''Tour of the Merrimack'' is a MilitaryScienceFiction series by R. M. Meluch.

In the future, America is at war with Palatine, a rebellious interstellar colony that models itself after ancient Rome and in fact claims to be its successor. The new Roman Empire seeks to reclaim their ancestral home of Earth; the military forces of America seek to return Palatine to its status as a subserviant colony world. However, both sides are taken by surprise when they are attacked by the Hive: an alien lifeform of boundless hunger which consumes world after world.

John Farragut is the captain of the ''Merrimack'', the first ship to ever survive an attack by the Hive. He and his crew are charged with hunting down the Hive's homeworld and finding a way to destroy the voracious alien horde. Reluctantly assisting them is Augustus, a Roman who has been cybernetically altered to possess computer-like information processing ability.

The ''Merrimack'' heads into the Deep, further from colonized space than anyone before it. The Hive is out there... and it's hungry.

The ''Tour of the Merrimack'' series currently consists of four books, with more planned:
* ''The Myriad''
* ''Wolf Star''
* ''The Sagittarius Command''
* ''Strength and Honor''
* ''The Ninth Circle''

----
This series provides examples of:

* AFatherToHisMen: Farragut and Beta-timeline TR.
* AncientConspiracy: The Romans
* AntiMatter: The fuel used by FTL spacecraft.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[{{Subverted}} Doesn't mean it will]] [[BAckFromTheDead stick]], however...
* AttackDrone: Used heavily by Rome
* AwesomenessByAnalysis: One of the powers of Patterners
* BadassGay: Augustus
* BatmanGambit: Augustus's Patterner abilities allow him to pull this off against [[spoiler:Romulus]]
* TheBattlestar: The ''Merrimack''
* BloodyMurder: Hive blood is corrosive
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: [[spoiler:Inflicted by Roman spooks on prisoners, including Napoleon Bright]]
** Inverted with Heraclides, a group of people brainwashed into being sane after contracting a HatePlague.
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: the Hive can neutralize advanced technologies, forcing Roman and United States Navy ships to carry both the high tech stuff to fight each other, and low-tech mechanical weapons, like basic cannons and CIWS turrets on ships, and goddamned ''swords'' to fight the Hive.
* BrotherSisterIncest: [[spoiler:Romulus and Claudia]]
* BugWar
* TheCaptain: Captain Farragut
* CaptainCrash: Callista Carmel is nicknamed "Crash Carmel"
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: Farragut and Steele
* CIAEvilFBIGood: The CIA is portrayed as sinister, and badass.
* CreativeSterility: The Hive can adapt in reaction to tactics used against it, but it cannot innovate on its own.
* {{Cyborg}}: Augustus, though he expresses dislike for the term.
* DeadlyPrank: ''The Ninth Circle'' begins with Cinna dying in a hazing ritual gone wrong.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: One Marine motto is "Redundancy is good. Redundancy is good. Redundancy is good."
* DesignerBabies: Popular amongst the Romans; used to boost their population faster than it would grow naturally.
* EnemyExchangeProgram: in ''Wolf Star'', [[spoiler: the Romans figure out how to hack the Merrimack's command-and-control computers]].
* EnemyMine: America and Rome vs the Hive
* ExtremeOmnivore: The Hive will eat pretty much anything organic
* EyeScream: The death of [[spoiler:Caesar Magnus]]
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Augustus in ''The Sagittarius Command'']].
* FramingTheGuiltyParty: Category 2. After a military disaster, [[spoiler:Napoleon Bright]] organizes a KangarooCourt to find someone, anyone, other than himself responsible. His attempt to cover his own ass results in the scapegoating and execution of the person actually responsible for the fiasco, entirely by accident and on completely unrelated charges.
* TheGadfly: Tactical officer Marcande Vincent is described as having "a talent for inappropriateness".
* GirlsWithMoustaches: The otherwise very attractive Amadea sports a small beard.
* GladiatorGames: Popular entertainment for the Romans
* GotMeDoingIt: Captain Farragut unconsciously imitates Mo Shah's idiosyncratic speech pattern at one point, then quickly corrects himself.
* GuiltFreeExterminationWar: Even ReluctantWarrior Jose Maria believes that the total extermination of the Hive is not only moral but necessary.
* HardGay: Augustus
* HeroesPreferSwords: Captain Farragut was the first to adopt fencing as a viable tactic, both against Roman boarders and Hive organisms.
* {{Hivemind}}: The Hive
* HordeOfAlienLocusts: The Hive
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: A sport available to wealthy Romans; Constantine Siculus was reportedly fond of it
* InSpiteOfANail: [[spoiler:The timeline change at the end of the first book doesn't actually affect that much. The biggest change is that first contact with the Hive is pushed back by a few months -- presumably that's how long it took them to chew through the civilization of Xi.]]
* InsistentTerminology: Augustus objects to being called a [[HollywoodCyborg cyborg]].
* IronicEcho: "''Sic semper malefidelibus.''" in ''The Sagittarius Command''
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: Said by Kit Kittering in ''The Myriad'' (she survives) and by [[spoiler:Herius Asinius]] in ''The Sagittarius Command'' (he doesn't).
* KillItWithFire: Fire is generally effective agaist the Hive, and is the ''only'' thing effective agaist Gluies. However, since space ships have limited oxygen supplies, it is very dangerous to the crews and only used as a weapon of last resort. Still, flame weapons are a major part of US Navy/USMC anti-Hive doctrine; the ''Merrimack'' is armed with ''battleship-grade'' flamethrowers (technically, hydrogen jets, giving them a range of about a mile). And in atmosphere they cut loose with it like all the hydrogen in the universe is about to disappear.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: The Hive has learned to interfere with most fancy electronics; the most effective weapon against them is actually a good old-fashioned sword.
