Legacy of the Aldenata
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The central premise is that in 2001, humanity receives greetings from a highly advanced, peaceable Galactic Federation. However, all is not well, for a species of aggressive aliens known as the Posleen are attacking the Galactics. Since the Galactics are almost entirely unable to fight, they are appealing to the proven military abilities of humanity for aid.
However, things are rarely as simple as they seem, and humanity soon discovers that the Galactics are no friends at all. There are plots within plots, some going back to the dawn of humanity and beyond: plots that endanger the very survival of humanity.
The first four novels cover the Posleen War in which the Posleen invade Earth. Another novel, Cally's War (and its two sequels), takes up the story a few decades later; The Hero is set nearly a thousand years later. Watch on the Rhine takes place immediately after Gust Front and extends until March 2008, with the very last chapter taking place at some unspecified point far after the end of Hell's Faire but prior to the beginning of The Hero.
A role-playing game based on the d20 system and the Legacy of the Aldenata universe will be published in the near future.[when?] An early version of this game is available on the free CD-ROM included in the first hardcover edition of Hell's Faire.
The fourth novel Hell's Faire includes some Sluggy Freelance guest strips by Pete Abrams since the popular internet comic strip is featured somewhat prominently in a way. (A massive armored military vehicle is named after Bun-Bun the mini-lop from the strip.) Some of the strips are samples of the actual comic strip and others are an exclusive alternate timeline setting where the Sluggy characters have to deal with the Posleen invasion.
As the Posleen have yellow blood, the war song "March of Cambreadth" ("Let their yellow blood run cold") becomes popular with the military. The song, its lyrics, and artist's bio is included in the Baen Free Library.
There are several major races in the universe of the Legacy of the Aldenata.
- A mysterious elder race, they created Galactic society and then vanished without a trace, apparently having transcended the need for material bodies. The glossary in "Yellow Eyes" describes the Aldenata somewhat disparagingly as "Galactic Tranzis", largely disappeared from the Galactic scene in sheer funk and shame at the damage they had, despite all the best intentions, wrought." Elsewhere in the book they are described, similarly disparagingly, as "Galactic do-gooders". They were consummate masters of genetic engineering, and had no qualms against modifying sentient species into what they felt were more "suitable"—both the Posleen and the Darhel were confirmed to have been modified in Yellow Eyes and The Hero, respectively. It is speculated that all sentient races in the Galaxy carry their "legacy" of genetic tampering. The implied author statement is that none of the factions encountered in the series are malicious, but merely forced into destructive acts by their modified natures—the Aldenata are the only true "evil" in their namesake fictional universe.
- Elf-like in appearance, they are the lawyers and bankers of the Galactic Federation and effectively control it, skimming wealth from the labor of others. Although vegetarian, they have razor-sharp teeth. While smaller than humans, Darhel have far greater physical abilities—and some would say their mental abilities are just as advanced, particularly a subtle but potent ranged empathic ability. However, they are devout pacifists. These contradictions are the result of genetic tampering by a powerful and arrogant elder race, the Aldenata. Although the full extent of this tampering is not detailed, the most crippling is their pacifism—when Darhel are stressed, their bodies produce an epinephrine analogue they call tal—which unlike epinephrine, augments both physical and mental abilities. The Aldenata altered Darhel biochemistry so that heightened tal levels induce a permanent coma-like state known as lintatai. This, in combination with their empathic ability, left them extremely inept at violent acts and physically incapable of taking any form of animal life. Their survival has thus become dependent on their ability to manipulate others to fight their battles for them. The Darhel are implied to be attempting to mold Humans into a race of Mamlukes; recruiting the planet's most skilled warriors to fight the Posleen on Galactic worlds, preserving their bloodlines by moving family members to protected worlds—and permitting the Posleen to conquer Earth, thus leaving Humanity dependent on the Darhel as all other Galactic races. After the defeat of the Posleen on Earth, Humans discovered the extent of the Darhel duplicity, manipulation and actions against the Human Race, the majority of the Darhel are wiped out by Humans in the aftermath of the Posleen War, leaving them the underclass of Galactic civilization.
- The enemy of the Himmit Empire, they were introduced in the book Eye of the Storm as the new antagonists, succeeding the Posleen.
