The novel “Contact” by D. Rebbitt was published for the first time in 2017. It’s the second book in The Globur Incursion series and is a prequel to “Fulcrum”.
Captain Blount is about to go on leave and so are many of his crew when he’s urgently summoned and given command of a mission to the X5682 system. A team of scientists exploring that system activated a protocol connected to the possible discovery of alien traces.
A small fleet commanded by Captain Blount is sent to the X5682 system with a team of Marines. The alleged alien traces don’t seem convincing and in the past, such discoveries proved to be of natural origin. However, when one of the Marines ventures into a cave and finds something that is certainly not natural, the situation changes radically.
“Contact” is a prequel to “Fulcrum” that recounts the first contact with the Globur, the mysterious aliens with whom humanity is at war in the first book of this series. For this reason, it’s not necessary to have read it and it’s actually possible to decide to follow the internal chronology of the books and start from this book.
The situation at the beginning of “Contact” is of a humanity at peace for a long time for which the greatest dangers come from asteroids and pirates. For this reason, the Imperial Fleet has some usefulness, especially near frontier worlds, but many officers experience a constant routine and little else.
In this situation, scientific missions explore planets that could be colonized and sometimes find something that may have a non-natural origin. In that case, protocol dictates that the Imperial Fleet sends starships to provide protection for the scientists. However, that protocol was activated many times but in all cases, follow-up studies ascertained the natural origin of the alleged alien traces.
For this reason, the series began with a novel that is mostly military science fiction but “Contact” begins before the war against the Globur with Imperial Fleet starships expecting to conduct a boring mission to support a group of scientists. As if that wasn’t enough, the first part of this prequel almost feels like a humorous novel.
Captain Blount would like to go on leave and already has past experiences with alleged alien traces, so leaving on another mission to assist a scientific expedition is annoying to say the least. It doesn’t help that one of the captains of the spaceships sent with him has a great desire to show off. It helps even less that the scientists in the X5682 system are essentially asocial and see the arrival of the Imperial Fleet with great irritation.
This situation which reflects a humanity at peace changes radically when what are undoubtedly alien artefacts are discovered. The pace accelerates with lots of action and intensity with a change in the tone of the narrative, which quickly goes from jokes to total seriousness. The impact of the first contact with an alien species is stressed by this contrast of tones.
It’s a case where the reader already knows the consequences of that first contact but in my opinion, that doesn’t make the second part of “Contact” any less dramatic. The characters’ reactions to the changing situation are crucial in the development of the plot and each of them shows what they’re really made of.
“Contact” ends up being a peculiar novel in the rather original way of developing the theme of first contact by D. Rebbitt. It has an ending but it’s open because it’s the first chapter of a bigger story that the author already partially told in the first book of the series and of which he tells other chapters in the subsequent books. I recommend reading it in particular to fans of space opera and military science fiction. It’s available on Amazon USA, UK, and Canada.