World Building 3.

Please see the earlier two articles on world building before reading this one – “Changing a World” and “The Scene on Gaia – more World Building”. They can be found below on this page or under the category New Directions.

This continues my lengthy article on the worldbuilding in my Iskander series novels. While I’ve developed a detailed history for the world, the Iskanders, and a number of the characters in the series, the need to keep the stories focussed on the plot as well as maintain their pace means that there is never room to write more than a sketchy background outline in the text. While some authors are apparently so loth to leave this hard work unused that they liberally sprinkle their plots with extraneous detail I maintain that the only world building fit to be displayed is that which immediately advances the action.

Having dealt with Gaian history up until the Trigons arrived two hundred years before the Iskanders I’ll continue with their impact on later Gaian history. They arrived in the same way as did the Iskander people – a wormhole jump sent them here instead of to their intended destination. Since they were the crew of an armed star cruiser, they had no trouble securing their safety, but unlike the Iskanders they had no technologists and experts to perpetuate their level of technology. Of the 200 aboard, most were marines and specialists trained to operate the starship, and only capable of limited maintenance of its systems – not unlike the crew of a modern nuclear submarine.

The admiral aboard set himself up as the ruler of the Carthaginian Empire by shear force, using the star cruiser’s armaments. He then appointed his officers as commanders of existing Imperial Armies to secure the borders and provinces that had broken away in the upheaval. Since they had no people trained to set up factories to produce copies of their advanced weapons – nor to produce ammunition for them – the armies at first remained equipped with their 15th century weaponry. The Trigons undoubtedly used the starship’s advanced weaponry on more than one target containing a level of resistance capable of defeating their ground forces. There are several locations on Gaia where the author knows the ground radiation level and pattern of destruction indicate nuclear weapons were detonated, but so far the Iskanders have not located any.

I’ll note here my use of such statements as in the previous paragraph. I could admit that I haven’t worked out these details, and that’s true, but what I am doing is keeping my options open. At a future date and in another novel as yet unplanned, I may want to have my characters affected by a discovery – of a nuclear ground zero in this instance – but until I start that novel I don’t know where I want this to be located. When the novel scenario is fixed I’m free to pull one of these rabbits out of the hat.

At some point in the war the Trigons ran up against the Skathian empire and a larger and more costly conflict ensued. The Trigon’s local levies were no match for the Skathian nomadic cavalry and so the star cruiser, called the Sky Thunder in Skathian memory, was used to decimate threatening Skathian armies. This resulted in the Skathian power being reduced in capability by the time the star cruiser became too unservicable to fly. In the same way that a nuclear submarine must return to its home port to be taken out of the water and literally stripped apart for maintenance, the star cruiser needed a maintenance facility on a world it could not reach. The Trigon armies fought on against the weakened Skathians without their air support, and were able to fight them to a draw, settling with a treaty that established buffer states to keep their peoples and armies apart. This is the treaty that the activity of the Iskanders has placed in jeopardy, as outlined in The Wildcat’s Victory when Gisel was able to use the peril to her and Iskander’s advantage. What? That doesn’t sound very ‘Golden Rule’. They might be our ‘good’ side and our heroine, but geopolitics is a rough game.

So that brings the Gaian history forward approximately another hundred years, but I’m not finished with the Trigons yet. There’s Qeresh and the renegade Trigons, as well as the Imperial decision to freeze Gaian technology to come. I’ll cover that in the second part of the Trigon story next time.

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