Endgame (Sirantha Jax Series #6) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Regret nothing.

Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait…

Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a ...
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Endgame (Sirantha Jax Series #6)

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Overview

Regret nothing.

Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait…

Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a planet subjugated during first contact. Since then, the La’hengrin homeworld has been occupied by foreign conquerors.

All that’s about to change.

Now, as part of a grassroots resistance, Jax means to liberate the La’hengrin. But political intrigue and guerrilla warfare are new to her, and this will be the most dangerous game she’s ever played—spies and conspiracies, a war of weapons and hearts, and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive...
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the strong sixth and final Grimspace novel (after Aftermath), a mature Sirantha Jax serves as second in command in the lengthy liberation of the La’hengrin, enslaved after human atmospheric biowarfare rendered them compliant. Adaptive physiology continued the La’hengrin’s servitude throughout generations; now the Nicuan occupy La’heng and refuse to allow distribution of the cure that would free its people. Loras, first recipient of the cure, toughens as a rebel leader forced to make increasingly painful decisions. Jax and long-lived Ithorian pilot Vel, her very close friend, fight in the field but also infiltrate the Nicuan power structure with help from an intriguing political supercouple. The personal mostly takes a backseat to the futuristic guerrilla warfare, but Jax and Vel’s unusual relationship forces confrontations about trust between Jax and March, her telepathic warrior lover. In turn March helps his nephew, Sasha, hone his telekinetic powers while coping with the teen’s desire to join the rebels. Series fans will find all the loose ends neatly tied off in a satisfying story. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101589526
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Series: Sirantha Jax Series , #6
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 97,929
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


In her life, Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband and two adorable children who sometimes do as they are told.
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Read an Excerpt

One

This is not a love story.

It is my life, and as such, there is love, loss, war, death, and sacrifice. It’s about things that needed to be done and choices made. I regret nothing.

It’s easy to say that. Harder to mean it. Sometimes I look back on the branching paths I took to wind up here, and I wonder if there was another road, an easier road, that ends somewhere else. Yet it all boils down to a promise.

That’s why I’m on La’heng, after all.

The La’hengrin have been enslaved too long. It’s time to change the status quo.

But after six months of futile appointments and following procedure, I’m ready to tear my hair out. Instead, I sit obediently outside the legate’s office, as if this meeting will turn out any different. The Pretty Robotics assistant monitors me with discreet glances, as if the VI has been programmed to see how long people will wait before storming off in a fit of rage. So far, I’ve been here for four hours. I hear a door open and close down the hall, and I recognize the legate as he tries to slide by me.

It is around lunchtime, so I push to my feet. “How lovely of you to make it a social occasion,” I purr, falling into step with Legate Flavius.

He’s caught the assignment to deal with all of our appeals, which makes me think he pissed somebody off. His favorite tactic is avoidance, but since I’ve caught him, he can’t dismiss me without calling for a centurion to eject me from the premises, and I have a legal right to be here. In fact, I have some grounds for a discrimination suit since he made an appointment, then refused to honor it, as he wouldn’t do to a Nicuan citizen.

“Come along, Ms. Jax,” he says with weary resignation.

“Where are we going?”

“There’s a place nearby that does an excellent salad, and they have truly superior wine. None of the local shite.”

Fantastic, so he’s a snob, and he thinks nothing on La’heng could be as good as what they import from elsewhere. I make a note of that and walk beside him, mentally lining up my arguments. He makes polite, strained small talk on the way to the restaurant, which is atop one of the towering structures nearby. The floor rotates slowly, granting a luxurious view first of the harbor, then the governor’s palace in the distance. In Jineba, the buildings are like Terran trees, where the rings reveal their age; you can judge a structure’s age by the architectural style and which conquerors designed it. The Nicuan occupation results in a series of colonial buildings, where pillars and columns mask the modern heart.

The penthouse dining room shares that quality, and there are La’hengrin workers instead of bots. They take our orders with quiet humility, and I loathe their subservience because someone has ordered them to labor here. It wasn’t a choice, and they don’t receive wages. Whatever the nobles call it, this is slavery. Since human interference on La’heng, this has been the situation on their homeworld; their “protectors” have not treated them well. Over the turns, La’heng has changed hands multiple times—sold off like a corporate asset—and currently, Nicuan nobles hold the power. They treat the planet like a vacation colony, complete with native serfs.

Legate Flavius orders for us without asking what I want. To a man like him, I suppose it doesn’t matter. Once the niceties are attended, he steeples his hands and regards me across the white–linen–covered table.

“Make your case, then.”

