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Literature / Castle Federation

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The Castle Federation Universe is a Military Science Fiction series by Glynn Stewart. The main six book series is set around the adventures of Kyle Roberts and a variety of side characters. The primary conflict is the Free Alliance of Stars trying to not be absorbed into the Terran Commonwealth, who believe humanity should be unified under their flag.

The series is called by its author a Transhumanist Space Opera and is set in the year 2735 Earth Standard Meridian Date/Time.

The Series:

  • Space Carrier Avalon
  • Stellar Fox
  • Battle Group Avalon
  • Q-Ship Chameleon
  • Rimward Stars
  • Operation Medusa

And a novella, A Question of Faith, set before the main books following a different main character.

Castle Federation Universe provides examples of:

  • Alcubierre Drive: How ships go Faster than Light using their Class 1 mass manipulators to form singularities in front of the ship and form the warp bubble. It's often stressed that the warp bubble catches all sorts of radiation from its surroundings as it travels and the Stetson stabilization fields protect the ship from being irradiated to death.
    • It's stressed a few times throughout the series that ships cannot change course in this type of FTL or risk serious harm. In an attempt to mousetrap Roberts, a Commonweath ship pretty much smacks straight into a gravity well, the planet was fine, the ship was reduced to a cloud of debris and radiation.
  • The Alliance: The Free Alliance of Stars are the collective of star nations opposed to the Commonweath's vision of unity, with four major powers and a bunch of smaller governments.
  • Apocalypse How: A couple of them:
    • The planet of Kematian gets half of their world bombed by antimatter missiles because a Commonwealth captain suffers Sanity Slippage because he lost his wife in a battle there and his crew went along with it.
    • The planet of Ameranthe had it worse as during the first war the planet got attacked by mass-scale nano-weaponry which turned every city and person in them into plains of gray glass that continue to resist efforts to break or repair them.
  • Artificial Limbs: Some people have cybernetic limbs because they can't regenerate them, some have them because they are cool.
    • One later side character has two tentacles they use as naturally as they do their still completely functional arms.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Old Avalon had a retrofitted flight deck which would let it blast the entire wing out into space at once in a single big shot once it became clear rapid launching of fighters would be the norm with later ships. Most characters are very wary of the ability given that all the fighters have to be perfectly aligned in the flight deck to pull it off.
  • Battle Couple: Roberts and Solace become one.
  • Battle Cry: The Castle Federation Marines do a wolf howl as they head into battle.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Roberts is a nice generally, known for being cheerful and upbeat even in dire circumstances. When he gets mad, it’s usually for a very, very good reason
  • Big "NO!": Admiral Tobin pulls one when confronted with the possibility of being arrested for sabotage he didn’t do and exposing the fact he lied about orders to continue to chase Richardson.
  • Binary Suns: The Star Kingdom of Phoenix, one of the major Alliance powers, is a binary star system.
  • Code Name: Agent Glass from Q-Ship Chameleon has had multiple through the years, his real name so secret that not even high ranking Admirals who have known him for a long time know his name. Roberts cashes in on the I Owe You My Life to learn he is Vice Admiral Nicholas Voyager, head of Covert Ops for Castle Federation Intelligence
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Roberts does this a lot, though he doesn't particularly like pulling crazy stunts, he is just in the right place at the right time.
    • He threads the needle(see:No Warping Zone) into Tranquility orbit so close he has to go through a battleship by overriding safety margins on missiles to blast a hole in said battleship for the old Avalon to fly through.
    • In the same book with Avalon as crippled as she was after the above fight he orders his crew to Abandon Ship so he can set a ramming course to force the Commonwealth ship to surrender.
    • Operation Medusa is one entire batch of crazy enough to work involving The Alliance stripping most of their defensive firepower from their star system to throw it at the key points of the space industry and FTL communication the Commonwealth has. Relying on the Stellar Fox to keep Walkingstick's attention long enough to keep the Marshal from going for their collective throats while all their firepower is in FTL. Its incredibly risky, extremely dangerous for everyone involved, an all or nothing strike that would gut the Alliance's ability to protect itself if it failed but could completely end the war and the threat the Commonwealth poses by turning them in on themselves.
  • Dad's Off Fighting in the War: Kyle Roberts is this to his son due to being a Glorified Sperm Donor because his high school girlfriend got pregnant due to a glitch in her birth control and he ran off to the military on her. He makes up for it later.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Commander Judy Sanchez becomes this when she constantly attacks Robert's character, qualifications, and plans despite everyone around her trying to ignore it or telling her to quit it.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted. It's brought up several times over the series that while roping an asteroid can provide them with the metal they need to replace and repair things like missiles, armor, etc. Food and fuel can be limiting factors, especially with things like daring POW rescues which number in the tens of thousands thus stretching the capacity of the ships used or fuel burning maneuvers.
  • The Empire: The Terran Commonwealth fills this role to a T. Including a vision of unification for everyone and a really bad track record of using a special army Corp to put down rebellions that is known for brutal occupations.
