A fun, fast-paced sci-fi actioner, Combat Salvage 2165 by A. D. Bloom (@AfterDeathBloom) is set within the larger “sandbox” created by the author in his “War of Alien Aggression” books. Viewed in that way, as a standalone part of a larger narrative, the story reminded me of an episode from either the reboot of Battlestar Galactica or Space: Above and Beyond — two of my all-time favorite TV shows.
Tig Meester is a small-time criminal who uses his unique skills and nimble mind to locate and steal parts for his customers. After running afoul of one customer he is given a choice by the Staas Corporation — which controls one of the privateer space navies helping the United Nations fight the Squidies in the War of Alien Aggression — go to jail or serve as a Redsuit on a privateer warship.
So named because of the color of their exosuits, the job of Tig and his fellow Redsuits is to “get **** done” in the space fleet — they’re the worker bees who repair battle damage and fix equipment. It isn’t glamorous work, but the danger is no less and without the Redsuits the war would’ve ended on Day 1.
Tig joins the crew of the storied privateer carrier Hardway just before the start of an offensive campaign that could end the war. When one of the specialized ships used to “breach” space for transits between star systems (a neat concept) is mysteriously disabled during a battle, a small crew of Redsuits including Tig is sent over to repair the highly classified but critically essential ship.
To say much more about the plot would spoil the fun for future readers, but it moves quickly. There are several well-done set pieces including a tense game of cat-and-mouse inside the debris field left behind after the battle when the breaching ship was disabled.
This is the second book I’ve read recently set inside a larger “sandbox” which means readers who enjoy this story can find a lot more to explore from the same author. But, for a reader who just wants a short but fast-paced and exciting sci-fi/space war story to read, Combat Salvage 2165 fits the bill nicely.