|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||The Earthfleet Saga|
|Publication Date:||July 2011|
Back Cover Blub
Once thought destroyed, a dangerous enemy has returned, bringing with them weapons of immeasurable power to finish the job they originally failed to complete. Attacking from the shadows, they threaten to destroy and conquer the galaxy one race at a time and bring the new Galactic Alliance to its knees. To stop this threat, the Alliance, the Society and the nine races must work together to find this enemy and destroy them before they can achieve their goal of galactic conquest.
The story begins with an Angalorian colony that is wiped from existence by mysterious attackers who leave only a tiny clue to their identity, or their intentions; a ragged cloth scroll on which is written the words, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Elsewhere in the galaxy, the fledgling ASW is struggling to bring peace to a universe filled with rivalry, hatred, corruption, bigotry, and much more. In the midst of this political infighting, some of it merely figurative, and some of it quite physical and literal, Phyland and Finch encounter several representatives from the nine, namely a [[Yandian] delegate, an Angalorian named Gray Fang, and Nahn of the Trepedor. In the process of speaking, they find a commonality in their purposes, and quickly strike up a friendship. Later on, at a meeting of the major and most powerful members of the newly formed ASW. They begin their meeting by picking up a conversation about the Crassians and their roll in the dilemma the galaxy is currently in. It's soon learned that, due to the inaction of the other races, the Angalorians have stepped forward and hunted down the Crassians, wiping them from existence. This angers the others, but not enough that they do anything more than complain.
Back on Earth, Grand Admiral Mike Clayton and Chancellor Nordham are busy cleaning up the mess left behind from their encounter with Black Orchid, the destruction and subsequent abandonment of Command One, and the revelation of their existence to the people of Earth, much to their dismay. In order to lessen the impact of this, they discuss a way to ease Earth into the reality of what's out there, and all of the incredible, advanced, mind blowing technology that the Society has to offer. Elsewhere, Lars is informed by his boss that, despite the best efforts of the Angalorians, some of the Crassians have survived. So he sends him and Vlad to Dotus to find more information, and their possible whereabouts in the galaxy. Back on the ASW homeworld of Verblin, Phyland continues his growing friendship with Gray Fang and Nahn and, working with his best friend Finch, tries his best to work with them to find a solution to the growing peace issues in the galaxy.
Out at the planet of Dotus, Lars and the Ontario land at the central library and are greeted by a Yandian Librarian named Patch, who becomes their guide, and their eventual traveling companion as well. However, in the meantime, Patch goes out of his way to help them locate any information they can to help them identify the location of any possible Crassians, on the off chance any of them should remain. Over at Vocrac, word arrives to Sevok that a number of their monitoring outposts, along the border with the Tragarians has gone dark for no explainable reason, and the MO is the same in each case. This raises grave concerns for peace within the galaxy. Back in Sol space, Dr. Rasmussen is introduced to an old Inter Dimensionsal Jump Drive recovered from a crashed Razkor starship found during a recent planetary survey in a nearby sector. Out in Gayik'Von territory, Commander Moses of the Ontario, on assignment from Earthfleet, as part of a diplomatic effort by both the Society and the Gayik'Von to show the galaxy that the Gin are not the threat that they've been made out to be for so long.
However, while they're there, the Gayik'Von come under attack by the same mysterious enemy that have attacked both the Angalorians, and their own outposts before, and destroyed them entirely without leaving behind a single survivor. Realizing the potential danger of the situation, Moses phones home to Earth as the local Gayik'Von commander calls for assistance as well. It's not long before Sevok joins the fray, along with Moses and his squad of four Shipkillers, as well as a surprise, additional squad of Pegasus class shipkillers that were hidden nearby. The battle is pitched, and hangs on a knife's edge, but eventually the Gayik'Von and Earthfleet ships drive back the attackers, forcing their remaining ships to flee. The Earthfleet ships then turn and head for home, but not before gathering up samples of wreckage from the destroyed enemy ships for examination back home in Sol. Later on, back at Mike's quarters, Nordham comes in and speaks with him, expressing his exhaustion and how he's growing to dislike his job. Mike tries to convince him to take a break and hand over his Vice-Chancellor while he takes a vacation.
