Space merc Caspien Vargas wakes up screaming in the morgue after her squad dies in an explosion - apparently poking that ancient relic they dug up rendered her unkillable. Her nomadic people send her to the all-powerful Empire of the Architect with a proposition: the relic in exchange for protection. Traumatized, grieving, and burdened by her responsibility to her people, she must survive political machinations, an irradiated paradise, and falling in love with the woman at the centre of it all.
The air was thin and smelled of rotten eggs the day that Caspien Vargas died.
In hindsight, of course, the squad should’ve been more careful. Should’ve seen it coming. It should’ve occurred to them that just as they’d been watching Crato’s operations, the mining conglomerate’s hired goons had been watching them back. But they’d all been playing hide-and-seek with hostile patrols for weeks and they got complacent. Lazy. Forgetful about checking under things before climbing inside them.
Ibion wasn’t Caspien’s first choice for somewhere to die, but it wasn’t exactly her first choice for somewhere to live either. After decades of restless drifting, however, the Obade fleet would have made their new home in an empty noodle carton if it had a breathable atmosphere. Ibion was tiny and stinky, a wrinkly nut with a bile-yellow sky. It was also empty, theoretically arable, and completely uncontested until CratoCorp appeared with a giant drill and an entire mercenary fleet.
The Obade knew all about bullies. Usually they were working for them: guns for hire in the void or planetside in a troubled system. They knew they didn’t stand a chance against them in a fair fight – they needed leverage. A miracle.
The sliver of hope, when it came, was found in a hole in the ground by a gaggle of unwashed marines.