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The core of any novel, whether science fiction, historical, or literary, is found in the characters who tell the story. Returning is no exception. Like any full-
Before we look at the characters, though, let’s take a quick look at the settings. Returning doesn’t span the longest period ever, to be sure. I suspect that record may go to James A. Michener’s Centennial, which starts in the Jurassic Period and ends in 1976. Returning only goes back to 84,859 BCE, and ends in 2127. Still a considerable period, of course.
In 84,859 BCE (or 525 on the calendar then in use), the starship Warrior sets out from earth on an exploration mission. Everyone going recognizes that this will be essentially a one-
When they return it’s 86,985 years later, and no one has ever heard of their civilization, except perhaps in the Atlantis legends. The entire culture was wiped from the planet a couple hundred years after Warrior departed.
The returnees were sent out by the Gehunite Empire, which by 525 had consolidated rule over most of the planet. The capital was the city of Salmik, in the old country of Gehun, which was located more or less where Florida is now, but covered a larger area.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the characters.
Kimewe Romiwero, Captain, Gehunite Imperial Navy: Captain Romiwero is Warror’s commanding officer. She is 30-
Marina Fehmadaatin: A pretty, blue-
Grekim Vordik, Surgeon Commander, Gehunite Imperial Navy: Vordik is a native of a colonial world, New Barzak, which has a much higher gravity (1.84). Because of this, he’s shorter than average (4’11”, which is actually tall for his planet), and very powerfully built. Think someone the size of Danny DeVito with Schwarzenegger’s body. New Barzakites are not dwarfs. Their proportions are normal, they’re just shorter and stronger because of the higher gravity.
Carla Tuttle, PhD: An astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England, and a professor of astronomy at Queen’s College, Oxford. She’s the first to notice Warrior returning, after observing a massive energy bloom 12.8 AU from earth.
Sara Ellsworth: A 15-
Will Gordon: The President of the United States. A former fifth-
William VI: The King of England. He appears to be the great-
Sir Charles Vickers, Bart.: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Married to Rick Phillips, Esq., a barrister from Leeds. Has a few uncomfortable moments when a spaceship suddenly parks itself next to a British-
Charles Colquhoun, Maj, Highland Regiment: The military attache at the British Consulate in Denver, Colorado. Name pronounced Kuh-
Felia VII: Empress of Gehun. The title is more symbolic than anything, since the “empire” now consists of little more than Warrior’s crew, and her elevation to the post is simply the result of her being the only member of the royal family still alive. Her normal function is as ambassador at large. She is also an exobiologist.
Arik Brynnazen, Warrant Master at Arms, Gehunite Imperial Navy: Warrior’s master at arms. His sister, Kara, is a captain (later colonel) of Imperial Marines. The two of them, along with a number of others aboard Warrior, are Neanderthal.
Zhvassish, Lieutenant Commander, Gehunite Imperial Navy: A native of the planet Grikna, and a bipedal, 6’3”, 230 pound humanoid reptile. Scary looking, but, like most of his kind, quite gentle and outgoing. There are several others aboard Warrior.
Simon Marsh: Director, United States Department of Internal Security. A cabinet officer in President Gordon’s regime. Not a particularly nice fellow.
Ellen Harris: Sara’s best friend, also fifteen.
About HIMS Warrior
Warrior Class: His Imperial Majesty’s Starship Warrior is the lead ship in a class of three. The others are HIMS Aspirant and HIMS Exultant. The starship is the 13th vessel with that name to be commissioned into the Imperial Navy. Previous Warriors included eight sailing vessels, one heavy cruiser, one diesel-
Streamlining: Conventional wisdom holds that spacecraft, which operate in a vacuum, do not require streamlining. This is true, in most cases. Warrior class starships, however, have a maximum powered speed of between 120,000 and 130,000 kilometres per second. At those speeds, the sparse atmosphere of interplanetary space becomes significantly denser, with each square metre of ship’s surface encountering between 12,000,000 and 13,000,000 cubic metres of space every second. This is still a lower atomic/molecular density than still air at sea level, but it’s enough to affect performance. In consequence, the ships were made long and slender, with a pointed bow, so that the ship itself resembles an oversize sewing needle with a squared off stern.
