Having been involved in the destruction of the Duplicates, those copies of the human race out to destroy the human population, Socket Greeny is back. In The Training of Socket Greeny, Tony Bertauski has further developed his story of Socket Greeny and brought us another installment of a great science fiction tale. Socket is the protagonist and now very involved in the training program for the Paladin Nation.
The training is harrowing, involving many techniques we associate more with martial arts and mind control than actual physical power. Socket struggles to understand why his trainer, Pon, continues to use Duplicates as targets. Eradicated during the first war, why are they still considered the enemy? Trying to clear his mind of such questions, he must concentrate to win this latest round, which involves a replicate of his mother.
This exercise is to get him to a level where he can destroy the Duplicate before it murders his replicated mother. Even as Socket continues his attacks, the program learns his process making it more difficult to beat. Trying to use the different techniques learned through his trainer, he hopes this time to win. His day is not complete until he beats the program. He must be ready for the Realization testing, which will determine whether he becomes a Paladin.
After succeeding at saving his replicated mother, Socket takes the time coming to him to return to his home and look up his friends Chute and Streeter. As he relaxes, he realizes that he feels different. Is the stress of training causing his entire system to break down?
When he struggles to locate his friends, he finds that Streeter is going through an addiction, one he must control himself, and that Chute has made a life of her own, one that does not involve her friendship with either Streeter or himself. Yet the connection is still there. As usual, unable to leave things alone, Socket ends up using his new skills when he and his friends are threatened.
Punishment for using his skills is swift, restricting further leave until after testing. Socket Greeny is returned to base to continue his training. When Pon steps in as a sparring partner, anger sparks within Socket, which unleashes a power that creates major damage to Pon. But Socket cannot remember what he has done or how. After he heals, Pon continues as trainer but only with instruction, and Socket no longer sees him. What did happen and how did Socket cause it?