I came up with this story idea last year. It was very late at night and I couldn’t sleep, and the ideas just started congealing in my head. I lay their for hours trying to fit all the pieces together, but by morning most of the details had gone.
I was never able to figure out where the story was going, or fill in the details about all the characters. There’s a lot going on here, and it felt like this was turning into an epic and quite complicated series of books. I just didn’t have the time to sit down and sort it all out, so I abandoned the project. Hopefully somebody else can join the dots instead.
Humanity has discovered and colonized a trinary star system with multiple habitable worlds. Two other alien species live in this system, one of them with advanced technology, and we share some of the worlds with them.
Earth didn’t really figure in my original plan. Maybe it has become uninhabitable, or maybe it’s just so far away that there is very little communication between it and the colonies. At any rate, the colonies are self-sufficient and have their own government (or governments). I like the idea of simply not mentioning Earth, or perhaps bringing it into the equation later on.
There are at least four habitable planets in ‘the system’ (you can add as many as you want, or even reduce the number). I’ve just given them working titles for now…
Gemini – A world just like Earth. The most heavily populated, and the center of civilization in ‘the system’. It is populated by both Humans and aliens (more about this below).
Ares – A barely habitable planet close to Gemini. It is cold desert world with harsh conditions. The air is difficult to breath and its small population live entirely indoors. It’s a slightly nicer Mars, but still pretty horrid. It’s a poor colony, but fiercly independent. The original colonists were probably prisoners or pirates, or maybe they just crashed their on their way to Gemini.
Caerelin – A water world with only a few small, rocky continents. This is the home-world of the Caerelis – an aquatic species with advanced technology (more about these below). Caerelin orbits the second star in ‘the system’. Only a handful of humans live there, and it is somewhat mysterious to the citizens of Gemini.
Minerva – A nicely habitable planet that orbits the system’s third, outer star. This has so far not been colonized, simply because of the distance between it and Gemini. A system-wide mega-corporation once established a small research outpost on Minerva, but contact with the outpost was lost shortly afterwards.
On to the aliens now…
There are three different species living in ‘the system’; Humans, Caerelis, and Nati.
The Caerelis live underwater and have advanced technology.
Humanity was unaware of the existence of the Caerelis when they arrived to colonize ‘the system’. Coincidentally, the Caerelis began their colonization of Gemini at the same time. After a shaky start, the Humans and Caerelis agreed to share the planet.
Although they live almost entirely underwater, the Caerelis have claimed some of Gemini’s surface as they need it for industrial purposes .
The Caerelis are somewhat intolerant of Humans, and very secretive. However, they do allow a small number of Humans to live among them as ambassadors. Some people are even allowed to live as guests on the Caerelis home-world, but these are all part of a strange Caerilis-inspired cult.
The Caerelis are very intolerant of the Nati, and do not allow them to enter their borders.
The Nati are a hunter-gatherer species with limited intelligence. They have no vocal cords but communicate through sign language. They are peaceful, docile are relatively weak.
At the beginning of our story, the Nati are thought to be native to the planet Gemini. Many still live in primitive communities, but some live alongside the Humans of Gemini as a kind of under-class. They live in slums and work very simple, manual jobs. They are considered by most to be both harmless.
This story would have quite a long list of characters, each with complex back-stories that lead them to beginning of our story. Unfortunately, most of what I had figured out has since been forgotten. (There’s a lesson in this for all of us – write your ideas down before you forget them!). They are about to head off to colonize the planet Minerva (orbiting the distant third star), so they need to be a mixed bunch with a range of skill-sets.
One of the characters is from the planet Ares. He used to serve in the Aries military as a pilot (or he’s a mercenary). Another is part of the Caerelis cult and has spent time on the planet Caerelin. If you add planets, you should include characters from each of them too (you’ll see why later).
Oh, and one of the characters needs to speak the Nati sign language too.
One back-story idea I had (but couldn’t entirely figure out) was that a female scientist was married to the Caerelis ambassador, despite him being a big tentacled sea creature (maybe they’re telepathic or something). In her back-story she had an affair with another of our characters. Like I say, I couldn’t figure out how this fits in, but I thought it was an interesting idea.
