processes required to produce the “perfect storm” of growth and progress. There are many such examples in the archaeological record of certain “god-like” beings aiding species in becoming more than they were; these examples are both literary and illustrative.

Perhaps the example provided by the humans from Sol is to be useful: They bear forward an ancient myth of a titan (a godlike being by all accounts), called Prometheus, who provided the fledgling humans with the gift of fire–effectively jump starting their cultural advancement.

Who were these Kindlers? What was their motivation for aiding evolution? Where were they from? And where did they go? The simple answer is: we do not yet know. But it shall be the purpose of this paper to examine some of the evidence that we do have in hopes that one day we might better understand the Kindlers.

Novel Update #4

Its been a busy couple of weeks, and while I’ve not been able to write as often as I would have liked I am still getting things done. Last night I finished up chapter four. The novel is currently sitting at 90 pages! I believe a celebration is in order at page 100. This will be the longest work of fiction I’ve ever worked on, my previous longest piece being another novel (part 1 of which is finished, I’m so bad about finishing my stories) sits about about 88 pages. Who knows, once Horizon Book 1 is finished, I might polish that one up and see about getting it out too.

Next Tuesday I’m going to post a scene from the early chapters of Horizon of the Void right here! Stay tuned for that!

~M.E. Dill

Novel Update #3

Happy Tuesday to you all! I’ve been thinking its Wednesday all day. Wishful thinking mayhaps?  My birthday is on Friday. Maybe that’s why?

I am happy to announce that chapter three has been completed. Today, actually. I was so surprised when I was writing away and realized I had totally gone past the planned end to the chapter. So, that means chapter four is underway now. 

If anyone would like to read the first three chapters, feel free to let me know. I’d very much like input!

~M.E. Dill