Rating:

5 Small Stars
Orion Fleet

We’re back on Earth with Leo Blake and his crew. They have, almost single-handedly, saved the universe, but they also don’t want the notoriety that comes with being a hero. They just want things to settle down, which they do in a hurry. So much so, that most of the crew is getting really bored. With the Imperials pulling back, it doesn’t appear that there will be any further combat for a long time. So, Blake finds himself in limbo, not knowing what he’s supposed to be doing.

Except, none other than Captain Ursahn of the Rebel Fleet ship Killer, shows up with some Earthly Intel she’s not supposed to know. She has found out that Earth is building a spaceship! Even Captain Blake wasn’t sure of this, but he kind of figured out that was what happened to his old ship, the Hammerhead. He stole it from the Rebels just for the purpose of letting Earth’s scientist reverse engineer the things so we could possibly defend ourselves. It turns out that the ship Earth built was a phase-ship. This is the very kind of ship that the Rebels despise and have made it almost illegal for one of their members to create such a ship. Still, the Earth is new to this Rebel stuff and plays things they way they want to. Now that the ship is known to the Rebel Alliance, they demand that Earth sends it into combat.

So, once again, Leo Blake is about to go back to space. This time, he’ll be the Captain of his own ship, which just happens to be named the Hammerhead after his original ship. Still, this is a phase-ship and not a heavy fighter. He’ll have a much larger crew and even that gets screwed up at the start. Earth’s High Command hasn’t decided who owns space. The Air Force believes that they should rightly flight ships into space since it’s just and extension of the sky. The Navy believes it should be in charge since these ships will be going on long and extend voyages and not be flying around the Earth. In the meantime, both services agree that Captain Leo Blake isn’t going to be the Commander of Earth’s first spaceship. They sent Colonel Miller and his crew of Air Force personnel to run the Hammerhead. Blake and his crew are treated as secondary crew and told to stay out of the way. Of course, Colonel Miller has no idea of how the Rebel Alliance conducts its military operations, but he’s about to get a very serious and almost deadly introduction. Once they become part of the Rebel Alliance fleet, they are to follow Rebel Alliance military procedures, no matter how brutal they are. Colonel Miller and his crew don’t last long.

Still, the new Hammerhead and the Rebel ship, Killer, are ordered to a distant space station to get their new orders. It seems that the Imperials have developed a new automated ship that is huge and is doing mind-boggling stuff in Rebel space. It is actually chewing through entire planets destroying everything, including the planet’s inhabitants. Nothing can seem to stop it. There’s a sneaky hunch that the Imperials are controlling it, but that’s not actually known. At the space station, they meet up with Admiral Flex which was a gigantic surprise since they thought he was long gone. It seems he was unsuccessful in his bid to become a Secretary and then regulated to this miserable little space station. Now he orders Captain Ursahn and Captain Blake to go and destroy the automated Hunter. It’s just their two ships and nothing else. It seems that Admiral Flex is out to get rid of both Captains and their ships!

Great read, although Blake isn’t anywhere near as irreverent back on Earth as he is when dealing with the Rebels. Most of the aliens he deals with have no idea how to react to humans or primates. They consider such to be very tricky, untrustworthy, sly and deceitful, but also very smart. Blake applies all of these traits to perfection and thoroughly confuses most aliens who he manipulates into doing usually the right thing even though they don’t want to. There’s just the right amount of humor in these books.

I’m already in book three, “Alpha Fleet”, and it’s getting better.