The Road to War
The Road to War is the second book released in the Course Books series.
- The Eye of a Dragon is the first short story from The Road to War, volume two of the Course Books. The story primarily shows a series of prophetic dreams Hunter's young mind is unable to interpret. Though the events of the dreams are scrambled, each one does occur in a similar form within the Course Books Cannon, if not within an actual story.
This story foreshadows something that Hunter himself, even in adulthood, refuses to admit: that he does have an ultimate destiny beyond his control. 2. Tale of a Gun
- Tale of a Gun is a short story from The Road to War, volume two of the Course Books. This story begins with Hunter Jusenkyou already a student at Gudersnipe School. It deals with his secret fear of guns, dating back to an event in his childhood (covered in Through the Night from The Path to Ascension) in which he was shot in the shoulder. The injury, more mental than physical, remains with him throughout the series.
This is the first example of him overcoming something he deeply loathes to become a better student at Gudersnipe School; first his fear of guns and later his first kill. This also reveals the genesis of his short-lived smoking habit, mentioned in a few other stories. 3. First Stand
- First Stand is the story of the Eighth Power's first mech battle. It is part of The Road to War, the second volume of the Course Books. It is somewhat analogous to Last Stand, Tora, Tora, Tora from The Path to Ascension, but at the opposite end of the spectrum.
- Counter Strike is a short story from The Road to War, the second volume of the Course Books series. It centers around a GS Outbase which suffers a surprise attack, and the ensuing counter-offensive. In this story we see one of the first uses of the Rescue Return system and some always exciting mech action. In story-order this is also the first appearance of the minor character Rebecca Rikart, who first appears chronologically in Beachhead from The Concourse to Victory.
- Flight of the Takahe is a short story from The Road to War, volume II of the Course Books. It shows the Eighth Power testing the then-experimental Allapa Dismissive multi-engine fighter. It is a direct precursor to Falling Sky, from The Concourse to Victory.
- Against the Wind is a short story from The Road to War, the third book in the Course Books series. It is a Gudernsipe Story and focuses mainly around the characters of the Eighth Power with a few others showing up.
This story is important because it is (chronologically) the first story in which the Saratoga appears. 7. Dragoon Lancers: Wrath of the Lancer's Light
- Dragoon Lancers: Wrath of the Lancer's Light is a short story from The Road to War, volume two of the Course Books. It is somewhat analgous to Ulysses Last Stand from the previous volume in that it emphasizes characters other than the usual cast of the series. The only link is the Allapa Dismissive stunt-fighter, which sets the story somewhere after Flight of the Takahe of the same book.
The story focuses on the exploits of the crew of the Freelancer ship Lancer's Light. 8. CTRL+Z
- CTRL+Z is a story from The Road to War, volume II of the Course Books. It focuses on an arranged "accident" that causes a chain reaction and destroys an entire galaxy. The disaster begins in the Typin System, where part of the Solar II project is being carried out.
The Saratoga is tasked with undoing that event. Instructor Roland orders the ship to a Tactical Command Station in the Argolus Cluster, imaginatively named "Station Argo". There, he gives them time travel technology (called CTRL+Z), a Zero-Point Generator, and a Nova bomb, and orders them to travel back in time to prevent the disaster by destroying the Typin star.
The generator appears again in various other stories, but is taken away from the Saratoga in Retrospectus, whereas the bomb appears again in Never where it is used for an unorthodox purpose, and time travel appears again in Virus from The Path to Ascension. 9. Flash Point
- Flash Point is a short story from The Road to War, volume two of the Course Books. It focuses on a critical problem on board the Saratoga, the cause of which is hinted but not fully disclosed.
Chronologically, this story takes place after Forbidden from The Concourse to Victory, as proven by the ship's Mithrill and Adamantium armor, which causes the problem.
In the story, Kendrick explains to Rian Wildfire that he has written a divination program for the ship's computer, supposed to help the Wildfire targeting system. Unknown to Kendrick, his computer program is super-charging the ship's buffer.
The story ends with Hunter and Jason emptying the buffer, in the process shutting down Kendrick's program. In the final seconds before they succeed, the near-death experience gives Hunter an important revelation. 10. Retrospectus
- Retrospectus is a short story from The Road to War and involves the first instance of Alternate Timelines in the Course Books. Though time travel is not uncommon, this is the first instance of an alternate timeline. A few characters of this story reappear during The ByWay to Freedom. Retrospectus provides the original source for the Cloutia Generator.
11. Line in the Sand
- Line in the Sand is a short story from The Road to War, volume two of the Course Books. It is the first chronological appearance of Hokori.
The story deals with a particularly massive assualt fleet launched from an overlooked corner of the verse. The concern is not that the illustrious Gudersnipe Foundation will be unable to stop it as much as whether they stop it before billions of innocent civilians are killed.
While the Alliance is understandably concerned, the Foundation does not percieve this particular attack as much of a threat. It is a very massive fleet, to be sure, but so is that of the Foundation. Again, the question is not "can they win?" but "can they stop the enemy fleet before it reached the civilian population?".
The solution, of course, is to turn the conflict over to the Foundation's "golden boy", the Dragon of the Setting Sun, Hunter Jusenkyou. Despite all odds, he stalls the entire fleet using thirty ships, long enough for the Foundation's counter-offensive.
While not immediately evident in the story, this particular piece highlights the the decision-making paradigm of a world still reeling from the Kamian Succession Wars. Instructor Gailen, who fought in the Wars and made his name in the Foundation, is particularly affected by the situation.
Last time a large fleet came out of nowhere, the war lasted for 700 years and then entire verse was changed forever. People were just getting used to the way life is, and growing to accept the fact that it will never again be the way it was. 12. Point of the Spear
- Point of the Spear is a story from The Road to War, the second volume of the Course Books. This story can be a bit confusing if read in series-order as it rather suddenly introduces Metanie Bur'I as Jason's wife, who also appeared briefly in The Reunion of the Eighth Power which takes place chronologicaly several years into the future. And that whole explanation was just even more confusing.
Chronologically, Metanie first arrives in Dusk, from The Concourse to Victory. 13. Marigold
- Marigold is a semi-sentient artificial life form known to possess the three theoretical abilities:
Marigold was created accidentally by the Gudersnipe Foundation and escaped containment. It was battled for milennia at the cost of countless lives, and finally contained in a finite dimension for several centuries.
It was finally defeated by a joint Alliance/Foundation attack, led by Hunter Jusenkyou in A.Y. 6960, or the 50th year of the Age of the Dragon. 14. Falling Dragon
- Falling Dragon is a short story from The Road to War, volume II of the Course Books. In Falling Dragon we meet Hunter's sister, Narisa. This is also the first appearance of Hara Guharai in the series, though it is implied that she and Hunter have met before.
This story takes place chronologically very shortly after The Reunion of the Eighth Power from The Path to Ascension. 15. The Road to War(Story)
The Road to War is preceded by The Path to Ascension and followed by The Concourse to Victory.
In Against the Wind, Cindy adds a gear-shift to her station on the Saratoga in order to creatively change between speeds. The speeds she lists are "all stop, impulse, cruising speed, flank speed, and full millitary thrust". The first two should properly have been one-quarter and half, with full-stop having been a different position entirely.