It has been seven years since the alien invasion of his home planet of Martine, and Jinto Lin is now on Delktoe, where he has just completed his education at an Abh school and is awaiting his next assignment, military training in the empire's capital.
A deal struck by his president father left the elder Lin in charge of Martine and Jinto an Abh prince. The burden of royalty is an uneasy one for Jinto, who is unaccustomed to the stares his Abh uniform attracts.
His friends also find it difficult dealing with nobility. Just one, Dorin Ku, shows up to see him off at the spaceport. Before walking away, Ku leaves Jinto with a gift, a baseball signed by all of his absent friends.
The ball comes in handy a short while later when a young thief steals a traveler's luggage, but it's not because of Jinto's less-than-impeccable aim. Rather, it's Lafiel, his beautiful Abh escort, who stops the crime. But she's greeted with hatred despite her good deed.
Is this the type of life awaiting Jinto? If soRead More
Jinto Lin has finally met his first Abh, and perhaps the only thing more noticeable than Lafiel's beauty is her piloting skills. Jinto, on the other hand, is in for a rocky military career if this first flight is any indication.
Even less uncomfortable than the trip to the vessel that will transport him to the Abh capital is the reception that awaits him once on board. Jinto is obviously unaccustomed to the fanfare that greets him, and is thrown for a loop when he learns Lafiel's true identity.
He's not quite sure how to handle himself around a princess, which temporarily complicates the budding friendship. Friendship, however, may not be the only thing on Jinto's mind, as they quickly settle their differences and end up in his room discussing where Abh babies come from!
Any possibility for a future romance will be put on hold indefinitely, though, by the long war that's about to begin.Read More
Despite the Humankind Empire Abh's dominance over the universe, not everyone is under its control. Four groups still remain free, and they've put aside the past differences between them by signing a treaty, the primary goal of which is to combat their common sworn enemy.
Unfortunately for Jinto Lin, one of the four independent nations, the United Mankind, has chosen this particular time to take aggressive action. His military career cannot start before his training does, however, and he is ordered off the ship as a noncombatant.
It is up to Lafiel to transport him to safety and warn the empire of the impending attack. The two manage to escape from the Abh ship before the United Mankind forces arrive, but what will become of the crew they've left behind to face seemingly insurmountable odds?Read More
While on their way to the Abh capital to bring Jinto Lin to his military training, the captain and crew of the patrol ship Gosroth detect the presence of warships that they suspect belong to the United Mankind, an enemy opposed to Abh control of the universe.
Jinto and Lafiel, as noncombatants, are ordered off the Gosroth by Captain Lexshue, but not before the Abh princess is severely reprimanded for questioning those instructions. Lafiel would rather stay and fight, but Lexshue -- realizing the future importance of her stubborn protegee -- will hear nothing of it.
The mood aboard Jinto and Lafiel's escape vessel is a somber one, as she laments her uselessness to the mission. Jinto does his best to cheer her up, but his efforts are futile. Still, Lafiel is better off exactly where she is, as the Gosroth, after attempting to escape, is finally caught by the United Mankind forces.
Will they manage to escape? Lafiel certainly hopes so, because she has a unique relationship with the ship'sRead More
With the Gosroth destroyed, the United Mankind is free to continue its path toward the planet of Sufugnoff. The Abhs did, however, fight ferociously until the end, letting Jinto and Lafiel gain a large lead over the enemy fleet in the race toward Abh territory.
Little do they know, but that lead will shrink significantly thanks to what was originally intended to be a very short layover for refueling in the Baron Febdash territory. Lafiel is quite uncomfortable with the excessive attention she receives from the baron's scantily clad vassals -- as well as with the lack of respect given to Jinto -- and seeks to leave immediately.
Right on cue, Baron Febdash appears on a video screen, apologizing to Lafiel that his space station lacks the fuel her ship requires. Furthermore, he informs her that the vessel is in need of repair.
Doubting the truthfulness of both statements, Lafiel is left wondering why Febdash seems to be trying to prevent Jinto and her from leaving. The intrigue only deepenRead More
Less-than-stimulating dinner conversation with Baron Febdash -- particularly the part where he expresses his hatred for land people -- results in Lafiel losing her appetite, and she leaves her rude host to eat in solitude.
For Lafiel, it's too much of a coincidence that Jinto -- a land person -- was absent from dinner, and she tries to contact him after retreating to her room. His communicator is suspiciously unavailable, however, and subsequent efforts to reach him using Febdash's onboard computers are also futile. However, she does learn a valuable piece of information: The baron's vassals are the key to finding her companion.
Baron Febdash wasn't being untruthful when he told Lafiel over dinner that his father was entertaining Jinto, but he failed to mention that he kept his father confined, and that Jinto was his prisoner now as well.
Why would he risk the wrath of the Abh Empire by interfering with a vital mission undertaken by one of its princesses? Lafiel isn't quite sure, but sRead More
With all access to Jinto -- imprisoned by Baron Febdash -- cut off, a desperate and now-armed Lafiel is left with only one option: storm the space station's housekeeping control center.
The baron quickly closes in after learning of her actions but leaves almost immediately in a huff because one of his servants has joined forces with Lafiel and has had the nerve to speak out against him.
Now left questioning the loyalty of all his vassals, Febdash is further incensed by a message that suddenly goes out over the intercom and by his inability to interrupt it. It explains that his actions have jeopardized the princess's mission, and that Lafiel's royal family will hire anyone wishing to aid her cause.
The baron still has one trick up his sleeve, however, one that will ensure Lafiel will never be able to complete the task given to her aboard the Gosroth. In response, she decides to destroy Baron Febdash, although her vessel has no weapons.
As an Abh, Lafiel would rather fight than surrenderRead More
Despite odds stacked heavily against her, Lafiel -- relatively inexperienced as both pilot and soldier -- emerges victorious in her battle with the baron. That doesn't mean that Jinto and the princess haven't also suffered a loss, however.
The delay caused by their imprisonment has allowed the United Mankind to beat them to the planet of Sufugnoff, and the invasion they could have possibly prevented is already under way by the time they arrive.
The enemy has also detected their presence and launches an attack, but Lafiel again displays some deft maneuvering and they are able to elude death once more. Though they've managed to survive the initial confrontation, Jinto and Lafiel's options are limited because the orbiting tower where they would have docked has been destroyed.
With nowhere else to go, they turn their attention toward Sufugnoff's surface, but the ship in which they are traveling may not be equipped for the landing. Worse still, Lafiel -- despite all of her training -- has nRead More
Though their landing was a bumpy one, Jinto and Lafiel successfully reach Sufugnoff after barely escaping the United Mankind forces that have invaded the planet.
Unfortunately, starving in the fields isn't a much better fate than being shot down in space, and they must eventually make their way to the city if they hope to survive. But Lafiel -- with her blue hair and elflike ears -- will have a hard time going unnoticed in the enemy-occupied city, meaning that Jinto will have to go it alone.
After a trip to the pawnbroker, he returns to the cave in which Lafiel is hiding with food and clothing -- and black hair dye. Though taking great offense to the last item, she finally gives in, but their disguises do little to prevent them from being attacked by three troublemaking teens while on the road to the city.
They are of course no match for Lafiel's military training, but soundly thrashing the teens -- and taking their vehicle in the process -- only leads to the United Mankind resuming thRead More
Despite their disguises, Jinto and Lafiel encounter danger even before making it to the city, crossing paths not with the United Mankind but rather with three teenagers up to no good.
Though they didn't start the fight, Jinto and Lafiel quickly finish it, acquiring an escape vehicle for their troubles. Unfortunately, the incident leads to a police investigation, one spearheaded by a United Mankind official looking for the occupants of the Abh pod that escaped to Sufugnoff.
Upon the suggestion of the lead detective -- someone clearly annoyed by the prospect of collaborating with the invading army -- they concentrate their efforts upon searching the city's hotels, since new customers would be scarce in this time of military chaos.
Of course, a hotel is precisely where the two fugitives are hiding, and it isn't long before four policemen bust down the door, weapons drawn. Jinto tries to prevent them from searching the bedroom where Lafiel now sleeps, and he ends up on the floor with a gunRead More
Despite their uniforms, the officers who force their way into Jinto and Lafiel's hotel room aren't from the police department. They're actually anti-empire revolutionaries looking for a ship of their own, and an Abh princess would make the perfect bargaining chip to get one.
The anti-empire revolutionaries fail to take into account just how fierce a fight with an enraged Abh can be, and their dreams of commerce and exploration without constraint quickly evaporate. Jinto and Lafiel do, however, agree to act as hostages, but any plan to engage the empire in negotiations will be put on hold, thanks to a United Mankind roadblock.
An explosive thrown by Lafiel buys the group some time, but also leads the enemy to believe the anti-Abh revolutionaries are sympathizers of the empire. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Lafiel has little time to be angry about the deception because United Mankind continues the chase, whether above ground or down a hidden passage to a series of caves.