Nordham considers the idea. He then gets checked out by the Chief Medical Officer who temporarily relieves him of his post while he gets some rest and puts the work over on the Vice-Chancellor, who is revealed to have brought Nordham to this place as part of a plot to unseat him. Elsewhere, Dr. Olm and Rasmussen receive the wreckage from the previous battle and are intrigued at what they hear about the battle. Later on which examining the Razkor Jump Drive, Rasmussen discovers that the ancient salvaged FTL drive uses the same identical technology as the ships that attacked the Gayik'Von. Back on Verblin, word reaches the other delegates about the mysterious attacker who's been going around randomly and maliciously attacking races all over the galaxy in an attempt to exterminate them. This causes lots of finger pointing in the senate, fighting, arguing, and each race blaming each other for recent events. Nilk tries to calm things, but to no avail. Eventually a number of delegates, including Gray Fang, Nahn and and a number of others abandon the senate, along with Phyland and Finch, and seek out a solution on their own.
Meanwhile, back in Sol, Vice-Chancellor Larry Pennfield, who has taken over for Nordham, talks with Mike about the Razkor ID drive that they've recovered and the potential implications this has for the fleet. However, as they're discussing this, a mysterious attacker enters Sol space. While this is occurring, Lars and the Ontario arrive at Crassia and, after a bit of exploring, discover that, despite the best efforts of the Angalorians, the Crassians have 'not' been destroyed as many believed. Even Phillip and his chief officer, Licinius are still alive, although somewhat the worse for wear. Back in Sol sector, Earthfleet fights a very pitched and desperate battle against the mysterious attackers, the same ones they encountered during the attack on the Gayik'Von, and suffer heavy losses before finally driving them into retreat, along with the help of the Gayik'Von who arrive just in time to help them win the battle. Back on Vocrac, Shanomar appears to V'sin and reveals that the Crassians are not as yet dead, and as such, it's time to bring Sol into their plans. A bit more is also revealed about who Sarah truly is.
Hearing of the attack on Earth, Phyland and his new friends begin to formulate a plan to bring the galaxy together to battle their common enemy, who they have now discovered to be the Crassians. Back at Earth, Mike works with the fleet to try and strengthen their defenses after the frightful battle they faced against the mysterious ships, who they've discovered are using ancient Razkor technology. While they're studying this, Shanomar summons Sarah and pleads with her to let him and his people bring Mike and the others into his confidence. At first Sarah resists. But in time she agrees when she realizes that all of this is Zoahn's doing. Not long after, representatives from the nine appear in Sol space and ask to speak with Mike and Pennfield. It's revealed that they've arrived as part of a plan set forth by Shanomar and the Nyuishians to destroy, once and for all, the Crassians, and the new super weapon, known as The Haven, that they've acquired. It's soon learned that this station is a creation of the ancient Razkor before their fall, and that it fell into the hands of the Crassians through trickery and deceit.
Realizing that he has no choice but to go along with the plan, he agrees to help them with their mission to stop Phillip, and destroy the Haven at all costs. Back on Dotus, Lars, Patch and Vlad go to the Yandian Master Database in search of answers, but are attacked by an avatar of it. Patch and Vlad are driven out while Lars is captured, and then downloaded a huge amount of information which, after extracting it from his now overloaded brain, he relays it to Earth, giving Mike and the other nine admirals a fighting chance to destroy the Haven. As Mike and the other admirals prepare for the battle against the Haven, Phyland, Nahn, Finch, Gray Fang and several others work together to unite the races together and bring the galaxy to peace through this time of trouble by unifying them, not just against the Crassians, but also the Farn Trade Guild, and the Juinah mafia, two other organizations within the galaxy who are a problem for everyone.
