Andrés's Reviews > The Reply

The Reply by Robert Doherty
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Jan 20, 13

Read from January 18 to 20, 2013

** spoiler alert **
The Area 51 series continues growing strong. Let's do a recap of the previous chapter, shall we?

In Book 1, it's discovered that a race of aliens established an outpost on Earth some ten thousand years ago and left some of their technology behind, including several spacecraft currently in possession of the secret military facility known as Area 51. Under the command of General Gullick, a timetable is devised to test the largest of these spacecraft known as the mothership. But an archaeology professor by the name of Peter Nabinger discovers a message inside the pyramid of Keops warning against using the mothership. Together with Spec-Ops Captain Mike Turcotte, reporter Kelly Reynolds, german physicist Werner von Seeckt, and Presidential Science Advisor Lisa Duncan, they race against time to put an end to the test.

In so doing they discover an ancient alien computer left behind by the civilization known as the Airlia that aids them in their quest. They also learn that the Airlia are split into two sides and, apparently, the computer's side (Aspasia's) is pro-humanity. At the same time, and as the book's epilogue, this computer known as the Guardian sends a message to the stars.

Thus we get to Book 2 and the obvious reply to the Guardian's message. Apparently, Aspasia and their band had hitched it to Mars and had been in stasis ever since, but now they're coming back in peace... or so some people think. Others, which include our titular heroes Mike Turcotte and Lisa Duncan are not so convinced.

The book introduces another secret organisation known as STAAR. I must admit I cringed at first at the introduction of yet another super-powerful secret organisation. However, I acquiesced as it's later explained why this organisation was set up, essentially, to oversee first contact with the alien species that had left this technology should they ever reappear. Since it was under strict orders to act only upon first contact it's understandable how the secret was kept for so long. There's some suggestion that the organisation may actually be the Airlian rebels that were left behind on Earth and I tend to agree. At this time, my thoughts are that STAAR probably started out as an all-human organisation and eventually was infiltrated by the Airlia.

The book raises a lot of questions that are left unexplained but, fortunately, the writer has the good sense to have Turcotte's character lay them all out in the open for us during his succint conversation with STAAR's leader inside the bouncer, when he's asked to choose which side he supports: Aspasia's or the rebels', known as Artad's. He has the good sense to choose none considering both sides have given him reverse stories. I also enjoyed the showdown in hangar two between Turcotte, Duncan, and the two STAAR operatives.

However, there are a few details that need to be addressed. For instance, why would Turcotte order the bombardment of Easter Island if he knows from the previous book that it's shielded? How did Kelly become influenced by the Easter Island Guardian? Unless I missed something, I thought physical contact was needed for a connection to be established. Who does Terra-lei answer to? How does von Seeckt so quickly make the jump between STAAR and the Airlia? Does he know something we don't?

It's a pity Nabinger was killed but I predict that that notebook he was scribbling on before his death will probably resurface at a later date. Naturally, the mothership will also have to be recovered since it didn't blow up. And I kind of expect Turcotte to be made a General after the stunts he pulled, or at the very least a Colonel. I also imagine someone will come up with a way to neutralize the Easter Island Guardian.

Well, onto the next book.
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