I really like these stories about individual soldiers or Marines in this case. It lets us see the fighting from their prospective and not from the Captain of a starship or some other high ranking individual that a lot of stories are written about. Oh, yes, being a Captain of a starship, especially one that is going into battle or fighting an unexpected enemy is pretty good stuff too, but once in a while I like to get away from “the big picture” and read about how the “grunts” are fighting. This story line with now Staff Sergeant Reverent (Rev) Pelletier, Union Marine Corps are some of the best down and dirty sci-fi fighting with a twist.
If you’ll remember, Rev is an IBHU Marine, that’s an Integrated Bionic Hopological Unit Marine which really means he has a weapon prosthesis attacked to his otherwise missing arm. He lost his arm in one of his past battles which would have seemed to have been the end of his career. Oh, the Union Marines would have gotten him a regular prosthesis so he could carry on his civilian life, but Rev didn’t want to get out. There also just happened to be a crazy doctor working an unusual project that was looking for wounded Marines to which she could hook up her integrated weapon platform. This weapons platform took the place of the missing limb and allowed this specific Marine to be very dangerous, indeed!
By now, Rev is the most experienced IBHU Marine since he was the first. He has seen lots of combat and has been joined by many other IBHU Marines. The Union Marines had gone from employing Rev and his kind together, then in separate squads and now again in separate units. His current unit has the IBHU Marines spread out with Staff Sergeant Pelletier now a Platoon Sergeant. He and his platoon were still fighting the Manifest Destiny Sphere (MDS) for reasons that were beyond Rev pay-grade and interest. He just didn’t like using his skills against other humans. He originated to provide firepower against the Centaurs, but that war had been won. Yet, humans and their kind can’t seem to enjoy peaceful living for very long. So the MDS up and started a war.
After their mission comes to a successful conclusion, Rev gets tasked with escorting a VIP MDS POW back to HQ Intel. Why he was selected was beyond him, but that was his mission and he was going to do it. It should have been an easy thing, but as with all easy things they can turn very difficult with the blink of an eye. That blink came when his aircraft transport was shot down. Rev and his prisoner, an MDS Staff Captain, were thrown out the back of the aircraft close enough to the ground that neither were buried in it. Whether that was a good thing or not, Rev would later find out after he had released his prisoner in order to attempt to rescue himself.
Let’s just say that Rev becomes a POW himself for a short while, but some other things worked out in his favor which got him released back to his unit to fight another day. The next mission is probably one he never wanted to have gone on if he had known the possible outcome. See, Rev and Tomiko have a very romantic relationship developing and it takes all he can do to stay professional when in fighting mode as it pertains to Staff Sergeant Tomiko. They both promised to cool it when on duty and were doing pretty good until Tomiko got killed! Read the rest of the story.
I can’t imagine going through the stuff these Union Marines have to do. Still, I can see Mr. Brazee’s writings in these stories for sure. He’s done a lot of that kind of story telling in his “United Federations Marine Corps Series” which I really, really like. He and Mr. Chaney get real personal with the story and it sounds almost too realistic. The advances in medicine seem to be short of miracles, but I suppose anyone from the Civil War would think our current military medical operations are miracles also. I can’t imagine walking around with a weapon integrated into my body that can react to my thoughts. I would be too dangerous to myself and certainly anyone around me. Good thing they are just telling a futuristic story. Still it’s very, very good military sci-fi and that’s what I love to read.
I did see a book 7, “When Words Fail” up for pre-order on Amazon. Delivery date is shown as 20 March 2022. I’m putting on my reading list right now!