I thought I would mention a couple others you will see in the novel.  But, to be clear, I didn’t ‘explore’ the galaxy in this novel, simply because the story didn’t allow me to.  Though, Richard did travel a lot more than this remark would imply.

The first place we will visit is Camelot.  You know, that Camelot:

This morning, we went into orbit of Camelot, the fourth planet in orbit of a star named Excalibur. Although Joe thinks it does, whatever significance the name of this star has on this planet eludes me. Oh well, I cannot know all of it.


This is a planet where two groups of non-Terrans live.  The parties are in conflict when Richard arrives, though this doesn’t seem to be the biggest concern regarding the melee for Richard, as he discusses the matter with another character:

“Well, this tells me a lot!” She stands up and turns to face Richard. “Well, Prince, it looks like we have a civil dispute to suppress before I can get started. And we have thirty-six hours to do it.”
They move onto the chair. Richard questions her statement. “There is a civil dispute, is there not?”
“Well, that’s putting it lightly.” She leans toward him, lowering her voice. “The way the Pact likes to make anything sound. They rarely emphasize a matter, so anyone overhearing would think lightly of it.” When they reach the top, they step off. They start toward another compound, to the left of the one they were in. “Actually, it’s a full-scale war. The dispute is between two factions, the Thelka and the Invenorigg.” Upon reaching the door, the admiral whips out a card, inserting it into the slot on her left. The door opens. “The Pact, in all its wisdom, chose the side doing the worst and decided to build an alliance with them.” They enter a hallway, one that leads to a set of stairs descending into the ground.
“I do not understand. Are they not supposed to be allies with the Pact?” Richard inquires.
“I can’t say I was in the loop on the decision. All I know is they wanted us to set up base as fast as we could. They only sent us out here about a month ago, and we didn’t have information on who we were aligned with. So I was told to approach the leaders of the Thelka and offered them support. They were all too happy to accept.” They enter the facilities connected to the stairs. The room is filled with more computers, noisily going about their business. The personnel seeing to the computer’s needs, look up occasionally at the pair rapidly moving through the maze of technology.
“But what would that accomplish? To be clear, they are losing!” Richard yells, trying to speak over the insistent computers.

While this may present a problem, this isn’t the only one to be had with their ‘allies.’  While my goal here is mainly to introduce the Thelka, Richard is given this impression of those they defend, by a Terran officer named John:

“I do have one question: how dangerous would you consider this trek? I guess should have already asked this.”
“No danger whatsoever!” assures John, gesturing grandly with his arms and hands. “The natives in the jungle are extremely friendly! And there are no predators in there, either.” John pauses. “Why?”
“Because I wanted to take my wife along. She is wanting to see more of the planet, and I thought this would be her chance.”
“No problem! Bring her along as well! This’ll give us more people to talk to along the way!” John bellows.

Richard & John

I want to insist on reiterating a point I made earlier with Richard. Don’t assume anything about anything, especially when it is shared without evidence in the novel. It seemed I wasn’t opposed to presenting how knowledgeable or ignorant a party can be, without giving context as to what you should assume about what this party should know.

While I could go on, I’ll allow you to decide where the story goes from here regarding the Thelka.  The second party I want to bring up actually introduces themselves before you meet the Thelka:

She turns back to the computer, the screen she sat in front of suddenly changes, displaying the seal of the Pact. “Finally!” She exhales in impatience.
The seal fades out to a humanoid, wearing a uniform of a planetary ambassador member of the Pact. His voice is deep, hinting of arrogance. As Richard listens to the exchange, observing his colorful facial tattoos and three anodized metal rings on his head, each a different metallic color and embellished with metal leaves, thinks he might be of the Taxalian Republic. “Good evening, Admiral Kershaw. As the director of operations over your present assignment, I must formally introduce myself. I am Ambassador Telvin Klek of the People’s Republic of Taxal. It is my responsibility to inform you of your mission. The person who delivered this message, a representative of the Alexandrian Empire, already has information pertaining to this mission; however, his presence is only as an observer, not to interfere or provide further details to you concerning the nature of this top secret mission. He will be assisting you in suppressing the civil dispute on the planet in order for there to be no distractions from the task at hand.”

Our ambassador is also not from earth, a non-Terran from another planet aligned with the Pact.  I presented this person to reflect that while there are many other planets, both aligned with Earth, and some aligned with the Tyberian Empire, they do each have their qualities.  Qualities that will present themselves as the story develops in the book and even further in the series.

Next week, I’ll bore you with more stuff about me, but after that, we’ll talk about some of the technology employed in the book, along with how travel between planets (in a timely manner) is possible.

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