This is one of the very best series although this particular book seems to slow down a little. Commodore Jack Romanoff commanding the Confederation starship Delta Orionis (a.k.a. Hunter), had just destroyed the last remaining Locust droids around a Confederation supply depot. They had found this depot occupied by a bunch of civilians and they apparently had been doing so for a long time. They had armed some of the missile platforms and that helped in finishing off this latest battle with the Locust. The quantum gate into the system had been destroyed so there wasn’t a possibility of the Locust coming after them again for a while. It was time to find out who occupied the depot and if they were hostile to his Confederation Navy.
The apparent lead for the depot occupiers was none other than Mark Connor, a smuggler, that Jack had some history with. This guy was kind of lavish in his dress and manner and came off in appearance as a pirate, although he would make it clear that he hated pirates and was on a simple smuggler. Of course Jack Romanoff wasn’t going to immediately trust this guy, but he’s the one they had to deal with so that was that.
They set up an initial meeting which went well. Connor said, while he was the leader of the community of about thirty-thousand civilians, he did have to get concurrence with anything from his governing council. Commodore Romanoff also stated that he couldn’t commit the Confederation to any kind of permanent agreement, but he was willing to do as much as he could to work an agreement between those occupying the depot and his Navy. The Hunter desperately needed access to the millions of missiles stored in the thousands of warehouses at the depot and numerous spare parts to fix his ship. He also needed to find out if any of the other battleships were combat capable or if they could be made combat capable. And finally, Jack knew that he had to get the people of the depot to consider his cause of defeating the Locust their cause since he needed more bodies to shore up his crew and possibly crew other battleships. So, it was a very good thing that the depot called “Port Royal” by the occupiers, was on friendly terms.
A lot of the book involves exploring the mechanics of getting these pirates, smugglers and otherwise criminals to work with the Navy personnel from the Hunter. Mark Conner was also getting resistance from the depot governing council since they want to ensure they got something out of this deal with the Confederation. They knew full well that a healthy Hunter battleship could do a lot of damage to the depot if so inclined, but they also knew it was in their best interest to help the Navy. If the Locust came back, it would be a lot more and probably more than the Hunter could fight off.
So, Romanoff and Conner agreed to cooperate and allow the Navy access to the warehouses to search for the missiles and spare parts. It wasn’t an easy tasks and they found some of Port Royal’s own people stealing from some of the warehouses. It appeared that one group was attempting to arm one of the battleships they had occupied. This couldn’t be allowed, but Commodore Romanoff knew he couldn’t just send in his Marines. So, the first joint effort was formed to capture these crooks.
Meanwhile, the Hunter’s logistics experts found that while there were millions of missiles available, the nuclear warheads have been all shipped to New Copenhagen for storage. Jack started formulating a plan as to how they could get to New Copenhagen, fight off any Locust there and then secure the nuclear warheads. The problem was that without the nuclear warheads, his missiles weren’t anywhere nearly as lethal at they should/could be and if the Locust were large in numbers, he would be able to defend anything!
So, they take the Hunter to New Copenhagen and find the storage area for the nuclear warheads. This wasn’t done in secret since there were a large presence of Locust orbiting the planet. But, the Hunter managed to fight them off and destroy the immediate threat. Except the Locust had deployed on the planet and had at least two fortresses built. Romanoff didn’t know what kind of land forces he would be facing since the Locust in past wars hadn’t landed or attempted to occupy planets. Still, he sends in his Marine contingent to secure the nuclear warhead storage facility and they have a fight on their hands.
Meanwhile, another large group of Locust are coming towards the Hunter and they have to get the nuclear warheads from the planet, figure out how to get them installed on their missiles and then load a sufficient number in the Hunter’s missile launchers or this was going to be a very short battle. While this seems like a very dangerous part of the story, it seems as though the author really played down the battle. The Hunter did as planned, they shot their now nuclear tipped missiles and destroyed the Locust motherships. And that was that! Pretty anti-climatic.
The only problem is that the Hunter is seriously damage. It can’t go back to Port Royal. And that’s were the story ends. It does leave you wondering what’s going to happen in the future. You’re reminded that New Copenhagen is one small planet in a small system of the Confederation. There are thousands of planets that the Confederation is supposed to defend and they are all probably or will be occupied by the Locust. Just how is this small Confederation Navy supposed to fight this huge enemy and take the fight to them? This story has a long, long way to good, I think.
It’s good and I’ll continue to follow this series. Book 4, “Enemy Revealed” is available on Amazon and already on my reading list.