|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||The Earthfleet Saga|
|Publication Date:||March 2010|
|Preceded By:||The Oort Perimeter|
Destiny's Mission is the second in the four part series The Earthfleet Saga and takes Grand Admiral Mike Clayton and the rest of Earthfleet and her allies on a whole new adventure at the UGW homeworld of Sebius, where dark, malevolent forces seek their destruction.
Back Cover Blurb
Invited to a meeting on the UGW homeworld of Sebius, EarthFleet Grand Admiral Michael Clayton and Society Chancellor Sedago Nordham embark on a mission to meet those who are Earth's neighbors, both friends and foes alike, to strike a lasting peace for Earth and all mankind. But this meeting is more than it seems as dark forces plot to destroy the leaders of Earthfleet and the Society. Mike and Nordham must use their wits and cunning to outwit those who wish to destroy Earth, and them, while achieving a lasting peace for the entire human race. But the galaxy is a big place, and fraught with dangers beyond the imaginations of anyone, human or alien.
The story begins with Phillip, leader of the Crassians putting his personal puppet, the Varnok prophet to work turning yet another of The Nine Ancient Races against Earth in a bid to destroy all humans in Sol Sector. This time, however, he's sending the Tragarians. Back on Earth, Grand Admiral Mike Clayton is still busy, even two years later, trying to put Earthfleet back together and strengthen its forces after the heavy losses they suffered at The Battle of the Oort Perimeter. Chancellor Nordham meanwhile is busy with the daily duties of keeping the Society Colonies in top shape while Eric works to tweak and fine tune the Sergenious, and Pendleton is busy trying to prove his superior piloting skills in a star race. The rest of Eric's crew are instead spending time partaking in a well deserved vacation planetside on Earth.
However, in the midst of all this, a message comes in from the UGW inviting Nordham, Mike and their respective escorts, to a diplomatic meeting on Sebius. However, given recent events, they are justifiably suspicious of this and contact Ambassador Phyland asking that he validate the request. He and V'sin then take the request before the UGW Chancellor and validate its claims, after which they report this back to Earth. Upon hearing this, not only does Earthfleet and the Society start preparing for the journey out to Sebius, but so does the Fleet Intelligence director by assigning Lars Nordic and his partner Vladimir Umnov to secretly join the diplomatic mission in hopes that they might be able to search through Sebius for clues to the identify of the people or organization that has been working secretly behind the scenes to destroy Earth and all humans. After making final preparations, the fleet of Earthfleet Shipkillers that is assigned to the trip to Sebius, forms up, and then slips out into the space beyond the Oort Perimeter and meets up with Admiral Sevok, who then begins to escort them to Sebius while Black Claw and his secretive fleet of Tragarian battleships shadow them from a distance.
However, suspecting that this might happen, Alfred sends Captain Blakely and his fleet of Skipjack battleships cloaked and in close pursuit behind Mike and Sevok's fleets as extra insurance in case something should go wrong. Aboard the Sergenious, things are starting to settle into a normal, but somewhat boring routine as they all settle in for the long journey to Sebius. It's during the first day of this journey that Zoahn appears and begins threatening Sarah that, if she doesn't marry him (they call it "bonding"), then something bad might happen to Mike. However, she rebuffs him, forcing him to flee. Behind them, Black Claw's feet does its best to conceal their presence from the Earthfleet ships. However, for the entire first eight days of their journey, they are picked up on the long range sensors of the shipkillers, although the only thing that the Earthfleet ships know is that something is there, but not what is there. On the eighth day, after having passed well into neutral space, Black Claw makes his move, closing in on the fleet and drawing them into a fight.
But, instead of finding themselves in what they believed would be an easy fight, Black Claw discovers that the Gayik'Von have secretly brought reinforcements. This forces Black Claw to call in his reserves in order to again swing the battle in his favor. However, after a pitched and heated battle that slowly turns in the favor of the Tragarians, despite Sevok's reinforcements, and superior strategic skills, a surprise third party enters the battle in the form of a Varnok fleet that comes to the surprise aid of both Sevok and Mike's fleet. After driving away Black Claw's fleet, the Varnok divide their forces and leave part behind with Sevok's fleet as they initiate repairs, and part go with Mike's fleet, personally escorting them the remainder of the way to their destination. Back on Sebius, it's revealed that the UGW Chancellor's request of Mike and Nordham wasn't as innocent and well meaning as it first appeared, as he is a secret agent of Phillip. The Varnok prophet then reports back to Phillip the bad news. However, as he does, Shanomar and his Sevedith partner intercept the transmission, and then use the Yandians as a conduit to pass along all of the information they've learned to the Gin and anyone else who needs to know.
