Not sure where this story was going after our main character, Cole Riker, former criminal and Slip Runner. He has just hit the jackpot, so to speak, with the Alliance giving him a new ship and a mission, find the homeworld of Gray, his alien friend. Gray is an Anypsian that has some problems with amnesia in that he can’t exactly remember where in the universe his homeworld might be. So they are going to have to figure out where to start and finally get going.
Captain Riker is now the captain of the Star Trader, a souped-up freighter given to him by the Alliance/Renegades for this mission. HIs own ship, the Nebulous, was undergoing extensive repairs. This ship is much nicer, newer and much more capable than his old ship, but it’s going to take some getting used to having a regular crew around. He ha four “volunteers”, namely Camilla Abernathy, Riker’s former Liaison officer who has close contacts with Jace Hughes, the leader of the Renegade faction of the Alliance. Then there was Lieutenant John Barrick, the military muscle of the crew, and Selina Vasquez, medical expert, although she’s mostly trained as a veterinarian! Lastly, was Deacon Smith, Engineer and former assessor for any Celestial junk that the Nebulous might have acquired while as a Slip Runner ship. Deacon had been with Riker for the longest and had been offered the second-in-command slot for this mission, but refused, saying it would interfere with his engineering duties and would be boring anyway. Gray was also included as part of the crew although the first thing on their list of things to do was to find and recover Gray’s ship.
That ship was cloaked on Della, the planet on which Riker had found Gray and freed him from the stasis prison. While there were Alliance scientist crawling all over the cave that Gray was found, they hadn’t yet stumbled upon a cloaked ship. Gray didn’t believe they every would because his ship was not only cloaked, but out of phase with normal space.
So, they got to Della and without much trouble, secured Gray’s ship only Gray’s ship was enormous, so much so that it could take on the Star Trader in it’s landing dock and still have room for two or three more ships of that size. So, Captain Riker decided to let Gray’s ship doing the flying while he and his crew lived aboard the Star Trader on the flight deck. But, the first problem they encountered was the information that Gray though would be available aboard his ship wasn’t there. It seems like some of his navigation data was missing and especially the location of his homeworld. All he had was the location of a couple of outposts that were probably closed down by now since his people had left this part of the universe a long time ago fleeing the Celestials. So this definitely complicated matters.
The rest of the story is about the ship and crew attempting to find its way towards Gray’s homeworld. They get off course quite a bit and find some other interesting things that lead them to still more interesting stuff, but none that gets them closer to Gray’s people. Still, it seems that Captain Cole Riker is adapting to his responsibilities well even to the extreme surprise of his crew. They will be a lot of interaction with Poe, the Star Trader’s limited AI, but it has been definitely upgraded while also recognizing that Captain Riker was now officially in-charge which was not necessarily the way they operated when he was a Slip Runner. So, this part of the book is kind of humorous to some extent.
They don’t accomplish much in this book. Oh, they do travel around a bit, but they definitely get side-tracked and spend a bunch of time doing something that isn’t going to get them anywhere close to Gray’s home planet. I’m not sure what will happen in the next book and that’s good to an extent, but this mission is going to take a long time if it keeps up like this.
Still, I’m adding book 3, “Defiant Exile” to my reading list.