Time to return to Dan Abnett's noughties revival and sequel series of early 2000AD space opera series the V.C.s. That told the story of a motley group of humans from the various planets in a federation of planets. We followed viewpoint character Smith, from Earth as they fought an aggressive alien race nicknamed the Geeks. All bar Smith and the Sergeant Jupe were killed off as the story progressed but in the end humanity was victorious. Fifty years later and Smith is working as a maintenance worker who has visions of his old comrades he talks to and who keep him company. At Peace Day to commemorate fifty years of peace between humans and geeks a radical faction of geeks attacked and it turned out the only equipment and ships that could stand against them effectively was the fifty year old stuff. As a valued veteran of that first war, Smith was promoted to Major and put in charge of a team of his own, Diderot, Lin-Fu, Ryx, Kali and Geege who is a geek from the geeks who wish for peaceful relations between humans and geek. Book one saw Smith train up and forge his team into a formidable fighting force with Geege especially overcoming the prejudice of the rest of the crew. Now it's one year later and the war is still raging so we join the V.C.s (stands for "Vacuum Cleaners") in the midst of battle.
We begin Book 2 with Smith and two others outside in space taking cover on an asteroid which is bobbing about inside the orbit of Mercury and experiences intense and lethal five minute days every three hundred seconds. So they have to duck and cover to avoid being broiled alive in their suits which can only survive twenty-three seconds in the glare.
Smith: "All we hear is our own scratchy breathing and the accelerating pip of our suit counters. Then it's night again. Because that's what we do... We're vacuum cleaners"
They are hunting for a Geek ship that went to ground two hours ago and they "ain't leaving till it's cleaned". They crest a hill and find their lander, poly-shielded against the glare and bristling with gun-pods.
|Smith dares to be badass.|
We then cut to the V.C.s ship responding to a distress call from a civilian ship The Celestine under heavy Geek attack. There is also another military ship captained by a complete asshole called "Veto". When Smith tries to coordinate their attacks to best protect the Celestine he just snarls, "don't you presume ta give me orders! You stinking V.C.s think your God's frickin' gift!"
Veto's ship take out a Geek one. Smith yells at him that it is no time for feuding even if the loathing is mutual. They blast a Geek ship, declare one all then Smith asks him to protect the damn civilian ship. But Veto's ship goes wide chasing after "another loose kill". Smith desperately orders his crew to target the ships closest to the Celestine but they can't cover them all.
|The V.C.s try to save the Celestine.|
We then rejoin the V.C.s in power down mode. They are holding pattern with everything bar Smith's scanner and basic life support switched off. We are invited to enjoy Ryx's thoughts on the matter. He ponders what Smith has said to them about "tickover".
Ryx: "Major Smith says that prolonged periods of waiting are an integral part of any combat tour. Major Smith says the build up of tension is good, because it keeps us sharp. Major Smith also says we should look upon tickover as a chance to focus our minds and enjoy a moment of self reflection. We my mind is real focused, and in the spirit of self reflection I can say Major Smith talks out of his butt".
He's bored and hates the silence. His scopes are off so he is staring at nothing and with the air-scrubbers off they all get to enjoy each other's stale odours. He's been holding in a massive fart because he doesn't want to spend the next three hours smelling it.
|Ryx ponders the boredom of tickover.|
Ryx ponders how Smith, being a veteran of the first Geek war is treating this new war as "unfinished business. A score he's been waiting a fricking long time to settle." Then Smith spots a Geek ship and the power back up with the waiting over, "time to clean up".
We then rejoin them in the midst of another firefight along with a friendly ship captained by a man called "Spense". They collect their targets and "vape 'em!" They catch some heat though, but Spense flanks them and protects them as they get ready to chase down the remnants of the Geek ships. They discover that there are two concentrations of Geeks, in front and straight down below.
Smith's ship goes for the wide target as Spense's goes for the dive. But something odd happens, the reading Smith has keeps disappearing "just hazy, like it's not really there." Then it is upon them and it's no Geek ship. It's a huge ship belonging to the mysterious organisation called "The Polity".
|The Polity appears.|
Smith: "The Polity. They've always been there. Long before us naked apes roamed the vacuum. A massive federation of superior races. Advanced, elitist, considering themselves above such petty things as war. They stood by and watched as man and Geek slugged it out first time."
Before the latest war broke out they had been considering letting humanity join. An invitation that was quickly rescinded when war kicked off.
