April 21, 2014  |  324 pages
Nia Elain Compton was eighteen and a hermaphrodite. Adopted when she was three days’ old by a pair of deep space explorers, she was raised on the Eagle’s Seed, drifting among the stars, prospecting for new planets. They landed on Metcalf-4, discovering two competing primitive cultures, the Rus and the Sud, hunter-gatherers and agrarians. However, there was a third group, the Slavers, on this world, who kidnapped men and women, forcing them to work for them.

The Slave Winds blew finely powdered psi-crystal dust, which if inhaled usually caused madness and suicided. A few survived and developed magi powers, akin in fact to the mentales gifted of Ashford-5 or Tierra. Shortly on arrival, Nia was caught in an unexpected Slave Wind, and turned into a Magi, but she and her companion, Jelena, a budding healing witch, were captured by slavers, who accidentally ripped her newly regrown arms off. Jelena was able to heal her shoulders, and they were rescued by two others, who helped them get to Magus Triska, who helped Nia Elain recover and learn to use her new elemental powers.

From the old Magus, they learned that one of the three moons of Metcalf-4 was about to become perturbed during a rare triple conjunction of the three moons. In less than a month, that moon would come crashing down on the world, destroying all life. However, ancient records the magus had uncovered, suggested that this occurred every one hundred twenty years. During past conjunctions, an alien race of ghosts, or pure energy beings, the Ceri, activated their pusher beams to shove the moon back.

Armed with some idea where this apparatus was located, the group set off to find it and somehow avert the coming disaster. However, the slavers caught them, brutally binding them, forcing the group to work for them. It seems they had relatively recently crash landed on this world, and were using the primitives as a workforce to rebuild and manufacture fuel so they could take off. They’d seen the Eagle Seed above the planet and knew it had landed. Hence, Nia Elain made a deal with them. She’d provide them with a fuel cell so they could take off, if the slavers gave her control of the many prisoners. She gave them a defective fuel cell and their space ship exploded shortly after takeoff.

After freeing the prisoners, they headed off to find the Ceri and assist saving the world from destruction. However, the Ceri machine ran out of energy and was barely able to shove the moon off a ways, stalling the disaster for another thirty days. At wits end, Nia Elain put in an emergency call for help, which came from Ashford-5 or Tierra. The Ataro Empire sent a giant battleship, which pushed the moon into a different orbit, stabilizing it. Others found the remains of the crew and Nia’s parents. They all perished in the Slave Wind.

Nia Elain and her companions then had to visit Ashford-5 to receive Basic Therapy and to meet their new queen. The Ataro Emperor wisely adopted Metcalf-4 as the fortieth world in the Ataro Empire, keeping it a Closed World. That done, Nia Elain had to go to her parent’s home world of Descartes-3 to handle her inheritance. Her parents left her the Eagle’s Seed and several million credits. However, being telepaths now, they were kidnapped and subjected to the awful bio genetic agent. The woman behind this wanted to use them to help find the men responsible for murdering her husband and son.

Nia Elain and her companions finally realized that knowledge is power, and for the next few years, they spent all their time on Ashford-5, learning all that they could. Then, the Ataro Emperor requested her assistance on a very secret mission, vitally so, as the Imperium was slowly succumbing.

Unknown to all, the robots of Aquila Prime had evolved. Originally, the robots were made to assist the millions of helpless bio genetic agent’s victims, now dumped on this world. However, the robots had evolved. Worse, they had changed their programming slightly. Now the
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