When I cut this recent story out of Broadcast 7: Framework, I did so knowing that I would still have to tell it. I still had to develop that plot line. More importantly, I had to tell it before the current Spinward Fringe series came to an end.
That plot line has become the upcoming free novella called The Expendable Few. If there was to be a fourth book in the old First Light Chronicles Series, this would be it. For all the readers wondering whatever happened to Freeground, here are your answers. As a further nod to the three novellas that started it all, Freeground, Limbo and Starfree Port, the new novella - Expendable Few - will be free.
There is a testing group already mostly in place, the novella is half finished, and if I've done everything well enough, someone could read this book without reading the rest of the Spinward Fringe series. It's far more interesting if you read it as part of the series, particularly as Broadcast 6.5, however. I'm offering it for free, AND it will be included with Broadcast 7 when it is released.
Here's a brief synopsis for The Expendable Few:
Freeground has changed since the return of the First Light. Instead of re-integrating with the rest of humanity, the Freeground Nation has become more xenophobic and Isolated. The Puritan Party has assumed control. Censorship, social engineering, and xenophobia are even more common, and thousands of citizens who have the means and opportunity to leave are doing so. The dream of living in a secure and free culture hasn't died entirely, however.
A few Freeground Citizens opposed to the Puritan Party put plans into motion that will either bring liberty back to the Freeground Nation or send the entire culture into a downward spiral. This tale is told from the perspective of a politically contrary Fleet Commander, Clark Patterson, who is obsessed with the adventures, intrigues and antics of the First Light crew. He knows everything one can about their short service aboard, and has every piece of contraband footage of them after they departed. He's even investigated the terrorist, Jacob Valance, whose very name is a curse according to the Puritan Party. His life, his world and those he holds most dear are shaken when he has a direct run in with a West Keeper - a spy working for a galactic cult called the Order of Eden that is bent on controlling industry and the natural wonders with their reach and beyond.
--- Synopsis Ends ---
The real thrill for me in writing the first half of the novella was writing Freeground as it was originally conceived. I honestly didn't have the patience to demonstrate the xenophobia and censorship that surrounded the Freeground culture before. I was too excited about telling the Jonas story, and I don't regret it. I don't regret it because in The Expendable Few the problems of censorship, control and xenophobia drive the story in the first half of this novella. A return to first person perspective after a million words or more of writing is also very interesting to me.
How far away is the release of The Expendable Few? We're talking weeks if the test group enjoys it. Only two members of the test group have read the Spinward Fringe series, the rest are new to it, so it's getting a trail by fire.
Work on Broadcast 7 continues, and that book will only be delayed for a couple of weeks because of The Expendable Few. I believe this is a necessary book to developing the final act in Broadcast 7, however. I'd much rather write the Expendable Few in its entirety rather than write it up as twenty pages of developmental notes and shut them away after Broadcast 7 is finished.
I hope you agree.
[If you have no idea what I'm talking about in this post, then you should go download a copy of Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins. It's free, and the download links are on the right hand side of this page.]