Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Mavericks Book 1 Deathtrap header.jpg

Author's Summary

"The human soldiers stranded on the planet Paradise have been recruited into an Alien Legion to do the dirty jobs that the high-tech species won't do. Their first mission is to kick the enemy off a backwater planet no one cares about. It's a simple assignment, except everyone has a hidden agenda, and the planet could become a deathtrap."

Plot Summary

The section(s) below SCHMAYBE includes Spoilers.

After the success of their previous missions, the now-famous Mavericks were given the opportunity to participate in critical Ruhar operations to secure captured Kristang star systems, alongside other human and Verd-kris teams as part of the "Alien Legion" that newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Emily Perkins proposed.

While clearing a Kristang asteroid field, the Mavericks found an Elder Power Tap on one of the asteroids. They Mavericks concealed it on the asteroid, with Perkins hoping to trade the Power Tap to the Ruhar for a trip to Earth to defeat the Kristang there.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Jeraptha fleet, Admiral Tashallo, that had slaughtered Thuranin battlegroups, thanks to Skippy the Magnificent's assistance, was driven to think of a bold plan to counter the combined Bosphuraq-Thuranin offensive in the Nubrentia System that was threatening Jeraptha space. Admiral Tashallo devised a cunning attack on a former Jeraptha system that started with ambushing its guard ships with explosive damping fields, fields created after analyzing the Bosphuraq technology seen by the ship that rescued the Mavericks on their last mission.

The Mighty 98th Fleet jumped into orbit around the innermost gas giant in the target system, ordering hundreds of long-forgotten defense units to rise from the atmosphere and destroy the strategic defense platforms protecting the Thuranin and Bosphuraq fleet. With their defenses destroyed, the fleet was picked apart by the Mighty 98th, with Admiral Tashallo causing the Thuranin and Bosphuraq to turn on each other. At the end of the battle, Admiral Tashallo allowed one ship each from the Thuranin and Bosphuraq to return home and report on the battle, hopefully driving a wedge between the two uneasy allies.

Admiral Jet-au-Bes Kekrando, the Kristang fleet commander who was disgraced by his shocking defeat at Paradise, was headed to the same system as the Mavericks for what could be his final action before his execution. He decided to take his Keeper slave with him to the planet of Feznako (Fresno), since he enjoyed talking to her.

The Mavericks and the rest of the Legion were also headed to Fresno, to the Legion) to evacuate the Kristang on the planet so that the Ruhar could take over. The Legion was going to have to manage with much fewer resources than would be optimal, including many untrained humans. The Verd-kris weren't completely trusted by the Ruhar due to past actions, so the smaller human force would be responsible for the most important targets.

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The initial deployment of the Legion was a chaotic mess, but Surgun Krok-aus-tal Jates (a Verd-kris who served with the Mavericks on their last mission) and the Mavericks started the grueling task of clearing Kristang villages. Meanwhile, Fresno was turning into a focal point for the Kristang since it was a chance to destroy the concept of the Legion before it could become a threat to the Kristang warrior class. The Ruhar were far from united in supporting the Legion since the failure of the concept would be convenient for several factions. There were even signs that some Ruhar had collaborated with the Kristang to doom the Legion.

The Kristang tried to bait the humans in the Legion into doing something rash by mistreating and killing their Keeper slaves. The Kristang also violated the evacuation treaty by secretly setting up weapons caches and bases, and the Mavericks and Verd-kris tried to find and neutralize them before they could be used in an uprising. However, a Verd-kris recon of a possible site tipped off the Kristang and led to the fighting starting early.

Freshly-demoted Commodore Kekrando's task force arrived in the orbit of Fresno to support the Kristang ground forces on the Fresno. Two of his ships were old destroyers loaned by a rival clan, which targeted his clan's troops on the ground as well as Legion forces. Both destroyers were wiped out by Ruhar stealth mines after staying too long in low orbit, forcing Kekrando's task force to withdraw from the Fresno.

The Mavericks survived separate, near-simultaneous attacks across Fresno. The humans and Verd-kris retaliated and the fighting ground to a stalemate, then the Kristang offered a ceasefire deal that would require the humans to be abandoned while the rest of the Legion evacuated. The ceasefire deal would result in the humans being mistreated and the Mavericks being executed.

However, the Mavericks found out that a major Ruhar contractor had arranged to sabotage the Legion's mission. They never intended to fulfill their colony supply contract, instead supplying crates of scrap metal and informing the Kristang of their supply dump locations, hoping to take the contract money and stave off bankruptcy.

Before the employees responsible could be punished, the Kristang launched a mass assault on Legion headquarters. With Legion forces being ground down, the Mavericks ordered a Verd-kris commando team to hit clan leadership, but it still looked bleak for Jates and Dave Czajka. However, Jesse Colter negotiated with the 98th Fleet for a Jeraptha capital ship to take them back to Fresno. The I Am Aching To Give Someone A Beat-Down And Today Is YOUR Lucky Day deployed a rapid assault team that wiped out the Kristang force that were hitting Jates and Czajka, and the Legion was able to force a second ceasefire with the Kristang.

The Legion arranged a withdrawal from Fresno, this time taking the humans with them and leaving Fresno to become part of the Kristang civil war. Kekrando met with Perkins and they exchanged gifts of respect, and Kekrando arranged for his Keeper slave to return with Perkins and the Legion to Paradise. Then, Perkins made plans with the Jeraptha and the Kristang Achakai mercenaries to accomplish her next objectives.