|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||Earthfleet Extended Universe|
|Publication Date:||January 2013|
Back Cover Blurb
Transported to another dimension, Pendleton and his crew are thrown headlong into a battle with an alternate Earth; one who is dark, evil, and thirsty for conquest. Faced with enemies all around and no way home, Pendleton must use his wits and cunning to undo the evil of the Sol Empire and restore this alien galaxy to peace once again. But with limited resources, few allies and far from home, can he and his tiny fleet make a difference, or will they simply be brushed aside by the fires of war?
The story begins with Joel Pendleton, now the Grand Admiral of Earthfleet sitting in his office with no retired former Grand Admiral Mike Clayton, and Dutch, Pendleton's Vice-Grand Admiral, as they discuss a variety of issues occurring around the galaxy. The Pront are especially becoming a problem of late, leading to no small degree of frustration for Pendleton. Sarah then appears as the men continue playfully bantering between themselves and mentions that Eric Rogers has the Sergenious ready to fly. Not long after, several of his aids arrive with a pile of data pads filled with more paperwork. Pendleton complains that he's had the job for six months and has been so busy he hasn't been out of the office the entire time. This then spawns an idea to have Pendleton take a cruise around the galaxy just to get away from the office for a while. So they organize a plan to have Dutch watch things at home while he's out touring the Galactic Core. Pendleton then takes the pilot's seat of the newly rebuilt Generation 3 Sergenious, for old time's sake, and pilots it out of Sol Space. However, as a safety precaution, Dutch follows them in the Prometheus and the Apollo, just to be safe.
As they're leaving, Zoahn happens to spot the Sergenious leaving the Mars Colonies and decides to follow them. Upon arriving on the bridge of the Prometheus he overhears a brief conversation between Dutch and Spire about Pendleton's plans. Things go fairly quietly for the next twelve hours until the Sergenious picks up a strange object on long range sensors. When they go to investigate the device activates, knocking everyone unconscious. When they awake they discover that they're no longer in their last location, but have arrived in another dimension, one where Earth is a conquering superpower and the center of the Sol Empire. As they begin to come to this realization, Basil explains to them that the Yandians knew about this, and that the device belongs to a race if inter-dimensional beings who visited the dimension near its beginning. Understanding this, the crews get to work trying to phone home to Earth using a trans-dimensional bridge. While this is happening, Zoahn cautiously scans the area for danger. As he does, Sarah detects him, and then transports to where he's at to confront him. It's at this point that it's revealed that Zoahn isn't actually a bad guy, but rather a deep cover operative pretending to be evil in order to protect Sarah, as strange as that sounds.
He then reveals why he was sent, and by who. Namely, Sarah's father to protect her. About this time the Prometheus makes contact with Earth and informs them of the situation, which then sets the Society on a course to finding a way to bring everyone home. However, as they're doing this they're detected by the local military, who sends ships to investigate. Shortly after this, Lars, who slipped onto the ship undetected, and had been sneaking around inside it, is caught and confronted by Spire about his actions. As he's doing this, Sarah is elsewhere in the ship, struggling with her emotions involving Mike. As this is happening, Spire receives a report that unknown ships are closing on them. So he heads back to the bridge where he's faced with five warships of the Sol Empire. After a brief but heated conversation the imperial battleships open fire on the Prometheus, but find that they don't have the firepower to harm it. Eventually they do summon enough firepower to start degrading the shields of the Prometheus, so Pendleton orders the ship to return fire, which it does, obliterating the battleships easily.
Elsewhere nearby, Pepperton Rollins is observing events between the Prometheus and the imperial battleships. He hopes to make them allies to help him in his war against the empire. Back in Earthfleet's home dimension, Phyland Renwald is greeted by Fidget and asked to speak with his uncle, Tenwar. They soon arrive in a secret meeting location and are given information about the device that transported the Prometheus and the Apollo to the other dimension. Fidget then heads out looking for information he can bring to his uncle. Over in the Imperial Earth dimension, Pendleton and the others work diligently to search out and find any sign of a device in that dimension similar to what brought them there, but have no luck. So they spread out to broaden their efforts. Zoahn, in particular, follows the Sergenious. As they make one of their sensor stops he decides to make his move, as he wants to force Sarah to reveal who she really is, after which he hopes that Mike will accept her. So he disables power in the entire system they're parked in, destroying all the local imperial forces and causing the local star to collapse in a small scale super nova. This forces Sarah to either reveal herself and save Mike, or else remain hidden, and lose him forever.
She decides to save him, stopping the nova blastwave with ease and protecting the Sergenious in the process. She then returns to the Sergenious to face her worst fears. But, to her surprise, instead of Mike hating or being fearful of her, he's actually far more open to her, much to her relief. After a while, and after being constantly attacked at every location they jump to, Pendleton and the others regroup to come up with more ideas. They also learn about the Sol Empire and some of the history of this dimension. Pendleton then sends Lars with Mike to search for more answers. As the Sergenious is heading to its first destination, Mike sits down with Sarah and they talk for a while. After a bit he asks her to marry him, which she accepts. At this same time Lancaster continues to monitor Pendleton's ships from a distance trying to determine what they're there fore. In another area of space, Dutch follows a series of clues sent to them by a mysterious third party. When they finally make contact, they discover that it's a group of human resistance fighters battling the empire. And, while they don't start out on the best of terms, they do come to a mutual understanding.
