Del Rey, Nov 2004, 19.95, 312 pp.
The 34th Fist of the Confederation encountered intelligent and hostile space faring Skinks on two planets and defeated them in battle, but the war continues. The human populace remains unaware that the 34th Fist is under quarantine on Thorsfinni's World until humanity learns about the Skinks and other species.
Just after gunnery sergeant Charles Bass is promoted, the 34th Fist goes to Maugham's Station because of the recent acid deaths of colonists there; Skinks use acid guns as part of their weaponry. While exploring the area, the marines come under attack by acid, but no reports of Skinks have surfaced. While they seek the truth, an armada from the planet We're Here is traveling to the beleaguered station because they believe that an illegal mining operation has occurred on The Rock and the planet believes it is part of their empire. They think Maugham's Station is behind that operation and a trigger happy admiral is willing to go to war to stop them from mining that uninhabited, mineral rich planet.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner