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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Hello, dear readers.

Back in 2012, when the Crusader Kings 2 was released, i started writing an AAR about the Hautevilles in South Italy. The Normans were successful and the AAR ended with the world conquest in 1350.

Here is the link to AAR:

De Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?

I did not bring Normans to EU IV because it would have been a total overkill. After all, you control all of Europe, you will have an easy time taking the rest of the world too. But when Stellaris was announced, i started playing around with the idea of bringing the Hautevilles to space. And you know what, that I did. As the game came out, I started an AAR called

De Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Space Invasion?

But then came out Heinlein patch and Leviathan story pack and it changed much and well, the promise of space dragons. Come on, Normans and space dragons would be a match made in heaven! In short, i wanted a restart, and now what you are seeing is the New and Improved Hauteville Empire. Hopefully, with a better story and less typos.

Also, i'm blatantly copypasting first four chapters here, filling 800 years of history and telling how Normans came from Medieval Lords to masters of the Earth and how the Hauteville Empire changed over time.

Table of Contents:

Prequel or how the Hauteville Empire took over the world and got into space

How the Hautevilles Came to Be
Normans Can Into Space!
Miyuki Hauteville-Tokugawa
Tokugawa Station

Taking the first steps into nearby universe:

First Jump
Hauteville Empire in 2200
First Encounter(s)
Unuk
How to Steal a Planet
The Story of John Hauteville-Murdoch
Tuscany
Living Ships
Beyond the Great Emptiness
Exempts from Personal Log of Hideyoshi Hauteville Tokugawa

Moving beyond the initial borders:

Fatu Hiva
Small Steps Ahead
Never Trust Something Cute
The Grand Ceremony
Grinding Lattice
Short overview of the Hauteville Empire, 2224-2229

Destruction of Uriy Directorate

Uriy Directorate
Battle of Uri’Dath
Breaking Through to Uriya
The City of Tornegi
Invasion of Uraya


Ladies and gentlemen, i give you the Hauteville Empire:

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hjarg

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How the Hautevilles Came to Be

Great things always start small, minor and insignificant. And most small, minor and insignificant things never grow to be great things. But sometimes, all you need is an opportunity, some determination and a spark. Then minor things grow and suddenly, everyone looks back and wonders how we didn’t see that coming. It was obvious, after all. From a hindsight at least.

Rise of the Normans

It wasn’t so obvious in Southern Italy, more then 1000 years ago. During the beginning of 11th Century. Normans joined the conflicts between Lombards, Arabs, Byzantine Empire and Papal State. As mercenaries. Of them, 12 sons of Tancred de Hauteville, a minor noble in Normandy, managed to gain more power then anyone else- and soon, instead of becoming mercenaries, they became lords and landowners in Southern Italy, fighting now for themselves, instead of their masters.

Soon, the Normans started to extend their influence. Robert Guiscard himself took Palermo, his son, Bohemond I (1074-1115), crowned himself a King and took rest of Sicily.

sicily026.jpg

Bohemond, the first Hauteville King

Grandson of Bohemond, Asclettin the Great (1126-1161) is to this date, one of the most fondly remembered Hauteville rulers. Mostly because he won a war lasting a decade against the Caliphate, the most powerful nation at the time, weakening the enemy greatly. Then, he took the fight to them and took first Galilee and then Jerusalem from Muslims. Grandson of Asclettin, another Bohemond (1161-1193), finished the conquest of Jerusalem, created Kingdom of Jerusalem and then, created Hauteville Empire. Though overall conclusion was though that “not as great as Asclettin”

sicily072.jpg

Asclettin, finishing off the First Crusade

Turquetil I (1197-1244) made one change that forever changed the fate of Norman Empire and rest of the world. He adopted Catharism, becoming a heretic and outcast in the Catholic world. And then, he went on spreading the faith. His vassals succumbed easily, his population too and by the time he died, Normans had not taken only the entire coast of North Africa, but also almost controlled the Mediterranean coast from Iberian Peninsula to Byzantine holdings. And of course, the City of Rome.

sicilia002.jpg

The fateful decision

Adelise I (1245-1304) is the most celebrated ruler of the Normans. Alongside with Asclettin of course. During her time, Normans took England, half of France, Hungary and countless other countries. Turquetil ended with 4 Kings as vassals. Adelise ended with 21. But this is not why she is remembered. No, she had two special feats. First, she destroyed the Horde of the Golden Horde in battle of Kairy, destroying the plague that threatened Europe. Second, she managed to get herself elected as the Basilissa of the Byzantine Empire (and by managed, i mean murdered her way through). A few month later, she recreated the Roman Empire.
She also changed the succession of Hauteville Empire to elective and allowed women much more power then they used to have.

sicily455.jpg
sicily418.jpg

Two main feats of Adelise.

Sayer I (1304- 1349) was a grandson of Adelise. By the time he came to power, Normans had conquered about half of the known world. It had taken them two and half centuries. During his 45 years in power, Sayer I took the other half. By the time he was finished, there were only 5 provinces of the known world that were Norman. His son, Joscelin I, took over and by 1350, Normans were masters of the known world.

ck2_map_44.jpg

Sayer I did almost manage to get the world

Expansion of the Normans

Emphasis on the “known world” part though. While Hautevilles might be the absolute rulers of Europe and Near East, there was still rest of the world, woefully free of Norman influence. Well, the Hautevilles were not ones to be discouraged by that and bravely went to explore and conquer brand new lands. And since they already controlled Persia, the next target was obvious- India. For the next century, Normans fought there, claiming one province after another. Same time, Normans moved on towards Africa, though there, tropical climate was more of an obstacle then the local tribes.

India was conquered by 1463. At the same time, Emperor Asclettin II dismantled the Roman Empire and once again took the title of Hauteville Empire. The reason was simple- this was no more Roman Empire then they Holy Roman Empire was. Normans were not Romans, there were no Legions, no-one was wearing togas and apart from half-hearted attempts to adopt more Roman outlook, the Normans remained Normans. But mostly because Hauteville Empire had dwarfed the Romans.

The whole 16th Century was seeing results of Norman explorers- trying to find the western way to China and discovering two new continents in the progress. Normans spent a happy century, colonizing and conquering. At the same time, Normans finalized the conquest of Africa, advanced themselves towards Siberia and moved north and east from India.

new%2Bworld.JPG

First Normans arriving in America

China was one of the final targets. Along with the Korea- they were taken in series of wars in 17th Century. The business as usual- some welcomed their new overlords, some resisted, most were indifferent. At least, the people were not forced to work on a wall no more- like some wall could stop Norman cannons. Oh yes, cannons, for Normans were not standing still. By the end of conquest of India, the things that made Normans great during Medieval Ages, heavy knights with lances, were just a part of romantic history. When the conquest of China begun, cannons, foot soldiers armed with rifles and light cavalry was now the mainstay of Norman forces. At the same time, Normans discovered and colonized the last continent, Australia.

The final nation on Earth that was still free was Japan. Island nation that understood the most basic thing- in order to remain independent, one has to have control of the seas. So, Japan had built a wooden wall around their island. The thing is, wooden wall became outdated when in 1809, Norman fleet led by the Emperor Robert IX de Hauteville, attacked Japan. Not an ordinary fleet though, rather, a fleet powered by steam and with ships clad in iron. Impervious to attacks from Japanese fleet, not dependent on wind and with powerful cannons and rams, the Japanese fleet stood no chance. Disheartened by the defeat, the nation surrendered. De Hautevilles finally ruled the world!

Uss_Cairo_h61568.jpg

Towards Japan!

Changes in the Hauteville Empire

Of course, the Hauteville Empire in the 12th Century was something completely different from the Hauteville Empire in the 22th Century. Changes were gradual though and are a good example of old feudal system transitioning into modern society. Well, in case of Earth, it is the only example.

