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This book is a continuation of the other three, but now SSG Vanhorn seems to have everything under control and all the troops with him are working towards the same goal. And that goal is to get some communications up and trying to contact the Fleet. They have Trip building the comm equipment needed to do just that. SSG Vanhorn is going to take a team out to find different locations from which to transmit their signal and then move on. They know the Orcs can detect the signal when it goes out so they can’t turn the comm equipment on inside Havvar.

So, the three Marines, SSG Vanhorn, Sgt Baker and Private Trix, were out setting up the comm gear and now being chased by the Orcs. To their displeasure, they soon found out that the Orcs had adapted the recovered human laser rifles to their use and now had the same kind of range as the Marines. That was going to complicate things. SSG Vanhorn didn’t know the range of the Orcs lasers, but he had to assume they were just as good as what he had. So a big advantage he formerly had was now go. The other problem was that the Orcs were modifying their tactics somewhat. Instead of charging directly for his team, they were holding back and just trailing the humans in hopes of following them all the way back to Havvar. That wasn’t going to happen. SSG Vanhorn would die before he lead the Orcs back to what would be a slaughter of his friends in the underground city.

They finally get some good news for a change. The Fleet has actually arrived in the system and has contacted the survivors. They indicate that there are three Orc starships orbiting the planet that the survivors are on, so it will take awhile before a rescue effort can be made. SSG Vanhorn and all the Rhila survivors now have some thing to really fight for. Yet, the Orcs seem to also know that time is getting short for them to capture and kill these pesky humans. They are throwing everything they have at the effort and SSG Vanhorn is seeing thousands of Orcs now swarming in the mountains. He knows with a lot of certainty that he can’t kill them all and he hopes that he can just keep Trix and Baker alive for now.

Then, after all the great news about the Fleet, they get the news from the Fleet Admiral that they have taken heavy damages and can’t manage a rescue mission right now or in the foreseeable future. He tells the Rhila survivors they must continue the fight as well as they can. SSG Vanhorn’s troubles are now just beginning. While they have been careful not to transmit from the underground city, the alien machine that built all the facilities comes to life and is transmitting and the survivors can’t shut it down. The Orcs know where they are hiding and are coming for them.

Great story and good writing. Gets really suspenseful and tragic at times. SSG Vanhorn’s skills are amazing and his body is holding up remarkably well. This story continues with book 5, “Occupation”.

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