Trial By Fire: Final Reckoning

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Categories: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks | Date published: 06/21/2007


In this second volume of the two-volume fifth novel of the series, Hogar's friend Wolf, who went renegade so as to keep his ship from being confiscated by unscrupulous financial manipulators, runs out of parts to sell to rock-hopper captains. In desperation, Wolf raids Barton, a grasping Gaean supplier. Having discovered that Barton possesses a supply of Gaeanite, Wolf abducts Lesley, Barton's niece, intending to trade his hostage for the priceless mineral. To Wolf's intense chagrin, Barton refuses to pay the ransom. Wolf seduces the lonely, bitter Gaean girl, who yields because she believes that Wolf intends to kill her, given that Barton won't ransom her. When she learns that the agile-tongued Captain incapable of harming a woman simply ran a bluff on Barton, which the miser called, she gives herself freely, because she considers her life with her uncle intolerable. When Wolf sets out on a dangerous quest to capture Chapell, a vicious renegade, Lesley offers to marry him, so that he can become a Gaean citizen. Touched, Wolf yet refuses, out of concern for her. When the warrior-captain manages to extricate himself honorably from his outlaw state, he weds Lesley. On hearing the news, Hogar experiences vast relief, having feared that Wolf would die annihilated by a vessel of the Interworld Corps. Having accepted the job Merline offers her aged ex-crewman ashore, Austin, converts half of Merline's property in the Gaean capital into a dormitory for University students. Having befriended Paco, a feisty Gaean orphan, he endears himself to the lad who helps him do the remodeling. When a second inspiration strikes, Austin converts the remaining half of the premises into a coffee-house, and in the process, offers a life-changing opportunity to one of the students he supervises. When Martha, Austin's sister, invites him to speak at a ceremony honoring her, Austin and Paco take passage with Merline, and fly to Rafferty's Rock. Slade, now a renegade, overhears a broadcast revealing that a rock-hopper ship plans to dock at the rock where Martha operates a home for orphans and the aged. Slade raids Martha's Refuge, and takes Martha, her charges, Austin and Dean hostage. Paco, who skipped the ceremony, and befriended an orphan forbidden to attend because she sassed a teacher, takes to the ventilator shafts, along with the girl as skilled at melting into the infrastructure as he is. When Merline, Hogar and their crewmembers join with Wolf and his three ex-renegade spacers to mount a rescue operation, Paco and Jackie prove themselves courageous guerilla fighters. Signe arrives in the aftermath of the action. Having handled a potentially incendiary situation with surpassing skill, she renders justice to all concerned, in a most unorthodox fashion. This stirring narrative forms part of an ongoing saga of futuristic action, adventure and romance.