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 Post subject: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 02:33pm
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Chapter One

UES Thunder Child, Earth Orbit
November 23rd, 1963


Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Tranter stood upon the Thunder Child’s quarterdeck and gazed upon the heavens. They were, he concluded, rather boring. Space was space; the endless starfield was the same from here as it was anywhere else in Earth orbit. The same as seen from darker places on the surface even. The same constellations, the same planets, the same comets hurtling on their errant paths.

James sighed. Every time he looked out upon the stars, he was drawn inexorably to one pinprick of light. A dot that was actually a disc; a red, burning disc that through even a small telescope seemed to glow with malevolence. The planet Mars, avatar of the God of War, had held the interest of mankind for decades. Ever since That Day; the day the great Cylinders had fallen from space.

He hadn’t even been born then; he had been born and raised in the aftermath of the months of hell. His father had been there though. A journalist, he had lived on Maybury Hill with his wife. He had been there with Ogilvy the astronomer for the first of the great green flashes from Mars. He had been there when the first cylinder fell on Horsell Common. He had seen the deputation incinerated by the Heat Ray, and the frantic efforts of the army to cordon off the area. After that came the great fighting machines; more and more of them as further cylinders fell. He’d fled for London, seeing along the way the artillery scoring a fleeting victory, only to be struck down by the black smoke.

His father’s voice had always broken when he reached this part of the tale. His eye’s always glistened as he recounted in pained tones what he’d seen of the burning of Weybridge and Shepperton. London had followed, and the massed population had fled. James had read his father’s and his uncle’s accounts of the nightmare; they had in later years become required reading in the schools and rebuilt universities.

James turned and walked to the far side of the quarterdeck, looking out the windows down towards Earth this time. Even today, 68 years after the nightmare ended, the Earth still bore the scars of it’s temporary occupation. Areas of the once-green lands where scarred red and black, the effects of the black smoke and the red weed that had spread in the Martian’s wake. The weed and smoke was long gone, but the earth remained stained like a blood-soaked cloth; a constant reminder of what Man had endured.

What still shocked him was how many scarred areas there were. In the first days after the Martian’s defeat, remaining ships had set sail for other countries to seek help, under the impression that only England had been savaged so. Those ambassadors found out just how wrong this assumption had been. England had been only the first to fall: the Martians had struck and defeated the most powerful nation to eliminate resistance. The second wave of cylinders had landed worldwide, everywhere the fell bringing more fighting machines that slaughtered and scoured the lands before them of humans. Humans had been massacred everywhere and the butcher’s bill numbered in the hundreds of millions. The United States, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Africa, South America. Nowhere was spared.

But then the Martians had lost. His father’s voice had always resumed its strong authoritative tone at this point: the day the Martians died. They had long before eradicated disease from their world, which was clean and sterile and ultimately inhospitable. In doing so the raised a generation of Martians with no immunity to illness at all. And it was their own instincts that killed them, their own need to feed. They fed, in their most disgusting fashion, on the living flesh and blood of men and women. And this was their undoing. One of them caught a bug.

James half-smiled and half-grimaced at the thought. A simple bacterium doing what Man with all his wonders could not. But once again David slew Goliath. The Martians died, and Man crept out from the shadows, stepped back from the precipice and began to recover what he had lost. In the process, the scientists had inspected the leftover fighting machines, and just as that delusional young artilleryman had said to James’s father, Man had built a heat-ray of its own. From the cylinders came all manner of technology for space travel, something that only fiction authors had dreamt of before. Humanity had hauled itself upright again, battered and bloodied yes but triumphant once again.

And as James looked down towards Earth, one of the results of that triumph drifted past his ship. The UES Westminster cruised passed in a lower orbit, trailing its companion ships the Shepperton and the Weybridge in a neat and proud formation. Looking further down, he saw more ships forming up for this great and momentous day. The American Spirit of Savannah and Ghost of Memphis, the Russian Moscow’s Vengeance and Kiev's Justice and the Japanese Kobe Ascendant and Nagasaki Rising. Just a handful ships of the fleet assembled for this great expedition. As with the British ships, they all bore the names of cities and towns completely destroyed by the Martians in their campaign. But his flagship was different. His ship bore the proud name of Thunder Child, the ironclad ram battleship that fought a desperate last stand to allow passenger ferries to escape. James had vowed upon his arrival on board that the Martians would once again fear the name.

