Bantam, Nov 2004, 384 pp.
A structure on the asteroid Mymercia starts to collapse while a rogue pherion causes a virus which is making people ill. Of the workforce only Fola Hanani survives, but she is quarrantined so that she can be tested to make sure she is not a carrier. The people who run the government use pherions to control what the masses feel and think so this unauthorized use worries them especially when another one is released into the atmosphere.
Fola contacts L. Mariachi of Earth, a migrant worker who can stop the virus from spreading. She communicates with him through his guitar, trying to get him to sing a particular song which will render the virus harmless. Before L. Mariachi can sing, Bean agents arrest him as they believe he is part of a conspiracy to release the pherion. He must escape if he is to stop the virus and restore the AIs, who are vulnerable to the disease, to their former state.
In this future earth, people live under the rule of a repressed regime run by big business and government who keep the masses docile through drugs in a closed atmosphere. The populace is confined to specific geophysical regions and not able to leave their specific Clade zone due to varying pherions. Off planet Fola and on planet L. Mariachi are the exceptions as they illegally are able to move about more freely as the pherions do not seem to harm them. CRACHE, the sequel to the equally intriguing CLADE, is a look at Orwellian society.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner