Glowing jewels ran down the corridor, the plasma strikes the distant approaching invaders.
“Fire in the hole” shouts a marine. The screeching grenade arched through the air and decimates a horde of aliens approaching from behind. Major Sargent Martinez was providing intel to Admiral Frost over a ultra frequency transmitter.
“Mobility has been impaired. Our projected ETA is ten minutes, cause being the sheer magnitude of these creatures” he explains loudly. “Intruders are a joint force of multiple alien species. Repeat. Intruders are a joint force of multiple alien species”
“Report received and understood. Stand-by” The transmitter crackles. The shooting stops and the area fell silent.
“Area secure” reports a marine.
“Advance” commands Martinez.

Alex and Pauline moved through the halls of the experimental weapons labs, whispering to each other in an alien tongue, Pauline affectionately strokes the coarse skin of passing demons. They came to a locked laboratory and Alex looks into the retina scanner.
“Authorization Accepted. Welcome, Chief Administrator” says the computer voice.
The door whooshed open, expelling a gasp of sterile smelling air. The pair walk inside. In the centre of the lab was a large, square work table littered with various parts. Locked cabinets along the walls held prototype weapons and shelves of data sheets, two holo-terminals flanked each other from the middle of the room and a left-hand passage led to a small workshop. Looming before them was another door, they approach it and walk inside. A large weapon was stored within. The artificial light glitters against the grey, polished surface. It had a pair of shoulder mounts on the back and a large, wide barrel on the front. Alex unlocks the armament from its mounting. He picks it up and inserts an energy cell pack, the BFG 9000 hums to life.

BFG 9000

Outside the base, in the twilight of space, a corporate vessel cuts its blazing thrusters and descends upon another of the Deimos escape pods. The ship slows to a stop and a clawed robotic arm extends from a hatch, it grips the pod and draws it into the spacious hanger bay. It was placed among other escape pods, resting on one of several flat plasma fields uniformly layered in the hangar. The Deimos researchers walk from the pod and a holographic attendant led them to the elevator. They walked through the large doors, leading to the rest of the ship’s interior. Another hologram greets them.
“Welcome aboard the CSV Navigator” it says “Accommodations are being prepared for you at this time. In the meantime, the Executive’s Common Area will have everything you may need” it explains. “Councillor Crawford has scheduled a meeting with Dr. Nexson and Director Banks. Please make your way to Conference Room 7-B at 1830 hours” it finishes. The two men exchange stern glances. The researchers move into the adjoining hallway, walking swiftly among heavy pedestrian traffic.
“Rupert, we need to find a sub-space terminal” says Will.
Banks and Nexson enter a nearby Sub-Space Parlour and step into a booth, pulling the privacy screen closed behind them. Banks entered a six digit code into the touchpad and placed the call. They stood waiting as the signal was relayed over a sub-orbital receiver.
“Video uplink established” chimed the terminal.
The video call opened, a finely dressed man with dark eyes and a stone-cold expression filled the holo-monitor.
“Hello Doctor, Director” the man says, “I’m glad to see you made it off-station. I can hardly believe these reports, this is going to become immensely costly” he states.
“You’re correct about that,” agrees Banks, releasing a long breath. “I know you have many questions about the incident, but right now, we are being persued by authorities. We need immediate diplomatic protection” Banks quickly explains. “Relax” the man says in a deep, monotone voice. “Our protocols are already being carried out. You’re protected” he assures them. “This is a black-eye for the Paranormal Division, but many of us think there is a good chance that we can grasp success from the jaws of defeat” he says with a sinister grin. “We want you to do us a favour and we’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer”

The Fusion Power Plant was throbbing with activity. The walls held flat white panels, small repair robots moved along the floor, occasionally popping into and out of small doors leading to a delivery chute that led to all areas of the plant.
“Condition: Alert” the female computer voice repeated softly.
A surplus of technicians and engineers stood around supervisors as they received their rapidly spoken emergency instructions and assignments. Space Marines were spread throughout the facility. The Power-Plant was under an extreme alert condition because their reactor specialists were performing a delicate experiment when the invasion occurred.

Reactor

Chief Engineer Rivera and Engineer Clark were in the Reactor Control Room, studying the anomalous energy readings on the holo-monitor, behind the view screen was the MCR-700 Reactor. They were sitting in high-backed chairs.
“Gamma radiation in the core is rising” the engineer utters, pointing to a climbing digital gage on the monitor.
“Let’s try Alpha-6 emission configuration on Module-B” Clark suggests.
“Proceed” replies Rivera.
The Engineer calmly enters the command into the terminal.
“That doesn’t seem to be having any effect, reduce the master density controller by 9 degrees” Rivera instructs. Troublingly, the Gamma radiation and temperature continued to climb.
“This can’t be right” Rivera exclaims, “this climb shouldn’t be continuing”
“It seems like something is interfering with the operation” Clark suggests.
“At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me. We need to evacuate the station with everyone else, we’re going to have to program the maintenance robots to monitor the reactor and regularly vent the radiation, or this station will have an alien invasion and a flood of toxic radiation to contend with” says Rivera.
They issued new commands to the maintenance robots and left the control room.

