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Literature / Star Risk, Ltd.

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Star Risk, Ltd. is a series of five science fiction novels by the late Chris Bunch following a private military contracting company of the same name.

  • Star Risk, Ltd. (2002): The company forms and takes on its first contract: to eliminate Space Pirates harassing the Asteroid Miners of the Foley System.
  • The Scoundrel Worlds (2003): Star Risk finishes a contract keeping the peace at a skyball tournament, then is hired to prove the innocence of a man condemned for treason.
  • The Double-Cross Program (2004): Star Risk is hired to train the army of a planetful of Miles Gloriosuses who want to turn a neighboring planet into a farm for the latest fad foodstuff.
  • The Dog From Hell (2005): Having crossed the much larger PMC Cerberus Systems once too often, Star Risk comes under attack from all fronts that forces them out of business. But when Cerberus tries to make their retirement permanent, the group fights back.
  • The Gangster Conspiracy (2007): Written by Steve and Dal Perry after Bunch's death, based on Bunch's notes. Star Risk is back in business. They've moved into new offices but can't find any clients. Then a pastor from the Artegal System hires them to protect laborers trying to unionize. Things get complicated from there.invoked

The Star Risk team is:

  • Friedrich von Baldur, a former Alliance Navy officer who resigned to evade court-martial.
  • M'chel Riss, a former Alliance Marine who left the service after her CO attempted to force himself on her (and failed miserably).
  • Jasmine King, an ex-office manager and research specialist for Cerberus Systems who left said company after her boss decided she was too perfect to be human, so she was an android, so he didn't legally need to pay her.
  • Amanandrala "Grok" Grookonomonslf, the token nonhuman, an ex-Cerberus contract agent who gave the fledgling company a much-needed cash infusion.
  • Chas Goodnight, an ex-Marine "bester" turned jewel thief.

This series provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot / Badass Bookworm: Frequent subcontractor Redon Spada looks like a bespectacled teacher, but is absolutely lethal at the controls of a starship and can fly everything from gunships to destroyers.
  • Action Girl: Riss, being a former Marine. King is a lesser case since she mainly stays in the office, but as she demonstrates in book 5 she's no slouch either.
  • The Alliance: The dominant human interstellar government is called the Alliance, but the details are fairly vague.
  • All Women Hate Each Other: M'chel Riss and Jasmine King are both attractive blonde women, and when they first meet each other Riss's narration comments that she would find it very easy to hate Jasmine. As it turns out, they hit it off pretty quickly.
  • Anti-Hero: The entire team. They have standards, but they're in it for the money.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: One book mentions that Star Risk tried to hang onto a destroyer they bought and crewed for one of their off-screen jobs, until a Star Risk accountant explained to Freddy that they couldn't afford to maintain it.
  • Bears Are Bad News: That's basically what Grok's species looks like. At one point in book five, he makes use of the similarity.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Riss and Freddy meet in the Action Prologue when she executes a hostage rescue where he's one of the guards. Shortly after, he invites her to be his business partner.
  • Genius Bruiser: Grok is good with computers and cryptography and a thoroughly terrifying combatant.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Exploited. Jasmine King left Cerberus Systems in the backstory after her boss tried to withhold her pay on grounds that she was too perfect (too good at her job and too beautiful) to be human, and therefore must secretly be an android. (For the record, she isn't, and no robot of that kind is ever encountered in the series.)
  • Non-Indicative Name: Freddy mentions in book one that the concept of a limited liability company is really a thing of the past, but he likes the way the name "Star Risk, Limited" sounds.
  • Private Military Contractors: Both Star Risk Ltd. and their major competition, Cerberus.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Oh, so much.
  • Rape as Backstory: Downplayed. M'chel Riss is said to have left the Marines after her CO decided her next posting should be to his bed (her words, roughly). She doesn't dwell on it and it's left vague if the incident involved an actual assault or just persistent harassment.
  • Semper Fi/Space Marines: Riss left the Alliance Marines after her CO decided her next posting should be to his bed. Goodnight was dishonorably discharged for theft.
  • Signature Style: Steve Perry's is highlighted by the little differences between The Gangster Conspiracy and the other four books. Perry tends to go for the World of Badass, so previous Jasmine King gets multiple Action Girl moments. He also brings in concepts like a type of computer called the betydelse space that previously appeared in the Matador Series.
  • Sociopathic Hero: All of them have shades of this on occasion (kinda comes with being mercenaries), but Goodnight is the best example.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Jasmine King falls in love with the team's second client in Conspiracy, but he's killed soon after. In the epilogue, she reveals she's pregnant.
  • Super Soldier: "Besters" like Goodnight are cybernetically and biochemically enhanced so that with the flick of a switch, they can move several times faster than normal humans. The Gangster Conspiracy reveals that the augmentation has the unintended benefit of enabling besters to analyze situations much faster as well.
  • Token Nonhuman: Grok's species is never actually stated.
  • Tuckerization: Riss is named after Chris Bunch's friend Michelle Rice, a US Marine.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Two women, two men, and a male alien.
  • The Unpronounceable: Grok's full name is Amanandrala Grookonomonslf. He even admits that this is only a close approximation of it.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Riss and Redon Spada have a persistent attraction that never really goes anywhere.