Through the magic of the StarLock, Pegasus is able to come to the aid of another Pathfinder ship, damaged, adrift, and abandoned in the orbit of a ruined colony. Nearby is the wreckage of an Aurelian fleet, testimony to a fearsome battle that the Pathfinder ship, evidently, lost.
The Pegasus crew must attempt to repair and salvage the giant ship, while fighting off constant and vicious attacks from an unknown enemy that could be aliens or humans from another colony. In the midst of all this, Goneril Lear, in a desperate effort to regain her command after the debacle at Aurora, tries to turn the crew against Commander Keeler, questioning whether salvaging the other ship is worth the cost in lives and damage.
And a landing party on the surface of the devastated planet finds tantalizing clues that the human civilization on the planet may have been wiped by the same enemy that's battling Pegasus in the skies above.
Meanwhile, Trajan Lear and Matthew Driver make a long Poseidon Adventure-like journey through the wrecked bowels of the pathfinder ship with the only two survivors of its crew, a reanimated corpse and his love slave. (An homage to the tacky sci-fi series Lexx.) While on the surface, warfighters Johnny Rook and Max Jordan battle aliens in a manner reminiscent not of Genghis Khan, but more like Halo.
Crucible is a Terra-Gamma class planet in the system 12 255 Crux. It is a warm, arid planet, whose seas are unusually rich in raw hydrocarbons. The human colony that was left there was primarily tasked with extracting hydrocarbons for sale to other colonies. The planet is also subject to fierce solar flares, which led its inhabitants to construct huge underground shelters called Redoubts in defense against the potentially devastating effects of the flares.
Trivia and Obscure References
- Book 6 contains an odd chapter 22 ½ to take care of unfinished business.
- The name of the planet "Crucible" -- is never given in the story.
- One of the adventures described by Synch Christmas bears similarities to the plot of the movie Jurassic Park.
- A model of military vehicle in Book 6 is referred to as a "Rockatansky Road Warrior." Max Rockatansky was a character portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie, The Road Warrior.
- The " Razorbacks" in Book 6 resemble the " Warthogs" from Halo.
- Trajan Lear and Matthew Driver hang out with an amorous love slave and a dead man, similar to the plot of Lexx. The reference to giant space broccoli in Book 7 may also be a reference to the space carrots in Season 3 of Lexx.
- Dead Keeler tells a story that resembles the plot of the Star Trek episode " Spock€™s Brain." Naturally, his version is somewhat more comical.
- The subplot of Book 6 involving telepathic plague rats is similar to a subplot of the Halo Jonescomic book. Toby the robot dog in HJ was the inspiration for the Trauma Hounds, a reference to the Skinny Puppy song "Deep Down Trauma Hounds."
- In Book 6, Eliza Change says, " 409 to save 6300, those are odds I can live with," a reference to SeaLab 2021.
- In Book 6, Queequeg quotes Obi-Wan Kenobi From Star Wars: A New Hope, " If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." He also says, " Gotcha suckers," an homage to the Steve Martin film Bowfinger.