Kidahin, of the Eyloni, is on her first mission since her adulthood ceremony when her ship, Hunter’s Moon, is attacked. The ship suffers major damage and the crew suffers the devastating loss of its Warleader. While making repairs at a nearby moon, Kidahin’s youthful hubris gets her into trouble when she attempts to track a human: Chief Warrant Officer Del Marsch, a topnotch soldier and training officer.
Marsch, a hardened veteran, whose family has been senselessly murdered by the brutal Ni’zakhonii, suffers from extreme PTSD, with flashbacks powerful enough he can smell them. But a war is brewing and soldiers must be trained, even on a ship whose current mission is a diplomatic one. Aboard the Henri Edda, Marsch is the best one for the job – until he inadvertently offers to train a young alien.
March’s agreement with the Mistress of Hunter’s Moon to take the inexperienced Kidahin under his wing infuriates Ambassador Harrison, primary human liaison to the Eyloni. He’s positive this arrangement could drive a wedge into the diplomatic relationship. But the power-hungry diplomat knows little of the culture of the Eyloni – and even less about the Ni’zakhonii.
Tensions reach the breaking point when Marsch, compelled to mount a rescue when the Ni’zakhonii capture a group of Eyloni, must make life-changing decisions, even as Harrison is branding him a traitor.
Honor and Obligation
An unknown jungle on a foreign planet can be a dangerous place with menacing creatures all around; creatures that could spell doom for an unsuspecting solider. It can be even more treacherous without weapons. Add total nakedness and the possibility of survival almost vanishes. Yet if Delwyn Marsch is forced to go through the Adulthood Ceremony of his newly adopted world, this is what he faces.
Surely Kidahin’s clan will accept Delwyn’s adulthood status but what if they don’t? How can she protect her Warleader, Delwyn, from all the pitfalls he may face during this ceremony without violating this ritual? She needs a plan and fast.
Kidahin led a surface action assault team as they prowled the forward reconnaissance mission. Although their assault mistress, she was also the youngest team member. Ordering them about was fraught with hidden peril. Eyloni females held social and hierarchical rank standings. Social rank depended on society membership and adulthood age. Hierarchical rank depended on the hierarchy. Insulting the honor of high-ranking hierarchy females often led to honor debt crimes. Kidahin’s twenty Hunter female team included eleven ranking her socially and four ranking her in hierarchy standing.
Yet Kidahin ranked them in military rank, rank given by her warleader. Military rank, male recognition, mattered to females and made all the difference.
Stuck on an alien world, Kidahin thought about Delwyn. He was engaging the enemy fleet in orbit above. She had chosen him as warleader, had helped him during his adulthood survival ordeal. She worried for him. Males always needed females to keep them safe.