Another good book in this series. Our reluctant main characters, Cam (Cameron) Alvarez and Vicky Sandoval, both Captains of Marines are stuck on the planet Yfingam. There are others there which is or could become a big problem. The Tahni are there with Colone Ten-Lenon-Zan-Karan-Thint leading that group. He’s not to be trusted and is only keeping the peace because he knows he’d be dead first if his Tahni started a fight. Then there’s the Karai. These guys were the muscle for another group the Resscharr who had been the masters while the Vergai were the slaves. That’s not how it was currently on the planet. Colonel Hachette had manage to bring peace to the planet with his Marine presence, but tensions were still high among all the aliens. But they all had a common enemy called the Skrela which they had all just faced and defeated.
Only this defeat was just a small scouting party. It was hoped that by completely wiping out this entire contingent of Skrela, the main body wouldn’t be coming to this area for a long while since the scouts didn’t report back any contact with the planet. So, now there is a lot of posturing by all sides trying to test or provoke in one side doing something stupid so the other side could retaliate. Captain Alvarez was the commander of the Marine Company with Vicky has his XO. He was getting sick and tired of having to be the go-between for all this aliens. But, that was the job Colonel Hatchette had assigned him so he was going to do his duty. It was good that he and his troops have received new and improved armor and weapons thanks to the Resscharr. That put some strength behind his control of violent situations since he knew and everyone else also knew that his troops could put down decisively anyone causing trouble.
Having just returned from fighting the Skrela and using a contingent of Vergai in the process, he now had to confront the leader of the Vergai with the knowledge that her son was one of those lost in the battle. She was on the verge of refusing to help the humans any more because she didn’t see this fighting as something her people needed to do. But, since Captain Alvarez and his Marines had been training up her military so they could stand up to the Karai and the Tahni, she knew she couldn’t just ignore Captain Alvarez’s concerns. The Karai and the Tahni were just waiting for a chance to take control of the entire planet with the Vergai becoming slaves once again.
Meanwhile, Colonel Hatchette had decided they needed to do something about these Skrela. He didn’t know where they came from, in fact, no one seemed to know their origin so it was paramount that they track that location down. If they could cut off the flow of Skrela at the source or at least find their logistics tail, then war with the Skrela might come to a quick halt in the humans favor. But, the only ones that knew of the Skrela at all were the Seekers. This was a highly advanced race that had created the Skrela and then found their on creations to be a serious problem. The Seekers has also created the Tahni and the Karai to help fight against the Skrela but even their efforts together weren’t enough. So the Seekers had fled. That had happend some six thousand years ago, but Colonel Hachette wanted to go and track them down.
That was going to be a serious mission. He also needed to find the Seekers because they had established a series of warp gates which had enable humanity and others with star drive technology to travel vast distances through space. Colonel Hatchette’s group had gone through such a gate from Earth in pursuit of the Skrela, but that gate had been shut down or destroyed and he and his group had no way to get back to Earth. So, he wanted to get the Seekers to create a new gate or show them other gates that would lead the way back to Earth.
On this new mission, which surprisingly included a contingent of Tahni, they encountered a system with two inhabited planets. These planets also had Tahni masters with humans as slaves. Colonel Hatchette just wanted to know if they could tell them where the Seekers had gone and not get into their politics. Yet, that’s what happened when one group turns out to be very aggressive to Colonel Hatchette’s expedition and the other turns traitor to their own kind. This part of the story kinds of bogs down since no one seems to know of a way to solve their current situation and get on with their original mission.
So, I found the story interesting, but probably not the best in the series. I’m not sure why their existing starships can seem to travel from star system to star system, but can’t just go back to Earth. I also don’t know how they expect to find a group of people that were last seen six thousand years ago! Still, they leave the series open for more and book 11, “Tango Down”, is available on Amazon now. I’ve already got it on my reading list.