Feudal society remained in place for most of the Norman conquests. Vassal Kingdoms and Free Cities under Emperor, while the Emperor controlled only Sicily directly. It seemed to work. Though the power of vassals was different- from Kingdom of Navarra, just a few provinces, to Kingdoms of Egypt and Persia and others, one thing was clear- Emperor was still the most powerful. And surprisingly, this system kept on working without much flaws. There were rebellions, but they were rebels going against Norman rule, not Normans rebelling against their Emperor. And for an Empire where the sun never sets, strong local rulers who are able to adapt quickly to changing conditions is much better then centrally managed system. Still, the rule of an Emperor was absolute. He just wasn’t there most of the time...

When the telegraph was invented in 1789, it all changed though. In a decade, the whole Norman lands (or basically, whole Earth) was covered with network of wires. Underwater cables through the oceans, wires across the great mountains and endless deserts. The news that took weeks, if not months, to arrive in Palermo, now took hours. It took away the need for relatively uncentralized vassal kingdoms, but surprisingly enough, things worked out in different pattern.

telegraph-wires-many-of-which-would-have-connected-tickers-created-a-tech-y-canopy-above-downtown-manhattan.jpg

Typical street view of any Norman city aftr the invention of telegraph. This one is from New York.

Hautevilles had been elective monarchy since times of Augusta Adelise. In time, the number of Kings who had the vote reached 100, then 300, then 500 and finally, it was over a 1000. Though the will of the Emperor was still with heavy weight and not once did the power leave the hands of Hauteville main line, it was always a choice between Emperor’s brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren.

The same time, crazy little things called parliaments had been popping out all around the world in 18th Century. People wanted to have more say in matters of the state and several Hauteville rulers had accepted the divided power. Some openly, some more reluctantly. Sometimes, a change of generation was needed before the change was made. Of course, the parliament members were Normans, electors were Normans (regardless of sex though), but that was a change.

When Robert IX de Hauteville was elected as an Emperor in 1802, it was for the first time in history when some Kings, like Egypt, England and New Zealand, abolished their right to elect the new Emperor and gave it to representative of their parliament. In 1840, it was majority and during the election of Asclettin XII in 1875, it was all. That time, it was decided that the electors would stay in Palermo, making it permanent parliament. Three years later, Asclettin XII made one of the most radical changes in the political system of the Hauteville Empire- he declared everyone Norman, granting universal suffrage to entire world.

British_House_of_Commons_1834.jpg

Artists drawing of the first Parliament session in Palermo. Soon, they were moved to a place with better lighting conditions...

It was change the Norman way though. Though soon, the parliament nominated the ruling cabinet, led by a Chancellor and took over everyday ruling of the Empire, the Hautevilles didn’t give up power. Rather, they delegated it. Emperor remained in absolute control, with power to override any decision done by parliament or government. To be fair, they used it rarely, rather trying to influence the parliament to move to towards the way Hautevilles wanted to.

It changed even further though. By 1914, the computers (oh yes, first mechanical computers came in the beginning of 19th Century and digital computers in the middle of the 19th Century) were advanced enough that most people could afford one- and then, the Internet happened. Worldwide instantaneous exchange of information. First, it was for a few technical freaks, but soon, it grew and in a decade, almost everyone was using it. Now, the big question was- is it usable to anything else besides instant access to porn everywhere and in 1930, engineers came up with an answer. Government issued every one of their citizens a digital signature card that holds a secure chip and allows user to be authenticated online. The most logical application was the comfort of attending an election from your home. It grew widely popular, in both electing the local parliament, representatives of Hauteville Parliament in Palermo. In 1941, the system was changed once more- now, all citizens could vote on daily matters, making the parliament more or less the preparer of the proposals. This was the most democratic of the government models, and with total freedom of information, this boosted the Hauteville Empire even further. And all the nutjobs could most of all hope to become vocal minority.

2154647t100hc4cd.jpg

The tool for a change- smartcard issued by Norman government

The final logic step was the common election of the Emperor. When Empress Hermessent II died in 1954, it was the first Earth-wide election for the new Emperor, where everyone could vote for one. The attendance ratio was around 99% and Roscelin I was elected to become a new Emperor with 41,65% lead. During the life of Roscelin, the system was changed once more and the process was divided into two phases- first round where all candidates are attending and the second round, where two candidates who won most of the votes would attend. Of course, the only candidates were still brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren of the current Emperor/Empress and usually before death, the current ruler would nominate someone as their heir- and that still carried hell of a bonus to the named candidate. Between 1954 and 2200, there was just two cases where the designated heir of an Emperor failed the election.

This model of society had now been happening for over 250 years. Parliament, with reduced power. Citizens deciding pretty much anything. Ruled over by Hauteville kings. And above them all, an Emperor (or an Empress) of the Hauteville power, ruling with absolute power, but being elected by the populace. And using that absolute power on an average once per decade.

“Only humans,” as one of the alien diplomat put it later “Are stupid enough to use several conflicting and mutually exclusive ruling systems at the same time, are stubborn enough to make it work and are crazy enough to feel extremely prideful of the system.”

Palermo and Hautevilles

Then, there was the City of Palermo. Imperial capital. Grandest City on Earth. In the Island of Sicily. Literally. Over time, the city grew until in 21st Century, it encompassed the whole island. Over 50 million citizens there, with buildings built on the sea, because there was no room in the mainland. This includes the main spaceport. And several built on foot of Mount Etna. Medieval buildings next to modern skyscrapers. Still plenty of green around, for there was plenty parks, and the Imperial residence, taking up few square kilometres, was traditionally low, sparsely built and green. Overall, the City of Sicily, as it was called nowadays, was declared (yet another) eight world wonder.

skyscrappercity.jpg

Palermo in 2200

As for Hautevilles themselves- they retained habit to multiply. And habit of matrilineal marriages. By 2200, there were enough of them that if you wanted to organize a family reunion, you’d have to rent a medium-sized Kingdom for that. That the Hautevilles occasionally did, actually. And you’d have to make family photos from orbit. The headcount in 2200 was 14 549 961 live Hautevilles running around. The practice of Hauteville nepotism never really disappeared, and if you had Hauteville in your name, your life was going to be easier. Especially in the military. But Hautevilles had always been about merit as much as name, so you still couldn’t get anywhere if you were Hauteville, but dumb. The Hautevilles reached a number of million at 18th Century. Since then, there was practice of forming “clans” within the Hautevilles. Mostly it involved adding wife’s (or husband’s) family name to the Hauteville name. Or the name of some distinguished foremother/forefather. This was to distinguish different Hautevilles- there were just too many Robert Hautevilles running around. It was formalized in 1876- only Emperor and his/her children and grandchildren could use just Hauteville as family name. Others would use “clan” identifier, like Hauteville-Dregnots. And over time, Hauteville became less of a family name and more of a title. You still had to be married to a Hauteville to become one, making the boys and girls of the clan always a good catch.
 

hjarg

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Normans Can Into Space!

After Japan was conquered in 1809, the Normans were in a bit of bind. For there was no-one left to conquer. But Normans loved their warfare. Yes, there were rebels, but fighting them wasn’t really as fun as total all-out war. And during the time, there were fewer and fewer people wanting to rebel as well. For two reasons- especially during the latter years, becoming conquered by Normans was usually a step up for an average peasant. Second, as soon as there was an open rebellion, Normans from all over the world gathered. Rebellion-tourism, it was called. See strange new places and beat some peasants into submission.

Still, the army needed a goal. Or the infighting would have torn the Empire apart. Well, luckily, some Normans were busy gazing at stars, not fighting. By the end of 18th Century, it was well-established fact that not only was Earth not center of the Universe, the Universe was way bigger then anyone dared to dream. And most likely, humans were not the only intelligent species in our galaxy, let alone the entire Universe. Also, there would be most likely new, habitable worlds, waiting for colonization.

Norman Space Force was founded in 1820 by Robert IX. That was a feat, considering not a soul knew how to get to space. But minor details, minor details. Five years later, the Space Force was the biggest part of the Norman army, with over a million soldiers. Also, the funding was the best and prestige for getting accepted there- enormous.

artillery.jpg

March of the first Norman Space Horses.. khm, Space Forces

There was training. For example, for fighting in worlds with high gravity, the Normans developed a special combat suit that added to the mass of person and making it more cumbersome. Also, equipment was made heavier. As soon as the planes were invented, there were trainings on landing on hostile worlds. As soon as first tanks were put into field, Space Force put fighting in them into their agenda. And so on.
There was theory. Over time, there were fully developed theories on how to handle first contacts, how to fight aliens strategically, how to deal with conquered populace, how to win space battles and how to manage the logistics of a planetary invasions. Or logistics of colonizing a new world. Some of these theories turned out to be stupid. Some didn’t.

