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“Free Space”


4 Small Stars

The covers of this series of books are really colorful and interesting. I wish more science fiction books had covers like these. Now, the story was developed in the first book where Earth has settled many planets through a worm-hole. Everything was going fine for quite some time when the worm-hole collapsed and cut off the two civilizations. Commander Thad Thatcher was one of the military personnel that was caught in the non-Earth system so he kind of had to find a new job. He was already heading that way since it didn’t appear he was going to actually get command of his own military starship, so the separation came a little early. He’s also separated from his wife and child with no idea of when they will be back together, if ever.

Now the universe he’s in is run by giant corporations. They have their own security services which Thad was invited to join. Doing so allowed him to finally get command of a starship. As commanding officer of the Jersey, he was responsible to only Frontier Security’s CEO, Ms. Veronica Rose. She usually operated from behind a desk and that was just fine with Thad. He had his ship running like he wanted it to and the crew was responding very well, although Commander Thatcher was a pretty strict disciplinarian. An outside observer might think he’s command style was a little too strict and they would have been mostly right.

In my reading this book, Commander Thatcher has been come one boring stuff shirt afraid to show any or most emotions to let his crew know that he’s human just like them. He makes them so afraid of making a mistake, that one such incident occurs where one of his principal CIC crew-members freezes up and can’t do anything! Now on this new mission, his boss, Ms. Rose will be onboard the entire time.

Word has come that the pirates who have been terrorizing shipping all through this universe, are now attempting to mass at one place and kind of establish their own domain. From that central location they would be able to strike any where with a sizable force to take what they wanted. The rest of the corporations don’t want that to happen so they are banding together in hopes of having sufficient security forces available to counter any large pirate attacks.

Frontier Security, led by Veronica Rose, wants to attack the pirate stronghold immediately before they can consolidate. She is willing to take the Jersey, Commanded by Thatcher, along with some other Frontier Security ships, plus any ships from the other corporations that want to help and understand that the pirates need to be stopped now. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get much support!

So, Commander Thatcher has a mission without a whole lot of assets in which to accomplish it. He doesn’t know how many pirates he’ll face nor how well they will be armed. Usually, his combat ships are no match against poorly armed and even poorly maintained pirates vessels. So, if he only has to contend with pirates, he just might accomplish his mission.

Still, the terrority he’s going to also has been reported as a location of the Xanthic, as race of aliens that have already attacked humanity back on Earth before the separation. Thatcher is hoping that he doesn’t come into contact with them, but you now how things usually work out.

A pretty good read although I’m not sold on these quasi-corporation military setups. I don’t see how they are making money by going alone to fight someone or something. Where’s the profit in that. Losing a corporate ship costs money, so how are they making that money to replace a lost ship or even repair the ones that have? That side of the story isn’t explained very well, but otherwise the writing is pretty good.

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