“Under the Homeland Health Care Act, ratified by the human board of directors in 4867, the natives of La’heng have the right to the best possible treatments, including and not limited to experimental medications. Carvati’s Cure ameliorates damage created by widespread exposure to RC–17.” When humanity seeded the atmosphere with a chemical that was meant to keep the La’hengrin compliant, we didn’t factor for their adaptive physiology. It’s been centuries now, and the effects linger still. “Therefore, the Nicuan council actively prohibits a treatment that will improve quality of life for the La’hengrin, which is unlawful according to article thirty–seven, codicil—”

The legate sighs faintly. “Yes, you’ve inundated my office with claims about your miracle drug. Unfortunately, you haven’t passed licensing through the drug administration. As I recall, there have been no trials. What kind of monsters would we be if we permitted you to use the La’heng to test your product? ”

The kind who makes the La’hengrin your slaves, like the ones you have at home.

I grind my teeth, holding the retort. “We applied for permits to begin trials three months ago. They were denied due to lack of residency requirements.”

On Nicu Tertius, the slave trade is legal. There’s also a complicated caste system and petty aristocracy constantly warring for the emperor’s purple robes. Many nobles posted on La’heng exude a smug superiority that grates on my nerves. This legate is no exception, and it taxes my patience to deal with him.

Flavius smiles. “Ah, yes. Unfortunately, you must achieve residency on La’heng before you can expect to receive rights that come with citizenship.”

I want to come across the table and punch him in the face. Instead, I bite my inner lip until I taste copper. The pain focuses my anger into a laser.

“I applied for citizenship,” I say carefully. “And my request was denied.”

The unctuous smile widens. “I did see that. Your regrettable past makes you rather . . . undesirable, Ms. Jax.”

“Excuse me?” I bite out.

“First, Farwan Corporation charged you with terrorism—”

“Those accusations were entirely baseless,” I snap.

“As if the business with Farwan wasn’t questionable enough, your military career ended in a rather colorful fashion, did it not? To whit, charges of mass murder, dereliction of duty, and high treason.”

“I was acquitted. It’s illegal to deny me services due to crimes the court judged I did not commit.”

“Hm,” he says, feigning concern. “Well, feel free to appeal within the Conglomerate courts. Since we are, at least in the tertiary sense, subject to their laws and jurisdictions, if they deem our denial to violate your rights as a Conglomerate citizen in good standing, then we will certainly reconsider the decision.”

He knows that will take turns, damn him. Turns to appeal the rejection. Turns to get another application approved. Then I’ll have to start over with the permissions to initiate drug trials. They’re trying to kill the resistance with blocks and delays.

Assholes.

Holding my temper with sheer willpower, I say, “So you allege that you’re denying progress with the cure for the good of the La’heng.”

There’s that awful, hateful smile again. “Certainly. We take our duty as their protectors very seriously.”

“Sure you do.” I shove back from the table and stalk away. There’s no way I’m spending another minute with this jackass, now that I know it’s another dead end. In the past six months, I’ve met countless trifling bureaucrats who get off on jerking people around. The Nicuan Empire is full of stunted dictators who have secret dreams of being the emperor, and so they rule their tiny department with an iron fist. The fact that they’ve been sent to La’heng often only increases their despot tendencies. They fall into two categories: those who want to be here because the rules are more lax and those who have been exiled for some transgression. The latter tend to be the most difficult.

Inwardly seething, I depart the restaurant and make my way down to the street. Public transport carries me to the house Vel bought, which serves as our headquarters. Once I hop off the tram, I walk some distance as well. We’re off the beaten track for obvious reasons. As I trudge the last kilometer, I reflect that Vel can try to reason with assholes like Flavius. Vel may prove harder to block as he lacks my tarnished reputation. He was a bounty hunter known for his compliance with all regulations, then he commanded the Ithtorian fleet to great personal acclaim. But it’s so fragging disheartening to think of starting over; it would mean refilling all the paperwork, permissions, and applications in his name.

And maybe there’s no point.

My old friend, Loras, with whom I have a complicated relationship, woven of mingled affection and guilt, thinks going through channels is a monumental waste of time, but he let me do it while he puts other plans in place. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been so long since we first met; he was part of the crew that broke me out of the Farwan prison cell on Perlas Station, and for a short while, I owned him, which was pretty horrifying. Then I left him to die, which was worse. I feel like I owe him, in addition to caring about his cause.

