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Literature / First Colony

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First Colony is a military science fiction series of novels by Ken Lozito. The series focuses on humanity's first extrasolar colony far from Earth and the struggles of the settlers when faced with the unknown.

The series currently consists of 10 novels:

  1. Genesis (2017)
  2. Nemesis (2017)
  3. Legacy (2017)
  4. Sanctuary (2018)
  5. Discovery (2018)
  6. Emergence (2018)
  7. Vigilance (2019)
  8. Fracture (2019)
  9. Harbinger (2019)
  10. Insurgent (2020)
  11. Invasion (2020)

The main POV character of most of the novels is Colonel Connor Gates, who initially leads an elite black ops team known as the Ghosts. A mission to take down The Syndicate goes awry, leading to millions dead. Realizing that Connor and his team would become the scapegoat, Admiral Mitch Wilkinson, an old friend of Connor's father's, has Connor knocked out and placed in a cryopod, which he then smuggles aboard the Ark, humankind's first extrasolar colony ship, bound for a habitable exoplanet found 25 light years away. The journey is supposed to take over 80 years, and the Admiral hopes that Connor will have a fresh start away from the Solar System. Awakening from slumber, Connor at first has trouble believing that he is no longer in the Solar System. Eventually he learns that not only is he aboard the Ark, but that the ship itself is not where it's supposed to be. Partway through the flight, a data burst from Earth reprogrammed the navigation computer and redirected the ship to another habitable planet 60 light years from Earth, extending the journey to about 200 years.


Connor goes down to the colony (with only 20,000 of the 300,000 settlers having been awakened from cryosleep) and quickly learns that the local security forces are woefully unprepared for the planet's dangerous wildlife. He quickly convinces the colony's governor and the head of security to allow him to train a search-and-rescue platoon and also makes numerous suggestions to improve security, which earns him the ire of Damon Mills, the head of security's second-in-command, who takes Connor's criticism personally. Despite this, Connor receives his first group of volunteers and spends weeks training them in the wilderness. One of the volunteers is Sean Quinn, the young son of the colony's governor and chief medical officer. Unwilling to let his parents decide his life for him (and also unwilling to accept any treatment as "the Governor's son", Sean sneaks away to the training camp (Connor initially refused him because he wasn't 18 yet) and proves to be a capable young man, taking every bit of training and punishment thrown his way with zero complaint. Sean Quinn is another POV character in some of the novels, eventually rising through the ranks to become a colonel.


Meanwhile, scientists have found alien ruins on the planet (which many have started calling New Earth pending an official naming). In addition, there's still the mystery of why the Ark was redirected in the first place.