Over at Wolf 359, Mike and the Sergenious work to gather information on the Empire as Zoahn floats over Earth in search of answers of his own. He soon discovers Ilik, a dark Benoi and realizes that he's at the center of all this, and what his ultimate plans are, both for this dimension, and the multiverse as a whole. Zoahn then reports this information to Mike and the others, helping them to formulate a plan of attack to stop Ilik and his plans of domination. Back on the ASW homeworld, Finch quietly sneaks around looking for any information he can find before heading back to the others. Learning what the Pront are up to, Phyland and the others set about stopping their plans. Back in the Imperial Earth dimension, Pendleton goes to meet the Trepedor and at first are treated with suspicion and disdain. But, after a quick message from Pep, they grudgingly permit the Prometheus and the Apollo to enter Trepedor space. Elsewhere, the Sergenious lands on an abandoned Yandian outpost in hopes of finding where the Yandians have gone to. To their dismay, they find the place stripped bare with no clues at all. Eventually though, Sarah finds some clues to the whereabouts of the Yandians who may have fled to a nearby star glob. After finding a clue via an abandoned Yandian navigational beacon, they continue their search.
Back at the ASW homeworld, Gray Fang talks to Nisp and gains more clues in the growing mystery they are facing. It's believed that the issues may stem from the various republics and empires running low on resources and space for their people to grow, but Phyland and the others do not believe that this is the entire reason for what's happening. They even discuss this with some other ambassadors, but they rebuff the idea that they are in need, as though hiding the truth. Phyland and the others decide to look deeper into this. In the throne room of Imperial Earth, Zoahn follows a group of Benoi known as The Darkness and learns of their plan (a plan he already knew about, but which this conversation confirms) to capture Sarah, take control of her incredible powers, and use them to conquer the multiverse. They try to get Ilik to side with them, but he refuses, having plans of his own. Over in another part of the galaxy, while Pendleton is searching for the bridge device to take them back home, Dutch takes the Apollo out hunting for Pepperton. They eventually find him and bring him aboard their ship. After a brief but intense conversation Dutch succeeds in convincing Pep and the rebels to work with him and the other members of Earthfleet trapped in his dimension.
Back at the Sergenious, the ship and her passengers are moving quickly to reach the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy where their clues have led them to believe that the Yandians have fled to. But, on the way there, the Darknesses catch up with Sarah and confront her, trying to capture her and her powers. Sarah fights bravely, but ultimately fails to fend them off, allowing them to capture her. But, before they can complete their evil plan, Zoahn, Azom, and a group of Benoi appear and capture them. Sarah then talks with her parents, and gives them the good news about her engagement, which is much to their surprise. Even so, they agree. Sarah then returns to the Sergenious. Meanwhile, Pendleton learns that the guys back home accidentally broke the bridge device, meaning that no fresh supplies or reinforcements will be coming their way. At the same time, Lancaster begins growing intrigued at the Earthfleet ships and their seemingly odd behavior. Back at the Sergenious, they move deeper into the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy and soon encounter an entire fleet of Yandian battleships. They demand that the Sergenious surrender and be boarded. However, Sarah has other plans, and transports the Yandian admiral aboard the Sergenious where, after a brief scolding, he agrees to help Mike and the others.
Over in the Milky Way, Pep speaks with Pendleton and agrees to help them decode an imperial data drive in exchange for Pendleton's team taking out a series of control nodes that force the obedience of all people living within the empire. Back on the ASW homeworld, Finch goes searching for clues to a recent mystery and then stumbles upon a surprising secret. According to information held by the Yandians, all life in the galaxy has its origins on Earth. They discuss this revelation at great length and what it means for the wider galaxy. Meanwhile, Spire takes the Nautilus out in search of the control systems that enslave everyone's will, within the Sol Empire, to the will of Ilik. Upon finding it, they consider destroying it, but Spire comes up with a better idea. Instead, he uses it turn the imperial forces within the system against the emperor. It takes some time for it to take effect, but as soon as it does, all the ships turn and head for Earth. After they leave, Spire destroys the control array, and then moves on to the next one to do the same thing.
While Spire is busy doing that, it's revealed that Lancaster, and the fleet he's compiled, aren't from the dimension of Imperial Earth, but rather another; one with a similar history to the Earth of Sol Space, as he, and those he's gathered under his command, were also brought here by one of the ancient bridge devices. Back on the ASW homeworld, Phyland, Fidget and the rest of their allies reveal the truth of the origin of all life within the galaxy to the senate. At first there is an uproar and rejection of this idea. But it's not long before the Yandians and the Trepedor validate this claim. At first it does not sit well with the other delegates. With this revelation, Gray Fang tries to turn everyone against the Juinah in hopes of seeing them crushed. However, the Imgadi representative calls a pause to the day's proceedings so that everyone can have time to process this new, and rather unsettling discovery. Meanwhile, Pendleton and Dutch are busy talking about their progress in the battle against Ilik and the empire when Najin shows up, along with a large assault force from their home dimension, brought there courtesy of Azom and the other Benoi. They then begin putting together a plan to take down Ilik.
