With no clear future for himself, Jack enlists in an Earth-based military corporation when he turns seventeen. The company provides security for an algae farm which is transporting its harvest by convoy. Jack is involved in his first firefight and kills an armed civilian. His two-year enlistment ends, and Jack leaves Earth and the memories that haunt him. He enters officer school with Hsieh Corporation on Venus and becomes a pilot. His plan is to have the military pay for his training, put in his time, and then get a civilian job as a pilot. But first, he has to survive 10 years of active duty as a combat pilot. Can Jack survive his on-the-job training?
The Hsieh Corporation has been involved with Venus from the beginning. The company provided escort and defensive missions during the terraforming of the planet. They were the first military corporation to provide surface defense for Venus once the air became breathable and immigrants arrived. They were one of the first political corporations on the planet, winning several top level seats, including two terms as Prime Minister of Venus.
Lyra is a clone created by the Hsieh Corporation. She is the perfect speciman of health and intelligence. Lyra and an army of clones have been created by Hsieh to eventually take over all aspects of the corporation, from military operations to upper management. When Lyra turns sixteen, she is given the choice to leave Hsieh or join its ranks. Although she has no requirement to stay, Lyra feels indebted to Hsieh for all they've done for her. She decides to join Hsieh's military branch in an attempt to repay that debt.
Martin is a physicist working for Hsieh's Fusion Propulsion Labs. While researching how to make the engines on Hsieh's space-based military ships more fuel efficient and more powerful, he discovers an inconsistency in the laws of physics that points to the possibilty of Faster-Than-Light travel. Martin convinces Hsieh to invest considerable time, money, and resources into researching the solar system's first hyperdrive. The first experiment explodes in a cataclysmic failure. Will Martin be able to understand the secrets of the universe and build a faster-than-light ship?
This report prepared by Greg London