The novels contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Apocalypse How: At the end of the first novel, Connor learns that a mysterious oceanic virus/parasite has infected most of the human population on Earth not long after the Ark's departure. All attempts to combat the infection have failed and may even have made things worse. The virus also seems to rewrite the host's DNA, which initially caused deaths but, after the virus eventually adapted to human physiology, mutated the Earth-bound humans into a new species. Afterwards, there was a massive war between the new species and the colonies in the Solar System. The reason the Ark was diverted was because Admiral Wilkinson didn't want the new species to find the colonists, hoping that at least some of the original humanity would survive. However, it seems that the new species does eventually learn of New Earth's location and sends a massive fleet to take out the colony.
  • Artificial Gravity: While it's not stated explicitly, this seems to be the only explanation for why everyone is able to easily walk around on spaceships or space stations.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The virus that mutates Earth's population into a new species that seeks to exterminate all original humans. Ask any microbiologist if things like that are really possible (in fact, one microbiologist left a scathing review of the books specifically because of this).
  • The Assimilator: The primary goal of Vemus soldiers seems to be to capture and infect humans rather than kill them outright, as this only bolsters Vemus ranks. Hence their use of Stun Guns. However, once they figure out that the soldiers fighting them are wearing sealed armor, they switch to different beams that fry the armor and anyone inside it. Even their ships try to infest other ships by spreading some kind of brown sludge to them.
  • The Battlestar: Battleship carriers like the Indianapolis.
  • Boarding Party: Talon assault craft are used to deliver troops to enemy ships and stations. They ram into the target, punching through the outer hull, and deliver troops where they're not expected. The Vemus use jammers and Talon 5 craft to quickly board and eliminate the destroyer Wyatt.
  • Colonel Badass: Connor Gates, of course. Leading a platoon of elite black ops soldiers will do that. His rank is reinstated on New Earth so he can train a search-and-rescue platoon. He is promoted to general of the newly-created CDF in second novel, but this trope is taken up by Sean Quinn, who himself becomes a colonel.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the second novel, Connor boards one of many Vemus ships and is shocked to find out that it's the Indianapolis, Admiral Wilkinson's flagship, and also the last ship Connor has been on before being shanghaied to the Ark. Moreover, Wilkinson has left a message for Connor to find on the off chance he would board the ship 200 years later.
  • Elite Army: The Lightning Platoon, courtesy of Connor's Training from Hell. However, their initial purpose is strictly search-and-rescue, and their enemies are the wild predators of New Earth. This changes when they have to fight the mutants from Earth and aliens.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Upon waking up from cryosleep, Connor believes that this trope is in effect, courtesy of The Syndicate, refusing to accept that he's 200 years in the future and 60 light years from home. He comes to grips with it eventually, though.
  • A Father to His Men: Connor, both to the Ghosts back in Sol and to the Lightning Platoon on New Earth. Also Damon Mills. He may dislike Connor and his methods, but he genuinely cares about the men and women under his command and will implement Connor's suggestions if they have merit and will keep his people safe.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: A less blatant example than most, since all the colonists are in the same boat. The difference is that Connor never chose to become a colonist and go on a decades' long trip (which turned into a 200 year trip). The colonists knew they were leaving everyone and everything behind and volunteered. Even then, everyone speaks about past events as if they just happened, instead of remembering the 200-year gap between them. The end of the first novel reveals that the rest of the surviving Ghosts were also placed aboard the Ark.
  • General Failure: Early on in book 2, Connor sets up a training exercise for his nascent Space Navy. He puts both the destroyers through a simulation. One does a decent job, while the other's commanding officer suffers a Heroic BSoD and is unable to act. Connor is initially convinced by others to give the major a chance to prove himself, but the guy is too busy wallowing in self-pity to overcome his failure, so Connor has him relieved of command, unwilling to put the fate of one of only three warships in the CDF into the hands of someone incompetent.
  • Hero Antagonist: Damon Mills, the second-in-command of the colony's security forces. He takes an immediate dislike to Connor and feels that Connor's criticism of the security forces effectiveness is personally directed at him. Eventually, though, even Mills is forced to admit that some of Connor's suggestions have merit. After Connor and his team save Mills from ryklar attacks, Mills develops a grudging respect for Connor, claiming that he may still be a pain in the ass, but that Mills owes him a few favors. Unlike Connor, Mills was never in the military back at Sol, he was a cop.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: By book 2, the colonists have studied the alien ruins and have managed to reproduce the alloy used to manufacture the alien buildings. Connor hopes that a newly-discovered set of ruins with an intact power plant may help find a way to power the rest of the Titan space station, since the Governor refuses to fork over the resources.
  • Love Interest: Dr. Lenora Bishop for Connor. Everyone tries to ship them together, but their relationship hits a bump during the 7-year Time Skip between the first two books. Lenora wants Connor to quit the military and join her at her archaeological dig, but Connor is determined to protect the colony from any external threat.
  • Longevity Treatment: By this point, these allow people to live for over 200 years.
  • Magnetic Weapon: Rail-cannons are a warship's secondary weapons, if the enemy is close enough for a reliable hit. Generally, missiles are the preferred option given their much greater effective range.