  • Ethical Slut: Maria Pendez falls into this. With a body designed to disable the male gaze and penchant for sleeping around with anyone she legally can she knows she has a reputation but never tries to pull a fast one on anyone and is always clear their encounters are flings.
    • This does cause trouble when one of her flings, James Russell, goes off the deep end due to grief and tries to enforce his religion on her.(See: Fantastic Religious Weirdness) She forgives him though.
  • Famous Ancestor: as revealed in Book 7, James Tecumseh is decended from Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief famous for attempting to build a Native American confederation, being killed in battle against a future US president, and whose death being the apocryphal reason US presidents elected in a year ending with 0 tended to die in office.
    • Tecumseh’s Fleet CAG is Anthony Yamamoto, a man who looks exactly like his ancestor Isoroku Yamamoto, but was raised a Scot, and so has a thick Scottish accent. He also mentions that two other Yamamotos have served in the navy and, by the time of the books, are similarly, if slightly less famous thn Isoroku.
  • Fantastic Drug: Euphoria Chips are 'better-than-reality' virtual sims and people with high implant bandwidth are highly susceptible to becoming addicted. Roberts tried to get a pilot on his old ship the Almo under his command to quit and said pilot committed suicide.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: The planet of Cauldron has one in an odd conservative sect of Christanity in which women chose their husband as their God-given right and that choice is formalized by the woman having sex with the man.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Rokos tries to restore Cavendish to flight commander, out of desperation and a sliver of guilt for most of her squadron dying. She then attempts to murder him, his gunner and does manage to kill Roko’s engineer.
  • Field Promotion: Roberts gets one when he almost dies in the first book from CAG to XO of Avalon. Then only a bit later he gets another when Avalon’s Stetson fields fail in FTL irritating a good portion of the crew and killing the Captain. Fleet Admiral Blake does a You Are in Command Now to him.
    • As a result of the above, Stanford gets one as well.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Roberts and Stanford only meet in the first book, by the end he’s willing to wingman for Roberts apology to his son’s mother despite how short a timeframe they’ve known each other.
  • Gender Is No Object: Being the transhumanist space opera it is, men and women are completely equal and fill all types of roles, military and civilian, throughout the story. There are even some Hermaphrodites in the mix, and no one thinks any less of anyone else.
  • Hates Being Nicknamed: After saving Tranquility in the first book, the press hangs the nickname 'the Stellar Fox' on Roberts, which he hates with a passion. Several times it's referenced how he considers beating up journalists that use it. He hates the fact that it's derived from Rommel's 'The Desert Fox', given that Rommel was forced to commit suicide by his own government.
  • Humans Are White: Averted. There is a vast mix of ethnicity on display in these books, with a lot of characters given at least basic detailing on ancestry through physical traits and the interesting mix that comes with being The Future.
  • Immune to Drugs: Most humans can use their neural implants and built in medical nanomachines to flush the effects of alcohol right out of their systems with little in the way of side effects. (They still get drunk though.)
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The mass murderer Richardson pulls this in Alizon, where he pretended to surrender to a Commonwealth ship in order to lure it in close so his own ship could fire its positron beams at close range. None missed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The planet of Fyr (pronounced Fear), is on the good guy's side. Their special ops troopers came out of the woodworks to wreck the occupying Terrans when the The Alliance finally came to take the planet back. Including blowing up their space stations, killing battle armored troops with Gauss sniper rifles and even saving their sublight guardships from destruction which is considered an impressive feat in universe.
  • Noodle Incident: Standford has one that apparently involved a 'borrowed' shuttle and daughters from two different admirals, resulting in him being banished to the Space Carrier Avalon. It's never explained exactly what went down though its implied to be a sexual liaison the Admirals didn't approve of.
  • No Warping Zone: Gravity wells from planets, stars, black holes, etc, all affect the Alcubierre Drive and prevent ships from emerging too close to said gravity wells. The closer in you go with the drive, the more 'turbulent' it will feel to the crew and "Threading the needle" as its called when you purposefully FTL in too close to a gravity well, is done with a very skilled navigator and a dose of insanity from whoever is in command.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Terran Commonwealth naval uniform is black with a red sash.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Most of the Old Avalon was this, a sort of punishment posting where people were sent when the Federation Navy and Space Force couldn't drum them out due to being too good at the job to sack or too well connected.
    • Tecumseh gets assigned to play babysitter to Coati. He is not thrilled with the job, none of his subordinates are either.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: The Trickster brings up this up and Glass later explains that one time when he was younger on an intel gathering mission, he was betrayed by a station he tried to stop at to buy intelligence. So in order to get away he shot out the stabilizers on the station and pushed it into the gas giant it was orbiting.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Coati is described as having gem-like eyes that are definitely not a naturally occurring color.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Roberts does this with some Simitars and Katanas in Q-Ship Chameleon.
    • This is doubled for Q-Ship Chameleon herself, which is a Commonwealth Q-ship that had been taken by pirates then taken by the Castle Federation and put into their service for the black op mission the book is about.