There was also getting into space. First “rocket” was launched just a few month after creation of space forces. Gunpowder-based. From a cannon. It didn’t go well. Only killed a goat luckily. But, with all the resources on Earth dedicated to getting out of here, you can do wonders. Unlimited funds attracting the best scientists around, enough money to do the test and so on. In 1857, it was finally first success. Unmanned rocket left the Earth atmosphere and left a first satellite in orbit. Followed by first manned spaceflight in 1861 and first Moon landing in 1869. At the same time, first missions to Mars begun. First spacecraft photographed Mars in 1875. First unmanned craft landed there in 1905.

FETMlaunch.jpg

First try of space flight. Goes under "not the best idea". Luckily, unmanned.

The Moon became something of a symbol. Despite the horrendous costs of a Moon mission, Hauteville Empire continued it. Every three years, new astronauts were sent there. It became easier when the first habitable space station was constructed in 1914 and in 1932, first ship, called Asclettin I, was constructed in space. Transport shuttle that was able to fly to the Moon and back, dock with the station, get repairs and retrofits there. It was a huge undertaking- getting all the parts to the orbit. Getting fuel to the orbit. Building it in zero gravity. In the end though, the costs of a Moon mission dropped tenfold.

buzzaldrin_960pxmoon_apollo11.jpg

Normans on the moon

Despite the progress, there were problems. First was the distances. I’m not going to tell anything about lightyears needed to get to the closest starts. I’m talking about distance within the Solar system. The primitive propulsion systems meant that even when Mars and Earth were as close as possible, it would take at least half a year to get there and back. That is a half a year supply of oxygen, food, entertainment, water and fuel. It was simple- it was not the money stopping it, it was the logistics. It was catch 22- to house that, you’d need a bigger spaceship. That means more engines, more power, more fuel. Meaning even bigger spaceship. And even more fuel and propulsion needed. It just wasn’t possible to build a ship of that size, even with all the resources on Earth at your disposal.

But challenges are meant to be overcome. New solutions, like solar sails. Faster engines, with more efficient power-usage. Eventually, engineers and scientists reached a point where the trip time was cut down to month and fuel costs was just a quarter of the original. It was then when HTV Rollo was built. Named after viking who settled in/conquered Normandy. It was a special ship for many reasons. It was built in space, though so was Asclettin-series moon shuttle. It dwarfed that though, reaching over 70 meters in height and 10 meters in width. It was able to house a crew of four (with tight space, but still enough to give the crew some common areas and also some privacy during the long voyage), could carry around 5 metric tons of cargo and was also equipped with landing craft. As the first spaceship ever, it also had no jettisonable parts, so after the mission was over, one just had to refuel, recheck everything, curse a bit, resupply and then, head out again. So, for the first time in the history of humanity, a brave crew set sail into the unknown, leaving Earth and Moon far behind. They reached Mars, landed there, gathered some samples, encountered no aliens and found no pyramids or mysterious faces and then headed back. The journey took one month and one week. Since it was Rollo-class, after two weeks, the vehicle was ready and set sail again after two weeks. Destination- Mars again. Since the planet positions were not as favourable no more, it took two and a half month. The year was... 2016. The human Norman expansion in the Solar System had begun.

serenity_outer_space_planets_earth_firefly_spaceships_vehicles_1280x960_wallpaper_Wallpaper_1680x1050_www.wall321.com.jpg

First of Rollo-Class corvettes

From there, it was series of successes. Soon, manned missions to Venus and even Mercury took place, though no humans were able to land there. Too bad conditions. New, even more advanced propulsions made it possible to leave inner ring and in 2054, first Rollo Mk II completed journey to Jupiter, with landings in Io and Europa. Finally, in 2092, a manned mission to Pluto and Charon took place, this time, in Rollo Mk IV. With this, mankind had reached every bigger body in Sol system and had walked on some of them.

Pluto-01_Stern_03_Pluto_Color_TXT.jpg

With arrival to Pluto, formally known as planet, they reached to outer reaches of the Solar System

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Norman Space Invasion wasn’t all progress and success and heroic deeds. The Space Forces had their share of tragic accidents, mismanagement, pure stupidity, pretty rivalry and since the generous funding they always received, the most common thing was embezzlement. Bad leaders happened. Bad decisions happened. Sometimes, shit happened. But despite these setbacks, Normans advanced steadily. And space became kind of obsession to almost all population of the Earth.

The obsession with space came back with some bonuses for an average Norman though. The need to develop cheaper, more efficient engines also resulted in fast suborbital civilian shuttles that can take you from Palermo to anywhere in the world in just a few hours (same applies to army divisions). Of course, the Internet. The terraforming theory was put to practice all over the world, with the most notable being first stopping the expansion of Sahara desert and then, reversing the progress until all of the biggest desert on Earth was lush and green. Yea, it took a century, but what’s a century. Also minor things- faster communication, better home appliances, faster computers, better infrastructure and so on. And hovercars!

lamborghini_hover_car_by_dqsanchez-d8jeueq.jpg

Byproduct of space exploration- you can drive around in one of these!

Now, it was just a question of escaping the Sol system and going beyond. Question left seriously unresolved. The Journey, as it was usually called in capital letters, to Alpha Centauri, would still take two decades of travelling there and the same amount back. Cryogenic freezing was proposed to keep the needs of the crew to minimum, but even the amounts of fuel needed made the journey questionable and the need for too much automation or pilots who spend 40 years piloting. You’ll get the picture...
 

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Miyuki Hauteville-Tokugawa

When Robert IX de Hauteville conquered Japan in 1809, he gave the Kingdom to be ruled by his third son, Roger. There, the young King met a princess. Named Miyuki Tokugawa. daughter of the previous ruler, Hideo Tokugawa (also, incidentally, new Prime Minister of Japan- Hautevilles knew how to show leniency). The couple got married, had five children and lived happily ever after.

Now, skip seven generations and you’ll get another Miyuki. Her lineage to Roger was clear, but since her ancestor was fourth child of Roger and Miyuki, the family had long lost any claims to Japanese throne. Her parents- her mother was a General in Japanese Defence Forces and her Father was a minister of Finance, same country. As for Miyuki, the girl had one dream- to get to space. Pilot a ship. To go where no Norman had gone before. Determined as a kid, obsessed as a teenager. Obsessed not in a way that “Mom and Dad, i want to be a pilot, make it happen”, for even the Emperor’s offsprings had to pass the all the exams and tests with flying colours. Being a Hauteville held no advantages there. Obsessed in a way she prepared herself physically and went above and beyond the school curriculum to get the knowledge she needed to get there.

And a good thing that she was obsessed with it too, for to get to space, you needed to get into Space Academy in Palermo. Believe me, the competition was high. Academy was divided into three parts- Science, Space Navy and Ground Forces. The grunts were the most numerous, but even to these positions, there were on average 25 candidates for one position. The Science meant that once you got in and did well, you’d have nearly unlimited funding, so we were talking about 50 candidates for position. Plus, there was also good chance that you can get into space, and into far-away missions. And Space Navy meant you’d get to go out there, perhaps fly a ship- the most popular of all, with over 150 candidates per position. Miyuki got in in 2121. To be honest, it was her third and final attempt and she was 21 at the time.

Two years later, she got into space! Well, she got there before as well, short flights to the Moon and back and such. But in 2123, she was the pilot of Rollo Mk VI class corvette, taking a crew of three scientists and one captain to one-and-half month tour Io, Jupiter’s moon, and back. Of course, she was not the first there, first mission to Io and Jupiter was 2054, but it was still an achievement, and an honour granted only to the most promising students.

