Defeated at the Battle for Terra Two, the cyborg AIs regroup to destroy mankind. Commodore Detrelna and the battle cruiser Implacable are sent into Quadrant Blue 9 for the only weapon that can stop them. Implacable's crew aren't optimistic--it's been 3,000 years since a ship came home from Blue 9. Then they meet what's been waiting for them. (2011 revision of 1987 Tor Books edition. 64,800 words.)
The Battle for Terra Two could have marked mankind's end. It still could. The Kronarins and their Terran allies almost went down under the onslaught of the biofabs' new allies: AIs--Artificial Intelligences--fearsome cyborgs from humanity's dawn come at last to kill us all. Barely defeating AIs and biofabs, the Kronarin battle cruiser Implacable returned to Terra and its home universe, warning of an AI invasion so vast not even the dead Kronarin Empire at its height could have stopped it.
Mankind's only hope lies in a mythic weapon somewhere out in Blue 9--Quadrant Blue 9--an abandoned cube of space from which no ship's returned since the Empire's long ago Fall. Ordered into Blue 9 after the weapon, Implacable's crew must first master a horror out of their nightmares, an ancient evil that feeds off the undead it makes of the living.
His command stalked by corsairs and himself by assassins, Implacable's Commodore Jaquel Detrelna finds the jump into Blue 9 almost a relief--until Battle Stations sounds and he sees what's been patiently waiting for them, a spider long tending her toils.
From The AI War:
"But now my friends," he said, looking from face to face as comprehension came, "the old portal's opening. The Fleet of the One is coming. They've forgotten nothing, forgiven nothing, learned nothing. They're coming to kill us, slaves and rebels all."
I must be crazy, he thought: a corsair-listed officer, commanding a crippled cruiser, in league with a flotilla manned by disembodied brains, transmutes and AIs, out to beat the vanguard of man's invincible foe.
"Gunnery, lock onto center ship, ignore the rest. Lakan, transmit the Fleet Rally on all channels."
"Sir, there's no one to hear it."
"The AIs don't know that," Detrelna said, watching the tacscan. "Confusion to our enemies. What's our intercept point, Tolei?"
"Epsilon Red 47, that asteroid belt."
"Forward best speed. Gunnery, engage at will."
About Stephen Ames Berry
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Published December 3, 2012
by Biofab Publishing.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, War, Literature & Fiction.