Rating:

5 Small Stars
Robot Dust Bunnies

Rade Galaal and his Argonauts are again working for Surus. It, a Green Phant, are in pursuit of another Black Phant located on an isolated Russian scientific site and volcanic planet deep inside Russian territory. Surus, using her contacts, manages to get the Russians to allow her team of supposed scientist to land at their research base and conduct their own studies of the volcanic ocean that covers most of this planet. Needless to say, this planet is very hostile to humans or most anything. Temperature outside anywhere on the planet are well about 150 degrees.

The Argonaut arrives in the vicinity of the planet and asks for orbit and landing permission and instructions. They are given both by the Russian controller and prepare to land. As usual, Shaw will stay aboard the Argonaut with a whole bunch of combat robots. Unfortunately, Shaw, in my opinion, turns out to be about a worthless Argonaut as there is! Also accompanying the Argonauts on this mission is another Green Phant called Corunna. She gave them the information about the location of this Black Phant and wished to accompany Surus and the Argonauts in tracking it down. Their trip to the Russian planet took about six weeks or so.

So, the Argonauts take their shuttle down to the Russian base and request landing permission inside the hanger. They get no response even after several attempts. Already something is going wrong and they don’t know what it might be. They’ll soon find this Russian base devoid of everything thing living, humans and Artificials alike. Now they have to find where they went. Vehicle tracks lead them to an underground cave, so what was supposed to be a pretty simple mission now turns into another underground search and destroy mission only it might not be the Phant that gets destroyed.

There is a traitor amongst the group now on the base. It has been busy doing some behind the scenes work to sabotage most everything the Argonauts have been doing to prepare for this mission. And once again, Shaw cannot defend the Argonaut by herself even with a whole bunch of combat robots. She even gets herself thrown off the Argonaut into deep space while it speeds forward to the slipgate. This will make twice that the Argonaut has been taken from Shaw. How dumb can you get?

The story is pretty exciting although I don’t really see the sense in using the title that was used. “Dust bunnies” gives off the impression that their enemy isn’t that mean which is entirely wrong. Their new alien enemy is much, much worse than anything they have faced so far. Additionally, this story reveals a new twist in the humans relationship with the Green Phants; one that isn’t looking so good.

I’ve already downloaded the next book, “City of Phants” and looking forward to reading it.