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Darkeyes (2178) Book 03: Lieutenant Commander Chen.
After crashing into a river during a rescue on Jade, Xiu-Li nearly drowns. “Jool” is rescued by Cara Delaridel (a Niv who has run away to join the IWG to fight the O.P.P.) who is coaxed into it by two Tau Ceti Cats. Cara is a specialist in reconaissance, and this is enemy territory – for an operation against the many missile sites like the one that shot Xiu-Li down.
The two escape enemy pursuit and are soon on the Thucydides, where Captain Barbara Garney discusses burn-out with Xiu-Li, who is being transferred to the John A. Wheeler to assist with a Hensridge Drives group project at Cape of Velvet. Cara is swept along with Xiu-Li. They are impressed with Wheeler’s science officer Harmony Speeter, and Xiu-Li nervous about seeing her first-ever love, Nathan Hensridge, as well as seeing Chief Engineer Wolfredo Lobo again. Hensridge announces he is getting married to Harmony, but seems to have completely fallen for Cara! The technology being tested exists, but the first test is a sham devised by Hensridge on his own, to break the hold a privateer who wants to sell the drive for money has over him.
Before it is over, Xiu-Li’s friend Elsa Hatven has had to do her tactical job, and Cara earns a Bronze star in a firefight, but Xiu-Li is mortally injured and the Niv who arrive medevac her as they offer to treat her. No one actually knows if she is still alive.
July 2178. Lieutenant Commander Ecurba and TQ Osprey join the Wheeler (under Captain Takaguchi now) against an illegal mining operation. He and his small crew of 11 (including new Chief Engineer Winsome Weyrik) are all tested alongside Wheeler and no one emerges unscathed. The end result is a lot of evidence, clues, and statements that lead to the operational mastermind, and once the operation is finally over, an unexpected passenger for Ecurba to transport to Hawaii Platform.

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