Though, she was just yet another brilliant student in the Space Academy. All changed in the next year though. In 2124, she was attending an advanced space theory class. You know, the one where average person looks at the math involved and finds much better things to do. Preferably on the other side of the Earth. Even most of her coursemates were bored, for they really didn’t need it to be good pilots and captains and engineers and navigators and such. Besides, the subject wasn’t the easiest and you had just to pass and so on. Miyuki was captivated. She followed the professor Thomas Mgumbe while doing math in her own notepad (and by notepad, i mean highly advanced portable computer with processing power dwarfing the supercomputers of today, of course). Later, in interviews, she described what happened as a gut feeling or sudden inspiration.

Basically, what happened was that she discovered was not an error in the math. Rather, an omission. If a certain condition is added to the formula, the results would be different, resulting in a bit different structure of the space. She quickly run the calculation again. And then, once again. The omission was still there- she was correct. And, if she was correct, it meant that there was a way of bending space, opening a portal between to points of space. Wormhole, as science fiction specialist had dubbed it, and the name had stuck. Sounded better then portals as well.

Miyuki rose her hand. It took a while for Professor Robert to notice. After all, he was from Science department, knew full well that Navy was required to attend, but they didn’t really care. So, he was on autopilot. It was a few minutes (and took a strong cough from Miyuki) before he rose his head and gazed at the audience.

“Yes, student?” said the Professor, feeling a bit surprised. It was rare for Navy students to ask additional questions. Or pay much attention.

“Professor, I think there is error in your formulas, or rather, an omission” Miyuki said.

Eyebrows of Thomas Mgumbe reached his hairline. It meant that someone from Navy was actually not only listening, but also thinking with him, doing calculations with him. Well, he thought, this is worth breaking the usual boring routine. If nothing else, these Navy hotshots will most likely pay more attention to their classmate correcting the professors errors. He smirked at the thought of one of these hotshots proving him wrong.

“Very well, miss... emmm...” he checked his notepad quickly for student records, “Emmm, Miss Miyuki, please, project your screen to the main screen. ” He turned his back at the class and stared at the main screen as well.

Miyuki did. The rest of the class livened up for a minute or two, but seeing the girl just went over the formulae once again, explaining it in a more boring and uncertain way then the professor did, they stopped soon paying much attention. Miyuki did continue, not even noticing her coursemates.

Professor did listen though. Intently. Surprised by a good grasp she had over the matter, and deciding silently that for her, this means highest possible score and perhaps a few words of praise added. Until she did arrive at the omission. Adding one factor to the formulae changed pretty much everything, forever changing the things we knew about space and the universe. If the gates of hell would have opened in the middle of classroom, Thomas would have been less shocked. He grabbed his notepad and went over it. Then asked Miyuki to present it again.

Not even bothering to look back, he dismissed the flock of confused sheep. Khm, sorry, rest of the class. “Miss Miyuki, you stay,” he added. Totally unnecessarily. Few of her coursemates stayed as well. He grabbed his phone and called his first colleague:

“Odo, come to the auditorium AC75 now... Yes, I know you have a lecture. This is more important.... You have to see it for yourself... You wouldn’t even believe me if i told you... Ok, good, be here in 15”

Several calls like that and soon, Miyuki was presenting it to eight more people. While waiting, she and professor had gone over some more details and yet, Thomas found no flaws in Miyuki’s logic or conclusions or calculations. At professor’s orders, the skipped the introduction and went straight to omission. The other people’s (ok, other professors) reaction was similar to Thomas’s. They were all dumbfounded first, but after bringing out their notepads, the results were similar. One in particular, elderly one, who had thought the same subject for his entire life, was unwilling to believe at first. But the thing with math is that your belief is not really necessary. After going meticulously over every detail, taking three hours of doing so, even he was forced to concede that there is nothing, just nothing wrong.

Auditorium AC75 was one of the large ones. Capable of housing over 1000 students, it was meant for big general introductory lectures and special cases where it was thought that knowledge of the area was good, but not necessary for big success. Around 17:00, it was packed. No students but Miyuki and few of her coursemates who had stayed and whom nobody was bothered to kick out. As for others, the lowest ranking were phDs from Science department, plus professors from all three departments, plus deans, plus researchers, plus Head of the University. The warm evening sun shone through the many windows, lighting up the room and air conditioners were working with the quiet buzz, but otherwise, the room was silent, when Miyuki started yet another presentation. This time, from the start. Still, around half of the auditorium didn’t have a clue of what she was talking about. And only around 100 of the people here had total understanding of what she was speaking of. There were few hundred more, of course. Some somewhere else on Earth, some in space. But when she came to omission, these people were... well, not as shocked, for the data was already spreading. Fast. But still struck. And in the end, there was a big round of applause.

Later that night Miyuki did another presentation. This time, to Emperor Tancred VI (phD in astrophysics, two successful space missions- one to Ganymedes and one to Kuiper belt before becoming an Emperor) and current chancellor, Alexander Smith (totally clueless) and several other high ranking members of the Empire. This presentation of pure math resulted in two serious cases of migraines, several strong headaches and one euphoric Emperor.

By the morning, Miyuki was no longer a third year student in Space Navy department, but a professor in newly formed Wormhole Physics department. Deemed important enough not to be put under Science, but to be formed separately. Incidentally, so was Thomas Mgumbe.

What is that omission, you ask? The thing is, i am unable to explain it no better then you are able to understand it. And no analogies apply here. No talk about bending paper sheet and such stuff can be even close to describing the wormhole physics. Unless you find a paper sheet that is rigid and unbendable and extremely flexible. At the same time. Or a material that is capable existing in solid, liquid and gaseous form. At the same time. That’s universe for you. You have to a very good physicist to understand even the simplest analogies. And you have to be really dedicated astrophysicist to understand the logic or the math. To grand public, the term Omission kind of stuck. Official term was Hauteville-Tokugawa effect.

This was just a beginning of the story though. Hauteville-Tokugawa effect was discovered in 2124. But it was just a theory. Solid theory, yes. Checked over a hundred times by the most brilliant minds on Earth. Deemed to be true. But just theory is nice to have, what the Hauteville Empire needed was the practical application of the theory. Or, to put it simply, wormhole generator of sorts that gets humans out of Solar system.

The first success came 14 years later. It was in 2138 when Rollo-corvette, converted to automated wormhole generator and sent to Kuiper belt (just in case, you know- better as far away from Earth as possible), followed by five other corvettes, managed to send 1kg of mass 1000km away. Small wormhole opened with 100m accuracy, but this was all the generators of Rollo could afford. It was left there, stranded in space, lifeless.

Wormholes had several problems. First, it was the need of energy, growing exponentially with the distance. In order to cover the distance between starts... well, let’s just say that the original idea of slapping one of these generators to a ship was abandoned this very moment. Second was that large object in space tended to distort the wormhole, so the further away from center of the Solar system, the better.

Second big breakthrough was in 2156, when specially built generator-ship (dwarfing everything the Normans had built thus far, and taking whole five years to complete, with about 1000 tonnes of reactors, capacitors and batteries on board, plus one wormhole generator) was sent to Oort cloud. There, they managed to get a small planetary lander through the wormhole over distance of 1 AU. It did so, with error no more then 1 meter. This experiment showed three things- wormholes were viable technology. And to get to closest star system, you would need hell of a more power. And you have to built it near the edges of the solar system.

As for Miyuki, she piloted one of the ships taking part of the experiment. After that, she was still active, but was getting more older and tired. Her work of getting Normans across the space has taken toll of her energy and in 2162, Emperor Tancred VI personally asked her to retire and enjoy some well-needed vacation. As a parting gift, she received the highest honour in Hauteville Empire- adopted personally by the Emperor (who was about 10 years older then him), she was now considered to be part of the Imperial family (and actually a viable candidate to become the Empress, though she had no interest in it). She retired to small island in Croatian coast, enjoying sunshine and relaxation for the rest of her life. She had two daughters, Emonie and Emma. After the retirement. Wonders of modern medicine, for she was 60 when she retired. She died in 2295, at the age of 95, almost seeing the completion of Tokugawa station. She was missed as one of the great heroes of the Hauteville Empire. She was not buried. She was put into specially-built space coffin and sent towards Alpha Centauri, the system closest to Earth. If everything works out, her body will arrive there in 300 years or so.
 

