Gideon has now formed his lance consisting of Roland, Aignar, and Ch’ril, even though the latter three are not completely trained Armor warriors. Yet, they all three have proven themselves in the first book so now they are recovering from that mission and have just been given a new mission. It never ends, even in peacetime.
This time they are dropping onto a planet that mostly water. They are looking for signs of the Cairo which has been missing for sometime. Nimbus IV is covered in a cloud layer so they have to do a combat drop not knowing what they are dropping into. They don’t even know for sure if the Cairo or it’s remains are here on this planet. Still, they need to find out what happened to that ship and the crew. While it was a struggle, the lance does find some evidence and a recorder from a gun emplacement that had some interesting video recorded on it. Something attacked the Cairo and it appears to be human weapons.
So, now the lance is aboard the Ardennes, a much bigger ship and off on another much bigger mission. Someone or something is attacking the human colony on Oricon and the Ardennes and its fleet have been dispatched to find out what is going on. They believe it could be the work of rogue humans lead by the Ibarra’s, brother and sister, once held in high esteem by the humans, but since the Alliance was formed and the Hale Treaty enacted, the Ibarra’s have become outlaws. Their main contention is that Earth gave up too much when they signed the Hale Treaty. The previous war (Ember Wars) with the Xaros almost wiped out all of humanity. The Ibarra’s discovered a method to grow fully adult humans in nine days and give them a set of normal appearing memories so they wouldn’t know or believe they were “processed humans”. The Hale Treaty made the creation of “processed humans” illegal. The Ibarra’s fled Earth and took with them humans who believed that these “proccies’ were necessary to the continued existence of the human race.
Since they initially fled not much has been know of what or where the Ibarra’s were doing or went. Now, it appears they have some kind of battleship and soldiers to take on the Alliance military. They appear to be responsible for the loss of the Cairo and maybe stirring up trouble around Oricon. Admiral Lettow will lead his armada through the Crucible Gate and decide what must be done to stop the conflict. Little does he know that something else far worse than the Ibarra’s might exist in that star system.
I like these Terran Armor stories, but I think the training of the three Chief Warrant Officers was a little hasty. They haven’t been fleshed out enough and don’t know what they are doing all the time. Roland is expected to be good with a sword, but he doesn’t practice enough and no one seems to get on his case about it. Aignar is a problem once out of his Armor. He can’t fend for himself without his mechanical arms and legs. He can’t even eat normal food so when or if his Armor every fails, his lance mates will have to care for him or leave him behind. That’s a burden they shouldn’t have. Also, prolonged used of the Armor makes the body weak and unable to defend itself once they are out of their Armor. While it might be very, very difficult to stop these Armor giants, once they do so, the humans inside are not very threatening to anyone. The enemy will exploit this situation to it’s fullest, I’m sure!
There also is something going on that hasn’t been explained. All this mystical stuff with Saint Kallen and the Templars hasn’t been explained fully, yet. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere but right now we’re only getting a glimpse of what it is to be an Armor Templar. Still, this is very good reading.