Rating:

5 Small Stars
True Cost
835

Ok, the Triton and the Brekka have just tangled with the pirate Flotilla with everyone getting thoroughly bashed around. Not only was the Triton and Brekka fighting the pirates, but Kahl General Renz had joined in with his battleship! Pirate ships were being blasted left and right while the major players were also taking potshots at each other. The Triton and Brekka finally teamed up to drive the Kahl’s off so they left at about the same time the Flotilla went into warp. It wasn’t known if the Flotilla was capable of doing that, but they must have felt the dangerous position they were currently end had to end one way or another. So, they fled and neither the Triton or Brekka knew where they were going. You can’t track an object through warp space so the Flotilla was lost until it came back to normal space. Even then, they would have to receive some kind of signal to being tracking the Flotilla’s new location.

Unfortunately, the Triton had to leave its away team on the Flotilla looking for the mysterious artifact the Manager said he had in his “treasure room”. Sure enough, they found what they were looking for and began to download the data. Because of the extensive damage to the Flotilla, the next work was almost down so the download of the ancient data was going to take a long time. While that was going on, those on the Flotilla were going mad! The pirates that were still there felt threatened since they couldn’t get to their ships and they desperately wanted off and now.  Some were going to make sure they got their share of the treasures the Manager was said to have in his treasure room. So, the away team was in for a fight trying to keep all this rift-raft out of the room they needed to work in. And then, they and everyone had to contend with the sudden jump into warp by the Flotilla. It threw everyone for a while until they figured out what had happened. Now, the all knew they weren’t getting off the Flotilla until it got to wherever it was going.

Meanwhile, the Brekka had gotten new orders. While their mission to find the ancient Kahl artifacts and track down the history of the Kahl was important, it wasn’t as important as their new assignment. They were directed to head for a Rhulin planet that was being besieged by the Kahl. Why this would be of interest to the Prytins wasn’t a question Captain Griel Pas Dain of the Brekka didn’t bother asking. The Rhulin’s and the Prytins were allies in this war against the Kahl so if they needed help, the Prytins would give it. At the same time, Captain Titus Barnes of the Trition was notified that he was to support the Brekka in its new mission. Captain Barnes strongly objected because that would mean he would have to leave his away-team on their own. Since he had no way of knowing where they went, he couldn’t do much to support them now anyway so his objections didn’t hold. He was told that as soon as this support mission was concluded and he got a signal from his away-team, then he could resume pursuit of the Flotilla and recover his people.

Captain Pas Dain also knew that the Triton’s away-team included Niva, his intelligence officer and a Prytin Intelligence Agent. He had left her in care of the Humans to pursue a kind of personal mission and now he regrets doing that because he can’t get her back any more than can Captain Barnes. Again, he’s also told that once this mission to support the Rhulins is complete, they can find the Flotilla and continue gathering the ancient data. Captain Pas Dain was hoping that some of the away-team survived their ordeal and could get out some kind of transmission so the Brekka and Triton could find them.

What the Triton and Brekka found over the Rhulin planet was total chaos! The Rhulins weren’t that effective of a fighting force so they didn’t stand up very well against the Kahl. In fact, it appeared the Kahl were thoroughly exterminating all Ruhlins on the planet. They had landed a large army that was methodically killing every Rhulin they could find, military or civilian. They had burnt entire villages down and killed everyone. This wasn’t war, it was more like cold-blooded murder, something the humans hadn’t any experience with. The Triton and Brekka sent down shuttles with their few on-board Marines to clear-out landing zones for rescue shuttles to land and grab any Rhulin refuges they could gather. Again, the fighting around these sites was brutal beyond all comprehension and we get to read about one groups efforts to reach a safe haven LZ.

As you can see, there is a lot going on in this book. Some of the fighting seems excessively brutal and unnecessary while other times it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose. I even found some of this story kind of slow and bogging down; couldn’t seem to keep my attention while reading it! That’s kind of not surprising since I’m still not clear on why the effort to secure some obscure ancient Kahl religious data has to do with the overall fighting between the Kahl and everyone else. Still, there are so many things going on that it’s at least got that going for it.

I’m not sure what the title of this book meant. It doesn’t connect with the story very well, IMHO. I’ll probably continue with the series, yet I don’t see anything mentioned about the next book. I’m sure it will come because nothing ended in this book.



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