Caspian Robeaux has a new mission! That sounds pretty strange considering he’s still a civilian and definitely not part of the Coalition. While he thought he and Box would take the USCS Winston to Procyon to start a new life without any contact with the Coalition, that didn’t happen. He was called back by Admiral Shanghvi and told some information that no one in the Coalition knew about, but that information could result in the death of everyone. The Coalition needed Allies and that meant they needed the Sil.
If you remember back, the Sil was the civilization that fought a war about 200 years ago with the Coalition. Now an unsteady truce held between the two separated by light-years of space. While former Admiral Rutledge was now in the brig, he had almost started another war with the Sil by attempting and successfully stealing one of their ships. That story is all in the previous book. Now that the true facts are known by a few in the Coalition military, they want that information kept quiet. Additionally, they wanted the only person to have had any contact with the Sil to act as a first contact with the Sil. This is where Caspian came into the picture, again!
So, the new mission assigned to the Tempest was to attempt contact with the Sil and then gain their cooperation as allies against this oncoming threat. Cas thought this was a suicide mission and that everyone on the Tempest would be dead immediately upon entering Sil space. Even Box wasn’t sure about this mission. He tried to integrate with the crew, but just like Cas, they treated him like machinery and that didn’t set too well with him. He spent most of his time in the cabin assigned to Cas and then was restricted to that space after a run-in with a Lieutenant that wanted to destroy what he considered a dumb, but dangerous robot. This kind of hatred for both Cas and Box was clearly on display all throughout this mission and it nearly cost both of them their lives.
Of course, Cas didn’t always explain his actions before he ran off and did them. As a civilian, he didn’t have to follow anyone’s orders so he did choose to do what he wanted to without explaining why. That caused trouble with the crew and with Box.
Still, the mission was the foremost important thing about this journey. It had to be successfully accomplished or there was no point in them going back to Coalition HQ. Is Cas up to the job. Can he convince the Sil that he was truly looking out for them on that first mission where he tried to warn their scout ship? What happens if he can’t even recognize the Sil as beings and they and humans have no way of communicating. What if the Sil just blows up the Tempest on their first encounter? The Tempest has no way of protecting itself; the Sil technology is too far advanced for the Coalition to deal with.
Interesting read with a lot of twists and turns. Just when you think Cas has done something he’s going to regret, it seems to workout and lead to something else. I like Box being around, but I think he could have been worked into a larger role. Lastly, Admiral Shangvi has offered to reinstate Cas’ commission. Would Cas ever put the Coalition uniform on and if he did, what would be the consequences?