THE WORLD OF THE HAN WARS
A MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION SERIES
Military science fiction is a new genre for me, but I love reading military sci fi (especially Marko Kloos and Jay Allan) and I've discovered writing it is a BLAST.
With any genre, an author has to do a bit of "world building"--putting together the place where you want to take your readers to for a few precious hours. With my other books, I could basically take our present-day world and tweak a few things, but with the military science fiction genre, the world building is a much more involved task. Here's some of my world building for The Han Wars.
WORLD BUILDING - THE HAN WARS
There are no faster-than-light drives or protective force shields in the world of The Han Wars (well, not in the first few books anyway)--ships are armored for protection, and propelled by magnetoplasma engines driven by Helium-3/Deuterium-fed fusion reactors, both technologies that are certainly plausible. Weapons are kinetic in nature (guns and guided missiles), along with shorter-range laser systems. Sensors include powerful optics and radar/LIDAR. Communications are conducted via laser and old-fashioned RF. Advanced AI systems control some automated shipboard functions. Robotic drones and nano-technology are common and used for a variety of purposes. Again, all this tech is plausible. To enable traveling over long distances, I’ve devised what are called “slip points,” naturally occurring points in normal space, discovered and mapped over time, that allow ships to quickly traverse distances measured in light years. Apart from minor things, such as artificial gravity (“artigrav”) plates and inertial dampeners, the idea of a slip point is the biggest suspension of disbelief a reader may have to make.
So where the heck are we? When I talk about the different fleet AORs (Areas of Responsibility), and how far away the Han are via the slip points, this should give you an idea.
The Republic, whose governing body is located on Earth (city of New Geneva), can best be compared to post-World War II Great Britain or France, whose far-flung colonial empires gradually fractured in the decades following the Second World War. A secessionist movement, called the Resistance, has been brewing for years throughout the Republic, comprised of those who no longer recognize the need for a united Republic in the face of a seemingly absent Han Bloc threat. The Republic leadership, however, led by President Drake Ellison, views the resistance as a traitorous movement that must be crushed.
The motto "EX UNITATE VIRES" is Latin for "FROM UNITY, STRENGTH."
REPUBLIC DEFENSE FORCES
The two major players in the Republic Defense Forces (RDF) at the beginning of The Han Wars series are the Combined Fleet and the Fleet Infantry. I'll go over each of them in more detail below.
THE SERVICE "COMMUNITIES"
Right after I started writing FLEET OPPOSED, I decided to take a break and write three prequel novellas which take a closer look at the three different service communities within the RDF--THE AVIATORS, THE INFANTRY, and THE SPACERS. In THE AVIATORS, you'll get to meet LT “Scratch” Adler (VFA-11) and LT “Tude” Mendez (VA-34) flying off of RSS Bulwark (CVA-23). In THE INFANTRY, you'll meet CPT Ricardo “Rico” Estrada and the troopers of Third Platoon, Bravo Company, 3/2 Infantry. And finally, in THE SPACERS, you'll get to know CDR Claire Fontaine, RSS Tang’s new captain, and her crew. All three eBook novellas are available as a 375-page paperback on Amazon, so you'll have a novel's-worth of reading before you start FLEET OPPOSED!
REPUBLIC THIRD FLEET
The Combined Fleet is divided into three numbered fleets; First Fleet is based on Earth’s moon, Second Fleet is based halfway between Earth and the slip points into Han space, and Third Fleet is closest to the slip points. Being former military, I like org charts...so here's one that depicts the Republic Third Fleet.
CARRIER AIR WING SIX SIX
I tried to imagine what a carrier air wing might look like in the world of FLEET OPPOSED, and this is the result. You’ll see CAW 66 & RSS Bulwark in my prequel novella THE AVIATORS. All of the squadron patches are based on actual US Navy & USMC flying units (active and deactivated), with a little of my imagination thrown in for good measure.
REPUBLIC SECOND FLEET
This is the org chart for Second Fleet. Slightly smaller than Third Fleet, and somewhat older ships.
REPUBLIC FIRST FLEET
First Fleet is smaller than the other two numbered fleets, and has the oldest ships.
1ST COMBINED INFANTRY DIVISION (ASSAULT)
You probably noticed each of the numbered fleets has an infantry division attached to it. In this example, I’m showing the org chart for the First Combined Infantry Division (Assault) attached to Third Fleet (specifically Third Platoon, B Company, 3/2 Infantry). I apologize to my Army/Marine brethren if I simplified this too much.
REPUBLIC QUALIFICATION BADGES AND INSIGNIA
“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” Yes, we do. ;) A lot of the symbolism from today's US military (USAF, US Navy, USMC & US Army) is apparent in these badges, and why not? Some traditions run VERY deep, and I figured some might even survive far into the future (with a few tweaks).
