Eagle Squadron Notes...

Today I'm going to talk about the series formerly known as Techjammer, which is reverting to its previous title of 'Eagle Squadron'. I'll actually be starting to write it in the next few weeks, as soon as I've finished the next Alamo, Forbidden Seas. Enough has now been nailed down that I'm in more of a position to give you something of a preview – no spoilers, but a general idea of what I've got in mind. As usual, this plot consists of about half a dozen ideas smashed together to make something of a whole...so you might see some traces of ideas I've talked about on the blog in the past.

As I've already indicated, while this is set in the Triplanetary Universe, this spin-off is intended to stand-alone from the Battlecruiser Alamo series. I won't say that there won't ever be any cross-over, but no previous knowledge of the series will be required. The last time I worked on a project like this, Spitfire Station, that was a direct spin-off of the main series; this time I'm doing things rather differently.

The title of the series gives the core concept – the adventures of a fighter squadron. Of course, nothing is as simple as that. Think of them as special forces as much as fighter pilots, working in a covert/intelligence role. (Which doesn't mean no dogfights, of course.) The idea here is to give myself the widest possible range of stories, as well as to keep it distinctive from Battlecruiser Alamo. I'm doing a military/exploration SF series there; this one is more pitched at action/intrigue.

Naturally, there has to be a permanent base of operations, and I therefore introduce the Covert Carrier Churchill. I've used the concept of 'Q-Carriers' before, and this is a continuation of that concept, though you'll be getting a much better look at it than in previous books. The idea is taken from the Merchant Aircraft Carriers of World War II, a fascinating concept that I think has been underexploited. Essentially, you take a bulk freighter, put a flight deck on top and carve out a section for maintenance, repair and fuel, and you've got a pocket carrier.

Of course, these weren't covert ships, but that seems a reasonable extension of the concept. There is no stealth in space – but there can be misdirection. If a ship looks like a freighter externally, and seems to have the same sort of flight profile, power use, and so forth, then there will hopefully be a general assumption that it is a freighter. You'd not get away with any weapons systems, but such a craft would have shuttle bays. Which could be internally modified...and then you have your Q-Ship. Whether or not it would stand up to an internal inspection is another question entirely, but I can't make things too easy for my heroes!

The idea I have at the moment calls for a six-fighter squadron, and two out of three point-of-view characters will come from its ranks, the third...well, that would be telling, at least for the moment. I have got three plots worked out for this series, none of which would work for Alamo novels, which should mean that I don't end up stealing them. Aside from the first one being provisionally titled 'Pirates of Proxima', I'm not going to go into plot details here, for obvious reasons. You'll get to see it for yourself when May rolls around...

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