And now the time had come. James activated his radio and began his speech to the troops, which was also broadcast to all of Mankind on the planet below.
“68 years ago, civilisation as we knew it came to an end. Invaders from another world came to earth, intent upon seizing it for themselves. They were brutal. They saw us as little more than vermin to be crushed. They brought their mightiest weapons and deadliest machines to exterminate us all. But we fought back. All over the world, soldiers and sailors fought valiantly to the last, buying time for the populations to escape. But we were overrun.

And then the Martians revealed their true purpose. We were not vermin but cattle; food for their monstrous bodies. But in consuming us they killed themselves; a humble bacterium killed them all. Since then we have seen no more of the Martians or their Cylinders. And so we rebuilt. We recovered. Humanity ascended from its own ashes. But our world was forever changed. Before we were divided, now we are united. Before we were weak, now we are strong.

The time has come at last for mankind to claim justice for the crimes committed against us. Today is the day when this great fleet will leave for Mars, to eliminate the Martians as a threat once and for all. The Empire of the Red Planet has seen its last peaceful dawn.

The Martians will resist, of that there can be no doubt. They will fight with every ounce of strength they have and every weapon at their disposal. But we shall triumph. Humanity will stand tall at the end of the fight and we shall banish our would-be conquerors into the abyss.

We are prepared, and so the order is given: All squadrons break orbit and make best speed to Mars!”

The crews of the ships cheered as they had never
cheered before. James could hear them from the lower decks, he could hear they pride and their determination. To him, it was fuel for the fires burning bright in his heart. He could not resist one last comment:

“Yesterday, we feared them. Tomorrow, they will fear US!”



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

SDN World 5: The Kingdom of Orion


Last edited by Eternal_Freedom on 2011-01-03 06:21pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 02:38pm
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Interesting. It's a bit like Scarlet Traces. Ever read that?

If I'm to nitpick, I'm not too sure on one of the British ship names--Horsell Common? Really? I also hope this doesn't turn into a 'kill deh xenos' humiewank.



"No, no, no, no! Light speed's too slow! Yes, we're gonna have to go right to... Ludicrous speed!"

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 02:46pm
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Never read or heard of Scarlet Traces. I got the ideas for this from reading the original War of the Worlds over christmas.

As for the ship name, yeah, I know Horsell Common is a bit shite, but I was going for names and places in the original book, and given that all the ships are named in memory of lost towns and cities I figured there'd be one named for where the first cylinder fell. I might change it later, but At least one ship is going to be lost, so I could make it the Horsell Common. Or, if you have another suggestion for the ship name, feel free to add it.

It won't turn into kill de xenos. I havent actually got a plot fully planned yet, I kinda wrote this off the cuff. Was gonna be a short story but it got a bit long. But I can promise it won't be "ZOMG humies curbstomp slaugher xenos"



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 06:07pm
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Scarlet Traces also involves a counter-invasion to Mars, although there it's a world-dominating British Empire that does the work. As for the ship name, I don't know, Westminster or something would be better, and you could say that it was there that the British tried to hold off a tripod attack on Parliament or something. A ship called Horsell Common just makes me think of the USN calling a ship USS Hill 262 or something.

But enough nitpicking. Will there be a ground invasion? Be interesting to see what human expeditionary ground forces look like here, and if the Martians have upgraded (something like Klendathu, maybe?)



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 06:20pm
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Good call on the name, Westminster it shall be.

And yes, there will be a ground landing. Interesting thought on Klendathu, I might steal that.

As a sneak preview, human ground forces will consists of armoured vehicles, most of which comes from reverse-engineered fighting machines left behind. It will however get very VERY messy for both sides



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 06:45pm
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In this setting, the Martians would probably be utterly screwed if someone in orbit started bombing them. Just keeping their population hydrated requires a massive canal infrastructure. Disruption of the canals would wreck their entire civilization- that's why they wanted to colonize Earth despite its crippling gravity in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 07:00pm
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Very true, and that will feature as well.

