Well, I don’t know. I think I stumbled upon my first military sci-fi satire book! Yeah, this one is kind of different. I’m not sure I liked it to begin with, but, I will say it turned out OK at the end.
This story is a comedy. I don’t know if the authors intended it to be that way, but surely they did because the dialogue wasn’t done just haphazardly. I usually like my military sci-fi to be serious stuff unless I’m reading something say the “Undying Mercenaries series” by B. V. Larson which I know has a lot of humor in its stories. I guess I just wasn’t expecting so much humor in what could have been a very serious book. I also know that J. N. Chaney writes mostly serious sci-fi stuff, so Mr. Hopper must be the new author and I’m not sure I like his contribution, but I admit, I did finish the book.
Let’s start off with the main character. He’s a Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) of the US Marine Crops. He’s been in for 24 years and as an E-9 he knows what he’s doing or at least he should know. In the Prologue, he’ll start out as a young Marine Private First Class as they all do, but he survives Iraq after watching on of his best friends die. So, starting in Part One of this book, he’s battle hardened and you’d think a classic stoic military person of great wisdom now being a MGySgt of Marines. They usually don’t make them any tougher or wiser, or at least that’s my thoughts when starting to read this book.
So, after 23 years of good, honest service to the Marines and Country, MGySgt Patrick “Wic” Finnegan has decided it’s time to hang up his duty belt and go find a cabin in the woods near Brooklyn, NY, his home town. But first, he has one favor to pay off and that is to accompany his other friend, Dr. Aron Campbell, on an Antarctica archeological dig. So why would they need a Marine in such a place? Well, this happens to be a multi-national site and the Brits and Russians have chosen to send “security” detachments so the Americans have to follow suit. Dr. Campbell requested Wic’s presence and the Marine Corps said, “Why not!”, so he’s now freezing in the Antarctica doing a whole lot of nothing!
That’s a good start to the book. The MGySgt has control of the security for the site although the actual dig area is deep beneath the ice and he and his military types aren’t cleared for that area. Oh, he can get to it and all, but as long as nothings happen top-side then the site should be pretty secure. Then of course, it’s not, but the threat comes from within the dig. No, this isn’t about dinosaurs! But it is a take on “Stargate SG-1” the TV show. Yeah, Dr. Aaron Campbell had uncovered a giant “ring” deep beneath the Antarctic ice. He brings in MGySgt “Wic” because he wants him see what he’s found and he plans to turn the “ring” on! Now, Wic doesn’t seem to get the idea that this ring isn’t something that humans have built. Yet, he’s experienced enough to know that once this thing gets turned on it could very well be a portal coming from somewhere that something might come through. So, he wants to put maximum security forces behind fortification before anything gets turned on. Dr. Campbell doesn’t believe the precautions are that necessary, but he relents and gets ready to turn on the giant ring.
Well, it is a portal and something comes through it and then all hell breaks loose! Wic and all the troops wind up fighting for their lives with most of them ending up dead. Yet, they do mange to get the portal shut down Wic’s had enough of whatever it is so he heads back to near Booklyn, NY and his cabin in the woods. Wic apparently isn’t smart enough to understand that what he saw wasn’t manmade. He left Antarctica thinking that the CIA or some other spook agency is probably on both ends of this portal and they are just demoing some new DARPA weapons. He’s not very bright for a MGySgt.
He wakes up one morning in his cabin and looks out to the horizon and sees something that wasn’t there the other day. There’s what appears to be a huge blue dome over New York city. So, he loads up his personal vehicle and he’s down to what the sees as the edge of this dome thing. Turns out this his the where his nightmares really come to life. Apparently, the spooks back in Antarctica left that ring on and now another one has shown up in New York, but this one has a huge dome over it. The ring and the dome appear to be centered right over and through the Brooklyn Bridge!
Wic gets involved again in a very deep way. He meets up with some other like-minded military personnel, most cut off from their parent unit, but all very capable people. There’s even a Navy Seal in this group. They can fight as he watches and finds out. They even take on a group of robots coming at them in a armored hover car. In the ensuing fight, Wic manages to take down a “death angle” robot and take his weapon. Come to find out, these “death angles” are extremely hard to kill and humans can’t use these robot weapons. Well, most humans can’t. For some reason, Wic can. And then the group convinces Wic that they are dealing with not just robots, but real aliens. He’s told to look one in the face, which he does, but then this Master Gunnery Sergeant of Marines passes out!
Now here’s were it starts getting weird. Master Gunnery Sergeants just don’t pass out, no matter what! That’s just not real. Then we find out that the alien rifle he picked up can talk! Now we’re in the realm of ridiculous! Still, it seems this rifle has a tiny ASIK which is the same as an AI but more intelligent. All kinds of conversations start between Wic and his rifle and most of these conversations sound like they are coming from a comedy team. It’s hard to accept that a rifle can talk even if it’s alien to begin with, but with our talking computers and other stuff in 2021, why wouldn’t an alien rifle be able to talk? So, now the story continues with our band of military going against the alien bad guys. I didn’t mind the action. It was well written, but some things happen that just happened too easily. And the Russian mafia living underground in New York City? Yeah, sure.
I don’t know if I’ll read the next book in this series. I might just to see what happens. It’s a different kind of book, that’s for sure. Stargate SG-1 had a little humor to it, but this story has just too much.