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“A Path in the Darkness”


A Path in the Darkness

We’re back with this very tough and active Lieutenant Colonel Tanis Richards of the colony ship Intrepid. Except you’ll actually get thrown back 40 years earlier when the Intrepid was just getting ready to launch. There we are shown a scene where Tanis and Captain Jason Andrews are having a secret rendezvous at a cafe on Mars. She finds she was included in this meeting because she was eventually passed coordinates via her neural link that lead them to a pickup point. There a very strange thing happened. Tanis was voluntarily injected with a nano cluster that moved a very tiny container into her liver. She later finds out that she now has the complete plans on how to build picotech in her liver. Forget that you know this now.

Now back on the Intrepid, forty years have passes since their harrowing escape from the Solar System. The Intrepid has been sailing along on course with Bob, the super Artificial Intelligence (AI), controlling every aspect of the ship. Until it started having unreasonable and unknown problems. These problems were quickly causing the AI to lose control of the ship and it was falling towards a star. His only solution at this point was to awake Tanis Richard since she seemed to know how to fix problems or maybe she was just lucky and Bob thought he was going to need a whole lot of luck for this mission to continue.

It turns out that the Intrepid has a saboteur aboard. A very deadly saboteur who has not only compromised several systems, but has caused considerable damage to the Intrepid’s ramscoop. It now appears that the saboteurs are about to debark the ship using one of the available of the Triton Class Pinnaces. Tanis headed for that docking bay to stop them, but also asked Bob to awaken Joe, the military pilot and now her boy friend. She didn’t want to run around this immense starship by herself especially with all the systems going off-line or malfunctioning. To make matters worse, some of the servitors (robots) were turning hostile due to the faulty programming being fed into them. So, she had to be aware of that danger while hunting down these saboteurs. That’s just the beginning of their problems.

The next big problem is how to get the Intrepid back on course for new Eden. For that, they have to wake most of the command crew including the Captain. They find out that without additional lithium, they don’t have the required fuel to break their fall into this star and get back on course. The only way to do this would be to send someone or two into a nearby asteroid field to retrieve a rock that contained a sufficient amount of lithium. Joe was the obvious candidate to do that since he was the Chief fighter pilot for all ships except the Intrepid. It was Tanis’s opinion that he couldn’t do this mission alone so she volunteered to go with him. It was going to take a considerable amount of time, but while they were gone, the Intrepid was going to have to get repaired enough to get them on a slightly different course. Then the starship with Joe and Tanis would have to find the Intrepid and manage to meet back up with it before their starship ran out of fuel. All of this would work if nothing else aboard the Intrepid broke or was further sabotaged. That didn’t happen.

While Tanis and Joe successfully made it back, they found two more crew that had become saboteurs and they had damaged another very necessary component of the starship. It was then decided that their original destination of New Eden was not going to be feasible giving the conditions of the ship. They would have to stop in Kapteyn’s Star system and make major repairs which would actually require them to establish a semi-permanent colony on one of the planets in that system. They could be there, repairing the ship for a hundred years or more!

So, they have a long ways to go if the ship can still make it. They think they have found all the saboteurs, but they don’t know for sure. Everyone in stasis has been once again thoroughly vetted and they all seemed to be who they are thought to be, but there were numerous people on Earth who strongly disliked the idea of sending out colony ships. Those people would do just about anything to stop the Intrepid from completing its mission. Then there was Jessica, the TBI Agent found in one of the stasis capsules when she wasn’t even supposed to be on the ship. She had been in pursuit of a very dangerous criminal that was called simply Myrrdan.

Was Myrrdan aboard the Intrepid also? Jessica didn’t know, but she did know she had tracked him to the Intrepid and suddenly found herself woken up by Tanis forty years after the ship had left the Solar System. Myrrdan was exactly the type of criminal that would be interested in picotech. What was he really up to and how far would he go? More importantly, why couldn’t Bob, the super intelligent AI, find any trace of Myrrdan aboard the ship?

Lastly, we also get to find out about Tanis’ background and specifically about why she is called, “The Butcher of Toro”. It’s interesting, but not that reasonable for what happened to her after that mission. And we get some insight into Joe, her new love. It really blossoms in this book, if you’re into that kind of thing!

I’m moving on to book 3, “Building Victoria” since I really like the way this story is developing.

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