|Title:||The Oort Perimeter|
|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||The Earthfleet Saga|
|Publication Date:||June 2010|
|Preceded By:||Destiny's Mission|
|Followed By:||Empire Rising|
Back Cover Blurb
Silent for many years, Black Orchid, a dark and powerful force bent on world domination, has risen again. For decades the Society Intelligence Corps has successfully kept Black Orchid's power in check. But that is all about to change. With recently stolen fleet technology in their grasp, Black Orchid now strives to use it to once and for all destroy the Society, and her fleet, and claim Earth for their own.
The story unfolds in two basic parts. The first tells the story of Major Robert "Dutch" Collins, a former US Air Force ace fighter pilot, who is recruited from Earth and becomes an inductee into Earthfleet, while also covering the story of Dr. Rasmussen, an expert in the field of quantum and theoretical physics, and who was also simultaneously inducted into the Society. Dutch is brought in to fill fleet vacancies for skilled pilots, while Rasmussen is brought in to help the Society Science Corps solve a problem with the Coaxial FTL drive systems used by Earthfleet starships. After their initial training and in processing, Dutch is assigned to Pendleton for the hands on part of his training while Rasmussen is assigned to Bentley. While there are some bumps, personality conflicts, and some other things that cause issues along the way, their introductory time goes well enough.
Elsewhere, seeking to continue his plans to destroy Mike, Zoahn learns of a weakness in Earthfleet technology, which he then hands off, along with a sizeable degree of Earthfleet's own technology, to the Society's arch enemy, Black Orchid, in hopes that they will use it against the Society. Since Zoahn can't destroy Mike directly, he hopes that Black Orchid can find a way, with this knowledge and technology that he gifts them, which would tie Sarah's hands and force her to chose between saving Mike, or saving her career. Realizing that Black Orchid is up to something, Lars and Vlad head to Earth to uncover the fact that technology was stolen from Earthfleet and given to their arch enemy. They track Black Orchid to a secret island where Veck, leader of Black Orchid, uses it to attack Earthfleet, succeeding to some limited degree at first. Eventually, Earthfleet takes cover, forcing Black Orchid to launch the Predicator to fight Earthfleet face to face. This fight goes well for Black Orchid as the fleet struggles to fend off a ship which is able to exploit the weaknesses in their technology that Dr. Olm, Rasmussen and others know about, and are working to fix. Eventually Earthfleet discovers a way to attack the Predicator and wound it, after which the Kavenu attacks it, and does more damage, but eventually suffers critical damage and withdraws.
With all their cards played, Earthfleet is forced to watch and wait helplessly as they have nothing left to fend off the Predicator. However, right at this moment Captain Blakley and his crew jump into the area aboard the antiquated Earthfleet dreadnought Spartacus and engage the Predicator in a nail biting duel, with the Sparticus low on resources, and the Predicator already heavily damaged. Eventually Spartucus wins, just as its resources reach their limit. At this same time Black Orchid's super weapon explodes, due to being sabotaged by Lars and Vlad, completely exterminating the last of the evil organization and its backers. Back on Command Two, while trying to put all the pieces back together again, it's soon discovered that, in the process of their battle with Black Orchid, Earth has inadvertently discovered their existence; a revelation that is very troubling for the fleet, and the Society. Especially after centuries of very careful efforts to keep their existence hidden from everyone on Earth. In the story's epilogue, Mike and Nordham, go down to Earth to make first contact, while Olm reveals that they've come up with a patch that makes their ships less vulnerable to anti-coaxial weapons, like those used by Black Orchid, but it's not a fix. Only a patch. So the fleet and the Society decide to start work on a replacement technology. Later on, Phyland informs Nordham that the ASW, a replacement for the UGW, is a go, and should hopefully take up the slack left by the UGW's passing, while Lars discusses the end of Black Orchid with his boss within the SIC.
Awards and Reviews
There are none to report at this time.