Action! Adventure! Space Opera!
The Galaxii Series by Christina Engela is set in the not too distant future – at a time when a 21st century Earth shattered by first a global nuclear war has risen from the ashes to become the seat of a stellar Terran Empire. The series tells of the struggles and adventures of realistic characters, each with their own unique interests and obstacles to overcome: career-minded Space Fleet officers, solo adventurers and rogues, Corsairs – space pirates who turned the less-traveled space lanes into perilous journeys in their pursuit of wealth and fame – and aliens of all persuasions.
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An overview of the Galaxii Series (as told by Christina Engela):
“Imagine, if you will:”
This is how I start each of my novels in the Series, my signature in a way. It’s like saying ‘long, long ago’ or ‘once upon a time’, and I really do enjoy my writing. I love my characters, and I pour my passion and my heart into the words I smith, as in the worlds I create.
I started writing stories almost as soon as I was old enough to grasp a pen. I grew up wanting to be a writer, and being around my father (who was also a writer) made me realize that nothing is as impossible as you think it is.
The Galaxii Series is set in what might be considered the not too distant future, perhaps in a parallel dimension, and is marked by my own special warped and twisted sense of humor and irony. It also includes some elements of the fantasy and horror genres, such as vampires (which show up now and then).
Although the Galaxii Series launches with “Blachart“, the story really begins many years before that – at the conclusion of the Third World War, sometime in the 21st century – with the near annihilation of the human race.
“Galaxii” – the prequel to the Galaxii Series
Looking at the outcome somewhat optimistically – especially given the circumstances in today’s world, humanity finally realized the futility of fighting each other over territories, riches, power – and differences in culture, ideology and beliefs. Instead, all governments that survived the nuclear holocaust, begin to co-operate as a matter of survival. In the decade that follows, remaining military resources are repurposed towards peaceful activities – instead of training and preparing for war, the military is for all intents and purposes disarmed and becomes a labor force drawn on for survivor search and rescue, humanitarian aid, agricultural and construction goals. After waves of strikes and counter-strikes, Earth is all but devastated – with vast tracts of the surface left uninhabitable. With so much of the planet unsuitable to grow food on, Earth establishes farming and mining colonies on Luna (Earth’s moon), Mars, and several asteroids and moons in the Sol system. With survival of the species being a high priority, humanity is by this time, a multi-planet species. In this time of peace, Earth recovers and begins to flourish. It is just about at this point that the hostile Ruminarii enter, stage left.
Without attempting to make contact, this conqueror-species is first observed by long range probes, setting up what appears to be a military base on Pluto for staging an invasion of Earth. Desperate to avoid another war, Earth sends a specially modified long range ship to make contact with the aliens – but the aliens aren’t interested in talking, and destroy the ship without a word. A day later, the aliens launch a massive assault on all Earth’s colonies in the system, destroying most of them. Cut off, practically unarmed and under-supplied, Earth realizes it is again at war – for the same tired old reasons as before, greed, territory, and power – only this time, the fight would be between the human, and the inhuman.
At the onset of war, humanity faces a terrible foe who is better equipped, better prepared – and also violent, remorseless and cruel. Earth’s would begin by having its military put down its farming implements and begin the mass manufacture of cutting edge weaponry whose designs had been buried in a vault for over a decade, and improvised from reverse-engineered captured alien tech. Although outgunned and outmatched technologically, the Earth Defense Fleet (EDF) would distinguish itself through desperation, ferocity, and tenacity. The Gimp War would last five years, culminating with the Battle of Pluto – when the EDF finally pushed the invading Ruminarii all the way back to Pluto, and defeated them outright. It is at this time that Earth is strongly unified socially and politically – and on the verge of claiming interstellar travel for itself.
The prequel “Galaxii” tells this story, interlaced with the stories of numerous characters and events of these times – but for various reasons, the story just never seemed to ‘work’ for me. Although I finished the first draft, and began a second complete redraft of the work, it remains unresolved. Perhaps one day I will find a balance in the story and release it as a special edition or something, but for now, the project remains a historical exercise intended to provide a backdrop for the Galaxii Series.
Between “Galaxii” and “Blachart”
Some changes occur at this point, where Earth’s central governing body transforms – according to public sentiment – into a constitutional monarchy. This results in the foundation of the Terran Empire, headed by the first elected Emperor (and succeeded dynastically thereafter). The Earth Defense Fleet also transforms into the Imperial Space Fleet. Having just tasted the metal of alien contact, determined to never again fall victim to alien aggressors, Earth prioritizes a program of deep space exploration – shortly followed by a program of colonization. The intentions of the Terrans are first and foremost peaceful – and overall this period is free of war, but it is not without incident. But this phase of human history begins with one very important mission – the very first Earth ship to ‘go beyond‘ the Sol system, to explore a neighboring star system. It is here that the short story “Beyond” fits in.
