Rating:

A Quantum of Uncertainty

If you ever need to build a slipdrive you should probably read this book. There are a lot of detailed scientific stuff in Mr. Nolen’s writings. If even some of the things he write about are actually buildable things, then we should have starships already in our Solar System. If you’re interested in celestial navigation, then this is the book to read.

Captain Jankin Decatur is a Captain of Kraken Colony. He was a former merchant now turned military officer in charge of one of the few Kraken military starships. That ship is in dry docks under going repairs and upgrades so he’s given another ship called the Sophie. While it is small, it is still a very powerful starship that could hold it’s own against the likes of a CTAC (China Trans-Asia Coalition) boarding party. Yet, his first mission is one that will require him and his small ship to avoid contact with anyone until they reach Earth.

Kraken is a colony of Earth and specifically the NAU (North American Union). The NAU and the CTAC have been engaged in a war for sometime now and it seems to be at a stalemate. Neither side is making much headway and both are losing assets quickly. One of those assets is manpower to run their military starships. Since both sides have exhausted their populations recruiting efforts, they have now turned to impressment of Kraken starship crews when possible. Yes, that’s both sides. While Kraken was a colony of the NAU, they were attempting to remain neutral in this war with the CTAC. The NAU didn’t accept this position even though Kraken still paid its taxes and provided vast amounts of other support to the NAU war effort.

Now Ambassador Hollen was going to Earth and specifically to the NAU Congress to address this issue and request that it be stopped. He was attempting to prevent a complete independence movement by Kraken at this time since Kraken was not ready for such a position. Yet, declaring Kraken independence was only the next step if the NAU kept treating them like an enemy state. Captain Decatur’s ship was to escort the Ambassador safely to Earth and back. What should have been an uneventful trip, turned in to something quite interesting.

After completing that mission, Captain Decatur was next assigned to go to the planet Jasper, meet up with a fleet of merchant starships loaded with Vanadium and return that cargo safely to Kraken. The Sophie, while lacking in armament, did contain some very advance navigation equipment which was to be thoroughly tested during this trip. In fact, Captain Decatur was going to follow a route that would cut his trip from days into hours. Such a trip was very risky especially on the return leg when he would have other ships following that did not have the advanced navigation capabilities of the Sophie. Still, he felt this was their best course to get the need materials back to Kraken so they could be put to production of Krakens own fledgeling military build-up.

Everything went well even though it was very questionable for a while. Once they had made the return trip from Jasper, Captain Decatur was going to be able to deliver these merchant ships and their valuable cargo and be ready for his next mission. Unfortunately, when arriving in Kraken space, he found NAU warships attacking the colony! This was what everyone on Kraken was afraid of. They didn’t think Earth and the NAU was stupid enough to crack down on Kraken while the war with the CTAC was still on-going, but apparently they were. A destroyer and frigate was in orbit and caught Captain Decatur’s ships as they were trying to find a safe port at which to land. One of the merchant ships decides to crash land on the Kraken moon, off-load his valuable cargo into tunnels only that ships Captain he knew about thereby saving his cargo from being taken by the NAU. In the meantime, Marines from the Sophie would be dispatched to assist the downed cargo ship providing protection if the NAU still came after the cargo. That’s a whole story in it self.

Lots of stuff going on in this book. The author seems to enjoy writing very advanced papers about how things will work in this universe. If any of his systems/ships/weapons actually perform as he describes then we should be building them now. Good science fiction right here. I won’t mind reading more books in this series, but there doesn’t seem to be a third book available yet!



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