With the Merlin safely restored to normal, the captains of both the Talon and the Merlin receive the same orders: Return to Scout Central. New things are happening. The Scouts program is now six months old. The facilities are expanding. The complexity of the missions and lack of qualified personnel has also caused some re-thinking as to how to best carry out their mission of evaluating the status of the UGW member worlds and investigating problems after a hundred years of interstellar war. It's been decided to add an Artificial Intelligence to the Scoutships so that the ship can be commanded and controlled remotely in the event the crews are unable to. And considering how often that's happened, it's not coming a moment too soon.
But the Methonians don't like AI's. The AI will have a "personality" and it's up to Katy to reconcile those. In the meantime, all of the crew will have to train in how to integrate the AI's functions into their stations. Treah and Molly's status as unofficial crew-members of the Talon have to be made official as well. Finally, Madam Juneau's past actions could have grave consequences for Katy - something ELSE the Methonians won't stand for.
With so much going on, each of the crew goes their own way, following their priorities, needs and obligations either separately or in bunches.
Will Treah - a being who spend thousands of years as a unicorn but only a few months as a human on a low-tech world - ever figure out how to integrate into the crew?
Will Molly's almost incomprehensibly high intelligence help her in her career AND personal life? Or will she always be talking over everyone's head?
Will Tink's "borrowing" the ship's quartz vibration generator for Treah's benefit backfire on them both?
Will Katy be able to reconcile an AI personality and the Methonian's animosity toward the devices in general?
Finally, will Madam Juneau's actions endanger Katy's career and will the Methonians allow those actions to go unpunished?
When the crew of the Talon is given an assignment, it's never exactly what they thought it was going to be, and never turns out to be as easy as it sounds.
Book 4 of the SCOUTS series. Available at: Amazon
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