The Day of Descent
This is sort of a bridge novel, taking place immediately after the last TV episode where Emily and Susan are in the hospital after being exposed to a deadly virus by the Purists.
The book has three themes going, skipping from one theme to another. The part relating to the hospital is the smallest; the second theme takes place on the slaveship itself, going into the background of what was going on and revealing a lot about George, Susan and Buck, and how important Uncle Moodri was at the time.
A third theme, related to the hospital one, has Matt and Cathy talking and Sikes tells her that he actually knew that their ship was coming. This leads into a discussion of his first investigation as a detective, which concerned an elderly man who had an interest in astronomy and was murdered in his car.
Another theme, although not one that takes a lot of time to cover, relates to Sikes relationship to his then-still-wife and his daughter.
It manages to blend the themes quite well. The novel also includes various small bits and pieces of information that are quite interesting. For example, it seems that the slaveship was at a distance of three billion miles from our sun when the events of the novel take place. This would place the ship just beyond the orbit of Neptune.
The earth's mass is .87 that of Tencton. (This might help explain why the Tenctonese are stronger than humans since they evolved on a planet with a slightly greater gravity than earth's. Their bodies would have evolved in relation to that gravity, so earth's lesser gravity would make them naturally stronger, the same way Superman was supposed to be stronger since Krypton had a greater gravity than Earth.)
The elders know that the earth is producing electromagnetic waves which indicate the possibility of intelligent tool-users. (Which is a confusing part for me. If the elders know the earth has intelligent life then certainly the ones running the ship would know and would have sent out some kind of a probe or something. It's established in the story that ships pass by the earth regularly, and that fact even shows up in one of the TV episodes.)
Buck was apparently studying to become an Overseer; they had their own group of youth,
much as the Nazi movement had its own youth corps.
Grazer, a detective also at the time, helps Sikes try to figure out why the old man was murdered. (Note; the book is copyrighted 1993, so a number of things that happen involving computers (on Earth), would seem rather dated by now).
It's revealed that the reason the Overseers were not controlled by the “holy gas” was that their tattoos contained a substance that was released over time which nullified the effect of the gas. We also learn there were passageways on the ship that the Overseers did not know about.
While Sikes is talking to an astronomy professor he learns that the object (the ship) is about three miles across.
We go to a scene on the ship where Susan and George are brutalized by the Overseers.
Cathy's Tenctonese name is Gelana. Buck talks to an elder who tells him about the coming revolt and wants Buck to take an active role. Sikes talks to Theo to get his advice about the investigation he's currently on.
Sikes is investigating further but Amy, the woman astronomer, has gone missing. Sikes realizes that it is possible she killed the professor.
On the ship, Moodri meets with other conspirators. It looks like their plan will fail since Buck does not understand how evil the Overseers are. The plan is to have Buck insert some kind of key into a machine on the bridge to cause the cargo (slaves) part of the ship to be separated and send the rest of the ship, including Moodri, on an uncontrolled flight elsewhere.
Moodri's plan using Buck is scrapped and another plan put into place.
Sikes and his partner Angela Perez (Theo is now in undercover vice) work with Grazer on the case and it appears like it's a government-sanctioned murder. Grazer will continue to work with them and Matt is calling in Theo (Theo) now that it looks like it will involve the government.
On the ship, George manages to kill an Overseer.
At the station Theo advices Sikes and the others to not pursue the case, to simply turn it over to the Captain and let him turn it over to the FBI. Sikes is attacked when he gets him with Kirby, his daughter.
The book makes a reference to various “tribes” of Tenctonese on their home planet.
George realizes the rebellion on the ship is going to happen very soon. George and his brother are captured (and this leads into the episode where they were used for The Game.)
On the ship things go from bad to worse as Moodri finds out George and his brother have been captured and eight of twenty members of a rebel assault team are dead already. Moodri talks to Buck.
It turns out Amy, the missing astronomer, is involved in Sike's kidnapping. They also have Grazer and Angie. She and the others involved explained that they want to keep the fact that the object is manned a secret since any time an advanced civilization encounters a less-advanced civilization, the less-advanced one is, in essence, destroyed or at least severely damaged.( This is actually true, not just part of the story, and is even today used as a warning about what would happen if the Earth actually encounters aliens. In the U.S., in point of fact, if an alien spaceship landed and you were to talk to the alien, assuming that was possible, you would be violating the law and could be arrested!)
One the ship Moodri talks to Bulk about an ancient civilization on their home planet and that the Tenctonese were genetically engineered. Cathy is taking an active part in helping the rebellion also.
George recalls a time on the ship when he and his brother might have seen one of the beings who was actually in control of the ships and the Overseers. The scene then shifts to the events in The Game, where George and his brother were being held in a cell outside the game room.
Moodri retrieves a key from a tank of salt water without the water hurting him. Meanwhile George's brother is taken into the game room. Buck is being taken to the bridge of the ship. George is taken into the game.
Buck puts the key into the slot to start whatever is supposed to happen.
Sikes and the others are still being held by the killer and the crazy astronomer Amy. Theo manages to get a group together and they rescue Sikes and the others.
On the ship alarms are going off and everything is in chaos. Explosions and fire rock the bridge as an Overseer tries to get the children who were visiting (including Buck) to safety. Moodri is planning to send messages to the rest of the slave fleet that the ship he's on is out of control and all have been lost, making sure no rescue ships would be sent.
Instead of Moodri, though, a different elder turns out to be the one to remain behind. George comes very close to death in the game, but ends up being released by another player as the chaos builds.
The cargo disk separates from the main ship. The star drive portion of the ship goes into hyperspace (or something), to be lost forever. The cargo disk, after some more of the rebellion plans are put into effect, heads towards Earth.
Sikes and Theo talk. Amy and the murderer are still acting tough but Sikes tells them they are going to be booked and nothing will stop that. Then Theo tells Sikes that the object is heading towards the Earth, not away from it.
Buck finds out that the Overseers are able to conceal their tattoos and that there are emergency beacons on the cargo ship that they can activate to bring other ships. When the ship lands people stream off it as quickly as they can, using 64 different ramps as exits. The elders have set up a plan to try and stop the Overseers from bringing their equipment out of the ship.
George is one of the last to leave the ship and when he gets about a mile away the ship blows up.
Trenches were dug around the area where the Newcomers are and are filled with gasoline and set on fire to pen the Newcomers in. Theo and Sikes have both been suspended and Sike's daughter has been sent to a school in Switzerland, with Sike's ex-wife charging him with child endangerment. B-52s were overflying the area, carrying nuclear weapons. The murderer was set free as he knew he would be. Theo and Sikes have been volunteered to go to the quarantine area.
Sikes considers quitting the police force but Theo doesn't want him to.
Many of the Overseers were killed the first day by the other Newcomers. The children are the ones during the first few days who are able to figure what food that is dropped from the helicopters is edible and what isn't and they help to make sure everyone has something that they can eat and drink safely.
One of the Overseers finds Buck and tells him to help him find one of the beacons.
There's an interesting misinterpretation of a human song by the Newcomers. George finds Cathy (although he doesn't actually know her.) Then Cathy leads him to Susan. Sikes and Theo are on the perimeter of the area but they are going to be promoted to an area more further in.
Sikes and Theo attend a military briefing on the aliens. All the police and others at the briefing are told they are being paired with Newcomers to work with them.
An Overseer takes Buck to find the beacons and kills two humans. Theo and Sikes are driving a Newcomer woman around to find stray Newcomers. They pick up the Overseer and Buck, not knowing that the Overseer has one of the beacons.
A really great fight scene ensues between Sikes and the Overseer, with George playing a part.
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