Over on the Yandian's new homeworld in the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, the Sergenious lands and is greeted by a group of Yandian security who initially greet them with great suspicion. But when Sarah introduces herself, using the name Inamou, one of many that she has received over the centuries, the Yandians immediately recognize her and then realize that Mike and is team are not enemies, making them relax. But as they're talking, Lancaster's fleet arrives at the border of the Sagittarius galaxy and surrenders. Lancaster then reveals to Mike and the Yandians who he really is, and that he seeks to help them defeat Ilik and the empire. At first they don't trust him, but he's soon found to be legitimate. Meanwhile, the imperial mind control network is officially and completely shutdown, striking a powerful blow to the empire. Shortly after this, Pendleton brings together everyone that they can muster, who can aid them in their battle against the empire. Back at the ASW homeworld, Phyland and the others continue to follow the fallout from the recent revelation about Earth. But, even so, a more pressing issue returns to the forefront; namely the shortage of space within the galaxy. He then realizes that there really isn't a shortage. That it's all just in their mids.
When asked for clarification on this, he explains about the multiverse and how, in other dimensions, the people there have colonized more than just the primary plane of the galaxy. They've also colonized what is currently neutral space, as well as the outer ranges, the upper and lower limits, and even gone so far as to colonize out into other galaxies. Understanding how much this will help with the space and resource issues, they all agree to share this with the other delegates for them to take back to their own people. However, before they can do this, the Juinah begin targeting them. Fidget is the first of them to come under attack. But he escapes and warns the others. Upon examining why the Juinah are acting this way, it points back to their idea of encouraging colonization in all the areas that previous were not for whatever reasons those were. Back in the Imperial Earth dimension, Pendleton gathers all of the forces he's collected and rallies them near Earth, after which they rush in and attack the imperial forces in an attempt to draw out Ilik, tearing through them like a brush hog.
However, Ilik wisely stays put, as he has no reason as of yet to attack them. However, Zoahn soon blocks Ilik's ability to control his minions. With them no longer under his sway, Ilik rises up to attack them. However, he ignores the other Benoi and heads for Pendleton's fleets in hopes of destroying them in retribution for what they'd done. But, before he can reach them, out of nowhere the Sergenious arrives and fires on Ilik. The blasts do no harm to him, but they do distract him for a moment, long enough for Pendleton's fleets to turn and flee. The Sergenious then relays a message from Lancaster to the remaining imperial ships, encouraging them to flee, which they do. Enraged by this, Ilik turns his attention towards the Sergenious to destroy it. However, before he can, Sarah intervenes on their behalf, punching Ilik, and stopping him in his tracks. Ilik then fights back against the others, even pushing Earth's moon out of orbit in an attempt to buy himself some more time. Zoahn then goes off to stop Ilik as Sarah works with her father to put the moon back in place.
Zoahn and numerous other Benoi soldiers then engage Ilik, drawing him away from Earth and the solar system to protect those inside it. Eventually the fight moves to the Dimensional Divide where things heat up. As it does, Sarah appears and dishes out a severe beating to Ilik so hard that it even impresses Zoahn. Eventually Ilik gives up and is arrested. However, before he does, he gives the others a warning that he's only one of many, and that, in time, others like him will come, and that the multiverse will be overthrown. Afterwards Azom and the other Benoi return everyone to their home dimensions where they belong, and then return to formerly imperial Earth to put the galaxy there back together and to heal the wounds caused by Ilik's tyranny. Back in Sol Space, Pendleton returns to his desk job again, happy to be back to his normal, boring job of paperwork shuffling. Pendleton even discusses this with Dutch. Eventually the conversation moves to Mike's pending wedding, and how that might play out, given who Sarah is.
Over in the Mars Colonies, Mike and Sarah anxiously wait for word from the Benoi council, as it will be they who will allow this wedding to go forward. Eventually Azom and Zoahn appear and bring them the good news, that their wedding has been approved. However, there's a catch. To marry Mike, Sarah has to agree to give up her immortality, and her powers. In short, she has to give up being a Benoi and instead become human, just like Mike. She agrees without hesitation. She is then transformed into a human, which initially feels weird to her. However, she's not the only one who's changed. As Azom's wedding gift to both Sarah and Mike, he's in turn made Mike young again, returning him to how he looked when he was about twenty. The happy couple thank him for his gift, and then send them away to get married. But, as they do, Azom warns Zoahn that things aren't all roses and rainbows as they will still have many dark days ahead of them. As such, he requests that Zoahn continue his mission of watching over them, to which Zoahn happily agrees.
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