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I admit that I was getting a little tired of reading about the main characters in this book always getting in seriously bad situations when they didn’t seem to have to do that. So, I stopped reading this set of six books and read something else for awhile. Now I’m back and this story is somewhat better in that the situation they got themselves into is kind of understandable.

Now, that first paragraph told you nothing of this story, so I’ll quite wasting time and get right to it. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen our crew of the now destroyed *Hermes*. That starship served its purpose and was the workplace and home of Commander Scott McNabb, Chief Engineer Cyrus Santa, Medical Doctor Stephanie (Steph) Rayman and Flight Officer Miranda Lee. Now, on a shuttle headed for Earth were only Scott, Cyrus and Steph. This is some two years since their last escapades and the smaller team has been working on a plan to get a quantum communications device down to Earth and incorporated into the existing or supposedly existing QI (Quantum Intelligence) known as Athena. This would be the last piece of a Quantum Communications network linking all the QI’s in the Solar System together. That would QI Communications network would be instantaneous which would allow the QI’s to monitor and control all AI activities in the system.

Currently, the artificial intelligences within the Solar System were being manipulated by a group of seven mega-corporations. Those seven were responsible for numerous wars fought on Earth just so these corporations could profit from those conflicts. They controlled their AI’s and fed them only the data they needed to bring about the outcomes the Seven wanted to the detriment of the larger population of Earth. Now the Seven wanted to take control of more than just Earth, they wanted the planets and especially the asteroid belt, a.k.a. The Belt, brought under their control. But, Scott McNabb has a mission to stop that from happening if he can only complete it.

On the face of it, his mission seems simple enough. They will take a shuttle down to Earth avoiding all AI contact by going down in the Pacific near an area known as the Wastelands. This was roughly the western coast of the US after the nuclear war that irradiated the entire country. Nothing alive existed in this radioactive wasteland other than the QI Athena which was buried deep within a huge mountain. Under the cover of a huge electrical storm, they would approach the mountain and land next to the destroyed and partially buried Dyrell Labs facility. It was hoped that access to Athena could be made through the labs that has been built around the QI. Along with Scott’s small crew were to mining specialist that would help determine the best way to dig their way into the labs, if that was even possible.

All the while they are doing this, they must stay hidden from the AI that controls this part of the country. It does so by using drones that are constantly searching for electronic emissions or data-flows all of which belong to the AI or so it seems. It cannot allow any data to exist that isn’t part of its network. Therefore, Scott and his team must stay hidden. Apparently not everyone on the team understood that part of the mission.

Scott also has another mission that he has in mind, and that is to locate Miranda Lee-VanHeilding, his former crew member who was actually kidnapped by her father when he found out she was pregnant. Scott was the father, but he didn’t know if Miranda was still alive or if she had the child and what had happened to it. So, since he was on Earth, he was going to find out one way or another. He hoped and assumed the primary mission was going to be quick and easy so he could get on with his personal mission. Things never work out they way you hope; they don’t hear either.

A very good story although kind of fanciful in what was found in the mountain. Still, it gave the story some twist and turns that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. I’m going on to the next book, “Enigma”, which should explain a lot more. Notice has the author has a thing for each book beginning with an “E”.

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