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4 Small Stars

The second book in this series is better than the first. As we left the last book, the original crew of the small Earth ship, Providence, sent to investigate a huge derelict alien spacecraft just beyond Mars in the Greater Asteroid Belt, had been returned to Earth in that same huge alien spacecraft. Except now, the Captain of the alien craft called the Speroancora, was Jane Holloway, the linguist recruited by Alan Bergen for the original mission. She has told Earth Command that she and whomever wants to volunteer, are going to return this ship to it’s home world, Sectilia or Atielle, an inhabited moon circling Sectilia. Since Earth hasn’t got any way of stopping her, she and her small crew are off on this new adventure.

As you should know, this alien ship is vast. It’s normal crew numbers in the thousands. It has also been sitting idle for hundreds of years since the original crew died from a virus outbreak within their nanites or as the Sectilians call them, “squillae”. These squillae killed every one of the Sectilians very slowly and very painfully. The only one not affected was the ships Navigator or Gubernaviti. This Gubernaviti is an alien species called the Kubodera from a secret planet of the same name. To the humans now in mental contact with the kuboderian know as Ei’Brai, he appears to be very much like an Earth squid. He also lives in an internally contained and sealed water chamber in the center of the ship.

Captain Jane Holloway became the Captain after she was found to be the single human with the greatest mental contact with Ei’Brai. He chose her because he needed a Captain since without one he could not move the ship. That was why the Speronacora had drifted so long in the same place. Jane finds out that the kuboderia is nothing much more than a slave to the Sectilians. She intends to find some way to see if other ships have been stranded in space since the outbreak of the virus and if so, she intends to free as many of the kuboderia as possible, if the Sectilians will let her have this ship or another. Their first mission is to find out why the Sectilians haven’t tried to rescue this ship in the first place.

The writing is pretty good for a weird bunch of aliens. I think the Sectilians are similar in appearance to humans although those born on Atielle, the moon of Sectilia, are the only Sectilians they ever get to meet. I don’t think it was easy keeping the mental conversations going while also trying to talk verbally. Jane Holloway seems to adapt to the job of a starship Captain very quickly. It’s also interesting that a crew of five can operate a ship that normal takes thousands! That part might be a stretch.

The book gets a little mushy at times with all the “emotional” baggage everyone wants to throw around. Jane and Alan are attracted to each other, but keep playing games that causes undue tension between each. I’m wasn’t particularly interested in how Alan “felt” about Jane. You could tell by the way he acted that he was falling for her and she was doing the same for him, but the story kept describing their thought of should I or maybe I better not. When they finally get together, I think everyone let out a sigh of relief, even the aliens.

Seems like there could be another book in the series but there was nothing mentioned. I’d probably read it, I think.

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