  • Married to the Job: The reason Connor's first marriage failed and why he hasn't seen his son in years. It's also why his attempts to start a relationship with Lenora hits a bump. She wants him to quit the military and settle down, but he's convinced that the colony is in danger. He's right.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: The series starts out on the harder side but gets progressively softer as it goes on. The first novel is more grounded, with very few concepts or technologies being out of the realm of possibility (although the existence of aliens is revealed early on and no one so much as bats an eye). Later on, though, we get things like alternate universes and interstellar empires.
  • My Greatest Failure: Upon waking up, Connor learns that it's 200 years after his time. He's always planned to reconnect with his son Sean, whom he hasn't seen in years, but now that's no longer a possibility. Even if his son is still alive (thanks to the Longevity Treatment), any message he sends from New Earth will take 60 years to get to Sol and just as long for any reply. Sean will be long dead by then. Connor also regrets falling into The Syndicate's trap, which results in millions of people being killed back in Sol. When he learns that his son was either killed by The Virus or mutated into something else, he throws a chair across the room.
  • Nom de Guerre: During Lightning Platoon's Training from Hell, Connor (in his Drill Sergeant Nasty role) gives each recruit a nickname. Some of them are less flattering than others (like Babyface or Bling). All the recruits accept their nicknames without comment. Then again, after their graduation, Connor goes back to using their last names for the most part.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Connor starts hitting that in the second book, especially once Tobias Quinn is voted out of the governor's office and people aren't as keen on giving up resources to building the Colonial Defense Force, not quite believing that an enemy fleet is on its way to destroy them.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Sean Gates (Connor's son) and Sean Quinn (Governor Tobias Quinn's son).
  • Perfect Poison: In book 2, the commander of the heavy cruiser Vigilant is poisoned with polonium-210.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the first novel, Connor learns that a virus has mutated everyone on Earth into some new species, which then proceeded to wipe out all the colonies and space habitats in the Solar System. And now a fleet of them is on its way to New Earth to finish off all original humans.
  • Sleeper Starship: The Ark, humankind's first extrasolar colony ship, departed the Solar System with 300,000 colonists in cryosleep. Unlike many other examples of this trope, the Ark is fully equipped with onboard factories that can produce pretty much anything given sufficient resources, even a fleet of warships should the need arise. This is because no one knew what to expect out there in deep space. There are also DNA samples of many of Earth's native plant and animal species, but the colonists are hesitant to introduce invasive species into an alien biosphere.
  • Space Navy: The Colonial Defense Force is crested during the Time Skip between the first two books with General Connor Gates as its commander. Interestingly, the CDF appears to use army ranks rather than navy ones, even for warship crews. Thus, colonels command cruisers and space stations, while majors command destroyers. This is different from the Space Navy back at Sol, which is a more typical example. Initially, the CDF consists of a Panther-class heavy cruiser (Vigilant) and two Starwolf-class destroyers (Banshee and Wyatt), which the Ark brought with it. A Barracuda-class battleship cruiser (or carrier, the terms seem to be interchangeable) is in the final stages of construction at the start of book 2 and only because they had to cannibalize parts of the Ark to speed up construction. All 3 active warships are gone by the end of the second book.
  • Space Station: The Titan station is built during the 7-year Time Skip between the first and second books, partly out of sections of the Ark. However, the station is not yet fully powered, since the new governor refuses to divert additional resources to what he perceives as a futile endeavor. The station is positioned in the likely direction of the enemy fleet's arrival. Titan is boarded but the Vemus early on, forcing its commander to initiate self-destruct.
  • Stealth in Space: It is thought to be impossible to hide a ship completely from an active PRADIS scan, although passive scans can be fooled by reducing a ship's emissions. The Vemus manage to find a way to hide their ships from active scans by surrounding their ships with some kind of material. But Major Nathan Hayes, the Vigilant's XO, figures out a way to reconfigure PRADIS to scan for ship wakes.
  • The Syndicate: A powerful crime organization in the Solar System, which has been Connor's "white whale" for years. In the opening of the first book, he leads a mission to take out the Syndicate's boss only to fall into a trap, which results in millions of innocents being killed. After waking up from cryosleep, Connor spends the first several hours believing the whole thing to be an elaborate ploy by the Syndicate before finally accepting the truth.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: At the end of Nemesis, it's revealed that the thousand-strong armada the CDF has just barely managed to beat, leaving little to no CDF assets in space, was merely the advance scout of the true Vemus invasion force.
  • Time Skip: Seven years pass between the first and second books. In that time, all 300,000 colonists are awakened from cryosleep, a city is built where a fenced-off compound once was, and the Ark is disassembled so its pieces can be used to build a space station and the first warships of the colony's Space Navy.
  • Training from Hell: What Connor puts his search-and-rescue recruits through, acting like a typical Drill Sergeant Nasty. To his surprise, all recruits of his initial batch make it through with flying colors, especially given that their final test is crashed by ryklars (dangerous ambush hunters who can mask their body heat, so they don't show up on infrared sensors, and whose skin is impenetrable to regular bullets).
  • Transhuman Treachery: The new species of humans that was created by The Virus on Earth seeks to exterminate and supplant the original humans.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: With a twist. The Vemus are no longer human. So while they do come from Earth, the only remaining humans are on New Earth.
  • Was Once a Man: The Vemus were once human, but they've been mutated by some kind of virus or parasite into large beast-like monstrosities with purple skin, claws, and animalistic snouts.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Vemus are very difficult to kill. Regular ammo, incendiary ammo, even explosives might not cut it, as they simply get back up and keep coming. The only true way to kill them is the Chunky Salsa Rule.

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