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We’re back with Captain Ben Stone, but he has changed somewhat. He’s definitely lost the attitude that saw him get into a lot of trouble in the first book. But, he’s also been tagged with a “hero” tag that he doesn’t like or want. After rescuing Alice Keller from the mines of Drake’s World he has become the poster boy for President Piers Bragg. President Bragg is all about pushing media hype since he’s the one responsible for the mission to rescue the young girl. If Bragg could arrange the media to his liking, it would have definitely been him that rescued the girl. Still, even that mission didn’t get Ben some downtime on Earth. No, they were sent right back out to Sirius C, a system that humans had once before discovered and then lost!

Yes, this system and specifically planet Canis III had been settled by humans. They didn’t last long. The Arcœnum (Archies) of the Arcanus Collective soon found the squatting humans and didn’t want them there so they destroyed everything. That was part of the Specter War supposedly won by none other than Ben Stone’s grandfather, Admiral Nicholas Stone. Now humanity was back and Ben was preparing to set foot on the same Canis III that humanity had left almost 80 years prior. Fortunately, everything on Canis III was thoroughly dead or very inhospitable for human life. What they were there for was to just make headlines for the new President so he could say he was responsible for taking back what humanity had lost to the Arcœnum.

So, with no apparent enemy, this mission seemed to be a walk in the park. His Battalion went down to scout ahead while bringing the engineers to start setting up a base camp. Things were going pretty well although very boringly, until the supply/ammo facility blew-up and injured the mission Commanding General. From there the story gets worse. Apparently, the Archies hadn’t all left. So, immediate scouting parties were sent out to find where these ghostly Archies were hiding and root them out. That didn’t go well. A platoon was soon found wiped out and it did appear that an Archie had done the job as well as setting up a beacon for more to come to the planet. Eventually, before that happened, Captain Stone managed to find an capture the lone Archie that caused all the trouble.

Then Captain Stone and the 214th Battalion was ordered back to Earth. They were going on another mission that the President of the Alliance needed done and done quickly. This was supposed to be another mission that made heroes of those who went because it involved meeting with and destroying pirates that had take an alliance convoy. That convoy was composed of freighters loaded with very valuable minerals needed to make starship hulls that protected against the Archies mind bending tactics. The President wanted that stuff back and the pirates eradicated. So here’s where Ben’s mission goes crazy. He’s actually operating as a liaison to a Presidential Envoy name Eva Park. The 214th Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Toma are on a separate starship as part of the fleet sent to destroy the pirates and return the freighters. Turns out the Admiral in charge of the Fleet is not very bright and falls right into a pirate trap. But wait, that’s not what the pirates were after. They wanted Eva Park and they were able to capture her after the Captain of the ship she and Captain Stone were on turned traitor. He delivered his ship and his passengers to the pirates.

So now the real story starts and it’s a strange one. You’ll eventually see Captain Stone join up with Alice Keller who has grown up a lot in the passing time. Where she has been and what she’s been doing is a very interesting part of the story. Additionally, the Archies are more familiar with the pirates than anyone likes, but they are not the enemy of humanity we think they are. You’ll find out at the end of the story that something else is happening that will lead Ben Stone on another mission. This one will be a very, very interesting story.

The next book in this trilogy, Book 3, “[Invasion](”, might be the last book, but I don’t know. Seems like there’s a lot to be done in this last book, if it is the last one in the series.

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