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4 Small Stars

You would have thought that the end of this series was in the last book. The New Earth Colony had just defeated the Vemus and in doing so, just about destroyed their new world. The Vemus, as you’ll recall, were mutated humans that no longer were human. Still, they some how traveled many lightyears from a destroyed Earth to find the only colony of humans left in the galaxy. General Connor Gates, a former Special Operations Commander, was instrumental in defeating the Vemus and almost lost his life in doing so. He and the Colonial Defense Force were the defenders of the Colony in their desperate time of need.

Now peace has come or so everyone believes. New Earth isn’t necessarily a friendly planet. There are plenty of wild animals or lifeforms that can and would easily kill colonist if they didn’t pay attention. Yet, as the peace continues and nothing major happens, the colonist kind of forget that they are not completely out of danger. One particular New Earth predator that hasn’t been around much until lately is the Ryklars. These are vicious beast, genetically altered by the original New Earth inhabitants to kill. They usually hunt other animals and mostly stay away from the colonial settlements. Except recently, something has stirred them up and they are migrating closer to the human settlements.

The majority of New Earth colonist are engaged in one of two things; rebuilding what they had before the Vemus attack or exploring their largely unexplored world. There is also a third group, the Colonial Defense Force soldiers, but they are not given much attention since they’ve had nothing to do in almost eight years now. Most of the colony’s funding goes toward rebuilding, but some has filtered down to the archeologist who want and need to do field research on New Earth Indigenous Intelligent Species or NEIIS, for short. These archeologist and those who want to become archeologist are chomping at the bit to get into the field and find out just who the NEIIS were. They have discovered a lot from existing sites, but they know there is much more to learn. Still, with the problem of dangerous predators roaming the planet, field teams have been restricted to only going with a CDF escort.

Dash DeWitt is an up and coming, very eager, future archeologist. He works for Dr. Lenora Bishop, but he also works for himself most of the time. He has convinced a group of his fellow students or archeologist-in-training to go with him to explore a potentially new NEIIS site. Of course, this is exactly the wrong thing to do, but Dash doesn’t believe rules and regulations apply to him. He’s seen Dr. Bishop break the rules so why can’t he? Well, the reason he shouldn’t is that he’s not smart enough to know what could possibly go wrong and usually, with him, everything possible does go wrong.

Connor Gates has retired from the military and is working with Dr. Bishop as a semi-archeologist. He’s out in the field looking for NEIIS power sources, but, unlike Dash and his young group, Gates knows how to defend himself if trouble comes up. Dash is of the opinion that trouble is something other people experience and nothing will happen to him or his friends no matter what he decides to do.

So, this book is primarily about Connor Gates rescuing Dash DeWitt and his three companions, not once but twice. Each time, they get into more trouble and almost get killed. Only thing is, the Ryklars are the least to worry about. It seems some of the CDF soldiers have developed some serious mental problems dealing with peace and their lack of support. One team in particular has some pretty serious mental cases that need to be attended to before it’s too late. Unfortunately for Dash and his friends, it’s now too late and what he thought were his rescuers turn out to be almost as bad as the Ryklars.

The book is well written, but it seems as if something is missing. I don’t know how a planet like New Earth can support such a small population of humans. They have no industrial capacity even though they can 3D print some things, but the lost of ATVs and C-Cats should be a major problem. Dash and his idiot friends seem to think getting stuff destroyed isn’t such a big deal. I don’t know how New Earth replaces things, but it can’t be easy. Even ammunition and weapons will become scarce at some point and we know that the CDF equipment is getting very old and worn out, but I don’t see a way of replacing that stuff. That’s something that will have to eventually be explained in future books, I hope.

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