The Oort Perimeter
|Title:||The Oort Perimeter|
|Cover Artist:||Don Semora|
|Series:||The Earthfleet Saga|
|Publication Date:||August 2009|
|Followed By:||Destiny's Mission|
The Oort Perimeter is the first in the four part series The Earthfleet Saga and introduces the universe of Earthfleet, and all of the political turmoil that both exists around Sol Space, and across the universe at large.
Back Cover Blurb
Born of a need to protect their homeworld, Earthfleet, the military arm of the Society, struggles continuously to insure the safety of Earth and all who live on it. But a dark force moves within the galaxy, one who wishes to use Earth as a pawn in its quest for power. In a struggle for survival, the Society, Earthfleet and their allies must race against time to uncover the identity of this dark force, before it can destroy Earth, and the nine races. Failure means extinction of the human race.
The story begins in a Yib monastery on the Yib homeworld around prayer time. In one of the primary towers of the monastery, the Order of 9 gathers to pray, chant, and then eventually hear a prophecy given by a Varnok prophet within their ranks. He tells the others that the Chappagi are becoming a major threat to the galaxy, and especially The Nine Ancient Races, and should be exterminated. However, a Gayik'Von monk within their midst confronts the Varnok prophet and refutes his prophecy. This then leads to a disagreement and a quarrel between the monks, eventually resulting in a nearly equal division of the Order of 9, with four of the members standing with the Gayik'Von monk, and three of them with the Varnok prophet. This creates a type of foreshadowing for events to come.
The story then shifts to Sol Space and begins to look at the daily lives and struggles of the Society's most important people, including Chancellor Nordham, Grand Admiral Mike Clayton, the crew of the Sergenious, as well as several other organizations. This strange series of events, played out from two viewpoints (civilian and military) gives a good introduction to what it's like being the little guy in a galaxy of giants, and all of the careful political maneuverings required just to survive. This also provides the reader an introduction to the Serians and Adjutant President V'sin of the Gayik'Von. The storyline develops quickly and provides a good introduction to life within the Society, as well as Earthfleet. The capabilities of the fleet, and most especially the Sergenious and her crew, as well as Sarah, the ship's AI, are demonstrated as well in this introductory plot arc, the details of which will play an important roll later on. The crew of the Sergenious even pay a visit to the famous, and sometimes infamous Pluto Station, and provide the reader an introduction to this unique home away from home for many races.
There's even a brief introduction to the shadier, darker, covert side of Earthfleet and the Society through the introduction of the highly skilled spy and intelligence operative Lars Nordic. Not long after the events of the introduction wrap up, Lars is called in by his boss and sent out, along with three other spies, on a reconnaissance mission to investigate some strange goings on in the galaxy near their home system. Elsewhere, the Varnok prophet, who was seen in the introduction, meets with Licinius Magnus to give a report and receive new instructions, revealing the true reasons for why he gave his prophecy to the others in the Order of 9. Meanwhile, out on Sebius, Earth's own Ambassador Phyland is seen being busy about his daily political duties as ambassador for Earth amidst the dirty politics and rampant corruption that is common to the UGW homeworld. While going about his work, he runs across his friend, and fellow ambassador, a G'Fondo'Nah (or just "Fondo" for short) named Finch as he is returning from a diplomatic meeting of his own. The two talk for a time, showing the depths of their friendship, despite their distinctly different species, before going on about their ways.
Back on the Gayik'Von homeworld, V'sin is greeted by the president of the Gayik'Von republic and given the assignment to head out to Sebius on both a diplomatic mission, as well as an information gathering one, with the intention of unraveling a growing mystery that appears to threaten Sol Sector and everyone in it. Back in Sol Space, in one of the arboretums, the devious and malevolent character known as Zoahn, lures Sarah to his side only to brag about his plans for Mike, while also revealing that both he and Sarah are not actually computer programs, but rather beings made of living energy known as the Benoi. This is also the first hint that Sarah might have more than just a platonic, professional interest in Mike. The intrigue then continues to grow as Lars and his partner work in one area, V'sin, Phyland and Finch in another, and Mike and Nordham back home in Sol to try and unravel the mystery and the truth behind all of the strange, unexplained animosity towards Earth, and the seemingly growing, mysterious threat to its existence that grows more and more perilous every day.