Back on Sebius, Mike's fleet of Shipkillers approaches Sebius and passes a Buyyor Worldship on the way in, marveling at the size of the vessel and that one single race, could build something like that.lands in a docking facility attached to the Ambassadorial Towers and are greeted by several local security guards, as well as Finch, Phyland, and Nordham. After a brief introduction, they're escorted away into the main structure of the towers. Elsewhere Lars and Vlad are portaled into another area of Sebius to begin their intelligence gathering mission. However, their mission gets off to a bad start. Elsewhere Mike, Nordham and the others are getting a quick and dirty education into the numerous and unique aliens that inhabit the Ambassadorial Towers, including Talgians, and several other races. High up on a walkway above the main promenade, President Impdo of Colony Four, the Buyyor World Ship parked not far from Sebius, takes note of Mike's party and is justifiably concerned for their safety, and sets in motion a plan to protect them at all costs.
For the next several days it's politics as usual, with Mike and Nordham doing their best to dig through the morass of political intrigue that permeates the Galactic Senate and the multitude of races that fill its ranks. While they're dealing with that, Lars and Vlad stumble across a Yandian Den of Knowledge and soon encounter its librarian who points them to the information they're seeking, which they quickly relay back to the Ontario with what they've found. After fielding many tough questions, and successfully proving to many of the delegates there that they are not the threat that so may believe them to be, they're later invited to the Ambassadorial Ball later that night. Once there at the ball, Mike's crew, as well as that of Toby's team, mingle with the numerous ambassadors and their diplomatic escorts, doing their best to fit in among a crowd of strange, and odd looking aliens. As this is going on, Sarah appears from the middle of the room looking jaw droppingly beautiful and asks Mike for a dance which, being smitten with her beauty, he accepts.
About this time Black Claw, and a group of Transforms attack the ball, with the intention of killing all the humans. However, the attack doesn't go as planned and Black Claw is eventually forced to retreat. Not long after, a group of UGW security forces arrive and try to take the humans captive, blaming them for the disruption in the ball. However, V'sin's men force them to stand down. After this Mike, Nordham and the other humans, along with V'sin and his men, begin heading back towards their quarters and safety. However, Black Claw, having failed to capture or kill the humans, brings his fleets into orbit around Sebius and starts bombarding the protective security shields of the Ambassadorial Towers in an effort to, once again, break inside and capture everyone from Earth. Realizing the danger, Mike and the others try to portal back to their ships. However, Zoahn has secretly changed the very laws of physics in the area, preventing them from doing so. Even Sarah is unable to get around this change without breaking the laws of non-intervention set down by her people.
So they all quickly turn and start making their way across the Ambassadorial Towers towards their ships on foot. Not long after, squads of Tragarian shock troops break into the building and start hunting down Mike and the others. They're easily able to fend them off, with the help of V'sin's team, and do a fighting retreat across the complex as they continue to rush towards their ships. At the same time this is happening, all of the ambassadors and their staff also work to flee the building, with the UGW Chancellor, having been betrayed by Black Claw, doing his best to escape. As the humans and Gayik'Von continue their rush to the safety of their ships, the Tragarians descend on the towers and flush out the Earthfleet ships. However, without their best crewmembers, the Earthfleet ships are in grave danger. So, using a special linking technology developed by Sarah, she links Pendleton to the ship, making him appear as a living hologram on the bridge. He then leads the ships out of the docking bays and out into the primary city that covers the planet. Eventually two others join him as they first fight against the Tragarians, and then eventually flee to safety deep within the bowels of the city's underworld.
Out beyond the planet high in outer orbit, Blakey contacts the Buyyor and tries to get their help, but they refuse. So he begins formulating his own plan on how to save Mike and the others, despite the odds. However, this is not because the Buyyor don't want to help, but rather they intend to go about it a different way. So they break orbit, turn, and attack Black Claw's fleet, drawing them away, giving the humans time to reach their ships and escape the planet. Down on the planet, faced with ever increasingly dire odds, Mike and Phyland decide to split up and go separate ways. Phyland then takes Nordham and several others with him and flee one direction as Mike and his men go another. Out beyond the edge of the Sebius system, Admiral Sevok and his fleets, having completed repairs, await with their full available strength, along with their new Varnok allies, to dive into the fray, hoping to save Mike and the others. Meanwhile, Phyland, Nordham and the others are moving deep through the heart of the lower levels, trying their best to make it to where the ships are now hidden, so they can escape the planet. However, as Nordham is crossing a bridge, the others having gone before him, the pursuing Tragarians destroy the bridge, sending him plunging into the depths below. The others, who had already crossed, continue on without him deeper into the city.