Didirot wonders wonders what they want, they seem to be just silently watching them. Smith thinks how they've come to watch the "primitive creatures" fight, observing them like goldfish in a tank. Smith wonders how advanced you have to be not to "lend a hand and stop people dying?"
Then a swarm of Geek ships appear and Spense contacts them saying he needs help. He's got twenty-nine hostiles on his ship's back. Smith tries to get a response from the Polity ship saying he's begging them to help, to at least scare away the Geeks on top of Spense, "silence. They don't budge."
So Smith and his crew go in full tilt and start taking out Geek ships, but it's not enough and one Geek hit blows Spense's ship apart. The rest of the Geeks high-tail it back into hyperspace and the Polity ship warps away as well. Bitterly Smith thinks how the Polity say they can't get involved because it would "compromise their enthical values".
Smith: " Well, answer me this. You've got a ship so powerful you can stop worlds spinning and restart suns. You watch living sentients die right under your nose. What the frick does that say about your ethical values?"
We then join Ryx and Lin-Fu engaged in some planetary jungle warfare. Ryx once again narrates. Ryx takes out a Geek that had surprise Lin-Fu and she thanks him. He admires her boobs and quips "I love when a girl falls for me." She tells him he won't want her reporting him for sexual harrassment in the workplace. "Be a P.C V.C. Gotcha" Ryx responds.
Ryx keeps looking at her boobs and getting even more hot and sweaty, while Lin-Fu is somewhat oblivious to his lustful thoughts towards her. Then she realises and accuses him of being "transparent". Anxiously he responds, "and cute? Just a smidge?". Then they reach their target, a Earth-Gov terraformed farm, and they discover Geeks there possibly poisoning the food supply. They blast the Geeks and go and investigate closer. Lin-Fu examines the stuff being stored there and says it's not of Geek origin. Then yells at Ryx for calling her "sweetcheeks".
Back on board and on patrol again, inside Geege is checking over the stuff they took from the planet and says although the boxes are of Geek design the devices are not of Geek manufacture. He says he's not exactly sure what they are but thinks that they, "were designed to seed toxic pathogens into the 10 food farms." Smith tells him to keep examining the devices and see what the micro-spec will show up.
Smith congratulates Ryx and Lin-Fu and asks if they ran into any trouble. Lin-Fu says she was "bothered by something small and hairy, sir." Smith asks if it was persistant? "Not after I aimed a weapon at it" she says while Ryx looks guilty.
Smith says they are going to head for Mars and get G.C.C Tech to examine the devices. Diderot then says he is picking up a weak distress call. They boost ot through the speakers and it turns out to be Jupe which is out of the system beyond Pluto. Smith tells Kali to set course, the visit to Mars can wait, "Jupe was my first C.O. in the first one, Kali. I ain't gonna leave him begging... not for anything!"
|On a rescue mission.|
Everyone gets suited up, they are going to peform an "Evac and Extract". They burn in and drop onto the platform. Ryx queries why they are doing this after having the mantra "you're hit, you're dead" drummed into them. Smith says Jupe knows the saying wel, but if he is calling for help that means there is more going on than meets the eye, "there is more at stake here than his neck."
Leaving Kali piloting the ship, the rest start making their way across the mining platform, vaping Geeks as they go. They work their way to the depot area picking up a weapon signal that isn't Geek so it much be Jupe. They blast there way over there and find an injured Jupe, the last one of his squad left standing.
|Saving Segeant Jupe.|
With Jupe, they start fighting their way out of the depot. Smith calls Kali who doesn't respond right away. But she is there she has some Geeks on her tail she needs to shake before she can evac them. Veto's ship has split, but the other one captained by a man called Laker shoots the Geeks chasing her and she is able to land to pick the team up.
They all board safely and Kali blasts away as fast as the ship will take them. But then Laker's ship is blasted to smithereens leaving Smith's ship the last one standing. Jupe is desperately trying to find find a com-band he can upload the information on the Geek weapon to but the Geeks are jamming all comm traffic.
Kali tries a desperate manouvere to get the Geeks off their butt by sling-shotting the ship round Pluto's moon Charon. Smith tries not to think that it's the name of the ferryman of the dead. But the ship takes a hit, Smith thinks tha means they're dead and Earth will never know what the Geeks are up too as the ship falls through Charon's atmosphere....
|The end of the V.C.s?|