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5 Small Stars

The Confederation starship Morrigan was off on another adventure. She was heading to the far hinges of the frontier to investigate reported rumors of the Confederations new enemy, the ervas, being on a planet once held by the Confederation. Captain Noah Markel now had the two Peck twins working for him, Rita as a civilian contractor, although she had once been a Confederation Marine and her brother, Major Oliver Peck, currently an active duty Confederation Marine and Chief of Security for the Morrigan.

As you’ll remember, both of the Pecks are ether addicts which strangely isn’t emphasized much in the story. While ether addiction has been outlawed throughout the Confederation, these two are addicted due to a previous government experiment upon their parents which resulted in their addiction. Ether made them super strong, way above a normal human. They were also fast and could thing more clearly while using ether, but the story certainly doesn’t focus on this addiction. Once in a while, this addiction comes in handy when they are in a tight spot and have to get out using extraordinary methods.

But, on with this current mission. Previously, the Morrigan crew had found a perfectly preserved gunboat locked away in a hidden research lab ran by the Confederation. This gunboat was unusual in that it was much further advanced than the Morrigan which was very usual. As far as Captain Markel knew, his ship had the most advance weapons and engines currently available in the entire Confederation. Yet, here was a brand new, untested gunboat ready for a new crew. Of course Captain Markel claimed this new ship and used it as an advanced scout for the Morrigan. He sent it ahead to scout the new system they were approaching.

This is where things get kind of strange. The gunboat is captained by Major Peck who has his sister Rita and a few others with him. They are to scout out the largest planet to find out who is living there and if it is their enemy, the ervas. That it does, yet when the opportunity to report back to the Morrigan, no one does so. The Morrigan arrives in the same system not knowing an enemy fleet is awaiting them or not, something the gunboat could have easily told them. Major Peck seems to think his mission is to secure the entire planet on his own which certainly isn’t the case.

What they do find is humans who have been captured by the ervas and used as slaves to do the eravs work. The humans are treated very cruelly by the ervas and their only hop is to escape and joint the small, but growing resistance. Major Peck does find the resistance and offers his and the Morrigan’s support if they will provide additional information about the ervas.

So now a fight is on to retake the planet and free the human slaves. Immediately, upon the Morrigans arrival, it gets capture by a super strong gravity well device. It is slowly being dragged down to the planet where it will join the hundreds of other starships that have already crashed. You would have thought that Major Peck could have warned the Morrigan not to come too close to the planet, but no he didn’t so now he has to turn off the gravity well device if he can find it!

A pretty good book, but the story is kind of easy to figure out what happens next. Nothing really surprising.

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