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The Union series, in a nutshell:
The Dark Ages never happened. Rome peacefully broke apart into several large nation-states. WWI was fought in the mid 20th century with tech that might as well be from Twenty Minutes Into the Future. The Red Revolution led to the formation of the Democratic Republic of Russia, headed by, and sticking to the ideals of, Lenin. The Cold War existed between the League of Nations and a Nationalist China.
Mind reeling yet?
Fast forward two hundred years to the mid 2100's. The first Colonial War has ended, and all those battles have drawn the attention of an alien race, one that looks surprisingly human.
And so begins the Union series, covering branches of Military Fiction, Sci-Fi, Political thriller, and sometimes horror.
- All Planets Are Earthlike: Subverted, HARD. Most planets are not Earthlike, those that are are fought over in politically heated battles that often are settled via proxy wars. Those that are close are terraformed, but never turn out quite right, being colder than earth, warmer, more arid, more moisture, etc.
- Alternate History: The entire series is an example of Alternate History; while the Dark Ages not happening pushed technology forward, the partnership between the LN and the DRR helped pushed technology over the top.
- Aliens Speaking English: Justified. The Terran delegation goes through extensive work to provide a Universal Translator for both species, going as far as to become familiar with the "Humanized" version of their name, to smooth first contact.
- Alternate Universe: Exists In-Universe.
- At the end of current, major arc, the story splits in two with each branch starting with The near Genocide of one race, and ending with the extinction
- Now comes in three arcs; when genocide isn't enough, how about not having a large enough population and eventually inbreeding to death
- Bad Boss: Colonial General Howard and Union Field Commander Maxis.
- Humans Are Bastards: Averted and played straight across both species. Each species has it's own jerks, saints, and people in between
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Played straight. All human weapons in use pack some kind of Magnetic Accelerator inside them. Direct energy weapons are still far too efficient to be used, and Terran energy weapons fire "packages" of plasma with a magnetic core to keep it stable.
- Mini-Mecha: Light Assault Units. Depending on the branch of Colonial military using them, they can be little more than souped up Powered Armor that run from eight to ten feet tall, to small scale walkers. All are designed to be a more cost effective (and more mobile) alternative to IF Vs.
- The Federation: The Colonial Alliance is like stronger version of the UN, meant to regulate Colonial expansion and control while Earthbound nations function the same as they always have, with the exception of Colonies.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Starts out firmly in the Idealistic camp to reflect the relative rookie nature of most of the protagonists, then starts to steadily shift into Cynicism as the two majors power, the Colonial Alliance (Humanity) and United Colonies (Terrans)
- Sociopathic Soldier: Applies to Connor Douglas, but primarily the reason why he hasn't been discharged. In a unit of behind-the-lines fighters tasked to cause as much havoc as possible, a complete psycho is tolerated. Barely
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: What most of the protagonists in the Special Warfare Group end up being, often doing things that their younger selves would have balked at Such as directly or indirectly, depending on the AU, causing genocide
- Used Future: Out past the Core Worlds, most operating vehicles and tech run about fifteen years behind, with the original outer colonies now rust flecked pits of grime.