This is a fairly short book, but it’s a good story. It’s also the star of another series by the prolific John Walker. I have read a number of his books and will continue to do so with this series. Here we find an Earth vessel, the TCN (Terran Colonial Navy) Triton heading out on a rescue mission or at least responding to a distress call from one of Earth’s recently established colonies. The TCN Triton is commanded by Captain Rudy Barrington, a sixty-three year old veteran that was not adapting to changing conditions well. At least that was the opinion of his First Officer Commander Titus Barnes. Commander Barnes has been serving aboard the Triton for about eight months and was a relatively young Commander which was causing a problem for him with his Captain. Captain Barrington didn’t believe anyone younger than forty-five had the experience to be a full Commander and he was holding back on recommendation for his other officers not based on their proven abilities, but just due to their age! That didn’t sit well with Commander Barnes.
Still, they have a new mission and that was to find out who was attacking a new colony in the Gerdon System. The TCN Triton was a battleship and on that had served the TCN well over the years. It certainly wasn’t obsolete and while the crew morale wasn’t extremely high, they all did their jobs very well with no complaints. Now they faced something new. They didn’t no if they were going to find a pirate band actually causing enough trouble to bring in the TCN, but that was usually the extent of their missions. Since colonizing a great portion of the known galaxy, the Earth had come had never come across any other intelligent life. That was soon to change.
Upon arriving in the Gerdon System, a scan of the only habitual planet revealed orbiting ships of an unknown nature. Scans also showed that these ships were attacking the planet from space and with ground forces. Captain Barrington ready his won shipboard Marines with the intent to send them down to the colony and rescue any colonist still alive and not already captured. He was going to open communications with the unknown ships, but the refused to answer. He could see that they were destroying colony buildings without regards to whether they were occupied! This meant that they had already used deadly force and he was going to reply in kind.
Unfortunately, Captain Barrington and his ground forces were soon to find out this new enemy, known as the Kahl, were quite a bit more advanced than Earth. Their ships were much more capable than the Triton. This disparity in capabilities soon became apparent when the ground forces encountered the Kahl soldiers and their armor couldn’t be penetrated by Earth weapons! And subsequently, firing on the Kahl ships showed that the Triton’s weapons were also ineffective against the Kahl shields. When the Kahl ship fired back, it struck with such force that it almost took the Triton out of the action on the first shot. Captain Rudy Barrington was one of the first victims of this attack. He died at his station when a sever shock went through his station. Commander Titus Barnes now had to step in and get the Triton and it’s crew out of harms way or they would soon cease to exist!
This incident was going to be a real eye-opener for Earth. Not only did they finally find out that they were not alone in the universe, but that they had just met the edge of a huge galactic community. The TCN Triton was saved from destruction by the fortunate arrival of the Prytin ship Brekka. It turns out that the TCN Triton had just stumbled into the middle of a galactic war with the Kahl being the aggressors bent on conquering all alien life forms. The Pyrtins were their enemies and just realized that even though these humans were behind in technology, they could at least form an alliance against the Kahl. The Pyrtins were more than willing to provide Earth with all their advanced technology so they could upgrade their ships and fight the Kahl on an equal footing.
The TCN Triton was the first ship to receive all the Pyrtin’s technology and once again sent out on a rescue mission to help a pair of archeologist that had gotten into trouble exploring a Kahl planet. Now it’s time to see if the Terran Colonial Navy can fight to war to save all humanity!