If you read my review of the first book in this series, “Ruins of Earth”, then you know I was kind of on the fence about whether I liked the book or not. Well, that one turned out OK and this one does continue the story only now that I know what kind of writing I’m getting, I don’t have a real problem with all the inane humor. When someone that’s in combat walks around with a talking rifle, that’s pretty stupid if you ask me. But, no one did ask and they exist in this book. In particular, our main character, Wic (short for Patrick), a retired Gunnery Sergeant of the US Marine Corps, has a talking rifle named “Chuck”. It’s an alien rifle and certainly not of human origin.
“Chuck” is an extremely dangerous weapon in the hands of someone other than a human. You can read how Wic came to be with Chuck in the first book and find out how the AI in the rifle was given a new personality that set off all this comedy stuff in the book. I think there is actually less comedy in this book than in the first one or I was better prepared for it. Still, while I don’t mind humor in science fiction books, I’m just not ready for a talking rifle although I do see how that could come in handy if the thing was a intelligent as what Chuck appears to be. Still, if all it does is talk and not shoot, then it’s not really worth carrying around right?
So, Wic has put together a team of various combat veterans, a young private and his scientist friend, Dr. Aaron Campbell, and they have armed themselves, stolen an alien transport shuttle and are going through the Antartica portal to find out where these aliens are coming from and stop the slave ring that his just about all of humanity in its grasp. They have absolutely no idea of what they will run into nor of how they are to accomplish anything. It’s once we get there, we’ll figure it out.
So, they go through the portal and find out they arrive inside a huge hanger where there a literally thousand of other alien transport shuttles. They quietly manage to get the shuttle landed and then keep it shut tight because they realize they can’t even breath the atmosphere outside this shuttle! Not a good way to start. Wic has one alien helmet and some armor that will allow him to actually breath and walk out side the shuttle so he’s going to try and find an armory where he can grab more helmets and armor to outfit the rest of the Phantom Team. Surprisingly, he gets this done. Then they decided to move out into this alien structure not knowing anything about it. They have no access to a map of the place nor much intel on what they might find. So, the success of whatever they are going to do isn’t very high.
Unfortunately, it’s also difficult to act like an alien all the time. They pull it off for awhile, but soon find themselves in a shootout inside one of the other hangers with no way to get back to their shuttle. It looks like their little escapade into alien territory isn’t going to last very long and not going to help humanity much. That is until some aliens with peculiar markings on their armor start blasting other aliens and looking to rescue Wic and his team. Not long after this they meet General Peegra Cordan, Lietuenant Insarka Kindesh and Lieutenant Farkoo Tersmik. While the General is surprised to see them, he wants Wic’s team to join his forces against these corporate slavers. Wic doesn’t think that’s the right move for now so he says, “No!”, and asks for some Intel help from the General. The General gives him some, but clearly indicates that Wic and his small team won’t be alive very long to use it. Not that he’s going to do anything to them, they just don’t have any idea of how large an operation this slave activity really is. So Wic gets the idea that the General isn’t going to be much help. Still he and his team must to do something to help the millions of humans who are about to die here and on Earth.
Things look pretty bleak until Lieutenant Insarka says she’s there to help with whatever they need and being the daughter of the General, she’s got connections in the right place. So, maybe, just maybe Wic and his Phantom Team can do something. But what can a small team of his do against millions of aliens? Read and find out.