Or at least, the humans think the Martians will be utterly screwed...



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 07:04pm
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You can handwave that with the Martians developing energy shields, like in the '53 movie...be cool if you took elements from that, like the manta thingies being support for the heavier tripods.



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 07:08pm
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Never saw the '53 movie, but my idea so far is that the Martians have been plotting and preparing for this assault ever since their original defeat. So the canals might just be a red herring, the tripods coudl be the only thing they've got...

It will definitely not go as Admiral Tranter expects it to :)



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 10:08pm
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Will you be using anything from the collection War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches as part of your background?

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-03 11:11pm
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This could be an interesting read. Keep it coming.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-04 04:38am
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This is interesting.

A minor nitpick: Thunder Child was a torpedo ram, not an ironclad ram battleship.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-04 09:58am
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tortieconspiracy wrote:
Will you be using anything from the collection War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches as part of your background?


I hadn't heard of that collection. But my ideas as for background is that all the great scientists and inventors will have been involved and well-known, just not for what they did in real-life

A thought though, in my timline there is norussian revolution, owing to the fact that Lenin and co where burnt to a cinder in Moscow

Quote:
torpedo ram

Oh yes, damn. Oh well



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-05 12:48pm
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Quick update for everyone:

Chapter Two is being plotted now. As a preview, It's going to be set during the journey to Mars, outlining the huam battle plans etc. Might also include a scene on Mars itself, but I might make that chapter Three.

The rest of the story is also now being plotted. There will some major ups and downs and reversals for both Man and Martian. If anyone has any scenes/ideas they particularly want to see, feel free to post them here.

I should say that the story will be mostly told from Admiral Tranter's POV.



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-05 02:13pm
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tortieconspiracy wrote:
Will you be using anything from the collection War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches as part of your background?


Global Dispatches was a mixed bag as you might expect from it being a collection of short stories. Night of the Cooters is the best and funniest, the Chinese and Indian stories the most like a Wells tale and the ones involving Emily Dickinson and H.P. Lovecraft are just, wierd. The less said about Jules Verne and Einstien the better.



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-05 08:48pm
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Can't we go and harvest some big rocks from the asteriod belt and just deal with them from orbit? :mrgreen:

And by 'big rocks' I'm talking about something the size of Ceres...



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-05 09:14pm
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Not glorious enough.
Remember Wells era culminated in an entire generation literally walking into the jaws of death via the medium of machinegun fire and mustard gas in the trenches of the Somme.



So I stare wistfully at the Lightning for a couple of minutes. Two missiles, sharply raked razor-thin wings, a huge, pregnant belly full of fuel, and the two screamingly powerful engines that once rammed it from a cold start to a thousand miles per hour in under a minute. Life would be so much easier if our adverseries could be dealt with by supersonic death on wings - but alas, Human resources aren't so easily defeated.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 05:43am
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You should totally do like in "Space Battleship Yamato" and have the rusting hulk of the original Thunder Child rebuilt into a space ship that defeat the Martians single-handedly. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 07:01am
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Heh. While having a rebuild of a classic icon of heroism like the HMS Thunder Child might be awesome, it's highly impractical. We're talking about a small ship (Can't be much bigger than the CSS Merrimac, could it?) made of rather low-tech armor. While Space Cruiser Yamato is explainable by some decent handwavium, it'll take a lot to turn a turn-of-the-century ironclad into a spaceship big enough for this kind of war.

And as for using asteroid drops; too expensive at the story's tech level is my guess. Otherwise the Martians would have Tunguska'd our asses once the invasion went south. Especially when they started getting reports of how invisible poisons started dropping their invasion force left and right.

As for glory... I think humans got out of that mindset when they damn near got wiped out. That is, after all, why we shifted from fighting on foot to fighting in Shermans and Panzers in WW2. Not that we were immune to stupid "death or glory" tactics, but that the more cynical and treacherous make better survivors.

EDIT: Besides, wasn't RL IJS Yamato a freaking monster, even for WW2 battleships?



