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Tales of the HX Universe
as told by Roger Bourke White Jr.
Stories of the Honeycomb Comet and the HX aliens
The HX Encounter Series
This is a series of stories about mankind doing interstellar exploration.
At the start of this series, mankind is exploring only our solar system. In the first story, one explorer, using a state-of-the-art constant acceleration spacecraft to explore the Kuiper Belt, discovers a small chunk of a large
-- large as in moon-size -- alien spacecraft. HX stands for "huge unknown" -- which these HX aliens turn out
Some key features of this world system:
- The HX alien is not just one species, but an ecosystem. An HX ship
is big, bigger than some moons. It is inhabited by a diverse mix of creatures,
some are beneficial to the HX, and some are not.
- What the HX "do" is not known to mankind. Therefore, the actions of
the HX ships appear quite capricious to mankind.
- Mankind has constant acceleration space travel, but does not have
faster-than-light (FTL) space flight or communication -- no warp engines,
no subspace communicators. This rules out space opera-style "warping"
to advance the plot. Instead things take years to happen, and mid-journey
spacecraft clocks tick much more slowly than planetary clocks. Instead
of plots advancing at "warp speed", the stories in the HX
Encounter series are adapted to this more measured reality.
- The HX are higher technology than mankind, and they do have an FTL
travel mode, which mankind calls "blipping". A blip doesn't happen often,
but when it does, in or out, it is accompanied by a huge gamma ray burst.
In this world system, HX blipping is one source of the gamma ray bursts
that astronomers first discovered in the 1990's.
- What is found looting HX ships -- live ones or dead ones -- are advanced
technology and devices which are hugely valuable to mankind. But the
looting is a dangerous process -- this is an ecosystem, and there are
lots of other looters working the HX, too. On live HX there are the
HX defenses, as well. Looting is much more difficult on live HX, but
the finds are much richer, too. The sub-plot in many of these stories
is about the conflict within communities between those willing to takes
the risks and those who don't think the risk is worth it -- the death
and damage when things go wrong is too great.
The HX Encounter stories span many centuries: from the time mankind first
discovers an HX relic to the time when he begins to fully adapt to the
- The Honeycomb Comet -- (Year: 2136) The first
story in the HX series. In this story John Burnmeshorts discovers the
first HX fragment, the Honeycomb Comet, which is mankind's first evidence of other intelligent
- The First Siege of Titan -- (2188) In
which Earth and Titan Colony face-off over how much HX technology to
bring to humankind.
- Praise Osmore, not Jonas! -- (2287) Setting
the record straight on what happened during the first expedition to an HX skeleton outside the Solar System.
- Pressure Point -- (2437) Titan Colony space explorers
find something incredibly valueable deep under Neptune's crushing atmosphere. -- Honorable
Mention in Writers of the Future contest 2007
- Alien Invasion! -- (2437) Roger's version
of the War of the Worlds story. Aliens who have been looting a nearby
HX skeleton come to the Solar System and attack Earth! ...Is some Earthly disease going to save us?
"Diseases?" laugh the aliens in a thick Spanish accent, "We don't need no stinking diseases."
- 2nd Siege of Titan -- (2536) A live
HX "blips" to near the Solar System. This is hugely devastating,
but represents mankind's first chance to deal with a live HX. Some people
want to jump on this opportunity, some believe doing so will kill mankind
- Emperor of Earth -- (2611) Once again,
an alien ship comes to the Solar System, but this time it stays....
(Hint: the result is not a War of the Worlds-style story.)
- Chance Encounter -- (2811) A story late
in the HX series. Mankind is thriving in the live HX ecosystem, but
there is a surprise waiting...
- Human Hunt -- (2856) The HX decide they
- The First Starship -- An alternate
time adventure in the HX environment. No Honeycomb Comet this time, the aliens
come to Earth first! (Because there is nothing ultra-high tech or
magical in this story, it is also my best guess as to what mankind's
first intelligent alien contact will be like.)