Not wanting to unnecessarily drag anyone into her dispute with United Mankind, Lafiel insists that her anti-empire captors-turned-allies split from Jinto and herself in the underground tunnels in which they've sought refuge.
There are too many men in pursuit and not enough pathways, however, and Jinto and Lafiel eventually run into a dead end. Though the bombs lobbed in their direction succeed in causing slight injury, they also open the way for the duo to flee into the amusement park on the other side of the wall that had previously blocked their escape.
They haven't reached safety just yet, however, because the city police force -- also involved in the chase but familiar with Jinto and Lafiel's secret route -- has anticipated the pair's arrival.
Doing their best to avoid capture, they make the mistake of backtracking through the park and again encounter United Mankind's military. Now hunted by two irate and heavily armed groups, Jinto and Lafiel's options seem limited, even when theRead More
Captain Lafiel commands her crew of four (including secretary Jinto Lin) as her battleship fiercely dogfights against an enemy in space. Despite her best efforts, a devastating blast cripples her ship. Systems fail one by one. With nowhere to run, the ship is destroyed.
The scene goes black and the screen reveals that the battle simulation is over. Lafiel, visibly disappointed by her performance, leaves her other crew members. The other crew members urge Jinto to cheer her up. Jinto argues that treating her like a child might make her angry, and that an angry Abh is no better than a depressed Abh. He says they're reading too much into her reaction, but he agrees to talk to her.
It has been three years since the events of Crest of the Stars. When they talk, we see that both have grown up some. Lafiel is taking on important responsibilities as an actual ship captain. Jinto is more self-assured and frank (though Lafiel calls this ""being full of himself""). The bond between them will be a pRead More
The Abh Empire launches Operation Phantom Flame, the reorganization of its Star Forces in order to go back into battle. Admiral Spoor, "The Lady of Chaos", leads the 1st Abh Fleet in the first strike. Her target: a United Mankind mobile command fortress above the planet Aptic III. Spoor's forces obliterate the fortress. Bored with the easy win, Spoor ignores the president of Aptic III's challenges that his people will keep fighting. The shocked president soon learns, through Spoor, how all Abhs are not alike.
Meanwhile, Admiral Kenesh, the chief of staff of Operation Phatom Flame, discusses the Abh strategy with his staff. Spoor will advance the 1st Fleet and capture the enemy's major gates, with the 3rd and 5th following as a supply line. The 2nd and 4th Fleets will move in a pincer movement around the 1st Fleet's path, sweeping up any enemies in their path.
Above the planet Lulukess, Abh ships continue to assemble. Waiting for their orders, Jinto and his crewmates Samson and EkuryuaRead More
Assigned to Battleship Squadron Latouche, Lafiel's assault ship Basroil patrols the conquered Aptic System. The forward push by Abh forces has gone so well that the Abh leaders worry that something's not right. Could a trap be set for them?
Jinto and Lafiel discuss the odd situation of Hecto-Commander Atosuryua being the commander of their battalion. Three years ago, as chronicled in Crest of the Stars, Lafiel killed Atosuryua's older brother, the treacherous and insane Baron Febdash. Lafiel insists that Atosuryua is beyond making that an issue, but Jinto isn't so sure. Later, on the bridge, Ekuryua makes a case for letting Jinto's cat, Diaho, stay on the ship. Meanwhile the president of Aptic tries to work out a compromise in which the Ahb will demand his surrender, as he wants to put on a show of fake defiance for his voters.
Atosuryua meets Jinto to talk about her father and brother. The conversation seems strained, but she tells Jinto to relay the message to Lafiel that she, AtosurRead More
The Basroil destroys the first set of mines sent its way. The Abh assault ships aim to hunt down the enemy scouts one by one, like hungry predators. This sadly reminds Jinto and Lafiel of the fate of the Gosroth in CotS. They talk about their fear of the upcoming battle.
The enemy shoots out more mines. The mines barely miss the Basroil, but they do enter and explode within the space-time bubble of the last ship in their squadron. Weighted down by the remains of the mines, it will have to stay out of the battle. Lafiel realizes she is no longer afraid, and she wonders if that's why Jinto joined the ship -- so he could calm her.