REPUBLIC SHIP SIZE COMPARISONS
So how big are the ships? You can tell my computer graphics skills are severely lacking, but this should give you a rough idea at how big I think the different ship types are. As far as exactly what they look like, I’ll leave that up to you to decide after reading my descriptions in the books. ;)
REPUBLIC SHIP CRESTS
I've enjoyed bringing some "current" history forward, and that includes ship crests for the four major Republic ships I've seemed to focus on during the stories: Repulse, Tang, Bulwark, and Hornet. Each of my "imaginary" crests include elements from actual US Navy & Royal Navy real ships. (Okay, sub guys, Tang was a boat. I get it.)
THE ERINYES-CLASS SUPERBATTLESHIPS
So if you've read MERGE AND ENGAGE, you got to see the first three Erinyes-class superbattleships in action. The symbol in the first three crests is some sort of astrological symbol representing the Greek Furies. The other crests are taken from Royal Navy ships. Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance, are "borrowed" from the four serving Royal Navy SSBNs (the Vanguard-class boomers).
THE HAN BLOC
The Han Bloc can best be described as a totalitarian governing body that values service to the state above all else. Centralized control is paramount, and individual freedom is nearly an unknown concept among the masses. The member planets are poor, having never recovered from the first war with the Republic nearly a century past. The leader of the Han Bloc, Konstantin Rajkovic, is a charismatic figure who harnessed nationalist sentiments—enflamed by the perceived harshness and unfairness of the ceasefire treaty—to enable his rise. He knows another war will keep the Bloc, and his ruling position as Directorate First, intact.
HAN POLITICAL AND MILITARY BANNERS
The Han? Wasn’t that some sort of ancient Chinese dynasty, you ask? Yes, but there’s no correlation between the two. The prologue in FLEET OPPOSED will give you an idea of exactly who—and what—the Han are. Can’t you just see these things hanging from Han buildings? I can. ;)
Because even the bad guys need some bling.
GENERAL OFFICER / FLAG OFFICER RANK COMPARISON CHART
Another term for the O7 to O10 ranks is "GO/FO."
FIELD GRADE OFFICER RANK COMPARISON CHART
Field Grade officers hold the O4 to O6 ranks.
COMPANY GRADE OFFICER RANK COMPARISON CHART
The term "Company Grade" refers to officers holding the O1 through O3 ranks.
REPUBLIC ENLISTED RANK CHART
The Republic uses a 9-level enlisted rank structure.
HAN BLOC CONSCRIPT/ENLISTED RANK CHART
Like the Republic, the Han use a 9-level structure for their conscript/enlisted ranks.
The Kr’ih are a species who live farther out on the Milky Way’s Orion Spur. Roughly humanoid in appearance, the Kr’ih share the same genetic make up as both the Terran and Han peoples (who share the same ancestral home world (Earth)). Kr’ih legends teach that they are descended from the Ancients, an extinct race who seeded life among the galaxy. As a result, the Kr’ih view humanity (Han and Terran) as part of the “Brotherhood”—one of original seedlings planted by the mysterious and revered Ancients.
Unlike humanity, the Kr’ih have evolved into a society that reflects what an Earther would recognize as an insect-like collective—ants or bees, for example—a whole comprised of many parts. Individualism is an unknown concept to them. There are no such things as names, marriages, friendships, or separate belief systems. Every part exists to serve the whole. The Kr’ih are the Kr’ih, and there is nothing more.
The Kr’ih do not have a concept of coexistence with a foreign body. One is either a Kr’ih, or one is an enemy. And, if that enemy has something which would add to the whole, then it is taken. The human concept of morality is also a foreign concept. They do not understand surrender, or mercy.
Physically, the Kr’ih share the same body symmetry as human beings, with two arms, two legs, ten fingers and toes, etc., but apart from that, the differences are striking. Their bodies are squat and incredibly strong compared to a human being, given the fact that their race evolved on a world with much higher gravity than Earth. Their bone structure is much more extensive than a human being, and their skin resembles what an Earther would compare to an elephant’s hide—thick, rough, and durable. In addition, their home planet’s atmosphere had slightly less oxygen than Earth, and included other elements which a human would find toxic.
The Kr’ih brain structure is where the biggest differences lie. They are an incredibly intelligent species, able to devise technologies that rival any held by either the Terran or Han peoples. They are quick to improvise, adjust, and improve when faced with an untenable situation which threatens the whole.
Organizationally, the Kr’ih have no nation-states, and no political bodies. They are only the Kr’ih. The whole, however, is divided up for functionality. There are warriors—the Nokud’ih—and other groups which all work to ensure the survival of the whole. There are farmers, developers (scientists), care givers, builders, and educators, to name a few.
