RIMRUNNERS by C. J. Cherryh

A reviewer on Goodreads named ‘Wesley’ wrote the following plot description, which is way better than either the official blurb or my own pitiful efforts, so I give it to you here:

‘Rimrunners’ is the story of Elizabeth Yeager, a Marine with the infamous Mazianni pirate ship ‘Africa.’ Left behind when the Earth Company Fleet retreated from its occupation of Pell Station, Bet drifted to Thule, a dying space station in the Hinder Stars region of space near Earth. Starving and desperate she signed on the ‘Loki’ – an Alliance vessel tasked with hunting down her former shipmates. Aboard ship she falls in love with a younger engineer named Ramey, the ship’s pariah and the brutal first officer’s target of abuse. Bet is forced to make difficult decisions in order to navigate ‘Loki”s complicated politics and keep herself out of the firing line.

It is all about Bet Yeager, her relationship with the whacked-out Ndg Ramey, and others on board, as she tries to keep her former identity a secret and beef up her claim to being a mechanic.  Her twenty years of military training keep leaking out in her physical stance, her OCD neatness, and her wariness.   A lot about casual sex on board, which was sort of odd, but OK, and a lot of confusing stuff as to the officers and who was actually running the ship.

A finale which included something of an implausible (even for fiction, even for space fiction) battle at the dock of the dying station Thule,  where two of them in previously acquired weaponized space suits and one guy doing something to the ship’s core manage to fend off a large Marzianni warship and its attendant outrider ships, did not lessen my enjoyment of this book, which was more about personal stuff, relationships, etc., than politics and battles.

If I have piqued your interest in this whole series, which began  publication in the late 1970s, I suggest you read the Wiki overview, because although the author claims that you can read any book in any order (“like any history book”), frankly, after having read four now, I was still a bit fuzzy about stuff, so getting smart at last, I googled up a decent synopsis and recommend it to you.

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