GENNY/J’NI O’RIORDAN is the only journalist brave enough, or crazy enough, to relocate to the cyber-Deadwood settlement known as Asteria Colony instead of a cushy job on a space station or Moon resort. But don’t let her viridian hair and genetically-modified perfection fool you. She also has natural intelligence and genuine compassion, and she’s not afraid to use them.
“My judgment is against the Tikati. It is they who accuse all of the Glin, who have oppressed you all, who have frightened you all, until you not only distrust them, but you distrust each other. They have taken your water, your villages, your food. Don’t let them steal your sense of community, or mercy, or faith in each other, as well.”
* * *
DUIN is animated, eloquent, inventive, and passionately devoted to the cause of liberating his people, the Glin, from their insidious Tikati oppressors. At only 40 years old, he’s considered the “elder” of his river, and can fly a space ship, quote Shakespeare, construct an orrery, or entertain children will equal ease.
“The Tikati can take away my family and friends, my world, even my freedom. But they cannot steal the love I possess for these. Love is the only thing the Tikati cannot take from me. And I will never let them have it. Never.”
* * *
BELLOC is a mysterious Glin with uncanny abilities and a tragic past. The choices he makes will ultimately affect the lives of every Glin, and the lives of every human on Asteria. But when he discovers the truth about his identity, what will he choose to be?
“To be sorry for me is to say my life is lesser than yours. My life is what it is, and it’s been mine.”
* * *
SETH MACGOWAN is a senior airman with the 795th Comm Squad. It was his email that inspired Genny to request this dangerous Interstellar News Corps assignment, and he feels responsible for her. But when she starts spending more time with the “frog” than with him, his emerald eyes turn green with envy.
“It’s all downhill from here. Living in a stack of tin cans and drinking recycled piss. There’s a reason it’s called Ass-teria. Emphasis on the ass.”
* * *
HAX runs the Tech Center. He is responsible for making sure devices work, netcams function, and the Stellarnet is up and running, especially his popular MMORPG Mysteria. You can’t keep any secrets from the man with total access… but he has a few secrets of his own.
“I saw you coming three blocks away. If I didn’t want you here, believe me, you wouldn’t get it. Lasers, pew pew.”
“Don’t laugh,” Hax said. “Seriously, I have lasers.”
* * *
COLONEL BLAZE VILLANEUVA is the commanding officer of the U.S. Air and Space Force based on Asteria. His mission is to support and protect the colonists, but it’s not exactly a glamorous job being the top brass at the ass-end of human civilization.
“I would welcome you in person, but we’re trying to contain some biotech-resistant strain of E. coli in sector B, and there’s was a broken sewage processor flooding Q. It smells like hell on a hot Saturday night down there, let me tell you.”
* * *
AILEEN MADIGAN runs the only Irish pub in outer space, and her employees are handy with both a fiddle and a firearm. It’s cead mile failte to one and all, even aliens, until you threaten her customers — then you’ll get the “cead mile fuck-off.”
“The Irish are nothing more than hospitable, except maybe rebellious.”
“An excellent combination,” said Duin.
* * *