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“The Burden of Command”


The Burden of Command

Ok, this is a long running series. I think it possibly should have ended with book 13, but here’s book 14 already. It’s now twenty years since the last action with the Karacknids. Peace has reigned throughout the human empire while the Karacknids have been fighting their internal civil war. They are, fortunately, still at it with at least three warlords still fighting for the position of Imperator. It is feared by the humans, that once the civil war is settled, the Karacknids will once again turn towards conquering all of humanity.

Emperor James and Empress Christine Somerville have been busy doing what married couples do and that is having children! Their children are growing up fast and starting upon careers of their own. Their two eldest are already part of the military with Jonathan serving in the Navy on a starship far away from the northern borders defending against a Karacknid invasion. He’s relatively save or at least his parents thing so at this time. Their next youngest, daughter Georgia, has a nack for flying and is now a fleet fighter pilot serving with a fleet patrolling the southern borders of the empire. It is hoped that neither of their children will ever come in harms way, but that is the wish of every parent no matter who they are. Most wishes don’t come true!

While the Karacknids have been busy fighting each other, Emperor and Admiral James Somerville has been trying to build a new fleet capable of standing toe-to-toe with anything the Karacknids might through at them in the future. He knows that future will come, just not when. So, he has had the Empire busy building military starships by the thousands. They are not yet there and that has him worried. He needs to push his shipbuilding industrial base harder to complete more ships and get them into the fleet. Most all of the Empire’s industrial might is located in the southern sphere far away from the Karacknid borders. They were spared much of the devastation that even Earth underwent during the last war. But now, those same planets are causing a problem of their own.

There is a movement among a number of the souther planets that wants to succeed from the Empire. They feel they are under an unfair tax burden and want to manage their own affairs. Yet, it is clear that they alone couldn’t stand against any type of aggressive alien civilization, but most of the leaders of these worlds don’t believe such an attack will ever come. So they have told the Emperor and Empress they are succeeding! Not asked or requested, the told them they were leaving. Strangely, there is no provision for an kind of succession from the Empire in the existing constitution.

Obviously, James and Christine aren’t going to let them just walk away. They have invested untold billions on these planets building vast orbiting industrial complexes above these planets. The Empire cannot afford to just let them leave because they want to. It would make a devastating blow to their preparations for another Karacknid invastion. Additionally, it’s not know if the people of these planets really want to succeed. There doesn’t seem to have been any kind of votes taken by the supposed leaders of each planet to show that succession is that popular. And it actually appears this may only be a scheme by a powerful industrialist to gain more power and wealth all for himself. So how is the Empire going to stop this successsionist movement?

Well, remember the Flex-aor? They are still around although, they are supposed to be contained on their home planet with Empire starships watching over them. But, that’s just not the case. Oh, and by the way, the Flex-aor are located along the southern borders of the Empire right near where the successionist planets are located.

Meanwhile, the eldest son of James and Christine has been managing his Naval career, as short as it has been, under an assumed name. He goes by Jake Jackson and no one knows he’s the son of the Emperor and Empress and the heir to the thrown. So how safe can he really be considering his Captain will use him just like any other weapon in her fleet?

Pretty interesting story although young Somerville makes some pretty dumb moves but comes out pretty well even doing so. And his parents find out that they can no longer protect their children any more than any other parent in the Empire. They are going to have to fight as they have been trained.

Believe it or not, this series isn’t finished, although I think it should be. Book 15, “Into the Breach” is available on Amazon and I’m adding it to my reading list.

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