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Tokugawa Station

After the experiment of 2156, it was clear that the only way to make wormholes work is to build a station in the outskirts of the Solar system. The thing is- in order for the station to be able to send a small fleet out to the the nearest systems, the thing would have to be huge. We are talking at around 300 000 metric tons huge. Most of it would be energy generators and energy storage devices, but the estimate was also that it needs a crew of 400 to be able to run smoothly. That crew has to be supplied with necessities and this crew needs to be housed, giving them enough privacy that they will not go crazy and also some common rooms where they can go crazy. Not to speak of supplying them- food, water and oxygen would mostly come from Earth and supplying something that is about 50 AU away is a challenge on it’s own.

The initial problem was the construction though. The biggest space installation Hautevilles had built was the space station/orbital shipyard around Earth, and that was around 10 000 metric tonnes, crew around 150. Close to Earth, the crew rotation and supplying it was much easier as well. So, basically, engineers had to start planning from the scratch.

The first step was getting the materials there. And the construction crew. And to provide living space for the crew. And enough supplies for extended stay. And... well, you get the picture. You need a fleet of transport ships, large transport ships. You need a few ships that acts as a living quarters for the construction crew. You need something faster and smaller that act as supply and minor transportation ships. You need also to be very careful about planning and inventory, for picking up forgotten welder 50 AU away is not an option.

So, to rephrase it, the first step would be expanding the orbital factory in Earth, so it is able to produce such a large ships- and the components of the Tokugawa station. Meaning, back to the drawing board. The initial plans took almost a decade to iron out, to debate and to come to a conclusion that was viable both financially and within human capability.

The Plan was ready in 2165. The station would be named Tokugawa station to honour the other side of the family of Miyuki Hauteville. It including expanding the current space station to a point where it is capable of producing transport ships what can take up to 10 000 tonnes of cargo. Total 10 of these, with 5 needed for the initial construction. Living quarter ships or basically, portable space stations. Two needed, both needed for initial construction. Smaller and faster supply ships, for crew rotation and to bring food and water and picking up forgotten welders. At least 20. Current estimate, 30 years. The bill failed at Parliament, for the costs were astronomical. End of discussion, right? Nah! Though Emperor Tancred VI could have just overridden the decision, he took a different approach- he sent out an Imperial decree, forcing Parliament to put it up to a vote for all Normans. In happened in early 2166, and the bill was approved by overwhelming 81.56% majority (and 88,65% of people bothered to vote).

Expansion of spaceship factory in the Earth’s orbit begun next year. The original plan was to complete the job in 5 years, but you know, space, difficult conditions and learning-as-you-go, for building something as huge as that was first time for Normans. It was in 2176 when the spaceport was expanded enough that it could start producing the larger ships. First transport ship came out of docks in 2179. Again, some problems, like never having to build anything that large. But by 2185, all the five ships were orbiting around Earth and were slowly filling up by initial parts of the space station.

Next, the space factory took the ships for the crews. Though outside, they looked pretty much the same as the transports, it was a different matter on the inside. Both able to keep 100 members of the construction crew in, plus huge supplies of air, food and water. And emergency supplies and quarters, in case something goes horribly wrong. Some hydroponics to reuse oxygen and grow some fresh food. Viewing decks. Small amount of chicken and pigs to get the fresh eggs and meat. And such. Short story- complicated. Even more so then the transport ships. They took another five years to complete.

Space station parts and smaller shuttles proved to be less of a challenge. These were being built simultaneously with the crew ships and space station parts were laden to transports as they were completed.

Another year for final preparation and in 21st March 2191, the fleet set to sail. Big, bulky transport ships and crew ships, followed by 10 new small supply ships flew in formation, sailing across the Solar System. They arrived at predetermined point, 51 AUs away from the Sun, in 14th September. The next day, construction started.

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Initial construction and live ship fleet passing Mars

First was the habitability module. For a simple logic- get it up and running and your construction crew will have much more spacious living quarters and you can have more of them. And you free up two ships. And by summer of 2193, the station was ready enough that the crew could move in. Not ready, but air-tight, rotating and free of risks of sudden decompression.

Now comes the hard part though. Fitting in wormhole generators, fitting in power generators, fitting in batteries. Meaning, the bulk of the station. And of course, the supply problems. In the end, there were 10 transport ships, but since the journey to Earth and back took about a year, there were still shortages. Though new generation of engines was discovered, retrofitting the existing ones takes also time and it was deemed that the hell with it, let them slug through space. In the end, the work started to become finalized by the summer of 2199. First members of the station crew, apart from command, who had been there from a start, started to move in in spring 2199.

The station became operational in 21st October 2199. It was a feat of engineering- and it was a miracle, for there were only minor injuries and no death in the construction crew. Two days later, first wormhole was opened. Destination- Alpha Centauri. This was just a test of how the systems worked though. As predicted, the energy drain was horrible, but station’s power supply was well within limits. It took a bit over three weeks to recharge the capacitors though. It was in 16th November 2199 when the second wormhole was opened. First man-made object entered through it and for the first time in history of mankind, the shackles of the Solar System held them no more. It was an automated probe that stayed for two minutes and then turned back, bringing first pictures of another solar system with them.

The first manned mission was just month away...

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Tokugawa Station, Gateway of Humanity to rest of the Galaxy

Emma Hauteville

Emma Hauteville was the second daughter of Miyuki Hauteville, born in 2165. She followed her mother’s footsteps, entering the Space Academy’s Navy department in 2184 and completing is with honours. She became one of the shuttle pilots, ferrying goods and crew back and forth between Earth and Tokugawa Station. She became a hero of the Hauteville Empire in 2194, when her quick reaction, wits and personal bravery managed to avert a horrible accident with one of the transport ships.

She spent quite a time in Tokugawa Station. There, she met grandson of Emperor Tancred VI, Bohemond. He was a few years older then Emma, graduated Space Academy in wormhole physics and engineering and was overseeing the installment of capacitors. Down-to-earth fellow, popular amongst his co-workers, for he never let his status get in the way and he was never shy of getting his hands dirty. The two hit of instantly. Love was in the space... and in 2197, they got married by Commander of the Tokugawa Station. It was at the end of Bohemond’s rotation anyway and the couple spent three months of honeymoon in cramped quarters of the shuttle. The young couple planned to take a few month really off, find some nice tropical island and enjoy life and each other.

Alas, that was not to be. Tancred VI, the Emperor, passed away and it was time to elect the next Emperor. The youngsters were still a month away from Earth when the news struck- first round of elections is over and the two remaining candidates as ruler of the Empire are Emma and Bohemond. Remember, Miyuki was adopted by Tancred, so Emma became a grandchild of the Emperor, making her a possibility. But the choice of people is sometimes unpredicted. This is the first time in Hauteville history when a husband and wife go against each other in the final round. The next round, held two days later, resulted in Emma winning against Bohemond with 55,86% (total 92,25% of people voted). Now, the Hautevilles had a new ruler, Empress Emma I. The highest honour given to the daughter of Miyuki. And even better- with Bohemond as her husband, the original line of Hautevilles still keeps the throne. And her offsprings are still direct descendants of Tancred de Hauteville and Robert Guiscard de Hauteville.

Starting their journey as a pilot and wormhole physicist, they returned in 2nd December 2197 to Earth and Empress and Emperor. It was fitting choice for the Hauteville Empire, who were just about to take a giant leap towards the stars.

Babylon_5_1x02_013.jpg

Emma Hauteville enjoying some free time in Tokugawa Station's cantina.
 

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First Jump

Bohemond Hauteville, Emperor Consort, husband of Empress Emma and commander of the small Hauteville fleet of three ships, was standing in the command deck of Cobra, one of the new corvettes. The Tokugawa station was within range and everything ready for the most important event in the history of mankind. For the first time, the humanity would leave the cradle of the Sol System beyond them and move to new world.