They break into the enemy's space-time bubble just in time to see an ally's ship be destroyed. Lafiel fires at the enemy. The laser hits, but does little damage. Another Abh ship goes down. The enemy's cannons focus on the Basroil. They'll have to be quick to survive!Read More
The Basroil is in spacedock being repaired, and the crew are stocking up on supplies. Dusanyu, with the new information he has received, decides that the main battle will be held in the area surrounding the Aptic Gate. He appoints Admiral Bebaus' fleet in charge of defending the region.
But the Bebaus brothers come from a family known for ""Spectacular Insanity,"" and everyone wonders if this will spell their doom. Meanwhile, as Jinto and Ekuryua are having a rather personal discussion, Lafiel comes into the room at precisely the wrong time and sees something that makes her very angry. Will Jinto be able to save face? And what are the Bebaus brothers planning?Read More
At Atosuryua's request, Jinto and Lafiel join her for a dinner in honor of her late brother, Klowal. In a break from the wartime activity, Jinto and Lafiel don formal attire and fly off to the ritzy dinner Atosuryua has arranged. Indeed, this is the closest they've had to a date, but it's going to be a strange one.
The dinner proves to start awkwardly since Lafiel is responsible for Klowal's death, and she doesn't really regret it. Will Atosuryua and Lafiel come to a reconciliation?Read More
While on patrol, the Basroil and another assault ship, the Seigroil, are hit by enemy mines. They wind up adrift, stranded in Plane Space, with no sensors and systems failing throughout both ships.
They come up with a plan to transfer all the crew and usable materials from the Seigroil to the Basroil, but once they do, the Basroil crew learns that the Seigroil bridge crew is trapped and cannot escape. Now, alone in the dark, the Basroil can see some unidentified ships coming toward them. But are they friend or foe?Read More
It's the night before the big battle and everyone is doing whatever they need to do. Admiral Bebaus plans his defense but is distressed to learn he cannot pillage a local planet for supplies -- it's just too much of a bother.
Meanwhile, Samson decides he needs to get really drunk. And to his surprise, Sobaash joins him. They have a heart-to-heart talk. Jinto and Ekuryua, meanwhile, also have a heart-to-heart talk, disguised as a conversation about Diaho. Everyone is on edge as the battle draws near.Read More
As they wait for the enemy fleet to arrive, Jinto and Lafiel discuss their lives and how they got to that point. Jinto confesses to being scared. To his surprise, Lafiel admits that she is as well. They talk about their plans for the future. Will Jinto ever go back to his home planet, Martine? Will Lafiel become an admiral? And what's next after that?
Lafiel says she has plans to go through all of life's three stages: officer, merchant, and parent. Jinto is surprised she has thought so far ahead. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the enemy fleet and the beginning of the battle.Read More
The Abh fleet command tries to determine the true nature of the enemy's new weapon. Unfortunately, it has taken a heavy toll on their forces and victory is no longer assured.
Admiral Spoor, meanwhile, is en route to join the main fleet at Aptic for the battle. The Basroil enters its first true battle, and the crew is not entirely prepared for what they see.Read More
Lafiel is upset that they've been ordered to withdraw from the battle. She isn't used to losing or giving up. Her unit commander chastises her for questioning the chain of command.
Fleet Commander Dusanyu arrives in the Aptic Region. He wonders if Lafiel and Jinto are OK. Meanwhile, on the Basroil, they're going into battle against enemy assault vessels. They seem to be doing well at first, as they manage to destroy a couple of enemy vessels. But then the Basroil is targeted. The enemy fires....Read More
As the battle for Aptic boils around them, the damaged Basroil is given permission to withdraw from the field of battle. Unfortunately, though, the damage is worse than originally estimated. Frustrated and angry, Lafiel gives the order for all hands to abandon ship. On the main battlefield it appears that the enemy is trying to escape without engaging in further hostilities.
Fleet Commander Dusanyu will have none of this. He orders an attack. Admiral Spoor proceeds with her plan to cut a wide path through the enemy, demoralizing them in the process. On the Basroil everyone has reached the escape vessels, except for Jinto. Lafiel goes to look for him. She finds him, but before they can return to the others, there's an explosion.Read More
Jinto and Lafiel float through space in an emergency escape pod, waiting for rescue. The main fleet continues the battle, with Spoor's brutal advance having confused and disrupted the enemy forces. After the battle ends, Jinto and Lafiel are together aboard the naval base.
As they make their way to see the new Basroil, they discuss the fate of Diaho, Jinto's cat. The new Basroil turns out to be exactly the same as the previous one. Unfortunately, since they have a new ship, they won't be going back into battle right away. With the crew on board and ready to go, the new Basroil launches.Read More