At 23, Jazen Parker has completed his Legion hitch a hero. But in four months, he'll have a price on his head. Worse, he's lost his past, and he can't find his future. Worst of all, he's chosen to search for them on the deadliest planet known to mankind.
When Jazen reluctantly hires on to a Trueborn Earthman tycoon's safari to bag a deadly trophy, the reluctant mercenary finds himself shipped out to Downgraded Earthlinke 476, the outpost at the end of the universe known to everyone except its tourism bureau as "Dead End". But the hunt goes terribly wrong, and Jazen must survive a tough, beautiful local guide who hates mercenaries, an 11-ton beast that can crush main battle tanks with one claw tied behind its back, and the return of a nightmare that has haunted Jazen since birth. Then Jazen learns that the stakes are not merely his own life, but the fate of an entire alien race.
"Buettner goes well beyond... military science fiction.... He understands... living as a soldier—the boredom punctuated by terror, the constant anxiety and self-doubt, the random chaos that battle always is, and the emotional glue that holds together people who may have nothing in common except absolute responsibility for one another's lives.” (Joe Haldeman, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author)
"Entertaining. Buettner shows the Heinlein touch." (Denver Post)
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Excellent first contact story