Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Lost Patrol

The Lost Patrol by Vaughn Heppner

The fifth installment of author Vaughn Heppner’s Lost Starship series opens with the oldest Methuselah Man, Strand, on the run from humans, leading a group of New Men. Two months later, Captain Maddox wants to visit the Beyond, against the wishes of the starship Victory’s AI Galyan to deter the threat of the New Men. Androids continue to play part in some of the book’s early plot twists akin to the previous installment, with an entity known as the Visionary having a role, as well. There is also a minor love triangle among Maddox, Meta, and the Spacer Shu, although this quickly falls out of favor.

Maddox ultimately receives his independent command, and has a spat with giant men in the streets of Paris while on a date with Meta, with Lieutenant Keith Maker having lust in the romance game, which receives occasional repeated reference. Many androids that attempted a takeover of Earth are still at large, although who was behind the takeover is still somewhat an enigma, with the androids further being found aboard the Victory. Shu also antagonizes the professor since he dislikes Spacers, with the feeling being mutual, and Keith making a few passes at Shu.

Maddox and his companions eventually visit the pyramidal Nexus that holds key to quick travel across space, although several events occur that necessitate finding a replacement. Backstory on the “lost” humans that become the spacers the professor eventually tells, with Shu herself making a pass at the ethereal AI Galyan in an effort to reprogram him. Another alien race that the Victory encounters, the Chitins, has a role as well, and is in conflict with the Swarm Imperium, the Swarm themselves holding ten percent of the galaxy, their damage seen in a red giant star system.

A marine going by the name Yen Cho plays part in the latter chapters of the book, which ends with Commander Thrax Ti Ix anticipating the Time of the Great Migration and the Great Extinction, accounting for another satisfying entry in the series with plentiful action, background, and occasional romance. There are some times when the quantity of the chapters, numbering in the seventies, places itself over the quality of the subsections themselves, and the author as with before could have come up with better names other than “the New Men,” but those who enjoyed prior entries will enjoy this one.

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