- Resembling a sort of symmetrical frog, they are extremely secretive and capable of camouflage to the point that they can effectively "disappear". Their stealth technology is the finest in the universe. In Honor of the Clan it is revealed that they form the 'Himmit empire', which is apparently a multi-galaxy political body. They pretended to be a minor part of the galactic civilization in order to hide their actual power. The reason for this is hinted at several times in Eye of the Storm. Apparently the Himmit have in the past been at war with an extremely powerful foe and can only survive by remaining hidden. This foe is so powerful that even the Hedren are in fact running away from them, which has brought them into contact with the galactic races. To give an idea of respective levels of power: The galactic races have to cooperate to stand a chance against the Hedren. The Himmit state that they themselves "can probably defeat the Hedren with minimal losses", but are reserving their true strength "in case a more powerful foe appears". Amongst each other they say that in fact the Hedren are fleeing this more powerful (and to the Himmit familiar) foe.
- Short and stocky with green fur (which is actually a photosynthetic symbiote), they are the engineers and technicians of the Galactic Federation. A rare and valued number are more precisely the organic central processing units of the Galactic Federation's nanotech assemblers. Though the products of these assemblers are at least an order of magnitude more advanced than anything humans can produce throughout the Posleen war, the nature of the process means that each item is for all intents and purposes hand-crafted—mass production is impossible. They live in enormous hives in massively overcrowded sweatshop-planets and are effectively enslaved by the Darhel. Many are involved in a conspiracy to bring down the Darhel, called the Bane Sidhe.
- Resembling reptilian centaurs, they are rapacious conquerors who strip whole planets the way locusts strip a field. They have been genetically engineered to be resistant to all known toxins, to have an incredibly short maturity time, and to have skills programmed into their DNA. Only a small percentage are truly intelligent, while the rest are semi-morons emotionally bonded to an intelligent master, or God King.
- The "Blobs", they resemble giant amoebas, although they must have a more complex internal structure. They are a relatively late addition, appearing only in The Hero, while at war with Humans.
Main Series storyline
- Posleen War
With the Earth in the path of the rapacious Posleen, the peaceful and friendly races of the Galactic Federation offer their resources to help the backward Terrans—for a price.
Our choice was simple: we could be cannon fodder, or we could be ... fodder. We could send our forces to fight and die (as only humans can) against a ravening horde that was literally feeding on its interstellar conquests, or remain as we were: virtually weaponless and third in line for brunch.
We chose to fight.
After five years of battling invaders, human civilization prepares a strike to drive the aliens from the Earth. But the Clan-Lord of the Sten has learned from the defeats human have dealt him, and has his own battle plan. When he squares off against Major Michael O'Neal, the only winner will be Satan himself...
With the defenses of the Southern Appalachians sundered, the only thing standing between the ravening Posleen hordes and the soft interior of the Cumberland Plateau are the veterans of the 555th Mobile Infantry.
- Hedren War
Posleen War sidestories
- Watch on the Rhine (2005) (with Tom Kratman; ISBN 0-7434-9918-2)
- Yellow Eyes (2007) (with Tom Kratman; ISBN 1-4165-2103-8)
- The Tuloriad (2009) (with Tom Kratman; ISBN 978-1-4391-3304-0) sample chapters
Cally's War spinoff series
- Cally's War (2004) (with Julie Cochrane) (ISBN 0-7434-8845-8)
- Sister Time (2007) (with Julie Cochrane) (ISBN 1-4165-4232-9)
- Honor of the Clan (2009) (with Julie Cochrane) (ISBN 1-4165-5591-9)
According to John Ringo's website, two more books in the series are planned, titled Beneath the Avalanche and Master of the Winds.
Two electronic books have been created by a fan and are considered canon by Baen Barflies, but the canonical status of such works is uncertain. The titles are "The Yeomen of England" and "Holy War" set in England and Saudi Arabia respectively written by Christopher Nuttall, currently available for free download at his site
The series premises total mobilization of the human population of Earth. The human forces in the service of the Galactic Federation are divided into the Fleet (the space navy), and Fleet Strike (the air/ground forces component, combining marines, special forces, and aviation units). In the books written thus far, Fleet Strike has had the lion's share of attention.
The technology made available includes rejuvenation and life extension. The desperate straits of the setting lead to the revival of the Waffen-SS in The Watch on the Rhine. With the rejuvenations in full swing in Germany, many ex-SS officers have become young again. In the novel, the majority of the ex-SS were just soldiers; only a few are hardcore Nazis. This causes a lot of dissent in the German Parliament and citizenry. The "Greens" and the "Reds" (nicknames for the German political parties Alliance '90/The Greens and the Social Democratic Party of Germany) organize riots and protests; the re-integration of the SS officers and the choice of the Parliament and Chancellor to give to those officers control of the training of the young men of Germany.
- Ringo, John. "John Ringo > Books > Legacy of Aldenata". johnringo.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2011.