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The Avengers -- Caldwell and Carter

A reader asks, "Is Colonel Caldwell in the next two books?"

This is the same devoted Caldwell fan who's been asking about Caldwell for a year now and I've had to say over and over, "sorry, no Caldwell." This time I can happily say, "YES! There is a lot of Caldwell in Allegiance and a good bit of Caldwell in The Avengers!" In fact, just by way of making it up to you that I haven't been able to give you a single Caldwell bit so far, here is a snippet with Caldwell and Carter from the beginning of The Avengers!

Caldwell nodded as though he found that thought comforting too. "Look, Carter, we know there's nothing here we can't handle. But they don't know that. If it looks like there's too much of a crisis the IOA is going to panic."

"And what? Order Atlantis back to Earth? We haven't got the power to go around the block, much less back to the Milky Way."

Caldwell looked at her sideways. "And scrap the project."

"They wouldn't do that," she said.

"They wouldn't?" Caldwell's eyebrows rose. "In case you didn't notice while you were fitting out the Hammond, there's a global economic crisis at home. How much do you think this expedition costs? And how much do you think they're recouping?"

"It's not about immediate cash," Sam said. "It's about the long term opportunities. The scientific advances. The technologies we're discovering are priceless."

"Right now what they are is expensive and useless," Caldwell said. He shook his head. "You scientists get all hot and bothered about things that might pan out sometime, but the math on Earth is this – is it worth any money?"

"We're not a bunch of conquistadores out looking for treasure," Sam said. "This isn't about finding nifty stuff that can go on EBay."

"Or opening new markets?" Caldwell snorted. "Not a lot of new markets here, Carter. Just a lot of people needing humanitarian aid and a whole ton of Wraith. It's costing a lot of money and a lot of lives for a lot of nothing."

"What are you saying?" Sam straightened up. "We can't just pack up and go home."

"And we won't," Caldwell said. "The Air Force has a big investment in ships and we're getting our money's worth in technology that gives us superiority at home. We're not going anywhere. But the Atlantis expedition isn't cost effective. If it starts looking like a liability, the IOA will pull the plug."

I'd love to hear what you guys think!