Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
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Authors Summary

"The remnants of the Expeditionary Force stranded on the alien-controlled planet 'Paradise' get a chance to prove themselves, in a simple off-world training mission with a ship full of teenage alien cadets. When the mission goes horribly wrong and the survival of everyone on Paradise is at risk, the Merry Band of Pirates may have to come to the rescue. Unless they get killed first..."

Plot Summary

The section(s) below SCHMAYBE includes Spoilers.

The Merry Band of Pirates struggle with a mysterious energy loss in the Flying Dutchman. Skippy the Magnificent determines that this was caused by an energy virus planted by the Elder Guardians in the Roach Motel.

After coming up with a plan that involved the use of wind up springs and hand cranks to generate power in space suits Colonel Joseph Bishop has time to kill waiting for the virus to starve itself to death. Skippy uses this opportunity to tell him what Major Emily Perkins and UNEF on Paradise have been up to.

After saving Ruhar transports on Paradise from attack by the Kristang, Perkins receives a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and her team is named the Mavericks and placed in a training exercise with Ruhar cadets and Verd-kris (Velt Ser-Kotreh Tutula and Surgun Krok-aus-tal Jates) on the decommissioned destroyer Ruh Tostella, which the Mavericks nickname the Toaster. During the training exercise, the training battlegroup is attacked by the Bosphuraq who have recently decided to take back the space lost by the Thuranin. The main command section had been sheared off during the attack. With the entire adult command crew dead, Perkins is given command codes by the last dying adult Ruhar, Urmat (equivalent of a Major) Datha and she is placed in command, as she has more experience than the Ruhar cadets on board.

After destroying the Deal Me In, the Bosphuraq battlecruiser fires missiles at the Toaster and Derek Bonsu manages to jump the ship away.

After fending off a failed mutiny by a 3rd Year Student, Ruhar Bift Colhsoon, with the aid of their new found Verd-kris ally Jates.

The Toaster jumped back to the Deal Me In and they rescue a Jeraptha, Arlon Ernt Dahl. The Deal Me In had mostly been destroyed in the Bosphuraq attack. All that remained was the aft section.

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They decide to limp to Camp Alpha, where, with Arlon Dahl's help, they discover the Kristang are infecting Keepers of the Faith with a disease that will also infect the Ruhar (despite biological warfare being against the Rules of Engagement). During the assault, Velt Tutula sacrifices herself to save Irene Striebich and Bonsu by flying in her Vulture to intercept a missile intended for them. The Mavericks kill the Kristang, but the plan is already in motion: infected Keepers are en route to Paradise in capsules hidden among some meteors.

Skippy learns about this after the Dutchman escapes from the Roach Motel and the ship go to Perkins' aid once again after they solved their own problem: they had picked up an energy virus from the Roach Motel, which started to drain their power after they left.

They capture the infected Keepers and Skippy uses them to create a vaccine. This information is covertly disseminated and the humans and Ruhar on Paradise are safe.

With that done, the Dutchman (finally) sets a course for Earth. Skippy replaces the Dutchman's original Thuranin computer with one of his own design. This allows the Pirates to operate the ship without him, for the most part. After killing the worm, Skippy rearranged his internal matrix and the restriction against sharing technology has been reduced.

It's not all good news, however. Skippy informs Joe that while they have done well at fixing each crisis they have come across to keep Earth safe, it's not a long-term solution. The gamma ray bursts from the Dutchman going through what is supposed to be a dormant wormhole near Earth will be visible within sixty years and there's nothing they can do to stop that.