This is another one of those non-military science fiction books that I find myself reading. Seems like I’ve been reading a lot of them lately. This obviously the second book in what is kind of a tall-tale story. I say that because most of the stuff that happens shouldn’t or wouldn’t happen the way it does in this story. It just doesn’t make sense. If you’ll recall, Ray Barclay was a scientist conducting some research on mixing BioZol with theocite to make a super form of energy that could propel humanity to the stars. The space station, The Beacon, he was on was owned by the ZolaCore Corporation who in-turn was owned by a Mr. Ignacio Zola.
It turns out that Mr. Zola and his cronies are nothing but eco-terrorist and are bent on destroying the Earth and every living thing on it except themselves, of course. They release a poison gas in the space station, but Ray is secluded in a sealed chamber and doesn’t know what’s going on until he looks through a tiny window on the sealed door to his chamber and sees everyone dead. He then takes it upon himself to secure all the information about ZolaCore and take it to Earth using a not-for-Earth entry, life pod. He miraculously makes it down to Earth which has already be devastated by ZolaCore terrorist. So much so, that all of the remaining inhabitants on Earth are in underground bunkers.
Now here’s where things get strange. Once Ray is rescued from his downed life pod and brought into the nearest bunker, he’s met by none other that the President of the United States! President Williams greets Ray telling him that he’s amazed he’s alive and thanks him for bringing all the information that the bunker analyst are already sorting through. He then invites Ray to another conference room where he’s to be introduced to those running this bunker. Turns our, it’s not the President and his staff. The ERF (Earth Resilience Forum) has assumed command in all the bunkers across the entire Earth. The President introduces Ray to a Mr. Clarence Major, Senior Coordinator for the bunker in which they now reside. It is very apparent that the President of the United States isn’t in-charge of this bunker, but that Mr. Major seems to be although Ray has no idea where his authority comes from. Still, everyone in the room seems to have adjusted to the fact that Mr. Major and the ERF are running things not only in this bunker, but world-wide in every bunker. That in itself is a pretty strange concept and not necessarily necessary as far as I can tell.
First thing on Ray’s mind though, is getting back with his wife and child. They are, unfortunately, or very fortunately, secure in a bunker in Colorado. Ray believes his work is done now that he’s back on Earth with all the information that should reveal the plans of the ZolaCore terrorists so he’s willing to let them handle it, even if it’s the ERF. He just wants to get to Colorado and join up with his wife and child. Mr. Major promises Ray that will happen in due time. And he keeps telling Ray that until it’s well past time. He’s going to use Ray to accomplish some things that probably anyone else would be better suited to do, but since Ray is the main character of this book, he’s going to be heavily involved.
They know the ZolaCore terrorist are planning on some gigantic explosion that could possibly tear the Earth apart. They seem to have the location of deeply buried theocite which they plan to combine with a vast amount of BioZol which could trigger a cataclysmic event. The analyst who have reviewed the hard drives and thumb drives brought down by Ray believe the can find the plans and location of the ZolaCore terrorist HQ and even the location of where this devastating explosion is to take place. They just need Ray to find the information that still resides back on The Beacon! Ray isn’t going back into space. No way, no how. So how is he going to get the stuff they say they need?
I don’t go along with this ERF controlling everything. It doesn’t appear to be a government entity and I don’t think it has any muscle or a bunch of armed troops to back it up. There are guards in the bunker preventing just anyone from entering the “war room”, but they aren’t that many. There are about 8,000 people in the bunker Ray is in and many of them are high ranking military. So why they have just delegated their power to Mr. Major isn’t fully understood. Even the President of the United States is acting like a mouse. So, I don’t like nor believe this is a necessary part of the story. Ray Barclay isn’t also the kind of guy you’d pick as your hero. He’s very near-sighted and has a crippled hand. He also got PTSD from when his brother was killed in a car accident.
It looks like there are two more book in the story, book 3, “Operation: Star Shot”, is next. I guess I’ll read, but it’s not going to be a priority.