Jump Drive: Space is, to borrow a line from Douglas Adams, “big.” At a speed of 127,000 kilometres per second, which is as fast as Warrior ever managed to go, it would take a bit over six years to reach the nearest star, which, so far as we’re aware, doesn’t have any planets able to support life. At that speed, we’re getting into relativistic time, so that six year trip would only take a little over three and half years from the crew’s viewpoint. In either case, it’s still a long time to travel if there isn’t going to be anywhere to land once you get there (not that a ship the size of Warrior is capable of landing on a planet anyway). Jump drive solves this problem, at least for the starship’s crew. The jump drive opens what Gehunites call an Arkhgaizim Passage (wormhole, in contemporary parlance), allowing the ship to move instantly from one point in space to another. In this way, a 200 light year passage can be accomplished in a second or two. Still, this is relativistic time. A few seconds pass aboard the ship. Outside the ship, the journey still takes a great deal of time. A jump of 650 light years, requiring roughly 4.7 seconds of ship time, consumes 650 years in standard time. Even in jump space, Einsteinian limits apply. You can’t go faster than the speed of light. The crew doesn’t age because, having reached the speed of light, time stops for them, but it continues for the rest of the universe. This is why a mission that ultimately reached a point a bit over 8,000 light years from earth before starting back, took 86,985 years to make the round trip, while the crew aged only 15 years.
Luxury Accommodations: Crew quarters aboard Warrior class starships are the most luxurious every provided for naval personnel. The size of the ship allows each crew member sufficient room to have his/her original home literally duplicated aboard the ship. The duplication is, of course, only skin deep, and does not include the exterior of the original home. The view from the windows in these quarters is a holographic image of what would be seen from the original location, and duplicates a normal day/night cycle for the current season. Given that not everyone is particularly enamoured of their home, a number of these accommodations are configured to reflect the crew member’s ideal, rather than actual home.
Weapons: Warrior class starships are armed with high energy laser and particle beam weapons. These are capable of doing tremendous damage, mostly from heat. The ship’s company of Marines are armed with 10-
Some Things to Know About 2126
Europe is Different: European countries all eventually followed Britain’s lead in pulling out of the European Union. Most reverted to their original currencies. One thing retained was the open borders policy between European countries, and the elimination of duties on imports. Essentially, the European countries kept all the good parts of the old union, but threw out the annoyances.
The United States has Issues: The original US Constitution was replaced with a new version in 2019, the replacement going into effect with final ratification in 2022. Under the new Constitution, the US becomes official a Christian nation, and all churches receive tax support. Non-
The Sagan Space Platform: A large space station, orbiting at an altitude of 400 KM, and commanded by a Royal Navy captain. Presumed to be the largest man-
The Hawking Stellar Array: A large, multi-
Doctor Who is Still on the Air: Various oblique references throughout the book suggest that the classic British science fiction program is still being produced in 2126, with Series 121 scheduled to be broadcast that year. A bar conversation indicates the current Doctor is number ninety-
Gehunites Can Manipulate Gravity: Gehunite technology allows them to manipulate gravity. They have artificial gravity aboard their spacecraft, and miniature gravity generators in the soles of their boots allow them to walk normally in zero-
Gehunites Use Both Firearms and High-
Most Americans Get News from GNN: The General News Network supplies most national and international news for American television. The network’s policies as to what is, or isn’t, newsworthy reflect government policy, with the result that many colloquially refer to it as the “Government” News Network. Consequently, Warrior’s return is treated as a British hoax on American television. The energy surge was reported, but once the cause was established the stories quickly dried up. Local stations usually only carry local news.
Camp Antelope: Located in Wyoming, Camp Antelope is a huge detention facility for anti-
Cars are Electric and Mostly Self-
The UK Still has a Monarchy: In 2126, King William VI is on the throne. He is, presumably, the great-
|Returning - Excerpt No. 1|
|Returning - Excerpt No. 2|
|Returning-Excerpt No. 3|
|Returning-Excerpt No. 4|
|Returning-Excerpt No. 5|
|Returning-Excerpt No. 6|
|Characters & So Forth|
|Coming Out the Play Website|
|USS Barb (SS-220)|
|USS Cod (SS-224)|
|USS Wahoo (SS-238)|
|USS Tang (SS-306)|
|USS Argonaut (SM-1 & SS-475)|
|Run Silent, Run Deep|
|Submarines at War|
|Harry Potter and the Cursed Child|
|The PaxAm Solution|
|Sea of Shadows|
|Shrek, The Musical|
|The Phantom of the Opera|
|Love Never Dies|
|May 2006 Interview|
|Jan 2014 Interview|
|How a Submarine Dives|
|How a Periscope Works|
|Asdic, Sonar & Detection Gear|
|The Walter Turbine|
|The Typ XXVI U-boat|
|American Fleet Submarines|
|1:72 Gato Model|