Sirius was picked as a first target. For long, astronomers were suspecting that one of the planets orbiting the system would be earth-like. Of course, not a chance to confirm it until now- so, it was thought to be a good idea to check it out. So, in 6th February 2200, the small fleet was ready. Bohemond was comfortably sitting in his admiral chair and basically, everything was ready. Triple-checked. And then once more, just in case. Now, it was just case of final push of the buttons. Of course, it was not Bohemond who would be doing that. He’s the commander of the fleet, he has people for that. And pretty much for everything else. Some days, he was grateful they allowed him to put on his pants.

That’s what you get for being promoted from brilliant engineer and wormhole specialist to fleet commander. But you need brilliant engineer and wormhole specialist for the first run, and you need to give him control in case things get wrong. So, you take a poor lad, just married, crush any hopes he has for a honeymoon, give him a fleet and say “Go make history, honey!”. Oh yes, the honey part- of course, it was Emma’s decision to send him. For the mission needed the best, and Bohemond was. Thus, there he was, and thus, that’s why he is sitting in a comfy leather chair, surrounded by coldness of the space, in the outskirts of the Solar System. That’s why wasn’t warming his feet in hot sands of Aruba, his beautiful wife at his side.

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Outside Tokugawa Station

Yes, there he was, sitting. Most of the crew of Corba in the bridge with him. Apart from engineering crew, who were happily chirping around the warp block of the ship. Bohemond wished he could be there too, but that’s the thing- being a commander meant that someone else does the tinkering.

The crew looked at him, expectantly, as he gave command to open line with Tokugawa station and started speaking:

“Tokugawa station, this is commander Hauteville speaking. Everything ready at your side?”

“Hello, Exploration Fleet. All ready here. Your side?”

“All systems green”

“Ready to initiate jump at your command, Exploration Fleet.”

“Initiate jump, Tokugawa Station,” Bohemond said.

That was the cue for a lot of people to start pressing buttons and communicating with each other, both on stations, on Corba and two other ships, Iwamoto and Soobrazitelny. As for Bohemond, he had done his job and was now monitoring the progress on the monitors. Silently, for there was no need to interfere no more.

Then, it happened. An eerie white light filled the part of space there were in, encompassing all the ships and turning everyone in the bridge unnaturally pale.

“Worm is opening, everything is green,” said the navigation officer. Bohemond nodded. Then, he spoke with a calm, though a bit trembling voice, “Tokugawa Station, report, please.”

“Exploration Fleet, this is Tokugawa. Everything is as predicted. Wormhole is opening. Estimated time until full opening, 14 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes.”

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Jump time, 15 days. Still much faster then the conventional flight though.

Suddenly, the voice of Empress Emma filled the ship: “Glad to see you’re not disintegrated, dear husband. And i wish everyone good luck on your historic journey.”

Of course Emma was there, in the Tokugawa. Where else would the Empress be but there? In a moment like this. And of course, she took the journey to Tokugawa on Cobra. Though she spent most of her time being a young, still learning the ropes Empress, it was still sort of honeymoon. Second one in space. Just, cramped quarters and not much privacy and terribly short of blue sky and bluer sea and yellow sand. Sadly, fleet and Tokugawa were distant enough that no maternal visits no more.

Bohemond sighed, then looked at the white light, then all the monitors, displaying annoyingly green indicators and then sighed and told the crew: “Dismissed. Everyone, you’re free to go and enjoy yourself.”

As the bridge emptied, he told Alderic, his second-in-command: “You know, the navy recruitment posters never tell you that. “Join the Navy, explore the Space! Embark on a grand adventure!” and all that. But most we do is wait. It took a bit over a month to get to Tokugawa from Earth,” he groaned. “I have taken that trip too many times. And there usually is nothing to do in the long voyage.”

He sighed. “Now, there is even less. The ships are still, the wormhole is generated by Tokugawa and there is pretty much nothing we can do. The boredom, the most common thing you will find in the Navy.”

Alderic just smiled and swept up a copy of “Dungeons and Dragons, 78.25th issue” from under his chair, alongside with a bag full of dice and said: “So, i hear you wanted to be an elven alien-hunter?”

Bohemond just grinned, raised his tablet and send his character sheet to his game master.

Alderic grinned in return and said “Mess hall, 15 minutes. I’ll get John, Tancred, Anna and Mgambe too”

What? Apart from select few individuals who really came looking for adventure and glory, most of the navy consists of nerds. For simple reason- nerds always know how to fill their time. Be it playing tabletop games, video games, researching some topic, building models, reading comics, arguing about superheroes. You name a nerdy thing to do and there is most likely at least a platoon doing it in the Navy. Makes sense too- most of it are indoor activities, plus quite often solitary, and thus a nerd finds a perfect place in the Navy, where he is happy. As opposed to example an avid golfer, who might find the ship a bit limiting. Strange as it might sound, the military and the nerds are a perfect match in this case.

The Jump

14 days, 22 hours and 37 minutes later, Elmandyr, level 20 alien-hunter, ripped his swords from bloody corpse of an evil alien snake-beast king, former ruler of planet Hydrovium. Then he smiled at his companions and rose the swords, still dripping black evil alien blood, towards the purple sky of the planet, claiming victory and thus, saving Earth.

“That was beautiful, that critical,” Anna commented.

Bohemond gleamed and nodded. The holographic image of space wizard Augusta, playing from Tokugawa station, raised her thumbs and nodded: “Perfectly rolled 20, honey! And just when needed” and then changed her appearance back to Emma.

Aldreic checked the watch: “Just in time too! I was afraid we’d gonna have to cut in the middle of the battle, but we managed it just in the nick of time!”

Everyone nodded. As he rose up, Elmandyr transformed into Commander Bohemond and told everyone: “Get to your positions. You have 10 minutes”. All quickly picked up their dice and their stuff and rushed off. Same for Bohemond- he waved good-bye to Emma and rushed to the bridge.

Little more then hour later, all aboard three ships were listening to countdown of Tokugawa.

“Wormhole in 3,2,1”

One could hear the voice of Emma trailing off as she wished “Good luck” to the crew and then, the wormhole opened, sucking all three ships in.
The feeling was more like blinking an eye then anything else. One blink, and the white light was gone, the space looked different, the stars were positioned in an unfamiliar patterns and the blue star of Sirius was shining brightly upon the three Norman ships, so far from home.

The bridge was frantic, people checking all possible readings. “All green,” came one by one. “No hull damage,” Engines report no errors”, “The drift is less then 50 meters,” “Space around is clear, no debris or hostiles,” “Iwamoto reports all green” and that sort of things. Last was the communications, who added to normal “All green, online from Tokugawa. They are hailing us”

Bohemond, heart bursting from joy, told to open the communications and into the main screen came view of control room of Tokugawa. Images of people hugging each other, smiling, cheering, some crying. Champagne being passed around. The Empress taking a gulp from the bottle and smiling through tears.

The same was happening in Cobra and two other ships. The frantic checking ended and transformed into frantic hugging. There was also champagne being passed around and the atmosphere was ecstatic. No words were needed. Well, apart from “We did it, mate!” and that sort of thing.

Of seven billion people of Earth, there were few who didn’t watch the broadcast. After all, it was the mankind taking their longest step thus far. And then, the images of the new system became to pour in. The findings of previous unmanned probes were confirmed- the Sirius system does indeed have a habitable planet and it has very Earth-like conditions, but has no intelligent life. Mankind had left it’s cradle and the new worlds beckon.

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First images of Sirius System and Sirius III

There was no work done, there was no sleep. People left their homes, their beds, their workplaces, gathered in the streets, hugged their neighbours and strangers and celebrated all day long. For one day, the Empire came to halt.

Going Forward

The Norman fleet started the jump back. Again, with 15 days to open the wormhole. Now though, there wasn’t so much time for Dungeons and Dragons. Gathering and analyzing the data received from the new system kept everyone on their toes and even demanded a bit of overtime. But in 15 days time, the fleet arrived back to Tokugawa... and begun to plot yet another jump. The main idea was to do initial survey of all the systems in the wormhole range- and there was over 20 of them. It would take little less then 2 years to map the stars.

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There will be a lot of jumps in the coming days

After the fleet arrived back to Tokugawa, Bohemond and Emma had one final dinner together. Bohemond will be leading the fleet while Emma would travel back to Earth and really start to work as an Empress.

