After reading just reading another book by Toby Neighbors titled, “Space Fever (McCoy Chronicles)” and finding out that it wasn’t anyway close to military science fiction book, this one gets back on track. This is pure military science fiction with the emphasis on “military”. Gunnery Sergeant Vanhorn is still on Orrakron struggling to survive. It’s really a wonder that he is still alive. After his platoon Lieutenant went bonkers, he was ostracized from the platoon and really sent out to die. The Lt. had some idiotic idea that GSG Vanhorn wanted to take over the platoon and usurp his command.
But, GSG Vanhorn is very adaptable and very capable of operating on his own. He’s a TAC (Terrestrial Assault Combat) Marine after all. He has been operating with a small squad of men, the Lt. grudgingly allowed him to take with him on this last assignment. He was to engage and disrupt the Orrkasi at every opportunity while the rest of the platoon, led by the Lt. were going to find a place to hide. They had with them a good number of liberated former slaves of the Orrkasi including humans and other alien species.
They had briefly contacted the Der Spitzel, which was their covert cruiser that had delivered them to the planet. The fleet was holding off coming to rescue them since the Orrkasi had put over thirty of their ships around the planet due to the rucks that Vanhorn and his Marines were causing. So, GSG Vanhorn knew that they were going to be on the planet for quite some more time.
Then he saw the drop ships coming down from orbit. These were large Orrkasi drop ships and large transports. From the transports were pouring huge armored tanks. They looked similar to Earth deployed tanks. This was not unusual since the Orrkasi were known to steal other civilizations technology and work it for their own use. While these weren’t exact copies of Earth tanks, they were just a deadly. They were each teamed up with a platoon of Orrkasi and they were advancing towards the forest where GSG Vanhorn and his troops were scouting. They had to figure out a way to delay this advance while the made their way back to the Lt. and the rest of the platoon.
GSG Vanhorn is one creative Marine. He has a knack for figuring out what his team needs to do to put the biggest hurt on the enemy possible while limiting his own exposure. But, sometimes things just don’t work out so well. He does managed to get this tank army halted for awhile, but at the cost of losing a few of his men. Then he meets back up with the Lt. and the rest of the platoon where he surprisingly finds Lieutenant Commander Holly Jordan with a shuttle on the planet.
He really doesn’t understand why the commanding officer of the Der Spitzel would come down to the planet. Getting a shuttle down was extremely dangerous and that’s one of the reason they hadn’t picked up the platoon in the first place. Plus with the number of refugees the platoon has rescued, it would take several shuttle trips to move them aff off planet. And now, Holly tells Van that the Der Spitzel has been ordered out of the system. Stupidly, Holly said she wasn’t willing to follow those orders and leave Vanhorn and his Marines behind, so she took a shuttle and came down to the planet while turning over command of her ship to her Executive Officer. No Fleet Commander in their right mind would ever do this!
But, at least the shuttle was full of supplies, new equipment and ammo that was desperately needed. So, Lt. Masterson now tells GSG Vanhorn that he is going to take the shuttle back to orbit and go back to Earth! Holly and Vanhorn both know that the shuttle isn’t FTL capable and will probably get shot down as soon as it leaves the ground. That will also give away the location of the remaining troops and refugees. The Lt. and his squad have been taking an experimental drug given to them by the allied Alethians. This drug was supposed to enhance their physical capabilities making them stronger and more combat capable. Unfortunately, it was also effecting their mental capacities and the Lt. was becoming very, very irrational. The drug also required anyone taking it to consumer a greater number of calories. Therefore, the Lt. said he and his men were taking all the food (MREs) with them in the shuttle.
So, Vanhorn has a big problem. He can’t let the Lieutenant do that which would result in the rest of the platoon and the refugees to starve or be recaptured by the Orrkasi. What will GSG Vanhorn do. Will Lt. Commander Holly Jordan actually step-up and take command and if so, will the Lt. even listen to her? The solution actually is one that should have been used a long time ago.
So, I’ll let you know that this is the last book in this series, but I doubt it’s the last we’ll hear of GSG Vanhorn. The writing is great and very interesting if some what impossible. I’ll be very interested in reading more about GSG Vanhorn and his troops.