Whew! A lot of stuff happening in this book. I guess it has to get started pretty quickly to get into the real story. This book seems to tie in to the “Drop Troop” series also by Mr. Partlow. This is kind of the lead in to what was happening in that book.
We start off with getting introduced to Captain Travis Miller our main character right off the bat. Well, there is the initial story of the mining ship Kiruna which is Captained by Jeremy Crews. They are out far away from Earth checking out asteroids for their metal content and when a suitable one was found, they would send it on it’s way back towards Earth using fusion bombs. Now, this wasn’t the most glamorous work in the Commonwealth, but it was necessary for the space program and had to be done my someone. And it was relatively safe if you paid attention to what you were doing. Captain Crews had his crew well trained and they knew how to conduct their business so as not to blow themselves up or send the asteroid on the wrong path, straight at Earth!
So, they were having a little difficulty with this one particular asteroid and had just rigged the fusion bombs to it and then set them off! What resulted wasn’t expected. The asteroid was gone and in its place appeared to be a rip or some kind of tear in space itself. You could see stars through the tear and then they noticed that the tear had a gravitational pull of some kind and the Kiruna was being dragged into it. Try as the might, they were forced through the tear and came out?
Now we’re about four and half years later with the Commonwealth Space Fleet cruiser Herculean. Her captain is Travis Miller as identified as the main character and he’s in a bit of trouble. It seems that the Commonwealth Space Fleet has been keeping itself busy by putting down minor rebellions and fighting off pirates. These types of action were interesting and could be dangerous at times, but the rebels nor the pirates ever had much in the way of deadly hardware or spacecraft to really threaten a Commonwealth Space Fleet cruiser. During this particular mission, he was up against a group of Uzbek Separatist that some how had managed to acquire some rather advanced starfighters and they were preparing to attack. The irony of his mission was that to outright kill these Separatist would turn them into martyrs for their cause and wouldn’t set right with the public nor his HQ. But, these starfighters gave him no choice. There were four and he had to stop all of them from bombing McAuliffe Station which also happened to be where Space Fleet HQ was located. HIs ship did just that. He launched missiles which obliterated the starfighters and the Separatist!
Now he’s headed back to Earth to attend an inquiry to his actions and possible, but highly unlikely, a courts-martial. While Admiral Worthington had told him that she didn’t think a courts-martial was going to happen, she also told him to take some leave time to think about what he had done and to stay out of the lime-light for awhile. Then just as he was preparing to eat a nice home cooked meal with his parents on Earth, he was immediately recalled back to Space Fleet HQ. He had no idea why he was being recalled on such short notice and the recall message didn’t give him as hint as to what this was about.
Once at Space Fleet HQ, he went into a meeting with Admiral Worthington and a Captain Santana, master of the CSS Forrester, the Herculean’s sister ship, and two other Captain’s he didn’t know. The Admiral began the meeting by asking if anyone of them had heard of the CSS Kiruna? None had which was surprising. She explained that that ship had been suddenly lost in a mining accident over four and a half years ago! Then she told them that Space Fleet HQ had just received a message from Captain Jeremy Crews! She further stated that this message had been traveling via drone for the past four and a half years and just recently got to Earth. It contained a video message from Captain Crews stating what had happened to the CSS Kiruna after it went through that tear in space!
Captain Crews said while they didn’t at first understand where they were at, they finally got a navigational fix on the closest star and to his shock they had arrived in Proxima Centauri, some 4.3 light-years from Earth! He went on to tell them that they tried everything they knew to re-create the tear and return, but it just didn’t work. Then they started exploring where they were and found they were near a planet with a moon and both appeared similar to Earth and our Moon. It looked like the planet had some life on it, but not anything intelligent. Still, he and his mining ship had no way of going down to either the moon or the planet which meant that they were going to die right there. Still, his crew were resourceful and they attempted to jury-rig three potential shuttle re-entry vehicles and launched them towards the planet. None of them made it. Now, Jermey Crews was preparing to evacuate the oxygen in the Kiruna and die this way rather than slowly starve to death. And that was his story.
Now comes the part where the rest of the story starts. Admiral Worthington was ordering the CSS Herculean to “voluntarily” attempt to cause another tear and then go through to Proxima Centauri just like the Kiruna, but this time they would be prepared to either stay or fine a away back through another tear or even come back the long way which wasn’t really practical. If they couldn’t make a return tear in space then they might have to stay and start a life on the mysterious planet until humanity could find a what to travel 4.3 light-years in some kind of reasonable time. Of course she told Captain Miller that his crew had to all be volunteers and the other Captains in the meeting were from the sciences who were going along as experts in their field. Others would be added to his crew as necessary.
So, this is the story of how humans started traveling to the stars. You’ll read that it wasn’t all that much of a desperate gamble since the CSS Herculean did take the right tools to figure out how to get back. They also find out that someone or something has had a hand in recreating life on this planet in Proxima Centauri. What they find on that planet eventually leads them to other stars. Everything they see is amazing and hard to believe. It seems that someone or something has prepared these stars for humanity to exploit, colonize and grow. Nothing could have been better for humans from Earth, that is until the came into a new star system and found the Tahni!
Now everything has changed. What was a world of exploration and mystery, has now become an interstellar war and Earth has got to find the will and the resources to fight back because the Tahni are going to wipe out humanity every place they find them. A good start to what should be a very interesting new series. Book 2, “Judgement Day” and book 3, “Revelation” are in the works and should be available on 29 June and 24 August 2021, respectively.