The novella would include many of the current and historical characters/ships and be written in a "re-imagined" form, much in the same fashion as the 2003 "Battlestar Galactica" series was done (i.e. the characters and ships may not appear exactly as how they were portrayed originally by the players - much like how the character of Starbuck was changed to a female, and a lot of the other characters weren't the same as in the old series of BSG). The novella would likely be some form of "origin story" fictionalizing the founding of Independence Fleet.
This idea was originally conceived after James West's first retirement from IDF, and at that time was unofficially titled "The Chronicles of West". Originally, West was going to write a backstory novella about his character's early Starfleet days, which eventually led into the founding of IDF. However, before any work could be done on the project, West was reinstated in IDF and saw no reason to pursue the idea, as he was again busy with fleet business.
After West's 2nd forced retirement in 2005, he considered the project again. Two separate drafts were created; one in 2005 which was also called "The Chronicles of West", the other in 2009 which was of a completely different plot. Both versions were scrapped after West lost interest for one reason or another. This was in part due to lack of time, as West was working the hectic schedule of a police officer in real life.
A new draft was written in late 2010/early 2011 with the working title "Dawn of Independence." A tentative release date of July 4th, 2011 was set for the novella. However, as of June 2011, West reported that he was unable to complete the project by the previously mentioned date.