4 Small Stars
Beyond Nightfall

Well, I should have expected this. The author told me in an email that he had purposely written these books as short-stories. They are very short. You could probably read this one in one setting if you set your mind to it. Again, I’m not crazy about short stories sold as complete books. You pay full price, but only get part of a book and I don’t think that’s good for the reader, but I’ll move on to the story now. Oh, wait, one more thing. I read white text on a black background since it’s dark in my bedroom (my choice, I know), but the text on these books is light-grey which makes reading pretty hard. I wish the author would just print the books normally, you know black text on a white background. Now on with the short story.

Jason Cassidy is still our main character, although that gets kind of confusing in this book. We’re at a mining colony, Orion V, on the CDF Vanguard, temporarily commanded by its second-in-command, Commander Ravith Perera. Of course the Captain of the Vanguard just had to go down to the surface since he doesn’t believe anything a highly competent away team might find and describe. At least that’s the only excuse I can give for a starship Captain to leave his post. It’s a dumb move, but all science fiction writers seem to have watched too much Star Trek© and Captain Kirk. He was dumb more times than I can count. Still, that’s the situation.

The Vanguard sensors pick up a fast moving object heading straight towards Orion V. The go on alert and prepare for an attack not knowing who or what this ship represents. They do know it is huge and very black. The ship continues coming at a speed that seems improbable, but does veer away from the Vanguard at a sufficient distance to preclude a defensive strike. The huge, black ship goes into stationary orbit directly over the mining facility HQ and begins to systematically bombard it to dust. All the while, it has completely ignored the Vanguard. Of course, the Vanguard can’t just sit there and let Confederation property be destroyed with some explanation and a fight if necessary. That’s when all the trouble starts.

The story does contain a lot of characters. It also feeds back and forth to what happened in the previous short book so you can pretty much keep track of what happened before and why it’s happening now. I do get confused between the two Cassidy brothers. They are always fighting and Jason doesn’t get along with his Uncle at all. Most all of the characters you read about in the first book do wind up together in this book. And of course, the story doesn’t end here. I might though!