Tagline: Welcome to the Hotel Yronwode, Checkout Time Is Never
What's left of the crew of Pegasus after Book Six finds themselves in the Orion Quadrant without a clue where to go next. The book opens with Trajan Lear, Max Jordan, and Johnny Rook battling an invisible space monster on the wreck of an ancient ship while David Alkema works feverishly to recover its navigational core€ which may be the only guide to inhabited star systems in the quadrant. They succeed in securing the Navigation Core while accidentally destroying the ancient ship in the process. But the data does provide Pegasus with the positions of nearby planets.
They set a course for the planet Yronwode, which served as a penal colony of the former Commonwealth. The descendants of the original prisoners eke out a brutal existence in the desert wastes of the planet. The descendants of the missionaries who came to redeem them have retreated to a single peninsula of land, where they have built thriving cities, but live under constant threat of suicide attacks. Some years before, an alien race known as the Kariad visited Yronwode, and despite good intentions, ended up stoking much of the violence that troubles the planet now.
The landing teams soon discover they are trapped on the planet. The planet was designed with a containment system to assure that no one could ever leave. Soon, Commander Keeler is missing and presumed dead or captured by the brutal tribes of prisoners known as the Xirong. In fact, he has been made the leader of a Xirong tribe, and is preparing to lead a jihad against the cities of the Missionaries. Eddie Roebuck, meanwhile, is taken by members of a bizarre religious cult to be a prophet, installed as their leader, and given extraordinary powers. The book builds to a climatic skirmish between Roebuck, Keeler, and the massive armies and powers at their command.
At the end of the book, a new reason is provided for the ship's quest to find Earth, the existence of Emergent Ascendant Technology that was developed during the Commonwealth, capable of giving humans god-like powers. It is believed that a device capable of bestowing these powers remains in the ruins of Ancient Earth.
Trivia and Obscure References
- Most WA Books divide the action between a storyline taking place on the planet's surface and action on-board the ship. The main action of Book 7 takes place entirely on the surface of the planet, framed by opening and closing chapters on-board Pegasus.
- In Book 7, Keeler loses his memory and takes the name "K-Rock" in a parody of the Star Trek episode The Paradise Syndrome. K-Rock is also a reference to radio station KROQ-FMin Los Angeles.
- In Book 7, Caliph says to Max Jordan, "Me, in your head, now," the precise same dialog occurs between Master Chief and Cortana in Halo 2. Other examples of Caliph using Cortana-like dialogue include the comments "I have an idea, but it's a little risky." And "You don't want to know" said after she has neutralized a weapon of mass destruction. Johnny Rook's comment "Have we tried reasoning with it?" also is heard in Halo 2.
- Bart Savagewood was the name of Lola Granola's boyfriend in the Bloom County comic strip. Specialist Remulac is named after the home planet of the Coneheads.
- When Caliph erases Max Jordan's memory in Chapter 10, a reference is made to everything tasting purple for a second, which echoes Philip J. Fry's comment "Did everything just taste purple for a second?" after his memory is erased in the Futurama episode "The Why of Fry."
- Alkema connects a computer's data core with remote help from someone named "Chloe," an homage to the TV show '24.'
- Max Jordan's shout of "There's a monster on the wingblade," and the action that follows is an homage to "The Twilight Zone" episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."
- Dayvan Cowboy is the title of a song by Boards of Canada. In the descriptions of Sapphire and Republic on the web, there are also references to the Boards of Canada Songs "Kaini Industries" and "SixtyTen."
- The "Brianist" religion is a play on the Monty Python film Life of Brian.
- Grexxx Grebulon's answers to Trajan Lear's questions in Chapter 14 are all variations ofMagic 8-Ball Answers
- The description of Trajan Lear piloting Prudence "like a leaf on the wind" is a reference to the movie Serenity. The hymn composed by Cardinal Meek in Chapter 10 bears a passing resemblance to Firefly's "The Ballad of Jayne Cobb."
- It is revealed that Doctor Reagan has died at some point in Pegasus's journey and was promiscuous.
- "The Union of the Snake" is a reference to a song by Duran Duran.
- Keeler's comment about his "dreams of blood," refers to the MST3K movie Leech Woman.
- The Old Man's comment that "Saturday Night is all right for fighting," in Chapter 12 is a reference to an Elton John Song. The portion of dialog in which this happens contains several riffs on Dune, as does Keeler/K-Rock's earlier question about the name of the shadow on the moon.
- The war chant "Might for right, Fight! Fight! Fight!" is a riff on Cerebus.
- The 900-foot Eddie Roebuck is a reference to the 900-foot vision of Jesus Christ supposedly witnessed by televangelist Oral Roberts.
- The battle dialog between K-Rock and Grexxx Grebulon was inspired by the Anime series:Dragonball Z.
- Eddie Roebuck's challenge "You shall not pass!" is a reference to Lord of the Rings.