But rebellions aren’t born overnight. They foment over time with careful nurturing, and while I waste my time with Nicuan officials, Loras is working other angles. By the time I give up the whole thing as untenable, he’ll be ready to move. In a way, I’m his stalking horse. While they’re screwing with me, the nobles won’t expect problems from any other quarter.

“How did it go?” Vel asks, when I walk in. He gets back from flight school before I finish up my work in the city, and it’s nice to have him waiting. Before coming to La’heng, we agreed that we’ll explore the galaxy together, once our business here is complete. To make that happen, I need a pilot; he needs a navigator. Symbiotic.

An Ithtorian exile, he’s over two meters tall, covered in chitin, with hinged legs, and my mark on his thorax, a character that means grimspace in Ithtorian. His side–set eyes and expressive mandible no longer seem strange to me though people on La’heng sometimes stare if he’s out of faux–skin.

“For shit,” I mutter. “Who I am is actually working against us. Or at least, they’re using my past to block my petitions.”

“I am sorry, Sirantha.”

When we first met on Gehenna, Vel had taken a job to retrieve me for Farwan Corporation. He slid into a friend’s skin and figured out a way to get me to go to New Terra with him willingly. That could’ve end badly for me. Fortunately, Vel was as honorable a bounty hunter as he is in every other regard, and once he realized the Corp was using me as a scapegoat, he became my biggest ally. Now, he’s my dearest friend . . . with nuances of something else, maybe, someday. But he doesn’t look for promises any more than I’m looking to make our relationship more complicated. His mere presence defuses some of the tension and frustration that comes with the territory. He’s always supported me, believing the best of me even when I screw up, even when I don’t deserve it.

I shrug. “Loras warned us it would be like this, but . . . I’m not used to such abject, consistent failure. I keep thinking I’ll stumble on the magic handshake and get somewhere with these assholes.”

He crosses to me and runs his claws down my back, more comforting than it sounds. “It is unlikely.”

“I know.” My mouth sets into a firm line. “They’ll regret it. Someday.”

“You gave them a chance to do the right thing. They are more interested in maintaining their own luxurious lifestyles. I shall not care when we raze them to the ground.”

His quiet assessment of their prospects makes me laugh, partly his calm tone, and partly because that day seems so far off. But I’m capable of playing the long game, as the Nicuan will discover.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Follow Jax to fight the last war she hopes to fight, and maybe make it back to the stars calling her

    Jax is running into all kinds of snags while trying to uphold her promise to Loras - to free the La'heng from the compliant servitude state induced by a drug inflected by humans. The "protectors" now don't want to loss their control, or slaves. Jax has been here six months here trying to get through legally with every Nicuan official possible, while Laras rallies rebels with their cure. The first mission after acquiring rebels; to red code the planet so Conglomerate won't let any ships come, or leave, stopping the Nicuan from sending support here. This should give Le'heng time to cure and fight back. First March and Sasha are expected for a two week visit then head out before the war starts. Jax had thought she was done with bloodshed after the wars she saw and fought. Now she's at the top of the list to fight for her friend and his peoples freedom, and not everyone she knows and loves will make it out alive.

    I miss the characters who were lost or left and remembered through out the series, but love the characters present and returning, and even new joining us. Jax's past always seems to be in the forefront as a memory or how it can help with what she's learned by her mistakes. Always making Jax think.

    We get a quick refresher of the La'heng people and their servitude. I remember back to Loras when Jax learned so much about him and his kind, but it was a while ago and so much has happened since then so very nice to get the quick reminders in the story.

    We see Jax and March in the beginning and they seem so good and with Jax's relationship with Vel. All seems great. But I wait knowing the other shoe's going to drop. All the losses in Jax's life are still fresh in Jax's mind. She doesn't regret, but misses them and the choices she's made over time. All this has created the Jax we see now, a new and different Jax.

    Ann's writing has hurled me to this point, as I had to keep going and still in the last book ann propels me to flip pages feeling a full range of emotions; happy, giddy, sad, worried, scared.

    We get the extra little snippets, as in the other books, that give us the views of the outside and enemies. We see quick letters between key fellow revolutionists, interviews with La'hengian who have taken the cure and what they've seen or lived through, and news casters against or for the rebellion. All giving a feel of the war the world is fighting.

    This story is like coming home to a comfy chair, to read Jax again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Wonderful ending

    A great way to end the series. Love love love. I'd type more, but I'm having troublevtyping on this darn nook. Loved it...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Satisfying Close

    The long journey of Sirantha and friends is over and I am happy to see it end this way. Fast-paced story, good ideas, and decent interplay among characters. Entertaining.

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    Posted August 17, 2013

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    Posted December 8, 2012

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