Petra Telark is captain of the starship Hoshi and a member of the Space Pilots' Alliance. She takes her clients across the Milky Way and beyond for her job. On the side, she invents machines to make her life easier...and usually, they turn out well.
Petra is about to reveal her latest invention on Loft space station. It is a neural translation matrix which lets all people communicate with one another. However, a group of terrorists bomb Loft station and literally send it spinning out of the sky. Petra is badly injured and barely manages to escape with her life.
She awakes in a hospital to find half of her body replaced by biomechanical substitutes. Not only this, but there are anti-augmentation activists and strange people called Harvesters after her. And her ex-military mother wants to "reconnect."
Because having half your body replaced by machines isn't hard enough.
Something made a loud noise.
Oh God, oh God, Space and Stars – hurry up, close the hatch, take off, close, close, close, now do it now do it now –
Just as the hatch of the escape pod was about to slide shut, a beam of energy slammed into my body.
Laser driving straight through my body, cutting it diagonally with a line of fire. Of course it was my uninjured side – why not? Explosion inside my chest, a moist splattering of something against something else. Lungs? Heart?
A loud scream burst out of my mouth. In it was all the words I wanted to say – about how I hated these stupid people for ruining my presentation, for killing everyone, for bombing Loft and sending it crashing from the sky. How I wanted them to die. Not me.
This is when the hatch decided to close. What good timing.
I knew I should activate the emergency locating beacon. It was a reflex ingrained into my “pilot sense.” Always activate the beacon right away. Then maybe my body stood a chance of being recovered.
But everything went dark so fast, I wondered if the hatch hadn’t closed at all, and I was tumbling out into the blackness of space.