By now we should be used to the fact that Earth has only produced one FTL starship that’s capable of some combat. It has performed well in the two previous missions fighting off some rather pesky Kalrawv Group ships and the somewhat more difficult Tol’An terrorist. This next mission should be a “milk-run” in that it’s only an Ambassadorial transport mission. For some reason, Earth has designated Admiral Reach as its Ambassador to the conference with the Pahxin. It is hoped that the two civilization can come to some mutual agreement to share technology and provide each other some mutual support against the Tol’An.
Of course the Tol’An know about the pending meeting and will be attempting to sabotage it as much as they can. If they can capture the two primary Ambassadors, that would send a signal to everyone that they were a power to be reckoned with. So we get to read about the leader of the Tol’An and met his chief henchman who like all good bad guys runs around in black with a black hood covering his face.
So what turns out to be a fairly easy mission becomes a major battle. Fortunately for the humans, the Pahxin have sent a small flotilla as their escort for their Ambassador. These ships are much larger than the Gnosis and we soon find out they are also much more capable. The Tol’An conduct a surprise attached against the neutral space station holding the meeting. The Pahxin fleet goes to meet this new threat with the Gnosis staying to cover the space station and provide Marines to go in and rescue the Ambassadors. The Tol’An’s attack is really a diversion to get the Pahxin away from the station while one of their smaller ship docks with and grab the Ambassadors. The Tol’An have jammed all the signals into and out of the space station so no one can contact Admiral Reach to tell him what’s about to happen.
Even though the Pahxin pretty much destroy the attacking Tol’An, the ship with the two Ambassadors escapes. It is damaged and can’t go very far so the Pahxin and the Gnosis agree to pursue. This takes us to a remote Tol’An base where all heck breaks loose. The Gnosis finds itself terribly underarmed and out gunned. It takes some very heavy damage and it doesn’t look good for getting home.
Once again, Earth has sent out what we think is a capable combat vessel only to find out we’re just flying around in a toy! The Pahxin ships are so much more capable than the Gnosis that it’s almost as if they would be better off with us not around. So, an Alliance with the Pahxin will provide Earth with some substantial upgrades to its military capabilities, but what can Earth provide in return? That’s the big question and will the Pahxin ask for one of the two Orbs Earth now controls. It would seem reasonable.
The story doesn’t end here. There’s still a lot left to do and we’re just now finding out how ruthless the Tol’An can be. We’re also finding out just how ineffective the Gnosis is in its current configuration. While a second ship in the Gnosis class is about to be finished, it’s going to require some extensive refit if it’s going to be anywhere near to the type of fighting ship Earth needs to defend it’s Solar System.