As the dinner was almost over, Emma turned to Bohemond and said, smiling: “You know, there are two of us going back home.”

“Oh?” said Bohemond, inquisitively. Then it dawned to him. “Oh,” he said, feeling loss of words. He felt tears fall down his cheek as he embraced his wife. Tears of joy and tears of sorrow, for he knew that he’d be somewhere in deep space when his first child will be born. But that is the price you have to pay for being a Hauteville.
 

hjarg

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Welcome again, to the New and Improved Hauteville Empire.
As a starter (totally ignoring the 4 previous chapters, of course) i started writing about the new jump and it kinda turned to small short story of it's own. So, enjoy! Proper update most likely tomorrow!
 

TheAnguishedOne

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My, I feel like we've been here before... Let's get this started!
 

zenphoenix

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I just came here from the original AAR and am looking forward to seeing the Hautevilles fight some space dragons!

I've got a few questions. First, will you discuss the impact of discovering extraterrestrial life on Earth religion? I know it's the future, but discovering aliens would shake the very foundations of what's left of Christianity, and seeing that you integrated feudalism and democracy into one unique form of government it makes sense for the Hautevilles to retain some degree of Christian faith. Second, will this reboot be linked to the original in some weird way? I personally think that a Hauteville scientist was messing around with time travel and accidentally sent Earth in 2200 into a parallel universe, but it's your story. And finally, will this AAR have limited interactivity like the previous one?
 

EmperorofMordor

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What could be better than EVEN MORE NORMANS!!! This time with 150% more Space Dragons.
 

Nikolai

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In and ready for another great blast of a ride!
 

hjarg

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Hauteville Empire in 2200

Single solar system is not much, especially not in a galaxy where there is thousand stars. Hauteville Empire, grand as they think they might be, was nothing but a pebble in the sky in 2200. At least, the leaders were well aware of that.

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Just a small pebble in the big-big galaxy

To be completely fair, the Hauteville Empire consisted of 7 stars. Or so they claimed. The thing is, apart from Sirius, no human had yet visited the systems. Let alone discovered what lies within. Or exploited the resources there. At least, with Tokugawa station online, there is finally change for Normans to step beyond the Solar System. There were plans, as there always are, about using civilian transports and civilian ingenuity to start mining these resources, giving Hauteville Empire some of them much needed minerals mostly from taxation and usage fees from wormhole stations, latter still strictly under military control. How that turns out, we shall see.

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Sol and it's nearby systems

Long-distance survey from Earth had at least confirmed that besides Sirius, there is also habitable planets in Alpha Centauri and in Wodriax systems. Though the Wodriax IIa was deemed not to be a good place for humans- and the latter expeditions confirmed it. Most of the time, the small planet was below freezing temperatures, covered in snow and ice and the heating costs plus the requirement to grow all food edible by humans indoors made the project a big no-no at the time. Alpha Centauri on the other hand boasted yet another perfectly Earth-like planet, though slightly smaller then Earth. Sirius was going to be the first one, but the Alpha Centauri looked liked perfect second target. At least, the humanity had room to expand, and the most optimistic of Normans predicted that soon, there will be hundreds of planets, filled with humans. We’ll see how that turns out.

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Not bad for a starting location

Of course, colonizing a planet is more of a logistics nightmare then joyride. Initial population should be at least 10 000 people. Meaning you have to build a ship that can fit said amount of people, plus enough food, water and air to survive several month of journey plus enough seeds, livestock, equipment, manufacturing devices, materials, temporary housing and such so that the colony is able to sustain itself at least for a few years. Then, hopefully, it will be self-sustainable. Besides that, small fleet of transport ships to keep on ferrying goods and new colonists to the newly founded colony. To put it shortly- this was the most monumental task undertaken by the Normans yet.

At least, the Normans had just the dame for the job. Sally Lynch, known theoretic of the expansion beyond the frontier and professor at Space Academy, was put in charge of the project and she promised results in five years.

The other scientists were a rare treat. Atharv Hauteville-Prasad, from the Indian Hautevilles, was a rare treat. When pushing the boundaries of physics, he was beyond compare. As a first thing, he went perfecting the Norman power plant system, promising more efficiency and storage. Isabel Hauteville-Lopez, chief Engineer, is currently working with missiles capable of delivering quite a blast over long distances and delivering it as accurately as possible. She is not as good as Atharv though.

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Three heads of department.

Then, there is fourth chief scientist in the Hauteville Empire. Mmaabo Hauteville-Jakonde. Her task is perhaps the most important of them all. She is captain of Asimov, special vehicle with crew of 50, most of them at least with phD degrees, preferably two. Scientists of most fields of technology, barring the Norman literature ones and such. And the ship is big. Bigger then warships, though it carries no weapons nor has any defensive capabilities. It is filled to the brim with various scientific equipment and houses not one, but two supercomputers. It’s task- to go where just initial survey team had gone before, done the initial mapping and declared the system safe and then, do much more thorough survey of the system and the planets and other celestial bodies. She is the one that tells if Sirius III is fit for colonizing. And the same applies to all other worlds too. As for now, she is doing a test run of Asimov and starts to survey the Sol system.

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Asimov starting her maiden voyage

As for Earth herself, things could be better. Being a bit optimistic had left several areas of the world kind of polluted and some of the places in the planet don’t enjoy the same high standard of living conditions as the people of Palermo do. Slums and waste, to be precise. But all of these problems are fixed by applying enough resources to fix them. Resources that were deemed to be used in better ways, like building a space station on the edge of a Solar System. Now though, with the (hopeful) influx of resources from space, the Earth will be fixed.

Currently, Earth has 7 billion people, with predictions saying that we’ve yet to fill even half of the capacity of the system. In time, Earth will surely grow, even if people leave the planet in search of better places and better fortune elsewhere in the galaxy. Currently though, Empire decided to build additional mining complex, to fuel the expansion. 8 minerals and 3 credits per month just doesn’t cut it.

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Earth. Still underpopulated.

The Hauteville Empire is ruled by Prime Minister Carla Salazar. She had just defeated her opponent in election, she is a fresh ruler and she is definitely pro-space. And definetly ground-based. She supports the agricultural sector, granting small government support and promoting the production of all food, be it fishing or farming or livestock gathering. Smartly too- expecting a skyrocketing demand when the space gets colonized. Most importantly though, she managed to get some very good deals with the private manufacturers of Earth. By promising a lot of orders, she had managed to cut 33% from the price of goods needed to produce mining stations- meaning that in the coming decades, Hauteville Empire will enjoy much cheaper expansion towards the stars.

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Carla is just perfect ruler for the small Empire

Also, she passed a bill in parliament, declaring freedom of information, boosting the science output of the Hauteville Empire considerably. And gave people funny ideas. Funny ideas are bad.

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Good for start, but then, bad-bad-bad

Just a reminder- while the Hauteville Empire might be ruled by Carla Salazar, Carla Salazar and everyone else in the Hauteville Empire are ruled by Empress Emma I de Hauteville. That’s how the system works. Through government, everyone has their say. And through feudal oath of fealty, Emma rules supreme. As do countless barons and counts and dukes and kings, but to a much lesser degree. The rule of Emma is absolute.
 

hjarg

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Just a small overview of Earth's location and situation. Sirius and Alpha Centauri give at least a good colonizing position. We'll see how the rest turns out :)

My, I feel like we've been here before... Let's get this started!

Heh, i am bound to repeat myself to lesser or greater extent. I hope i'll be able to add something new once in a while too. :)

I just came here from the original AAR and am looking forward to seeing the Hautevilles fight some space dragons!

I've got a few questions. First, will you discuss the impact of discovering extraterrestrial life on Earth religion? I know it's the future, but discovering aliens would shake the very foundations of what's left of Christianity, and seeing that you integrated feudalism and democracy into one unique form of government it makes sense for the Hautevilles to retain some degree of Christian faith. Second, will this reboot be linked to the original in some weird way? I personally think that a Hauteville scientist was messing around with time travel and accidentally sent Earth in 2200 into a parallel universe, but it's your story. And finally, will this AAR have limited interactivity like the previous one?

