Orbs 2: Stranded - the last humans on Earth fight to survive
Dr. Sophie Winston and her small band of survivors now understand how dire their circumstances are, but unfortunately they are not aligned on how best to move forward. The aliens have already removed all of the fresh water from the planet and now they are working on the oceans where they are sucking the water into the toward their orbiting ships. Back on land the aliens have set up a number of "human farms" where they mount people onto poles and slowly drain the water from their bodies. The human farm that has been discovered in Colorado Springs has Sgt Overton adamant about mounting a rescue mission to save as many people as possible, but Sophie believes that such a mission would put them all at risk and she refuses to authorize it. The strain of this disagreement has them both at their breaking points.
While Sophie and Overton fight it out, Emmanuel focuses on creating a weapon that would allow humanity to fight back, and it is his efforts the might offer the only real path forward. In addition to following the survivors inside Cheyenne Mountain, this time we also experience events from the perspective of Captain Noble aboard the submarine Ghosts of Atlantis. Noble was tasked with monitoring the state of the biospheres from afar but since things have gone to hell he has decided that he must get involved. With Emmanuel's potential weapon under development, and a state of the art submarine still hiding in what remains of the ocean, there is a sliver of hope that humanity might find a way to survive. And if not, it seems that the A.I. Alexia is actually evolving so she might become humanity's only remaining legacy.
I enjoyed this book but I must still do so by looking the other way with certain plot points that just annoy me. I remain hopeful that as more of the background story regarding the aliens is revealed that I will find some satisfaction to help me accept the parts of the story I have issues with. Note that there are 2 short stories, Red Sands and White Sands, that both take place prior to book one in the timeline, but neither are required reading as they only provide a little bit of non-essential context to some of the characters.
For the audiobook version Bronson Pinchot continues to do an excellent job on the narration so listening is definitely a decent option.