It was 2001 when my first Human Legion Universe story was published – although I didn’t use that term back then. The first McEwan story appeared in print back in 2011 (which didn't feature Arun, but his mother, Escandala, and brother Zeno). The book series called the Human Legion kicked off in 2014.
Fast forward to this week and my new story came out: Chimera Company
. How does that fit in with (I think) 22 existing Human Legion Universe stories that are currently available?
Episode IV: A New Hope.
Yeah, well I can’t exactly use that title, can I? But it does actually sum up how I thought about designing Chimera Company, because it’s the fourth major line of stories in the Human Legion Universe, and I wanted to clear the decks and make it a fresh start. A new hope, if you like.
It’s set thousands of years and thousands of light years apart from The Battle of Earth
, which was the conclusion to the Human Legion books that kicked off with Marine Cadet
. To the Chimera Company characters in Far Reach Federation, those far-off events are mostly myth, half-corrupted archived records, or simply forgotten.
But not quite
You absolutely don’t need to read any of the earlier book series to get sucked into the adventure of Chimera Company, but they do all connect up, even if only in my notes. And for those who enjoy that kind of thing (I know I do) there are some hints in the Chimera Company issues about what’s happened over the last few thousand years. Not too many. But they're there.
So for a bit of fun, I decided to write some brief guides to the Federation to go into the Bulletin. Some of this information will feel familiar to veteran legionaries, and some will be completely new. Hidden within are a few clues about what’s been happening over the past few millennia. Maybe one day they will be written as a new set of books?
If you haven't seen the launch issue yet, you can tap on this picture.
Citizens of the Federation: a Chimera Company Companion.
Part 1 – Orion immigrants and Perseid natives.
Like many peoples, those of Far Reach Federation define themselves by their origin story. Oh, for sure, that story is frequently denied, derided and distorted. After all, it’s dusty old semi-myth, of no relevance today. Right?
Quietly, tenaciously, the story of the Federation’s origin spreads across the Federation to shape the hidden foundations of its present. It frames many of its current troubles too. And there are plenty
And like many peoples, the story of Far Reach begins with a trek across vast distances.
Today those ancient settlers are called the Exiles, but at the time they called themselves the Amilx. Or possibly the Far Reachers. Or maybe even the Human Legion. It’s a part of history that has been fought over tooth and claw since the earliest days. None of the historical records written by those settlers can be trusted.
All that’s certain is that they arrived after being transported one-way from the far-off Orion Spur region of the galaxy. They came to settle in the Perseus Arm, but when they emerged from their trek in the Zhooge System, they found it already occupied.
Zhoogene records of the time describe the settlers as a warrior people who had arrived in fearsome battleships clearly more technologically advanced than any of their own navy. Nonetheless, after an initial bout of trade and mutual fascination carried out in orbit around one of the system’s minor planets, the Zhoogene made it clear that the Exiles were not welcome to settle in their system. They must depart.
To coreward lay hostile systems, and beyond that, the vast Muryani Expansion. But rimward, close to the Perseid inter-spiral wastes, was a region left barren and dark after a great war had scoured it many centuries earlier. The Zhoogenes suggested the Exiles settle there, but grimly planned to fight if they would not leave.
In that era, the Exiles had translation devices that allowed efficient communication between species and tongues. The Zhoogenes were so familiar with the immigrant languages that they recorded their surprise to overhear the Exiles discussing the news of the barren battle zone as if they had been expecting something like this all along. The humans in particular referred to a plan they called Greyhart.
The Zhoogenes were overjoyed. Not only were the newcomers eager to move on, but they feared ancient tales telling of terrors that swept in from the inter-spiral wastes. Better that any invaders from the uncharted darkness should encounter the Exiles first rather than sweep through empty star systems before appearing at Zhooge. The Zhoogenes gave much assistance in the early years as their new neighbors established their colony in the face of many hardships and threats.
And so the Exiles departed peacefully, leaving behind an ambassador, and taking with them a small team of Zhoogene adventurers, advisors and poets on to the barren zone where they settled on what is now Wutan-Scala-7. They declared this world, scoured clean by war, to be the capital of Far Reach Federation.
The Exiles quickly spread to other empty worlds nearby, but though the systems were unclaimed the established regional minor powers looked on at these warrior settlers with their new technologies and sought to subjugate them while they were still weak enough to be controlled.
The early years of the Federation’s existence were a constant fight for survival on many levels and many fronts. It came close to being snuffed out on many occasions, but the people were hardy and they prevailed. The initial wave of attacks ceased. The Federation stabilized and then expanded. At first, they claimed harsh worlds that had never been settled before, but soon long-established planets sought to join this successful new polity that was the Federation.
A tipping point came after the (apparently) selfless actions of the Sixth Legion in the Siege of Zhoogene, 288 Standard years after the Exiles arrived. Within a few years of that campaign, Zhoogene and most of the fifty-odd worlds of the Multiplicity Alliance had become members of the Federation.
Today, twenty-seven centuries later, most citizens of the Federation are descendants of Perseid natives. They outnumber descendants of the Orion Spur Exiles by around ten to one.
There were many races among the Orion Exiles – perhaps as many as a hundred – but only about a dozen with sufficient numbers to start a new branch of their race. Humankind is one of the few who have thrived. Several other Orion races have become isolationist or are dying out.
In another briefing, we’ll learn the fate of some of these races, and explore some of the branches of humankinds, for even before departing the Orion Spur, humanity had split into very different subspecies while yet retaining the core of what it meant to be human.
Outside of Chimera Company, one of the launches that caught my eye in the past few days is the conclusion to the Salvage Title Trilogy, a whole-lotta-fun space adventure written by Kevin Steverson and published by Chris Kennedy Publishing. They also publish my Four Horsemen stories, and basically if you like Chimera Company or the Legion books, then there’s a good chance you’ll like what Chris Kennedy Publishing’s putting out.
The final book is called Salvage System
, and Chris says of it: “They couldn’t afford a ship or a fleet…and now they have a whole system to defend!”
Sounds good to me. It’s in Kindle Unlimited, which sounds even better to me since I shell out £7.99 a month to grab as much of this literary buffet as I like.
You can see more about Salvage System here
See you next time and, as always, thank you for your support.