Hello and welcome!
As for religion- i think the Hautevilles have always took a pragmatic approach to religion. When they went crusadin', they didn't go to liberate the home of Jesus. They went to for adventure and prestige and war and well, because controlling the Holy Land granted more power and prestige to he Kingdom of Sicily. When they converted to Catharism, Turquetil didn't do it because he had dogmatic disagreements with the Catholic church. Heck, before converting and even after, i'm not quite sure he could tell the difference between doctrines. He did it because he was annoyed by the pope and wanted to give him a piece of his mind, and also liberated himself from the claimant game and got a blanket CB on all Europe.
Plus, let's not forget the Normans came to space looking for others. The possibility of other species has been discussed for centuries. It will not come as a shock. Well, mostly. And finally, the Hauteville Empire is materialistic, and also mostly atheistic and definitely secular. Catharism is, at least in my head, around the same level of religious fevor as is your average English country vicar.
And dunno, the extraterrestial life and Jesus just brings me the question- did Jesus die for their sins too? :p

Linked to- you know, that was one really good idea. But well, i already started it from fresh canvas.

Interactivity- yes, it will be there. Granted i get a permission from mods. So, expect an election in about after 40 episodes or so.

What could be better than EVEN MORE NORMANS!!! This time with 150% more Space Dragons.

*disclaimer: Space dragons are sold as a different package and their appearance is not guaranteed in current game :p

Signing on for more of the Hauteville's unique governing style.

Hello again! Hope it's the same level of crazy! :p

In and ready for another great blast of a ride!

Welcome-welcome! :) And trying to keep on blasting!
 

TheAnguishedOne

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How would you say this starting point compares to what you had in the original AAR?
 

Nikolai

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Yeah, that would be interesting to hear.
 

hjarg

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First Encounter(s)

“We are going to need new biology textbooks,” said Bohemond. Half-silently.

It got a few chuckles from the crew, though it seemed to be a bit wrong thing to say. The occasion needed something memorable, something that would go down to history, like the famous “Small step for a Norman, one giant leap for Normans”. But the brain of Bohemond refused to produce anything else.

“We are going to need new biology,” corrected his second-in-command.

Bohemond murmured something inaudible in return.

For right on their viewscreen, they saw what looked like a happy family, taking a sunday stroll. Only, they were strolling it in cold, unforgiving vacuum of space. Mother-spacemonster and daddy-spacemonster, several little space monsters in tow, were passing the second planet of Epsilon Indi system like they were on park.

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One happy space-family

“They are alive, right?” Bohemond asked

“According to our scanners, yes. Living, though breathing is still under question,” replied the science officer, eyes glued to monitor, feeding various input from all the sensors.

“Sentient?”

“Hard to tell...”

“What do you mean?” Bohemond asked, his eyebrows rising a bit.

“Sir,” coughed science officer “I just think that with this, we might have to redefine our definition of sentience as well.”

To that, Bohemond didn’t even know how to reply. Once again, there was silence in the bridge. . Everyone just observed the beasts, bigger ones several times bigger then your Norman corvette, moving somehow through the space. Somehow.

“Sir! Our sensors detect them pinging us!” communication officer raised his voice.

“Are they...” Bohemond’s hand automatically went to his collar, to tighten his tie “Hailing us?”

“If they are, we don’t understand it. But it seems like they are scanning us”

“So, they possess enough intelligence to understand we are here, and curiosity to see what we are?”

“And enough temper not to like us here!” there was a bit of panic in communication officer’s voice. “Sir, they are changing course and they are heading towards us. They’re powering up weapons!”

“Weapons?” Bohemond asked. Calmly.

“Or something! Their energy readings just spiked, they are picking up speed and they don’t seem to be friendly!”

“How long until they get here?”

Quick check of data came up with much calmer, though a bit surprised communications officer. “Little over a month, sir”

“Tell Tokugawa to initiate a wormhole,” Bohemond said. And added, with a grim grin,” And let us hope they only know conventional space travel”

Moments later, cheerful voice chirped in: “This is Tokugawa. Initiating jump, please stand by. Starting countdown, 14 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes until wormhole opening”

Then, the Hauteville fleet sat there, motionlessly, drifting in space and waiting for the wormhole to open. At the same time, the happy family space monsters, or amoebas, as they were dubbed, kept on approaching. Luckily, they did not follow the Normans back home. All the time, Norman kept on scanning and trying to open communications, but to no avail. The beasts were not inclined to reply and the scanners showed nothing new. Just the fact that going against the family would be suicide.

Shortly after this, Epsilon Indi was declared no-fly zone.

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Epsilon Indi, where the humans first met another life in outer space.

Sol

At the same time, Mmaabo Hauteville-Jakonde was exploring the Sol system and was also busy redefining the biology known to man. Incidentally, her reaction was quite similar to Bohemond’s. When she first saw the results of the scan, she murmured to herself: “Why the hell did i spend 8 years of my life getting pHD in xenobiology?”

Asimov was stationed in orbit around Jupiter when they caught the signal. Some sort of emergency broadcast. Originating from the Jupiter. The crew checked, then checked again and then once again, just to be sure, but it was clear- the message was coming from the gas giant below. Distress call of a sorts. And if there is distress call, then there is intelligent life below, capable of broadcasting the distress call.

This could mean only one thing. It meant that the Normans came to space, expecting to find that they are not alone. They were willing to see their views challenged, and as we can see from the case of Bohemond, challenged they were. Quite thoroughly. But they were not ready for this- to find that the Solar system does not belong to humans only. Someone else is living here. And, they lived in the most unlikely place- the second largest body in the Solar system, gas giant with over two times the mass of every other body in the Sol.

Jupiter was inhabited. By intelligent life. In gas giant. In a place thought to be incapable of sustaining any kind of life. Incidentally, as was the vacuum of space.

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Jupiter. There are some sort of creatures living there. In Jupiter.

Nobel prize flashing around her eyes and then disappearing, Mmaabo ordered the fleet to move on. The reason- whoever was sending distress calls just didn’t sound desperate enough. And there was much to do, things to discover, and the distress just didn’t seem distressing enough. Or by other words, she knew her and her crew well and decided that with the current tech level, Asimov is yet incapable to properly decipher the language and successfully establish the communications. And this is something too wonderful to be lost forever.

As for rest of the Sol system- it was surprisingly full of resources. The first discovered by Mmaabo was rich energy deposits in Mercury. They were the first to be exploited too- constructor ship was sent there immediately and soon, the Hauteville Empire had their first extra terranean resource collection going on. First commercial ships begun their flight in July 2200, right after the construction finished, shipping valuable resources back to Earth. The construction costs itself- nearly 8 month of income for the Empire. Still, the station nets the Empire 24 energy per year, meaning that with the original construction cost of 63 minerals (thank you, Carla Salazar), the investment will start making profit in about 3 years- assuming there is 1:1 ratio for energy and minerals.

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First mining station built

Rest of the Solar system turned out surprisingly rich with resources as well. Enough minerals to nearly double the mineral output of the Empire, plus some energy as well. It seems like the journey to space will be a fruitful one.

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The final results of survey of Sol System

Conclusion

It was less then a year when Bohemond made the first jump, leaving the home lightyears behind. Already during that time, much of what the Normans thought about space and life and universe, became outdated. And the adventure was just beginning.
 

hjarg

Insert witty title here
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And the usual stuff- finding space monsters, starting to expand, building some bases, finding life in Jupiter. Well, the latter is kind of uncommon at least. But, here we go. First steps.

How would you say this starting point compares to what you had in the original AAR?
Yeah, that would be interesting to hear.

Hmm, i'd say original was even a bit better. Perhaps a little less resources, but well, more possibilities of expansion. And no Avalon. It is at least a bit less cluttered.

Excited to see how this goes!
I've loved your previous AARs.

Thanks! And well, i'm curious as well- let's hope this will be an interesting story.
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Life on Jupiter? ...Jupiter? Hope they're friendly, because if they're tough enough to survive on that planet, I wouldn't want to upset them.