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I like most B. V. Larson books and the series he has developed. They are most all well written and very interesting. This series doesn’t live up to that standard as much as I’d like. Red Company is a bunch of hired mercenaries aboard a space mining ship. They seemed to have trained themselves and not that well. They call themselves “Marines”, but I think they are a long, long way from what I think of when I hear the term Marine. The guys in Red Company are just a bunch of thugs trying to protect their ship. If they don’t do their job, they die. That’s their only motivation, well, and also money!

Corporal Devin Starn is our main character and he’s kind of strange. When we first met him, he was a lowly rock miner aboard the mining spaceship *Borag*. Due to his actions during a pirate attack on their mining activities, Starn was allow to become a Marine joining Red Company, the shipboard security outfit that runs along military lines. I’m not sure where their authority comes from, but it’s not back by any government. Red Company and its individual Marines work because they get paid when the ship gets paid for its mining activities.

On this particular mission working for Excavation. Inc. they are again mining an asteroid and it’s doing quite well. Once they lifted off the asteroid, they were returning to Mars to cash-in on their mining cargo. Yet, they were immediately attacked by a pirate ship which wanted that cargo for their own. The *Borag* was not an easy target and they eventually won their battle with this pirate ship although they had travel far into space to do so.

Upon reporting this action to their HQ on Mars, they got new orders. They were directed to follow the heading that the pirate ship was fleeing on and find the pirate’s base! Of course not everyone on the *Borag* like the idea of turning away from Mars and heading toward Neptune. Neptune was a long, long ways away and it would take them almost six months to get there and another six months to get back to Mars. That was a long voyage that most of the crew hadn’t signed on for.

And that’s a little part of how this story goes. This crew is really all mercenaries. They don’t have much allegiance to the ship or their Captain. As long as they are getting paid, most will do their duty, but as soon as that pay is jeopardized, they can turn ugly. Captain Hansen is a competent ships Captain, but she seems to run her ship by committee only making decisions when the majority of her crew agree to a course of action. This is definitely not a military operation although there is a lot of fighting against mostly pirates.

So, this story is kind of off in my mind. In the first book, some of the crew had become infected with a strange virus that was causing some interesting mutations to their bodies. Only one had died so far, but others were felling the effects. In Corporal Starn, one of his arms had grown huge, with bulging muscles. Since Starn was from Earth, that didn’t get notice right away, because he was naturally bulkier than most spacers since he lived most of his live in gravity. Most spacers living in low or no gravity tended to be skinny although quite tall. Because of Starn’s natural strength, he was employed by the Ship’s Captain to act as a bodyguard. Initially, this was only while she was on Mars going from place to place. But lately, Starn had been called up to the Bridge to stand guard. He had heard various officers disagreeing with the Captain on numerous occasions and knew the Captain was actually afraid for her life. Corporal Starn was a dedicated Marine and he was extremely devoted to his Captain. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to her.

This ship finds something strange on one of the moons of Neptune. They follow the trail to a pirate base and commence to destroy that base. Then they send Red Company down to the base to ensure everyone has been dealt with and to find any artifacts or technology the pirates might have been hoarding. No sooner had they returned to the ship, they found two other pirate ships closing in on their location. Desperate to get away, Captain Hansen orders the ship to enter what appears to be a portal atop a definitely alien pyramid. Where this portal leads them is unknown, but the crew definitely knows it’s not going to take them to Mars! Not a good thing for the Captain.

I suppose I’ll continue reading this series. Book 3, “[Contact](”, is available on Amazon and I’ll probably add it to my reading list, maybe!

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