Captain Cameron (Cam) Alvarez was in-charge! That’s not really what he wanted but with the death of Colonel Hachette, that’s where he found himself. Still, the had manage to the the starship *Orion* back to the planet Yfingam where everything had started. He had a lot less troops than what they had started out with, but he believed he had enough to do what had to be done. And that was to built the gateway back to the Commonwealth so he and his surviving Marines could return home.
While the Orion was commanded by Captain Nance, he wanted nothing to do with the problems Cam was going to find himself involved. In fact, Captain Nance didn’t want to leave his ship for any reason. That’s a pretty big gap between a Marine Captain (O-3) and a Naval Captain (O-6). I don’t see that ever really happening, but that’s how this story is written. It seems there are a few other Naval Captains aboard the *Orion* but none of them have the leadership desire so Cam is stuck. And he is stuck with a mess on the planet.
There are three factions residing on Yfingam. The Vergai, a human race that call Yfingam their home because they had no where else to go. These were farmers and laborers, who before Cam arrived, were ruled by the Tahni and used as slaves. The Karai, were the enforcement or the police for the Tahni. The Tahni ruled the Vergai by using the Karai to keep the Vergai in-line and working. Then there was the Ressharr which now were not so many. One in particular had been on the *Orion’s* most recent mission. The Ressharr were an ancient race that was highly advanced at one time. Now they there were few and since Cam’s Marines had been around, they weren’t capable of maintaining their domination over all three factions on Yfingam. The Ressharr had created the Tahni which had caused most all the problems back in the Commonwealth.
There was one other entity that Cam had to deal with and that was Dwight. This is an artificial intelligence which was almost if not sentient. It had embedded itself in the computers of the Orion and was almost everywhere. It could speak to Cam anytime it wanted via their Link. While it appeared to be benevolent, Cameron new better. He believed that Dwight was behind a lot of trouble they had been experiencing and were going to experience because Dwight hated the Ressharr and the Tahni. He wanted both factions dead! Cam wasn’t sure how he felt about the humans, but so far he hadn’t killed everyone.
So now Cam has to prevent these factions on Yfingam from killing each other. Since he and his Marines had armed the Vergai, they were no longer defenseless and could and would defend themselves if attacked. The Karai were used to the Vergai doing what they were told and didn’t like the fact that the Vergai could now fight back. Colonel Zan-Thint commanded the Karai and directly the Tahni. He knew that they combined could easily wipe out the Vergai on the planet, but he also knew that Captain Alvarez’s Marines would cause him major problems in doing so and his forces might not win that fight. So a kind of unsettled peace had been arranged on the planet, that is until it wasn’t.
Fighting had broken out in one of the markets so Cam had to rush to the scene. He had his wife now in-charge of the remaining Drop Troopers and he alerted her to activate her troops as backup in case they were needed to separate those fighting. When he got to the market he found dead on both sides, Vergai and Karai. Both screamed that the other had fired the first shot. Alvarez managed to get everyone calmed down and turned to the leaders of each faction to come together and talk about the situation. Just getting them to do that was going to be a big headache. Something was going to eventually happen that he couldn’t stop, but he, for some reason, thought he had to try.
One of the reasons he was trying to get everyone to cooperate was the building of a stargate in space. They had brought the basis of such stargate back with and it was going to take months to get built. Once built, he and his Marines and anyone that wanted to go would leave and return to the Commonwealth. He knew the Tahni weren’t going and the Karai would do what the Tahni told them to. He didn’t think the Vergai would go and he didn’t have enough space to take all of them so he figured it would just be his people and the *Orion* going back home if everything worked out just right. It didn’t!
This was an interesting and exciting story, but it gets bogged down with politics. Cameron Alvarez is a Marine not a diplomat. He really is too worried about hurting someone’s feelings than he should and that doesn’t make sense. He also has more responsibility than he should considering there were other senior military personnel aboard the *Orion*. I don’t know why he puts up with most to the things he does. He should have just let the factions fight it out and worried about building the stargate and getting the heck back home.
Book 13, “[Weapons Free](https://amzn.to/45JuagM)”, sounds interesting and I might be tempted to read it real soon.