Nomads is my first experimental serial. The setting is futuristic with elements of armoured suits, diaspora fleets, and bug-hunting. The experimental part is me trying to write cohesively and coherently in first person, with as little editing and preparation as possible.
After the mutiny on the Falcon was put down, we headed back to the Fleet. We had no way of knowing if there were any more subversives on the ship, although a room to room search did not turn up any more silver suits and masks or weapons in any of the crew quarters, we did find stashes in several places around the ship.
The silver suits were unremarkable, a nano-mesh weave that function as a level of light armour. They were a flashier version of a typical fleet uniform. Silver seemed like a foolishly ostentatious colour to pick for a covert group, so I felt it must have some sort special significance to them. The masks were minimalist, with tiny slots to represent eyes and mouth, also silver and polished to a mirror sheen. The masks also included a primitive com suite, including a rudimentary but serviceable tactical grid and targeting assistance. The targeting program was of the sort that would allow a novice to fire at a certified level of proficieny; it could turn anyone with a little training into something more dangerous.
Beyond that we could not find out anything more. Not a single prisoner survived; even those we captured found ways of killing themselves. The Falcon did not have any deprogramming facilities; she just wasn’t that kind of ship.
Nervous, Captain Otumo hightailed it back to Fleet, dispatching a request for an escort along with his report about the Cryopod and the insurgency. Fleet contacted others on board, including myself, for details and clarification. Two days later an Elite strike cruiser, the Orion, showed up to lead us back to the seventh Diaspora Fleet. We also received orders not to leave the ship; fleet wanted to inspect everyone as they left. This caused a fair bit of grumbling among the crew, but was hardly unexpected.
We held a brief funeral service for the lost. Three Nomads and twenty-seven loyal crew-members of the Falcon. I said a few words, but I couldn’t really do justice to Jessup and the others. A man or woman who goes down fighting in service to their fellow men is wrapped in a mantle of dignity that defies description, and yet is easily understood by most. Perhaps that is the reason that they are often honoured by the ancient tradition of a moment of silence. After the funeral rites Triumph, Shrike, Sunspear, Scorch, Sphinx, Malificent, and Myself all got together and got good and drunk, trading our favourite stories about each of the lost.
With the assistance of the Orion, it did not take us long to reach fleet.
The origin of Diaspora Fleets dates back to a schism of some sort, thousands of years ago. Thirteen Fleets of ships, each organized around a massive mothership, spread out, fleeing a dying empire. Gradually the fleets moved beyond reliable communications range, or were destroyed, or simply forgot how to communicate. The seventh Fleet has seen signs of others in colonies and ancient archaeology, but the last real contact was over a thousand years ago. I never doubted that the other Fleets existed, but unlike some others, I wasn’t sure that meeting up with our long lost human brethren would be all that fun; we have a history of doing harm to those closest to us.
Picket ships, gatherers, and scouts, usually range far afield, acting as the eyes and arms of the fleet. The proper edge of the Fleet is made up of heavily armoured warships. These tough ships form the outer “skin” of the fleet formation. Some of them are specialized shield ships, nearly invulnerable from the outer arc of fire, while others are well rounded battle-ships that pack a punch as a well as being hard to destroy. Behind the outer ring are artillery ships, refineries, flak ships, and carriers. The artillery ships mount massive long range firepower. The refineries process the materials the gatherers return. Carriers act as re-supply points for scouts and also carry and manufacture fighters — both manned and drone. Flak ships shoot down any craft or ordinance than penetrate the outer layers. The third layer is made up of research ships, agriculture ships, clan ships, residential ships, and many other types of ships. These tend to be less capable in battle, but are rarely defenceless.
The final layer is the mothership. The Mothership is the largest ship in the fleet, by far. Three billion people make their home on the seventh’s mothership, the Athens. It is a massive cylinder with a cavernous interior that is usually full of ships in the final stages of construction.
The Orion herded the Falcon towards this mothership. The Athens held the headquarters of the seventh Diaspora Fleet, and they urgently wanted to talk to us all about a ancient Cryopod, some crazy subversives in silver suits, and a dead man…
Thus ends Nomads, for a little while at least. I feel I need time to digest what I have learned. Feel free to leave any comments or comments about the series here.