Back at the Haven, Phillip gets a status report on the war, but doesn't like what he's hearing. It's at this time that it's discovered that Licinius, who had previously been very loyal to Phillip, is beginning to have second thoughts about his loyalty to him. He soon decides to betray Phillip and instead helps Bofianes, one of the last remaining Razkor, to find a way to destroy the Haven and save the galaxy. Back in Sol, Apiasis, one of the other handful of remaining Razkor, works with Mike and the nine admirals to formulate a plan of attack on the Haven, using the fact that he would be seen as a friend to the station's defenses, making their approach and entry into the bubble of space it lives in easier. Now back in Sol space, Lars and Vlad are reassigned to the mission that will be sent to the Haven to destroy it, hoping that, while the ships will do some of the work on the outside, Lars and Vlad can do some of it from within, increasing their chances of succeeding. The battle group then leaps out of Sol space, along with Mike and the others, and arrives at the gateway into the Haven. But they find it powered down, and the gate sealed.
However, with the help of Licinius, they open the gate and allow everyone to slip inside. In doing so, Phillip is notified, as is Zoahn. Seeing them enter upsets Zoahn and, in order to hinder their efforts to stop the Haven, he destroys the gateway, sealing everyone inside the Haven. Phillip also learns of the betrayal of Licinius. While Mike and the other admirals are getting their ships in place for the coming battle, Lars, Vlad and Patch transport into the Haven in an effort to sabotage it from within. However, as they search for Licinius and Bofianes, they're forced to fight their way through the station and the Crassian guards protecting it. As Mike's forces approach the station, they're forced to fight both the fleets protecting it, and the station's own defenses. Elsewhere, realizing the problems facing Mike's fleet, Bofianes disabled power to the station's defenses, giving Mike and his ships the advantage they need. So Mike takes the Sergenious and heads for the station in an effort to dive inside and attack it from within. Dutch and the Appalachia soon follow. While they're doing this, Sevok and the other admirals of the nine races battle with the Haven's defensive fleets in order to buy Mike as much time as he needs.
Inside the station, Lars, Vlad and Patch finally find Licinius and Bofianes, joining with them as they head to the core to destroy the station. Outside, as Mike and Toby's shipkillers are diving towards the core of the station, the battle is not going well and, despite Sevok's superior tactical skills, he and the other admirals of the nine races are losing their battle against the defensive fleet of the haven. Eventually, during the battle, the London suffers mortal damage, and is at risk of being destroyed. So, in one final effort to save the others, it's captain, Commander Moses, kamikazes the ship into an approaching group of haven battleships, destroying himself and the enemy battleships in the process, while at the same time saving Sevok's remaining ships, and buying the united fleet some more time.
Deep inside the Haven, the Sergenious and the Appalachia reach the core, and attack it. But their attack fails as the core's shields block their efforts. They then call for help from Bofianes as they are attacked from four Haven battleships that followed them in. Phillip, having located Licinius and the others, attacks them as they do their best to hold them off and buy Bofianes time to lower the shields and give Mike the opportunity to destroy the core. Upon doing so, they try to make their escape, but the gravity of the singularity, that was at the center of the station, and gave it power, prevents them from getting away. Realizing they can use the gravity of the singularity to their advantage, Pendleton uses it to slingshot both ships away from it and to safety. He then joins with Apiasis and the Jump Drive equipped Onawaso, and the small remaining group of ships escapes the collapsing dimensional bubble of the Haven as it rapidly collapses into the singularity.
With The Battle of the Haven over, and the Nyuishians gone back to their home, everyone tries to go back to life as usual again. However, despite their best efforts, nothing will be quite the same again. Even so, the threat of the Crassians is over, and peace can hopefully return to the galaxy once more. Although much work is still required before that will be possible.
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