He then awakes later on to find Julius and Mary standing nearby. It's at this moment that he discovers that they're not Phyland's office staff, although that is one of their jobs, but rather fleet intelligence agents sent to protect Phyland, and him as well. They then hurry to catch up to the others. Meanwhile, Mike's team, as well as those with V'sin and Phyland, struggle to stay ahead of the Tragarians, and continue their fighting retreat across the city towards where their ships are parked. Out in space the battle against Black Claw continues, and soon the local UGW forces join in on the fray, however, not on the side of Impdo and Sevok. They instead side with Black Claw, a development that causes Impdo and Sevok no end of grief. Phillip, monitoring the battle from afar, is updated on the progress of the battle and, while surprised at the direction it's taking, is also pleased with how things are unfolding. Deep within the city, the fleeing UGW Chancellor encounters the Varnok prophet who threatens to kill him for failing Phillip, his master. However, the Chancellor defies the prophet's attempt to kill him, and in doing so, throws both of them off the bridge to their combined doom in the chasms below.
Back in another part of the plant, Mike's team finally reaches their ships and soon discovers, to their dismay, the myriad of problems created by the tampering with the laws of physics that Zoahn did, and the issues it'll cause. Not long after, Phyland and the others, including Nordham, Julias and Mary arrive at the ships and board. The Earthfleet Shipkillers then take off, punch a hole in the planet's shield grid, and quickly make for orbit at best possible speed. Seeing them approach, Black Claw turns his forces towards them in an effort to finally destroy Mike and the others. However, before they can, Captain Blakley and his ten SkipJack class battleships appear, pull in front of Mike's fleet to protect them, and then begin carving a hole through Black Claw's fleet. Once on the other side, they all jump out of the area. However, due to the problems created by Zoahn's physics meddling, it causes their Coaxial FTL drives to enter a runaway state, rapidly accelerating the ships to nearly the relativity limit before they finally pass outside the area of space changed by Zoahn where they soon burn out, bringing the ships back to normal space again. However, this has also left Mike's fleet, and Blakley's battleships defenseless and unable to fight, their main power and drive systems heavily damaged by the incredible stress put on them by the recent overpowered FTL jump.
Seeing that his prey is now vulnerable, Black Claw turns in pursuit, leaving behind Impdo ship and Sevok's fleets, turning every available vessel he has in pursuit of the humans to destroy them. However, before they can arrive, a secret group of reinforcements, previously organized by Sevok himself, on anticipation of this exact scenario, appears just outside the system consisting of several fleets of Gayik'Von and Trepedor battleship, and two Buyyor World Ships. The Buyyor quickly turn and bring both Mike and Blakley's fleets inside their massive vessels to protect theme hile the Gayik'Von and Trepedor fleets turn and immediately attack the Tragarian and UGW fleets. And, with Sevok's aid, the combined allied force exterminates Black Claw and the UGW's fleets down to the last ship. With the UGW and Tragarian threat dealt with, the Gayik'Von and Buyyor work with Mike's engineers to patch up their ships so they can return home. As they're doing this, Mike thanks Impdo and Sevok for their help. He also learns that Sevok and V'sin kinda knew this was coming and had used them as bait to draw out their enemies. Mike's none too happy about this, but ultimately understands why they did this. Back on Crassia, Phillip receives word that they have been found out and that ships are being sent to apprehend them, causing Phillip to order the evacuation of the planet.
Back in Sol, two months later, it's learned that the events at Sebius have revealed the plans of the Crassians to the entire galaxy, turning every race against them, and putting Earth in a better light across the galaxy, even though many still do not like or trust the Humans. Elsewhere in Sol sector, life returns to normal for nearly everyone, including Pendleton, who once again, with Eric's help, seeks to win the ever important Rock Belt Race. However, out of everything that returns to normal, one thing does not. In the final scene of the book, Mike surprises Sarah with a recreation of the ambassadorial ballroom, the same one they had danced in on Sebius, and asks her for another dance, as their last one was so rudely interrupted, of which Sarah gladly accepts, further growing their love for each other, despite their differences.
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