Getting a Story Started

9 03 2008

This is most of what I wrote to start off ‘Tools of the Trade‘. End of March and early April of last year. The chapter order and some of the detailed intro was changed or never used. Still it worked quite well and was simple yet guided the action until I got a feel for the characters and story.

Background on Possible Novel
Working Title: Tools of the Trade

The Year 2870

First Extra-solar Colony started 2112 By those fleeing the Terran Caliphate. For the first 50 years no opposition 150 million leave Earth and first 11 colonies started. 3 more colony ships did leave during that time frame but 2 colony attempts ended in failure and the third went far inward towards the galactic center and has not been heard of since. After 2244 the Caliphate stops all off planet migration.

In 2262 the Caliphate starts its own expansion and retakes two of the formerly free worlds. Marjoram and Verdure. Then starts setting up it’s own colonies. Over the next 120 years the Caliphate retakes 3 more of the colony worlds Philomel, Jersey, and Grange but then it’s military expansion is halted and it goes into setting up it’s own colonies full scale.

The non Caliphate planets of the Free Confederation explore and start up a number of their own offshoots, some by governmental means most privately.

In 2830 the Caliphate once more goes into a military expansionist mood and snaps up 4 lightly populated planets on it’s boarders. Jubilee, Bane, and Driessen are still held by the Caliphate One, Tredway, is later liberated by the Free Confederation forces.

The capital planet of the Free Confederation, sometimes called the Confederacy, is named Union.

137 Known Colonized Planets 20 or so with a high enough population and technology base to build star ships. Of which 8 belong to the Caliphates total of 41 planets. The Free Confederation has 28 members and 11 of the starship building planets. The other starship building planet Llanfairn is loosely aligned with the Confederation but is trying to remain neutral.

Total galactic Human population 80 billion 50 billion on Caliphate Planets. 23 billion in Confederation 2 billion on Llanfairn and the other 5 billion spread across the 67 other colonized planets.

One known alien race slightly advanced technologically beyond Terran abilities.

Human occupied space is roughly a bumpy ovoid 425 light years long 250 light years diameter. Takes five months to travel from one end to the other no means of communication but starship courier. Caliphate in center of ovoid.

Our Hero Captain, Wesleyan, (Don’t call me Wild Wes), Calvert by virtue of battlefield promotion after the rest of his company’s officers are wiped out. Comes from planet Cardoman population 42 million colonized starting in 2622. In 2833 Caliphate dropped a guerrilla force onto but was unable to support it logistically to a level that would insure victory. After 6 years of fighting what was left of Caliphate forces evacuated from planet.

Cardoman government uses experience gained to start Military school and prepare mercenary soldiers to earn off planet income. It maintains a standing army to insure Caliphate does not return. Economically ok but needs to buy much from off planet if a galactic standard of living is to be maintained and support it‘s troops. In some areas it is up to galactic standards and in others it isn’t.

Calvert’s age 27, four years as a mercenary officer five years military school. 3 on Cardoman 2 on Jorgen one of the main Confederate worlds. In total Cardoman has 16,000 soldiers off planet 50% of earnings are sent back as hard currency.

Our executive officer medium tall severe female Constance (Connie) Melbourne comes from Llanfairn survived destruction of company by virtue of being out of command area looking for Lieutenant Calvert when company area destroyed.

Squad consists of the 10 surviving enlisted personal from original company 6 from Calvert’s platoon three from a detach mortar section. And one Corporal Roland Vega a machine gunner. From various planets.

Company destroyed fighting Caliphate guerillas due to incompetence of Company commander in last major action on Witherway but war is won by Witherway forces. The military contractor that Calvert and others worked for is long gone when it comes time to collect their pay and get off planet. The portion of their pay owed Cardoman was paid up front.

This was Calvert’s first military campaign and he has spent eight months in the field.

Chapter 1 starts with the battle being lost and introduces some of the characters.

“Cheap ass piece of shit,” Com-spec Audie Madry said while holding down the send button and shaking her hand held transmitter. “Just like all the rest of the friggen junk Lucas Arms supplied us with.”

“That’s water over the bridge by now I’d say,” said First Lieutenant Wesley Calvert looking at the rock strewn river gorge below. Looking back to the ridgeline he added, “And better watch you language cause I see a lady is about to join us.”

Lieutenant Constance Melbourne, the companies executive officer, tall and severe in her creased jungle fatigues stumbled over a surface root hidden by the fernlike growth covering the last part of the slope’s steep descent and half slid half fell the last 10 meters before arriving seated on her rump and losing the helmet that had covered her long dark hair which had been wrapped tightly into a bun but now like the rest of her it was coming unraveled.

“Damn Ma’am, that must have hurt. Gotta watch those runners they’re all over up here.” Madry said as Lt. Calvert extended a hand and helped the Exec to her feet.

“Can it Madry. I wouldn’t be here if you could keep in contact with that radio instead of waving it around like some kind of a joy girl with a pompom.”

“Sorry ma’am but this piece a’ … equipment won’t send and that’s what I did to fix it last time.”

Chapter 2 fills in some background and political detail.

Chapter 3 deals with the lack of payment and trying to get off planet. And introduces the rest of the squad. They are hired by Russo Nevier to suppress an indigenous rebellion on his home planet of Ophia a low tech independent world. The sign up for a one year contract with a one year option.

Chapter 4 they ship out on a bulk cargo carrier and are attacked by Caliphate sponsored pirates. They defeat the pirates capture the ship as a prize but Russo insists they honor their contract rather than sell the captured ship and buy the contract out. Several of the pirates are added to the squad.

Chapter 5 they land on Ophia and begin operations as one of several hired mercenary outfits. They find out the rebels are from Ophia but are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and equipped by the Caliphate. One of the planets three continents is lost and another about to fall.

Chapter 6 they fight some battles and win naturally.

Chapter 7 they win the war naturally.

Chapter 8 Russo tries to enforce the option and hire them to another indie world but finds the contract only valid on Ophia and non transferable. The now company sized unit makes an agreement with the Cardoman government to work for it and then head off for a job on the Indie world Altoona.

That should take about a third of the book and the rest should cover Altoona and maybe one other planet. Then we get ready for the sequel.

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