For some reason, this book reads strange to me. I don’t exactly know how to explain it, but having read a ton of B. V. Larson books, this one just seemed off. I don’t know whether it was the lack of character development or just the entire story, but it didn’t seem up to the quality I expect from B. V. Larson.
You start off as an indentured miner on a space capable mining rig/ship called the *Borag*. It seems to be a fairly large ship with a crew some where near one-thousand which includes officers, NCOs, enlisted, and miners. I think the miners group also includes those who do routine ship-board maintenance and other labor as required. Most everyone, including the Captain, owe a debt of some kind to the corporation that sponsors them. Miners are considered class D-Contract rock-rats. These guys and gals are trying to work off a large debt but they’re only managing to stay alive at the convince of the ship they’re part of. As miners doing their job in space, they have to pay for the very air they breathe, the water they consume and of course, the meager food they get. This keeps them in debt usually until they die.
Devin Starn is one of these rock-rats with not much hope of getting out of his situation. He’s operating a drill-bot on a desolate rock somewhere in space hoping to stay alive for a while longer. Then the rock he and the ship *Borag* is on finds they are not alone. Claim jumpers or actually pirates have came to take over this rock. The Captain of the *Borag* isn’t about to let that happen, so she and a couple of her “Marines” confront these pirates and tell them to leave. The shooting then starts with the Captain running for her life while her Marines are gunned down. About the time that the Captain is being captured by three pirate thugs, Devin Starn steps in to provide some assistance. He’s definitely unarmed, but he’s also from Earth and much more capable than those humans born in space or from less gravity intensive planets. He manages to knock down two of the three pirates while the Captain handles the third.
So, Devin has rescued the Captain of the *Borag*, whom he had never intended or thought he would ever meet. She has taken note of his fighting skills and invites him to fill a vacancy in her Marine contingent called “Red Company”. He has to sign another contract, but this one pays much more and provides him with better living conditions and everything else so he’d be an idiot to not sign. Devin’s no idiot so he becomes a Red Company Marine although his acceptance by the other members of the company doesn’t go too well. They are responsible for up-training him and making him part of the team, but usually rock-rats don’t raise above their station in this manner. Some definitely don’t like it.
Now, let’s be clear. Red Company is nothing more than hired mercenaries. They are not highly trained or skilled US Marines by any stretch of the imagination. Why they are called Marines is beyond me, but they have been somewhat tactically trained by their officers, but there’s no explanation as to who trained the officers. Devin doesn’t get much training himself, but the Captain eventually uses him as a bodyguard anyway.
The ship has to make a profit on these mining adventures or it will be scrapped and sold to whomever. The crew then has to find other contracts to fill so they can continue paying off their ever-growing debts. That’s the way the system works in space beyond Earth’s government control.
Then a Colonel from Earth’s government shows up and asks the Captain of the Borag to agree to go on a secret mission. He will make the rewards for doing this great enough that she can’t refuse although it will affect everyone of her crew. She doesn’t plan on telling anyone what this mission is until they are well on their way, if even then. She’s afraid her crew might mutiny if they found out the extent of the mission. Devin knows. He was there when the mission was described and agreed to. Will he “spill the beans” or will he even survive this deadly mission?
Not give anything away, but this story does continue in Book 2, “Red Company: Discovery”. I’ve already added it to my reading list, but I do hope the writing gets better.