Elsewhere, while three groups are trying to unravel the mysteries of the hatred towards Earth, others are going about what they do best, and what makes the Society great. Namely, helping others through science and technology, and not warmongering like so many in the galaxy think and believe they do, or intend to do. As things continue on Sebius, and V'sin continues to dig deeper, old, bitter rivalries, hatreds and prejudices being revealed with the Gin being often referred to as the Chappagi, or the Nordmer, both galactic slag names for Sol, Earth and Humans in general. Over in Lars's section of the galaxy, while scouting a remote and somewhat dystopian commerce station, he and his partner Vlad are attacked by mercenaries, but later saved by a Nyuishian Red Paladin operative and his Sevedith partner, after which they race back to the Appalachia, their command ship on this mission, and then escape into the stars.
Meanwhile, as this is happening, the Varnok prophet is sent by his master to the Varnok fleet admiral Mobeic with orders to attack Earth and exterminate all of its inhabitants. When Mobeic questions if he can do this safely, the prophet tells him that his master has already put things in place to tie the hands of the Gayik'Von so that they are unable to protect Earth as they are sworn to do. So the admiral agrees to go, and in fact is somewhat pleased with the idea, as he's been looking forward to this. At the same time, Phillip Augustus, the mysterious master of the Varnok prophet, a man who is the leader of a race known as the Crassians, sends a team of Transform assassins against Phyland in hopes of killing him as well. However, their efforts fail as V'sin's own body guards, along with, surprisingly enough, Phyland himself, dispatch the assassins with ease. Back on the Appalachia, Lars, along with Captain Toby, Vlad, and Trent begin to analyze a dagger captured by Lars during the previous fight back at the merchant space station, slowly narrowing down the list of possible sources to only a few, and then ultimately down to only one choice: That their chief enemy is a group of fellow humans.
While trying to unravel this mystery, they stumble onto a Yandian library ship and take advantage of the shard that is aboard it to help their efforts to locate the answers they're looking for. Back in Sol space, Grand Admiral Clayton, Chancellor Nordham, and several others, continue their efforts to help others by assisting the G'Fondo'Nah in advancing some of their technology related to universal translator technology. In another part of Sol space, Sarah encounters the ever infamous Zoahn once again, who teases her and questions her commitment to live among the humans, despite who she is. Back on Sebius, Phyland receives a rumor that the Varnok Black Fleet is in motion, with the intention of attacking and destroying Earth. However, at first he doesn't believe Julius, thinking this to be just a random and baseless rumor. However, upon hearing that this was learned from two Sevedith guards, Finch encourages Phyland to accept the rumor as true, which he then does after learning that Sevedith don't lie, as it's part of their blood oath.
Phyland then takes this news to V'sin who confronts the Varnok ambassador about this. The Varnok ambassador, though, downplays this as merely a training exercise. But V'sin suspects that it's something more and is suspicious of the ambassador's claims. Meanwhile, back in Sol space, as the Varnok fleet stealthily approaches, a weakness in the shield array that makes up the Oort Perimeter is revealed, and efforts are made to begin finding a solution to this issue. It's soon revealed that the Juinah have also spotted this weakness, which they in turn have relayed back to the Crassians, who then relay it to Mobeic. Not long after, the Varnok Black Fleet is spotted by the scout ship LongBow as it stops briefly in a system just five light years from Earth to regroup prior to descending on Sol and beginning their attack. This information is then relayed to Earth as a warning, which Earthfleet Command at first takes as a false alarm. However, Grand Admiral Clayton isn't convinced this is just a false alarm, and in turn puts the entirety of Sol's defenses on alert.
Not long after the Varnok Black Fleet shows up and begins attacking. Grand Admiral Clayton immediately climbs into his flagship, the Sergenious, and flies out to where the battle is unfolding, leaving Vice Grand Admiral Alfred Bofenheiser to monitor and command Sol's inner defenses, as well as the Oort and Kuiper Perimeter shields while Mike commands from close to the battle. While this is unfolding, the Varnok secretly try to capture and exterminate Phyland and his staff in an effort to ensure that no humans remain alive anywhere in the galaxy. However, V'sin is wise to this plan and stops it before it can be completed. They then take their case to the council and argue for their right to protect Earth there. Back on Earth, the battle continues to remain a stalemate with Mobeic's forces unable to breach the Oort Perimeter. However, as they're attempting to, the fleet is forced to shut down the shield due to an approaching resonance wave that, if exploited, could be used to create a massive breach in the Oort Perimeter shields. So, rather than let the shields be completely breached, the fleet shuts down a small portion of the shield to allow it to drain off, thus saving the shield.
