Rating:

5 Small Stars
Ashes of the Past

We’ve come a long ways since the Peck twins rescue. They are both grown and have had careers with the Confederation Marine Corps; well, at least one of them had a career! Rita Peck had been kicked out of the Marines for striking a superior officer. The fact that she was right to do so wasn’t considered during her Court Martial. Oliver Peck, her twin brother, was now a Major and working for Captain Noah Markel. Captain Markel had requested Major Peck to be his ground forces commander. The fact that both Pecks were addicted to ether wasn’t a consideration since both of them were born that way in a sanctioned experiment that partially worked. The use of ether by a human gave the some superhuman attributes, but unlike he effects on most humans, neither of the Pecks were killing themselves with the stuff.

Ether was also what fueled starships for the Confederation. Lately, someone had been attacking ether processing mines and destroying everything in sight. The Confederation starship Morrigan commanded by Captain Markel had already encountered an unknown alien ship attacking one such facility. That encounter had gone in favor of the Morrigan with the alien ship completely destroyed. Unfortunately, that left the Confederation with an unknown enemy.

So, the Morigan was ordered to go find out who this new enemy was and stop their attacks if possible. The only problem with this mission was that the aliens must have come from beyond the frontier. The frontier was the “badlands” of Confederation space. There wasn’t much law out in this region since the Confederation just didn’t have the assets to cover such a large volume of space. That meant the place was crawling with pirates, thieves and other non-conformist, yet there were people out in the frontier that just wanted to make a living without some government looking over their shoulder.

Rita Peck had been one of those quasi-criminal types. She had a small group that stole small amounts of ether until she got caught trying to steal during one of the alien attacks. Now back in custody of the Confederation, she figured she’d be spending some time in prison. Yet, Captain Markel had a lot of leeway with his mission and figured he could use Rita’s knowledge of the frontier to his advantage. He offered her her commission back, but she refused so they settled on her becoming a civilian contractor serving aboard the Morrigan.

Captain Markel needed information on where the aliens were coming from and Rita gave him the first place they should go to. That leads to some further exploration and some very interesting developments later on.

The story has a lot of fighting and some interesting characters introduced right from the beginning. Still, it doesn’t actually tell us who these new alien enemies are so we’ll just have to keep reading the next book in the series!