In December 2128, the war with the Libra Alliance ended when the Dixie fleet diverted an asteroid into the Libra home world, killing nearly all life there. The collapse of the Libra Alliance created a major power vacuum. Old enemies that had been kept in check by the Alliance soon were once again at war with each other. Navy ships without homes became pirates. The restored League of Planets, now with a strong fleet and army, prepared to incorporate planets that had been part of the Libra Alliance into the league, by force if necessary. The Dixians, sick of war, were content to pick up life where it left off when the war began, though some members of the government desired more. The Gray Panthers of Earth began to mothball their fleet, safe behind their allies and strong defenses.
Old and young started to look for opportunities. One had it harder than most. As a baby, the Jacka runt Short Blade had survived a religious ritual his race used to cleanse their society of undesirables, only to be sold to a Libra ship crew before he became a teen. Short Blade had learned much during his indentureship with the Libras, and when freed by the humans he enlisted in the Gray Panthers, quickly rising to the rank of chief petty officer and then ensign. With the end of the war, he couldn't go home to a life of discrimination among his own race. On Earth he would be a freak, without any others of his kind. Dan Daniels, owner of the Gray Panthers, offered him an opportunity in this brave new world: his own long-range shuttle, in exchange for the occasional favor. What could possibly go wrong?
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Fun read with interesting characters
I really enjoyed the characters, especially Short Blade himself. It's an interesting universe, and while the ending felt a bit abrupt, I really enjoyed it overall.
Yes, I would recommend it to fellow sci-fi lovers.
Saavedra had a great range of character voices and a delivery that helped get me in - and keep me in - the story.
- Thugsnarf 3000