However, this creates a small breach in the shield that the Varnok quickly take advantage of. Pushing through the breach they assault the Earthfleet battle groups waiting on the other side. However, despite their best efforts, and their superior numbers, the Varnok assault grinds to a stalemate as the forces of Earthfleet plug the hole and prevent them from getting through. However, this is not without great cost to Earthfleet as the battle is creating great levels of attrition on both sides. Back on Sebius, V'sin argues before The Council for their right to engage the Varnok Black Fleet and defend Earth. After much arguing, the Varnok ambassador realizes that, indeed they are in the wrong by attacking Earth, and in turn give the Gayik'Von the right to defend Earth. V'sin then immediately orders that word be sent to two of their own armadas, that are waiting nearby, prepared and ready to rescue Earth.
Back on Sol sector the battle is still a grinding fight of attrition as both sides continue to suffer heavy losses as one struggles to defend Earth, and the other seeks to destroy it. Eventually Earthfleet's losses begin to become great enough that they're unable to hold the line and the Varnok begin to break through. Seeing this, Grand Admiral Clayton takes his personal defensive fleet forward and joins in the battle, along with his flagship, the Sergenious, in an effort to keep their hopes alive long enough to seal the breach or be rescued by their allies, the Gayik'Von. Zoahn even joins in at several points and tries to exterminate the Sergenious. But Sarah intervenes and protects the ship, more to protect Mike, whom she has a romantic interest in, rather than the ship or crew itself. Even so, despite the added help that Mike's fleet provided, the forces of Earthfleet are near collapse, and because of this, Mike is strongly considering pulling back to the Kuiper Perimeter to improve their chances of defending Earth from almost certain destruction.
But, before he can make that decision, Admiral Sevok shows up with two Gayik'Von battle armadas and defeats the Varnok fleet, while also destroying Mobeic's command cruiser, and killing him in the process. This loss is immediately reported to Phillip, who takes it surprisingly well, even though it has ultimately changed his long term plans. The book ends with the epilogue that shows the struggle that Earthfleet and the Society are having to face as they pick up the pieces after the end of the battle, and resolves several previous story lines that were in play earlier in the book, including Earthfleet's help of the G'Fondo'Nah in replacing their PUTD's with EUTD's to make life easier for them. The story ends with Mike and Sarah in one of the arboretums of Command One, and the growing love she has for him, despite not being human.
Reviews and Awards
The reviews and awards collected below are both reader and professional reviews, as well as any reviews the book has received that I am aware of at this moment.
Award: This novel has won a Blue Nebula award for indie scifi writing excellence.
October 20, 2009 (Ricky Sides - Amazon)
I must say that the author has produced a very good book. Overall I give him four stars. I have good things and bad things to say about this book. I'll begin with the bad. The author uses the word smirked too much. In some cases he uses it with the good guys thus making them appear a bit arrogant and condescending. He also has the alien races smirking. In one case the author has a guard instructing the Admiral in how to utilize a palm opened door lock. I understand that this was a means of explaining the technology to the reader, however I would not have went about it in the manner that the author utilized. It made the Admiral appear foolish. The author attributed human facial expressions to a reptilian species. A reptile cannot pence his lips. After reading that list of bad things you are probably wondering why I would give the author 4 stars. The answer is that the author has created a superb universe. The main storyline is creative. The society has great potential
The issues referenced in the negative did not prevent me from enjoying the read. The space battle scenes depicted are superbly well written. The espionage aspects are equally compelling. The interplay between the alien races with their underlying hostilities was great. What the author does well, he does very well. This author has the potential to become a superb scifi writer. If I could speak to him directly I would advise him to revise the book. Add a prologue which details the society and their advance into space. Flesh that out. I recommend this read to the scifi fans. It's a shame it hasn't been added to Kindle and other electronic formats such as Smashwords. (author's note: Yes, this is now available on Kindle, Smashwords and B&N)
September 14, 2009 - (Demnays - Amazon)
It's about time! This has to be one of the best scifi books that I have ever read. I might even go as far as to compare it to Startrek and Starwars, but faster paced. You know a book is good when you stay up late reading "just one more chapter". I can't wait untill the next book is released!
August 11, 2013 - (Carol - Smashwords)
It took me about half the novel to get a grip on all of the characters and what was happening. Then it became engrossing. Lots of action, back-stabbing intergalactic politics, interesting ideas and twists. Although it was the first of a series, the ending was satisfying while still leaving the threads for books to come.