There is no family structure—no concept of a mother, father, or sibling. Breeding between the male and female of the species takes place twice every turn (a Kr’ih “year” equivalent, roughly seven Earth years), and is tightly controlled and structured to ensure only the most compatible genetic pairs are allowed to breed. More breeding sessions can be added if the whole has suffered or is expecting to suffer inordinate losses, but the population is strictly monitored to make sure it does not exceed the capabilities of the whole to support it.
For the most part, breeding is conducted within the castes, but cross-breeding among castes is allowed in order to prevent a gradual weakening of the whole’s genetic line. An infant Kr’ih is assigned to a particular caste based on a series of genetic adaptability tests given at birth—it may have been bred from two members of the farming caste, for example, but may be assigned to a different caste depending on test results. From that point on, that infant’s life path is decided. Any infant that does not pass the minimum genetic standard for any of the castes is slaughtered at birth.
Each caste includes sub-castes—such as caregivers and educators—who raise the caste’s young from infant to adulthood, based on the requirements of that particular caste.
The warrior caste, the Nokud’ih—are the protected caste. The whole works to ensure the Nokud’ih are well cared for, because without the Nokud’ih, the whole could be placed in peril. Only a Nokud’ih can rise to the position of Kahgan’ih. There is no delineation between male and female among the Nokud’ih—gender does not matter.
KR'IH LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Title of the supreme leader of the Kr’ih peoples. This position is served for life—either until the holder dies by natural causes, or is replaced by a challenger. When and if a Kahgan’ih reaches old age, the challenges may come fast and furious, and only the strongest may challenge the Kahgan’hi. In the case of a challenge, the position is decided by a fight to the death. In the case of the death of a Kahgan’ih by natural causes, then the ten strongest challengers all fight to the death until only one is standing.
The Nokud’ih organizational structure resembles a pyramid, with the Kahgan’ih at the top, and descending levels all based on the number 10. None of positions beneath the Kahgan’ih are permanent—a Nokud’ih can shift from one position to another based on the situation, but only the experienced are allowed to assume a position of greater responsibility. Positions are delineated by a colored sash worn on the holder’s person.
This same basic structure below applies to fleet groupings as well as personnel formations. From the smallest to largest:
An individual Kr’ih warrior.
Fleet: A group of ten Kr’ih ships. An Arbatu is usually comprised of a single ship type with a common mission; anti-ship, ground attack, troop carriers, etc.
Ground Forces: A group of ten Nokud’ih.
Command: An Arbatu is led by an Arban-Darga.
Fleet: A group of ten Arbatu (ten ships per Arbatu, 100 ships total). A Jagun is comprised of different Arbatu based on mission requirements.
Ground Forces: A group of ten Arbatu (ten Nokud’ih per Arbatu, 100 Nokud’ih total).
Command: A Jagun is led by a Jagutu-Darga.
Fleet: A group of ten Jagun (100 ships per Jagun, 1,000 ships total). A Mingat is comprised of different Jagun based on mission requirements.
Ground Forces: A group of ten Jagun (100 Nokud’ih per Jagun, 1,000 Nokud’ih total).
Command: A Mingat is led by a Minggan-Noyan.
Fleet: A group of ten Mingat (1,000 ships per Mingat, 10,000 ships total). A Tumen is comprised of different Mingat based on mission requirements.
Ground Combat: A group of ten Mingat (1,000 Nokud’ih per Mingat, 10,000 Nokud’ih total).
Command: A Tumen is led by a Tumettu-Noyan.
Ground Combat: A group of ten Tumen (10,000 Nokud’ih per Tumen, 100,000 Nokud’ih total).
Command: An Ordu is led by an Orlock.
Kr’ih ship construction and military tactics are based on three principles—functionality, speed, and concentration of force. Kr’ih ships tend to be much smaller than their Republic or Han counterparts, and they construct large numbers of these smaller ships.
Kr’ih tactics are devised to attack fast, swarm from all directions, hit hard, and withdraw to study the enemy, assess his capabilities, and plan for the next strike. The Kr’ih will only attack en masse if it assessed the attack will result in the complete decimation of the enemy. In such a case, the Kr’ih attack will be relentless, with wave after wave of assaults until the enemy is defeated.
In any battle, losses are expected, and do not impact the conduct of the operation unless said losses are so great that the attack—if continued—would result in failure.
I stumbled across an AI face generator and came up with character pictures. Almost all of the faces you see below don't really exist--I typed in some general physical characteristics and then searched the results until I said, "Hey, that's him/her!" So, these are all really close to how I originally envisioned the characters of The Han Wars...