“Back on Earth my dad was an engineer on a Navy Ship and wanted me to join the RAN. I said I don’t want my bed moving under me unless it’s me and my partner makin’ it move. So I joined the Air Force so I can fly during the day and sleep on land every night. So where do I end up? The engineer on a busted shuttle floatin’ on the ocean of an alien planet! But no worries, mate! This is a tough bird and we probably won’t drown out here. We’re more like to starve to death first!”
– Master Sergeant Mindy Taylor, shuttle engineer, shot down 2 days before invasion day, Ranger Regiment, New Hope Colony, Tau Ceti 4, Australia
“It’s warming up and raining more than it was when we crashed here two weeks ago. The Commander’s worried about the valley flooding when the snow melts. I wouldn’t mind a day off from training though. My legs are sore, my back is aching and my shoulder is black and blue from all the target practice!”
– Naomi Winston, age 17, 4th year student, New Hope Academy, New Hope Colony, Tau Ceti 4, UK
The summer will only last two months before the short fall season brings cold and snow and the danger of demon wolves descending into their valley. Commander Rick Cassidy worries about what the rain and snow melt will mean for the survivors of the downed transport Cairo who are trapped in a high mountain valley with little hope of rescue.
For Gunnery Sergeant Molly Pickford and the other survivors of the Cairo the warming early summer weather coincides with the end of the Pickford designed ‘hell-week’ for the students and staff members, now called trainees, from the New Hope Academy. They can only hope that the aliens won’t come before they have trained the young survivors to fight and defend themselves.
Major Naomi MacCaffrey and the other female officers living in Rick Cassidy’s old residence consider what the future might bring.
The alien Rift and their Andoval mercenaries regroup after the battle for McKinley Pass and plan for their attack on Winter Haven.
The crew of shuttle XL-17 and the squad of Brazilian Rangers with them have been lost at sea for two weeks with no sign of rescue coming.