In the previous book, the combined efforts of the Terrans, Kardons, and Sontags defeated an Overlord fleet. Now they have three Overlord carriers that have been taken back to Earth to see what can be done with them. These carriers were manned by Overlord drones, five-thousand per carrier, plus a group of Overlord AI’s that managed the ship and the drones. Although the drones are humans, they are nothing but clones with specific instructions on how to do specific jobs aboard the carrier. Now that the Overlord AIs are not in control, the drones are just standing around until they get put back in stasis. Apparently, the AIs kept human stock in stasis bring them out only when they needed something for the to do.
Earth has no way of immediately fully manning three carriers. President Harvey isn’t keen on even letting SIs takeover the operation of these carriers since he doesn’t really trust the SIs like Commander Lance Baker has done with Irina, his fighter pilot SI. Everyone knows the SIs could run the carriers and the Terrans can somewhat staff at least one of them which they do. They also put together a team of three SI that were formerly fighter pilot SIs so they know something about the military and combat. But, this new carrier, the USS Independence, needs to get operational very quickly. They have assigned numerous fighter squadrons which haven’t worked together. Commander Jimenez has been assigned as one of the squadron commanders. The Admiral decides they need to get away from Earth to stop any Overlord attack before it can bombard the Earth itself. So, off they go while Commander Lance Baker is getting a slightly different assignment.
Lance is without a job for the moment, but after a quick meeting with Captain Dan Jones, his Wing Commander, he finds out that he’s been assigned as Security Lead for a Presidential visit to Kardonia. That’s not actually a flying position, but he will be able to take his fighter along with Irina, of course. The President wants to get this potential alliance with the Kardons and the Sontags going as quickly as possible. With the idea that an Overlord fleet might be coming to Earth, they need the protection the other two allies might be able to provide since they can’t get the captured Overlord carriers fully manned in order to protect Earth. So, the forming of an alliance between the three alien races is paramount. Everything hinges on getting this done and the three allies joining together with all their assets to protect which planet is attacked first. It just so happens, that first attack doesn’t come to Earth.
Meanwhile, one of the captured Overlord carriers has been assigned to orbit Earth with a crew that is in training. Unknown to them is the fact that an Overlord AI still remains onboard in stasis. He’s activated and quickly takes over the ship. Now he has a fully armed, nuclear capable starship orbiting Earth while none of Earth’s defenses are in place. Is this the end of Earth already?
In discussions with the President, who is still leery about the whole SI thing, Commander Baker pushes across the point that the Earth will need a lot more SIs to do the things that need done on any current or future starships they build. He proposes that a training program be established that will properly prepare new SIs and that they be granted the rights and privileges of any living human. Of course, most of this comes from Irina who I personally think has way to much influence over just about every thing! Anyway, a such a program has been going on in other countries and now will be adopted globally. The first class of about 125 new SIs is place aboard the carrier orbiting Earth. Unfortunately, when the AI was activated, he killed all the SIs by deleting their coding and then spaced all the humans aboard the ship. It did this without a thought to the lives it just erased.
So, when Commander Baker and Irina arrive back they were stuck training replacement SIs. Again, unfortunately, these SIs were a new batch of “volunteer” SIs. They had decided they no longer wanted to live in the physical body so had volunteered to be uplinked. Irina was shocked to find out that the three they had assigned to be the new controllers/operators of the carriers, had no prior military training whatsoever! She did the best she could to show and train them on their duties, but these assignments turn out to be deadly for the humans. The whole SI business is deadly and, in my opinion, has gone too far in making starship captains redundant on their own ships. They do not even have a way of shutting down the SIs for any reason so they are at the mercy of these people who seem to have an attitude that assumes they are superior to any human.
Irina is one SI particularly that has an attitude problem. She wants to be viewed as a digital human with all the rights of a living human, but when given an order she doesn’t like, she argues to the point of not accepting anyone authority over her or begrudgingly does so. Simple fact is, there is not way to punish an SI for doing whatever they wanted and it shows in the latter part of this book. In order to save their own digital existence, they sacrifice humans with no more consideration than an AI would do. So, I think there is a serious flaw in this whole book about SI and the uplink idea. I, for one, would never want to work with an SI. Commander Lance Baker and everyone else that works with Irina are just ignorant to the fact that she is only out to protect herself and no one else.
Ok, so as you can see the story kind of stirred me up. It’s a pretty good book, but I’m getting kind of tired listening to Irina and her attitude. Additionally, a lot of the actions can be predicted especially if some one is counting on a SI to do something they don’t want to do. The story will continue in Book 6, “Heaven’s Angels”, but I’m not eager to read it.