They walked a nearby humming corridor, electrical conduits and coolant pipes stretched along the walls.
“If we lose that reactor, they can forget about saving this station anytime soon” comments Rivera.
“We’ve never had issues like these with the MCR-700 before, whatever is causing those spikes, it’s a mystery to me” replies Clark.
“It shouldn’t be a big problem. As long as the maintenance robots–” Rivera is startled by the sudden opening of an intersecting door. The hydraulic sigh sounded as the door raised, revealing the Chief Administrator and his assistant. The Chief Administrator stared back with dark, unforgiving eyes, his BFG 9000 was loudly charging in his hands. The two men looked down at the glowing green barrel and gasped in horror, they dodged to evade the round. Clark was caught by the destructive blow and suffered instant demolecularization, the bio energy continued into the wall of the corridor, severing several critical conduits and making a large crater in the wall. The Chief Engineer hit the ground, clothing burned by the BFG’s blast, he stared dumbstruck at the brutal murder of his colleague.
“Alarm: power failure detected. Emergency power is now online” echoes the station computer as red emergency lights flooded the corridor. The pair of Former Humans stepped from the passage and looked down at their prey, the engineer looks into the pure black eyes and fear jolted him to his feet. He made a stumbling attempt to escape in the other direction, panting loudly. From behind he heard the build-up of the BFG 9000. He was soon overtaken by green energy and fell to the ground in a pile of blackened ash.

OK considering I’ve only just finished writing my review for book one its somewhat startling when you find all of your negatives being addressed in the first 1/2 dozen chapters of book 2!  I mentioned in my previous review that there wasn’t enough romance and humour and that was in abundance here in the interactions with Christos and the Admiral at the Dinner party.  I also spoke about the fact that humanity was almost too good and there should be more elements of the fault in our human nature – the urge for power and privilege and that too was ably shown in Commander Bryer Anderson in the early chapters and others in much greater depth in the latter half of the book too!  Good job sir, very good job – it’s always nice when an author listens to the feedback of his fans and I guess it only echo’d my own sentiments!

In Discovery of the Saiph (book 1 reviewed here) we learned that humanity is not alone in the universe.  Not only are they not alone, they have “cousins” – other species that like humans have had their DNA spliced and manipulated to reflect that of the Saiph.  Unfortunately the Saiph while seemingly benevolent have been wiped out by the “Others” – yet another species that has been DNA manipulated … also by the Saiph it seems!

While the confusion here is quite significant, one thing that humanity realizes is that the Others are world destroyers … regardless of where they came from and what might have happened in their past (which is somewhat explained in this book) they have only one purpose now and that is to ensure their own survival at the expense of any other group – human’s included!

Book 2 picks up right where Book 1 ended, so if you haven’t read the first one yet, please don’t continue reading this review as it has the potential of spoiling that one for you.

*** Spoilers below for book 1 ***

If you recall from the previous book, humanity had managed to beat back the assault on one of their allied planets by the narrowest of margins.  This attack however would have been successful if the Others had utilized their full fleet strength but the enemy forces were discovered by the random arrival of a human ship causing them to launch their attack early and fail.  The commander of the Other fleet however was not with his fleet at the time of the attack and he received guidance that he should retreat instead of pursuing the battle.  On his way back to the Other homeworld he came across a Human merchant ship and was able to capture it before the captain could purge the computers of the navigation and technical documents contained.  This is how book 2 begins and it quickly puts the Others on a technical parity with Humanity and its alliance of planets!  Whoa boy … it’s going to be an interesting ride that’s for sure!

What I liked and didn’t like

Some of my positives from the previous book – the lack of massive space battles – are still here, but to a lesser degree as while you don’t have thousands of ships flying around firing billions of missiles there are definitely some larger fleet battles at play and its getting close to being unwieldy.  The introduction of ground combat was well done – although I think both John Ringo & Doug Dandridge did it better in their Posleen Saga & Looking Glass books as well as Exodus: Empires at War respectively … however it was overall quite enjoyable and perhaps too short if anything.

The characters are definitely written better and there is more humanity not only to them, but also to the story as a whole as it introduces some of the worse elements of the human condition – namely greed – which were woefully lacking from the previous volume.  The enemy too has been somewhat humanized and while this book finishes with an even greater mystery, it has answered some of the questions that were previously posed in the first volume.  They are definitely not just a faceless foe anymore …

Overall an excellent addition to the series and one that I’d highly recommend if you’re a fan of Military SciFi.  It’s well written and gets to the action quite quickly.  While you don’t need to read the first book to understand what’s going on (it’s explained in the text) I would still recommend that you do as it will absolutely enhance your overall enjoyment.