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 07:42am
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Saint_007 wrote:
Heh. While having a rebuild of a classic icon of heroism like the HMS Thunder Child might be awesome, it's highly impractical.

Hence the smiley to indicate that it was in jest.
Quote:
...the CSS Merrimac

I think you mean the CSS Virginia, as the Merrimac was a Union ship upon who's hull the Virginia was built. But you're probably correct about the relatively small size, yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 08:43am
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I like this, I like this a lot. So, are the human ships still in the style of the 19th Century, with brass and leather(basically, steampunk spaceships), or have they moved into a more 1960s style with tapes, plastics, and metals?



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 01:51pm
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Saint_007 wrote:
Heh. While having a rebuild of a classic icon of heroism like the HMS Thunder Child might be awesome, it's highly impractical. We're talking about a small ship (Can't be much bigger than the CSS Merrimac, could it?) made of rather low-tech armor. While Space Cruiser Yamato is explainable by some decent handwavium, it'll take a lot to turn a turn-of-the-century ironclad into a spaceship big enough for this kind of war.
The best analogy for Thunder Child is HMS Polyphemus, a one-of-a-kind ship built by the Royal Navy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Polyphemus_%281881%29

There was a lot of experimentation in the mid- to late 19th century; the advent of self-propelled torpedoes and steam power opened up a lot of questions about the tactical role of warships, questions that simply hadn't existed during the Age of Sail. Polyphemus was one of the... well, to be blunt, failed experiments: a cruiser-weight ship armed with effectively nothing but torpedoes, a few large-caliber machine guns, and of course the ram. She was designed to make a fast approach with the hull mostly submerged except for a small upperworks to make her a small target.

Displacement 2640 tons, 240 feet long, crew of eighty, top speed 17.8 knots- just over twenty miles an hour.

Thunder Child had guns, though, ones that had to be heavier than Polyphemus's Nordenfeldts, so not the exact same design- similar in concept, perhaps. If we accept an 'unreliable narrator' theory, we might assume she wasn't torpedo-armed at all; a more typical ram-armed ship of the era like HMS Hotspur might be a candidate to model Thunder Child off of, too.

FaxModem1 wrote:
I like this, I like this a lot. So, are the human ships still in the style of the 19th Century, with brass and leather(basically, steampunk spaceships), or have they moved into a more 1960s style with tapes, plastics, and metals?
The latter, I'd hope. There were good reasons for the change on the ground; Victorian brasswork was pretty but not all that practical for many applications. Though it depends whether you want a Rule of Cool story or a Rule of Practical.

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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-06 02:46pm
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It will be 1960's-1970's technology level. My working model is that the normal tech development occurred but accelerated by Martian tech. This acceleration was enough to compensate for the rebuilding period and to put this version of Man about 10, maybe 15 years ahead of the RL version. Plus, whole united planet but single purpose. Think America after Kennedy's mission but worldwide :)

Suffice to say, the UES Thunder Child is NOT the rebuilt original, awesome as that would be. It's a big bad dreadnought loaded with multiple large-scale Heat Rays, orbital bombardment weapons, hangers and troop bays. Nuclear powered, and using an engine system of my own devising, where a Heat Ray is used to superheat water and eject it as a propellant (any water, so hehe lots of salt water used). Think the ships from [i]Starship Troopers[/] and you get a rough idea.

BUT....the Martians have been planning too.

P.S. Chapter Two is being written now, should be up by this time tomorrow.



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-07 08:18am
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I'm intrigued, though I couldn't help but think of the Jeff Wayne version of the story when I read that throwaway reference to the deranged artilleryman; in the book, if memory serves, the protagonist was less cynical.

One question, though. What exactly is the Heat Ray in this setting? Some kind of super-powerful infrared laser?



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 Post subject: Re: Mankind Rising - A War of the Worlds Sequel PostPosted: 2011-01-07 08:25am
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The Heat-Ray is indeed some kind of high-powered infrared laser type thing. I don't know how lasers and similar work normally, so for story purposes i'm goign to just handwave it away as "Martian Tech," that the humans have learned to build bigger and more powerful versions of.

And yes, the dreanged artilleryman was from the Jeff Wayne version. I couldn't resist throwing that one in :)



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