Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
ExForce Book 1 Columbus Day header.jpg

Author's Summary

"We were fighting on the wrong side, of a war we couldn't win. And that was the good news."

"The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn't even be fighting the Ruhar, they aren't our enemy, our allies are."

"I'd better start at the beginning...."

Plot Summary

The section(s) below SCHMAYBE includes Spoilers.

Barney and the Smurfs.jpg

On Columbus Day (circa 2030), an alien civilization, named the Ruhar, attack earth without warning, destroying critical infrastructure. The human response is negligible due to the overwhelming technological capabilities of the Ruhar.

Art created by Jadan Dry [1]

During said raid Joseph Bishop a U.S. Army Specialist organizes a few of the fellow residents of Thompson Corners, Maine after seeing a Ruhar dropship crash into a farm. Using an Super Softie ice cream truck with a crudely painted Barney the Dinosaur they manage to injure one Ruhar and capture another.

Art created by R.p. Callahan[2]

After performing first aid, they hand this Ruhar soldier over to the U.S. Army.

Another alien species, The Kristang, arrive and fight off the Ruhar on behalf of the humans. The Kristang enlist the humans as a client-species in an on-going intergalactic war against the Ruhar and other species.

Joe and many other service personnel are called back into military service by the United Nations Expeditionary Force, they are ordered to report to Ecuador where the Kristang had constructed a Space Elevator provided by the Thuranin, the Kristang's patron species, on top of Mount Chimborazo. The humans lack any sort of faster than light space travel FTL capability and they are entirely dependent on the Kristang (and the Thuranin) for interstellar travel.

Joe learns about the Rules of Engagement that all species must follow.

The newly formed UNEF is taken to a planet called 'Camp Alpha', a seventeen day trip from Earth, to train in atmospheric and non-atmospheric military tactics. During three weeks of training, they are introduced to the weapons they would be using; much to disappointment of troops they are normal military issue with armor piercing explosive rounds.

Joe meets Shauna Jarrett and they have a sexual relationship.

Joe is promoted to Sergeant and becomes team leader of a fire team tasked with monitoring a small set of Ruhar villages.

After completing their training, the UNEF is sent to a planet called 'Paradise', a sixteen day trip from Camp Alpha, which the Ruhar control. Their mission is to evacuate the planet, which has been ceded to the Kristang as part of terms in a ceasefire.

During this time he meets Lester Cornhut the mayor of Teskor Village in the Lesscorta Region, over the next few weeks he is introduced to how the Ruhar live their lives. He ponders on the fact that the Ruhar are very much like humans in a number of ways. He regards his mission as one of peacekeeping and winning minds. He is introduced to Baturnah Logellia, who discusses with him information about the Kristang their patrons and information about the galaxy. Joe passes this information to Emily Perkins, disturbingly she reveals that the Kristang are upset about the intel UNEF have gained.

The Ruhar attempt an up-rising against the joint Kristang-Human occupying force. This uprising ultimately fails and Joe, who shot down two key Ruhar ground assault transport ships, is commended by the Kristang for his actions and awarded the theater rank of colonel (O-6).

It becomes increasingly clear that the Kristang are a barbaric race and care little for humans beyond using them as expendable soldiers. It also becomes clear that humans as a species share more in common with the Ruhar than they had realized. Joe is ordered by the Kristang to execute unarmed Ruhar civilians as a retributive action. He refuses and is jailed by the Kristang, pending execution.

The Ruhar re-invade Paradise and, in the ensuing bombardment, Joe is able to escape from his cell.

He manages to rescues three other humans also scheduled for execution by surprising and overpowering the Kristang guards. These include Margaret Adams, Chang Kong and Fal Desai.

He is later captured by the Ruhar, who use a storage facility as a makeshift prison.

Joe Meets Skippy.jpg

A sentient AI, who Joe dubs 'Skippy' helps Joe escape the facility by deactivating electronics and weapons of the Ruhar and rejoin the other humans he had escaped with from the Kristang prison. Skippy's programming prevents him from sharing advanced Elder technology with space-faring civilizations and thus, he has been prevented from even communicating with the Ruhar on Paradise or any other species (for the past millions of years). Since humans are not space-faring and have no ability to transport themselves around the galaxy without the aid of another species, Skippy's restrictions do not apply. This is why he is able to speak to Joe on Paradise.

Joe and Company capture a Dodo.jpg

Skippy subsequently helps Joe lead a small band of humans off Paradise and hijack a Ruhar Dodo dropship, a Kristang frigate and a Thuranin star carrier.

It becomes clear that Skippy is technologically far superior to anything the Ruhar, Kristang or Thuranin have. With abilities including being able to hijack and control virtually any networked system with ease and being able to warp the fabric of space-time itself. His creators, the 'Elders' existed millions of years before the current species were a space-faring civilization. Skippy decides that he has to be referred to as "Skippy the Magnificent". Skippy further reveals he has no memory of:

  • How he ended up on Paradise;
  • What happened to the Elders;
  • Why he has lost large parts of his memory and unknown functionality (Even with this loss of functionality, Skippy is significantly more powerful than any other technology possessed by any species).

Joe's group is named The Merry Band of Pirates and they attack a Kristang asteroid base in order to obtain a Wormhole Controller Module.

Skippy uses the star carrier's FTL capability to jump the ship to a wormhole, which takes the ship (now called the Flying Dutchman) back to Earth.