Author David Weber
Published 2005
Appears in: Bolos Book III: The Triumphant, Bolo!


Captain Paul Merrit is reassigned to the backwater world of Santa Cruz following a courtmartial for assaulting a superior officer. His position is as commander to the Bolo Mark XXIII/B-0075-NKE 'Nike', a prototype which had been left all but abandoned after a Quern attack decades before overran sector headquarters and the research team who had developed it. Merrit is delighted to discover that Nike possessed far more advanced psychotronics than the newer Bolos he is familiar with... and also afraid for her, knowing that the High Command will view her near-total independence with alarm.

But Santa Cruz will not remain a backwater forever. Its position is strategically placed upon routes into newly developing sectors and the farmers are balking at attempts by corporate giant Galtech to buy up the suddenly valuable real estate. When they turn to dirty tricks - hiring a mercenary force, Matucek's Marauders, to exterminate the world - Nike and Merrit are beset not only by military force but by betrayal within the Dinochrome Brigade itself.