If you’ve followed this story through the first three books, you know this is about starfighter pilots and their Synthetic Intelligences (SIs) that share their starfighters with them. Yes, these SIs are former humans who had access to the F-77c starfighter which came with a neural link directly into the pilots brains. This allowed them to almost become the starfighter. They had direct control of all the fight characteristics and armament and everything was instantaneous. It was mind expanding to say the least. Some pilots lost the desire to have to come back to reality and their human bodies so they decided to transfer all their consciousness into the starfighter system. This worked for some and others it didn’t go so well.
Irina Koslova was one of the first pilots to make the jump. She did it on her own because she didn’t want to deal with being a human in a human body. She flies the starfighter and fights with it better than any other starfighter in the fleet, but she has learned that she can’t do it all alone. A human pilot is necessary to provide her input she doesn’t have sensors for. So, you’d think that a team of a very good human pilot and an SI would be almost unbeatable in combat. For the most part, you wouldn’t be wrong. Yet, there can be problems and Irina, in my opinion, is one of the biggest problems!
She is arrogant, barely tolerating her human pilot, Commander Lance Baker. I don’t know how he stands to fly with this stuck-up, know-it-all, better than anyone, rude and selfish synthetic intelligence. Lance is a good pilot. He’s not as experienced as was Irina when she decided to make the permanent transfer, but she things she’s so much better than any human pilot it would make me want to jump from her starfighter and be done with it. I wouldn’t fly with an SI with the attitude that Irina has all the fricken’ time.
As you’ve read, Lance has returned from his supposed death with a Kardon friend, Golchak. They have explained to the Admiral that the Kardon’s are humans with the same DNA and the Earth has been fighting the wrong enemy. So, Baker, as Earth’s Ambassador, and GolChak are going to return to Kardonia and try to establish and alliance against the Overlords whom the Earth has been fighting with. The Overlords are artificial Intelligences that can control biological bodies to do their bidding and if the humans of Earth don’t cooperate, they will either be exterminated or turned into mindless automatons controlled by the Overlords.
Golchak seems to be a good guy, but he’s not telling everyone the whole story. He has said that the Kardons don’t have a large military and doesn’t know if they are willing to join an alliance since Earth isn’t all that powerful right now. Still, he and Lance Baker with Irina are going to make an attempt to find Kardonia without leading the Overlords to that hidden home planet. They almost make that happen.
Meanwhile, Admiral Jameson has to figure out how he goes about turning on the Overlords if they can form an alliance with the Kardons. He knows that when the Overlords find the Kardonia home planet they will want to attack and will expect Earth to send its carrier and starfighters to fight in the battle. He’s afraid that if the Kardonia’s and Earth combined don’t have the strength to defeat the Overlords, both civilization will be wiped out.
So, that what this book is mostly about. Lance’s attempt to arrange an alliance with the Kardons and hopefully that will include any current allies they have. He finds that he has a bit of a problem in doing this since the Kardons do not like AIs of any kind. Still, can he prove to them there is a vast difference between AIs and SIs. Will Irina be an help or will she be a pain in the you know where as I think she usually is.
I just don’t see a pilot with any kind of skills wanting to put up with her attitude, ever. Some of the SIs sound more reasonable and seem to make the teamwork much easier, but everything Lance Baker has to do seems complicated because of Irina’s lousy attitude. If there was any reason I would stop reading this series, it would be because of this Baker and Koslova constant bickering, arguing and her overbearing attitude. But, for right now I’m putting book 5, “Forge the Path” on my reading list, well, that is when it comes out on 4 December 2022.