The Independent Command

Volume 3 of The Flight Engineer


Everybody knows how despicable the alien Fibians are. Allies of the fanatic Mollie rebels against the human Commonwealth, they show no mercy, they have no remorse, and they find human flesh delectable—at least when served live. Fielding a gigantic starfleet against Earth and its colonies, they march like the giant spiders they resemble through humanity's nightmares, and soon they will march across its devastated worlds.

When the captain of the starship Invincible is incapacitated after a Fibian attack, only Peter Raeder—former fighter pilot, starship flight engineer, and unorthodox hero of the war against the Mollies—can be entrusted with command of the ship. His mission: to track down the alien raiders who took out his captain, and then to start hitting the enemy behind the lines.

It's a suicide mission, and Raeder knows it . . . until the fortunes of battle drive him deeper into alien space than he'd ever intended to go, the Invincible too damaged ever to return home. There he discovers that the monstrous Fibians may not be monsters after all . . .

Cover Art by David Mattingly

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, November 2000

Distributed by Simon & Schuster
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New York, NY 10020

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-671-31951-5
eISBN: 978-1-61824-310-2

Copyright © 2000 by Bill Fawcett & Associates

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

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Electronic version by Baen Books