Over the next 80 years or so, Earth expands its territory to encompass many star systems – most of which are uninhabited. Colonies are founded, such as Tremaine (the first extra-solar Terran colony). These begin to grow over time, spawning the development of trade routes, population shifts and further social diversification. Right about here is where my short stories “The Devils In The Sky” and “A Really Bad Day In The Life Of Lance Corporal Thomas O’Blivion” fit in.
During this time, while Earth constantly pushes the boundary of known space backwards, many alien species are encountered, although very few are sentient or civilized, or civilized to the same level as the Terran Empire believes itself to be. For the most part, these alien civilizations are less-technologically advanced or capable of defending themselves, and while Earth opens diplomatic relations with all of them, many are convinced by envoys or diplomatic missions to join the Empire as protectorates – which means that although they are within the boundaries of Imperial space, they remain fully independent of Imperial rule while essentially becoming allies to the Terran Empire. It is around this time where “I, Mac” and “Little Green Men” slot into the time line.
In the meantime, while Earth’s Space Fleet is happily exploring space and pushing back boundaries, Terran colonies begin to come under attack from space pirates. The pirates are of Earth stock – the descendants of refugees who fled Earth during the turmoil of the Third World War (The Big Nuke) and the Gimp War – and they see the rich, flourishing colonies as fair game! After all, why work hard to produce much needed commodities yourself, when you can just take someone else’s? The space pirates become known as “Corsairs”, and they wear black, run black ships – usually older type converted loderunners armed with improvised or scavenged weaponry.
The Corsairs reputation grows as they strike seemingly with impunity, sacking smaller, younger colonies and outposts. Traveling along the trade routes becomes a hazardous proposition, with Corsairs pouncing on lone loderunners ferrying valuable goods between the outer colonies and Earth. Merchant ships (loderunners) begin the practice of traveling in convoys, escorted by smaller warships (battlespringers). This is where the short story “The Thirteenth Ship” fits in. The Corsairs become more confident with each passing year. The high point of their reign of terror is the series of infamous attacks known as ‘the Christmas Massacres’. For many years, the Corsairs are a fearful menace to not only new and poorly defended Terran colonies and outposts, but also to all shipping. Many attacks by Corsair ships are documented and the Corsairs are blamed for a great many vessels that go missing during this period.
Not knowing where the Corsairs will strike next, all the Space Fleet can do is react to reported attacks and try to anticipate where next the Corsair nemesis will strike. The Corsairs home world Turtle Island, named after the mythical island colonized by Earth buccaneers in the 17th century. This world rises to infamy under the name Meradinis. Meradinis is somewhere in deep space, its location kept a closely guarded secret – and it is this obstacle which hampers the Space Fleet in its role as defenders of the Terran colonies. For a number of decades towards the end of this period, this is the status quo. Rumors, myths and legends abound. Right here is where “Space Vacation” fits into the timeline.
“Blachart” and “Demonspawn”
Both tell the stories of imperial starships on the hunt for Corsair ships, with “Blachart” focusing on the crew of the ISS Antares tracking down the Corsair base – which would result in the first mass military action by Terran forces since the end of the Gimp War – while “Demonspawn” tells the tale of another starship (ISS Mordrake) which is severely damaged in a skirmish with a Corsair ship and becomes stranded in deep space with little hope of rescue.
Following the discovery and infiltration of Meradinis by the crew of the imperial star ship Antares, the assembled might of the Terran Space Fleet descends upon the Corsair planet. The Battle of Turtle Island rages in orbit over Meradinis, resulting in the absolute destruction of the Corsair fleet – ending the Corsair menace for all time. It takes imperial forces eight months to bring Meradinis completely under Terran control, with the intention of rehabilitating Meradinis and its population and eventually re-integrating them into Terran society. This leads up to “Dead Beckoning“, the third book in the Galaxii Series.
“Dead Beckoning” – and after
Following the defeat of Meradinis, many stragglers escape the Corsair home world. One of the most notable of these is ‘Martel the Mighty’, the Corsair leader – and Sona Kilroy, the Admiral of the Corsair fleet. Kilroy sets out recruiting new ships and crews, picking up other stragglers along the way, and gradually builds a new Corsair fleet based at Endicor, with the intention of starting the Corsair civilization anew. Following rumors of sightings of Corsair ships, a task force consisting of the ISS Antares and ISS Mordrake is formed, with the intention of putting a stop to the Corsair menace once and for all. The task force discovers Endicor and the Second Battle of Turtle Island is fought, ending with the destruction of the base on the surface of Endicor, Sona Kilroy and his fleet.
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