Our characters are setting off from the planet Gemini to explore and colonize the distant planet Minerva.
The mission has been funded by a mega-corporation, and they have orders to investigate the previous outpost that the corporation previously established. When they get there, they discover that the crew of the outpost have all been killed – violently.
They also discover a tribe of Nati living on Minerva. They are shocked because they all thought the Nati were native to Gemini. Unlike the docile Nati living on Gemini, these are incredibly violent. They soon realize that the Nati are responsible for the deaths at the old outpost. But how did they get there?
Later, they discover something even more unusual; a huge disk-shaped object half buried in the ground. The object is vast – the size of a city.
As I mentioned earlier, the characters have interesting back stories, and we see these in the form of flash-backs. Most of the back-stories have one thing in common – the main characters have all seen something like this huge disk object before. There is one on each planet in ‘the system’. The one on Gemini is within the borders of the Caerelis, just below the surface of the water. Our pilot from Ares discovered one when he crash-landed in a restricted area of his world.
Whether you tell these back-stories in stages or in big chunks when they become relevant is up to you. If there are a lot of back-stories going on at once, it could get confusing.
The guy who speaks Nati probably has a slightly different back-story. His is about working with Nati back on Gemini, and how some of them were violent like those on Minerva. The corporation has obviously sent him to Minerva to figure out the connection. While he previously thought the violence was caused by a genetic abnormality, he now surmises that it is a racial trait. The Nati on Gemini must have interbred with those on Minerva at some point, but how?
Through our Caerelis cult member, we also discover that there were once Nati living on the planet Caerelin too. Maybe the Caerelis wiped them out.
What does all of this mean? What are the massive disk objects and who built them?
The Big Reveal
So you’re probably thinking that either the Caerelis or the Nati built the huge disk-shaped objects that are scattered throughout ‘the system’, and that they have sinister intentions. That’s the intention anyway. In fact, another alien species is about to be revealed.
Through our Nati translator, we learn that the Nati actually came from a distant star system long ago. They came aboard the giant disk-objects, but they didn’t build them themselves.
The disks were built by an advanced alien species. The aliens are gigantic, and when they make plans they think equally big. They’ve been busy colonizing every single planet and planetoid in their own star system, and several thousand years ago they sent probes to Gemini, Ares, Minerva and Caerelin.
The Nati share a home-world with these giant aliens (or maybe they come from a neighboring planet). They live alongside them in the way that rats live alongside mankind, infesting their ships and space stations. Several thousand years ago, some of them stowed away on the probes bound for ‘the system’.
There’s more. The probes aren’t just probes. The disk-shaped objects are actually landing platforms, designed to slow the decent of larger space-vessels. The aliens have claimed this system, and they are coming to make it their own. When they arrive, they won’t be happy to find their new home infested by Nati, Humans and weird underwater-aliens.
Enormous space ships appear from hyperspace and land on Gemini, Ares, Minerva and Caerelin simultaneously.
The Continuing Story
I was never able to figure out where the story should go from here. It seems like it suddenly explodes into a much bigger story, on a much grander scale.
Obviously the giant aliens are more advanced and more powerful than humanity, and this means big trouble. But they have obviously allowed the Nati species to survive, probably because they are too small and insignificant to worry about, so they might just destroy our cities and defensive capabilities and leave it at that. Either way, it’s bad.
But what about the Caerelis? Do they have a defense plan in place? I feel like they might be hiding some dark secret. And why did they wipe out the Nati on their world?
And then there’s Earth. I like the idea of Earth coming in at the last minute to save the day. When they re-take ‘the system’, maybe they start at Minerva and work their way into the more densely populated areas, using Minerva as a base of operations. That would allow us to keep using the same characters rather than switching back to the inner-system worlds.
If anybody is able to figure any of this out, please let me know. And if you have any ideas to further untangle this mess, please post them in the comments section below.
This article was written by Mark Ball.
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