Yellow Eyes (2007) is a standalone novel in the Legacy of the Aldenata universe, following Watch on the Rhine in the Posleen War subseries. This volume takes place in Columbia and Panama, with most of the action taking place within Panama.
The Po'oslenana'ar -- the People of the Ships -- were fleeing from others of their kind in a time of orna'adar. The lesser clans crowded into a globe, each occupying their own area. In one such was the clan of Guanamarioch, a lesser Kessentai. Elsewhere in the globe was the greater -- but still relatively small -- clan of Kessentai Binastarion.
In this novel, pentagon simulations shows that the United States -- indeed, the whole world -- needs the shipping capacity of the Panama Canal. The President has rejuvenation treatments provided to almost every soldier who ever served in Panama, mostly survivors of the 5th and 10th Infantry Regiments and the 193rd Infantry Brigade (Canal Zone). Now the brigade has been reformed as the 193th Infantry Division.
The Navy is also represented in Panamanian waters: the battleship USS Texas and the heavy cruisers USS Des Moines and USS Salem. The officers and crew of these vessels have all served on the ships in the past, but now are rejuvenated and retrained in new weapons. Captain Jess McNair feels at home on the CA-134 (Des Moines), but he has a truly startling experience when Daisy Mae winks into existence on the bridge.
The Galactic AID provided as the cybernetic center of the ship was left on during an entire interstellar voyage. In its own time, the AID has been alone for thousands of years and has gone quite insane. It has developed an unusual admiration for the crew of the ship and can project its holographic presence anywhere on the ship and elsewhere for at least a mile.
The US authorities have also provided rejuvenation to former Panamanian veterans. The Miranda clan is angry when their dying grandmother is whisked off in an ambulance, but bemused when their rejuvenated abuela is returned to them. Her rejuved son Hector is particularly amazed and worried about Mama Digna's good looks.
Bill Boyd is an unusual rejuv. As an involuntary veteran of World War II, he had made sergeant before he was discharged. Now he has been selected as the Major General in command of the Panamanian logistical effort. While he doesn't know how to be a general officer, he has extensive experience as CEO of the Boyd Steamship Company and knows a lot about logistics.
The US and Panamanian troops are also supported by the 1st Battalion of the 508th Mobile Infantry (ACS). The survivors of B Company, commanded by recently promoted Captain Scott Connors, have just returned from the swamps of Barwhon, where hot and cold running Posleen seem to be everywhere. Although the company is happy to be home, their deployment to Panama is only slightly better than Barwhon. At least the PTSD victims are getting treatment in a secure facility.
Meanwhile, Posleen globes are approaching Earth and are attacked by Terran vessels. The globe carrying the clans of Guanamarioch and Binastarion is hit by a Terran hyper-velocity round, but both clans manage to get out and to land on Earth in Columbia and Panama. Then things start to get sticky.
In this story, the Darhels have bought out the State Department en masse, but Posleen land very close to Washington. Many people fail to evacuate Foggy Bottom before the Posleen arrive and are killed and eaten (not necessarily in that order).
However, other State Department weenies elsewhere are still disrupting the flow of supplies and weapons to Panama. The President of Panama and his staff are also cooperating with the Darhels and planning family vacations at Galactic resorts. Logistics is even more difficult than usual in Panama and General Boyd is earning his pay.
Abuela Digna has acquired some 85mm artillery and other useful war surplus equipment. Unfortunately, they only have two radios, so most communications are carried by old fashioned methods. Digna sets up ambushes south of the city of San Jose y David. The priest of the ancient church on the Parque de Cervantes has also planned a Quixotic surprise for the Posleen.
Lieutenant Julio Diaz is a glider pilot. As a student, he had wondered at the gringo statement that air transport is suicide within line of sight of Posleen forces. He speculated that an unpowered glider would be sighted -- but not seen -- by Posleen forces. He told his theory to his dad -- the Panamanian G-2 -- and volunteered to try out his theory personally. As it turned out, the most dangerous part of the experiment was telling his girl friend that he had joined the army; Paloma Mercedes -- daughter of the President of Panama -- took this news rather personally.
This story is more about the fauna, flora and people of Panama than about the invasion itself. There is plenty of action, but the soldier ants and other predators get equal billing in this novel. My brother really enjoyed the caiman incident; "Get it off me" is a running joke throughout the book. Having some personal experiences in Panama, he also appreciated the description of the black palm by a Posleen Kessentai.
The Panamanian people are equally divided in this book between the corrupt and the responsible. The corrupt tend to grow close to the Darhel representatives, although there are several who are too dumb to conduct their own negotiations. Yet there are a remarkable number of the corrupt who never get offworld. The responsible may be killed and eaten, but they usually go down fighting. Sometimes they take a few Posleen with them even after death (with a little help from their friends).
Note: The authors have played an inside joke with the 1st of the 508th. This designation is historically associated with Task Force Red Devil during the Panama invasion of December 1989.
Highly recommended for fans of Ringo & Kratman and for anyone else who enjoys tales of close combat against overwhelming odds, remarkable heroism, and wartime romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin