Hi! This is driving me crazy. About 15-20 years ago I read a series of I believe seven novels based on faster than light travel and galactic exploration. I can't remember the name of the series, or the author. I have been searching for this series for more than a year now and given the vague details I remember, it's not surprising I haven't been able to identify the novels. I do want to re-read them however! Here is what I remember: The novels featured ftl travel based on a rare element that could be found (initially) in deposits, then as it grew more scarce, pens (ball point??). Due to a miscalculation by the inventor, the initial belief was one needed tons of this rare resource to make each ftl jump, but in actuality, only ounces were needed. This was discovered later in the series. The various nations of earth (US, Brazil, Russia, China?) were in a race to explore and colonize, but later the nations banded together against the various colonists when the colonists came looking for allies in a war against an alien race I believe was called the Beeze, or Bese (oh, the leader of this race cloned himself 200 times and installed the clones in positions of power), or something like that (this race had the policy of destroying any nuclear capable world, but their detection equipment had failed in the vicinity of earth). However, Israel and South Africa (sorry, initially had South America) were interested in joining the war. I believe the initial US colony ship was named The Spirit of America. The US ship finally managed to find a habitable planet on their third or fourth try, but the planet was super massive. Initially this led to the belief the planet would have a very high acceleration of gravity, however, due to the lack of heavy metals in the core, the gravity was near earth norm. An alien race was discovered on this planet that strongly resembled the ancient Egyptians. The colonists discovered alien worlds and technology that was quite superior to their own, but by diplomacy, blackmail and threats, managed to acquire this tech (shields, cloak tech based on the shields, and I believe beam weapons) and "force peace" on the nations of earth. Whew! Ok, believe it or not (I just realized I remembered more than I thought!), even with all this info AND the fact my wife and I are both librarians, we just cannot find this series. Can anyone on this forum help us out!!?? Thanks!