Rating:

5 Small Stars
Vanquish
Admiral Jon Pike has really accomplished a lot since we’ve been reading about him and his exploits.  He’s just about done everything he can to stop the Juttari, saved the Colonies from themselves and the Kemmar, and now has all his forces under the United Human Space Force (UHSF).   They have fought and gained Juttari territory which they won’t be giving up.  Now he’s deciding what to do when the Colony world of New Byzantium comes under attack by the Kemmar.  Their ships just appeared above the planet and started dropping nuclear weapons on the population.  It didn’t take long for the colony UHSF defense forces to obliterate the Kemmar battle group, but the damage had been done.
Now Admiral Pike has to figure out what to do with the Kemmar as well as the Juttari.  It appears that the Juttari have given the Kemmar the jump drive technology so any advantage the UHSF had is now gone.  Except that Chief Engineer Singh has come up with some more revolutionary discoveries.  He’s found a way to pin-point where a jump ship will emerge from jump space.  He’s also identified a way to identify which ship is emerging from jump space so they can be known as friend or foe.  He’s also developed jump bombs which can be jumped right inside any ship that they desire.  These are tremendous new advantages in warfare that now belongs to the UHSF.
Except that Jon has a problem.  One that’s about to kill him.  His Diakan symbiont is about to die.  Dr. Ellerbeck has determined that his symbiont has been poisoned by someone and the only way to keep it and Jon from dying is to see the a symbiont specialist on the planet Diakan.  So, the war has to stop while Jon hand his entourage travel to Diakan to see if he and his symbiont can be saved.  This should have been a routine, no problem trip that almost turns into a disaster.  Jon finds himself in front of the Great See’er.  This is some kind of almost religious God for the Diakans.  Jon finds out some very interesting information about his symbiont which is getting healed while they are in the temple. She is the one that has the Diakans now following Jon as he leads the UHSF into battle with the Juttari.  She has predicted a number of events that have already happened and even some that are yet to happen.  It is very important to her that Jon stays alive and therefore of paramount importance to all Diakans.
Jon’s not so sure about this See’er thing.  He doesn’t know what she is, but he does know she has some control over the Diakans.  Where they were very arrogant and condescending before, now they are almost subservient to Jon.  He is held in great esteem by all Diakans and Jon feels that is crazy.  But, he’s now 100% healthy and ready to get back to his fleet.
Now the real battles begin.  The UHSF is going to attack the Kemmar all the way to their homeworld.  They are going to put an end to this slavery trade and the cruel Kemmar regime.  At the same time, a fleet will be harassing the Juttari so it can’t send support to the Kemmar.  The overall battle goes well with Jon’s forces thoroughly defeating the Kemmar and capturing their homeworld.
But, the attack on the Juttari’s doesn’t go as planned.  While Admiral Tallos did what he sat out to do, which was to capture another Juttari planetary system, he didn’t expect someone or something coming to the aid of the Juttari.
Dark, black ships of immense size have come out of jump space totally ignoring all  the jump bombs, conventional or nuclear.  Nothing the UHSF has can penetrate their shields and their weapon systems tear right through the UHSF ships as if they didn’t exist.  Who are these new enemies and why are they now supporting the Juttari?