* LanternJawOfJustice: Vice President Sampson "The Chin" Reed
* TheManBehindTheMonsters: [[spoiler:Constantine uses the Hive as a weapon against his enemies... at least, until [[EvilIsNotAToy they eat him]].]]
* MayDecemberRomance: Kerry Blue and TR Steele
* MirrorChemistry: The crew aren't worried about picking up any diseases in the Myriad because life on those worlds uses opposite-handed proteins, which are are incompatible with human biology-It's likened to attempting to attach a four-post wheel to a five-post axle with opposite-thread bolts. It is also mentioned that the Hive is unique among all known species in that it is able to digest proteins of either chirality.
* MoonLogicPuzzle: In-universe example. One of the VR training programs for swordplay pops up friendly and hostile targets in rapid sequence, testing the Marines' reaction times and ability to hit only the hostile targets. One of the targets is a cow, and none of the Marines can figure out whether its supposed to count as "friendly" or "hostile".
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: [[spoiler:Augustus]]
* NegativeSpaceWedgie: [[spoiler: The Myriad]].
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Steele, particularly to Kerry Blue in the first book
* OlderThanTheyLook: Anyone who's had rejuv treatments, but the most plot-relevant are Gaius and Amadea.
* PhraseCatcher: Dak
* PlantAliens: The Sargassons. Also, the pet plant-lizard Kerry Blue acquires in the Myriad.
* PlayingBothSides: [[spoiler:Amadea]]. Worked for both Romulus and Constantine, trying to always be in the good graces of whoever looked to be in the most advantageous position at the time.
* PutOffTheirFood: In ''The Myriad'', Captain Farragut describes over dinner how gorgons melt into caustic brown slime when they die, then tells his chef to skip the French onion soup.
* ReallyGetsAround: Kerry Blue
* ReluctantWarrior: ''Don'' Jose Maria Cordillera
* ResetButton: [[spoiler:The end of the first novel]]
* {{Retirony}}: [[spoiler:Reg Monroe]]
* RippleEffectProofMemory: [[spoiler: {{Averted}}. When Donner changes the past, no-one notices that most, if not all the details have changed-Discovering the Hive takes far longer than it originally did, for example.]]
* RunningGag: Something terrible happens to Cowboy. He's been killed three times-mined, stabbed, and lasered to death-and doused with liquefied gorgon.
** Dak makes a comment. Someone says "Shut up, Dak".
* SelfDestructMechanism: Employed on unmanned Roman drones, to prevent them from being captured. [[spoiler:The Hive uses this against them.]]
* SelfMadeOrphan: [[spoiler:Romulus]]
* SergeantRock: TR Steele
* SetAMookToKillAMook: The Romans try to pull this in ''Wolf Star'', attempting to get ''Merrimack'' and the Marine Swifts to shoot each other by foxing their IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) signals. Captain Farragut sees through it in time, though.
* SomeoneHasToDie: Two instances: one where they have one less ship than people so someone has to be left behind; another time when someone has to decompress an airlock from the inside. [[spoiler:Both situations are averted by the sheer awesomeness of TR Steele.]]
* SpacePirates: The titular Ninth Circle of ''The Ninth Circle''.
* SpaceRomans
* StandardSciFiSetting
* StarfishAliens: Hive cells (The Hive is a [[HiveMind super-organism]] made up of macro-scale bacteria) only have a definite shape when in a gravity well. When they're not, they're amorphous blobs of legs, armor plates, and maw-tipped tentacles. When they are in an atmosphere and gravity well, they re-arrange themselves with their legs underneath themselves and their maw-tentacles in an optimum feeding orientation. They also get [[LightningBruiser smaller, faster, and tougher]] the longer they're under atmospheric pressure. There's also three different subtypes; the other two are Soldiers, which have pincers in addition to their tentacles, and the larval Gluies, which have adhesive skin.
* TeamMom and TeamDad: Egypt "Gypsy" Dent and Captain Farragut. They even [[GenreSavvy recognize they're in these roles]], and tell Calli "We don't want you seeing that boy anymore" and "You know we only want what's best for you", in regards to Romulus.
* TeleFrag: Occurs if you try to displace without following the proper procedures.
* TeleportInterdiction: Jammers can be used to stop displacement.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: Displacement discs. Most are only large enough for individual people, but the Eisenhower-Roosevelt Shotgun is large enough to transport entire ships.
* TitleDrop: Occurs in every book except ''The Sagittarius Command''.
* TooDumbToLive: Cowboy
* UncannyValleyGirl: Amadea
* UnusualEuphemism: Certain commanders don't like their marine's swearing, so the marines replace cusswords with ones that sound similar.
* VaginaDentata: Geneva Rhine is equipped with a device called a dragon, also known as a sausage peeler.
* VideoWill: [[spoiler:Augustus leaves one for Farragut]].
* WeCanRebuildHim: How Patterners are created
* WorthyOpponent: For all his trash-talk, it's clear Augustus views Captain Farragut this way
* YouAlreadyChangedThePast[=/=]StableTimeLoop: {{Discussed}}. [[spoiler: Augustus rejects the idea of a paradox, stating that if Donner had changed the past, the consequences would have caught up with the universe at large by now. it boils down to "things happened this way because there's no other way they could possibly happen."]]
* YouAreNumberSix: Patterners are officially numbered- Primus through to Nonus, [[spoiler: Augustus]].
* YourDaysAreNumbered: Augustus. Patterners don't live for very long, and his warranty has already expired.

----