Voidstrider: the story so far…

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Warning: this post contains spoilers. Nothing but spoilers. It is intended as a quick catch-up reference guide for readers who have already enjoyed the books summarized here. Read on only if you don’t mind major spoilers.

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The Voidstrider Saga

Revolt on VestaVolume One: REVOLT ON VESTA

Carter Saldana, one of the Hundred Ministers who rule Mars, is en route to Ceres to meet with several leaders from the Asteroid Belt.His yacht is intercepted and boarded by unknown attackers. Carter is rendered unconscious and abducted.

At the outer reach of human space, Titan Station orbits Saturn’s largest moon. Francis Drake is hiding there, but he’s running out of money. At a dockside bar, he spies an attractive redhead and buys her a drink. She’s not interested in him, but someone else is: an anonymous bounty hunter, clad head to toe in customized vacuum armor. The bounty hunter’s name is Winter, and he’s determined to yank Drake back to the inner system.

The redhead turns out to be Aurora Dane, space captain. With her partner, Martine Antoinette, Rora owns and operates the aging sloop Eos. She’s come to Titan to rendezvous with a scientist, Dr. Otto Kittrick. Kittrick works for the Voidstrider Institute. Rora and Martine have been delivering supplies to a secret Voidstrider research installation hidden somewhere out beyond Saturn.

Kittrick needs a ride back to Ceres, and the Institute’s primary facility. He explains the scientists at the hidden installation have made a breakthrough. They believe their experimental drive, powered by a Stephens-Richards field, will work. They believe they’ve solved the puzzle of faster-than-light travel.

Meanwhile, in the Belt, Shan Taishan – scion of one of the Hundred Families and childhood friend of Carter Saldana’s – leads an elite team of Martian Fleet officers to rescue Saldana from the pirates who have abducted the minister. They board the outlaw vessel and meet heavy automated resistance. Searching the ship, Shan’s team discovers only one lone human pirate – but the pirate is armed with the most fearsome weapon Shan has ever seen.

On Vesta, Katia Miranova receives word that her grandfather, the CEO of Miranov Interplanetary, has ceded ownership and control of the asteroid settlement over to the United Earth Government. Katia herself is ordered back to Earth. She refuses to relinquish control of the station, and determines to resist Earth rule. One of her grandfather’s loyal employees attempts to force her, but he is killed by Vesta’s dockmaster, Roger Jon Grey.

Together, Katia and Grey begin planning Vesta’s bid for independence. The harbormaster is in love with Katia. He also begins to show signs of mental instability, worrying Katia.

Somewhere in space near the Belt, the bounty hunter Winter encounters a Martian Fleet patrol. Winter attempts to avoid the Martians, but is forced to fight. The bounty hunter cripples the Fleet ship, but is forced to make repairs on his own ship. Requiring help for the two-man repairs, he releases Drake from his holding cell. Seizing the opportunity for escape, Drake shoots the bounty hunter with Winter’s own gun and launches himself recklessly into space.

By incredible luck, Drake manages to find the crippled Martian vessel. He climbs aboard and discovers there is a lone survivor, an engineer named Vargas. Vargas talks Drake through the process of regaining control before she dies of her injuries, leaving Drake alone on a semi-functional Martian military vessel.

Shan Taishan returns to Mars a hero, having rescued Carter Saldana. A week later, he visits Saldana at the minister’s private estate. He is troubled by what seem to him to be changes in Saldana’s personality. Saldana explains that he believes the “pirates” who abducted him were in fact Earth agents, and the fearsome beam weapon Shan encountered on the ship is a secret Earth military asset that will be used against Mars for control of the resources in the Belt. Saldana sends Shan on a secret mission to Ceres.

Katia Miranova enlists the aid of a group of “privateers” currently docked at Vesta. The privateers prove unwilling to help, however. Their chosen leader, Qing-Yuan Hajjar, sends pirate captain Mona Dagget to assassinate Katia. Katia and Dagget struggle and Katia gains the upper hand thanks to her genetically modified musculature. She disarms Dagget, keeping the woman’s deadly “whiprazor:” a tool with a razor-edged monofilament blade capable of cutting hyperdiamond.

Before Katia can turn Dagget over to her security forces, the pirates launch the second prong of their attack: an all-out assault on the sealed harbor of Vesta. Roger Jon Grey moves to defend his docks, but the voice in his head – a voice he’s been hearing for decades – prevents him.

The voice belongs to the Angel, a mysterious being who proves able to control or physically harm Grey if he resists her influence. Grey manages, with extreme difficulty, to overcome the Angel’s influence. Destroying his own neural implants to shut her out, he seizes control of several loading mechs and wreaks carnage on the attacking pirates.

Rora, Martine, and Kittrick arrive at Ceres to find the independent settlement in a state of paranoia. Stations all over the Belt have been going dark. Earth and Mars are jockeying for control of the asteroids, and the Cereans fear they may be next. Martine stays aboard Eos, warning Rora to be careful.

Katia allows Roger Jon Grey to interrogate two of the surviving pirates. He kills Mona Dagget, mistakenly believing her to be an agent of the Angel. When he questions her chief lieutenant, Nadezhda Khatami, his suspicions are confirmed. Khatami is no longer fully human. Her brain has been almost entirely replaced with circuitry. She is little more than a puppet, controlled by the enigmatic Angel. Before he can explain things to Katia, Grey is killed by the Angel-Khatami.

Shan Taishan delivers Martian Central Intelligence operative Estevan Tsai-Liu to Ceres. Shan himself, newly promoted captain, must stay with the ship. Tsai-Liu is accompanied by two of Shan’s comrades. Their mission is to capture an Earth agent with knowledge of the devastating secret weapon.

In truth, however, Tsai-Liu’s target is none other than Doctor Otto Kittrick. The real object of Tsai-Liu’s mission is to obtain the location of the hidden Voidstrider facility beyond Saturn. Aurora Dane intervenes, and the Martians are forced to take her along with Kittrick.

Drake arrives in near-Ceres space, chased by Winter. Recognizing a Martian Fleet vessel in distress, Shan Taishan flies out to help. After chasing the bounty hunter off, Shan intercepts Drake’s damaged ship and the two fly tandem back to Ceres.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the Fleet has arrived and Ceres is treating this as an invasion. Shan unwitting violates an exclusion zone, and the Cereans shoot down his ship.

At a safe house in the inner habitat of Ceres, Tsai-Liu questions Rora and threatens to use an illegal neural device to aid the interrogation. Tsai-Liu is interrupted when Shan Taishan’s ship crashes into the surface of Ceres, causing an earthquake in the inner hab. Rora seizes her chance to escape. She quickly runs into Martine, who had come to rescue her. The pair flee, and Tsai-Liu chases them.

Shan and Drake survive the crash and make their way into Ceres. Drake reveals the bounty hunter is after him on behalf of Michaela Cross, a powerful business magnate he crossed years ago. As they make their way deeper into Ceres, the Martian Fleet swiftly defeats the Cerean defenses. Troops land on Ceres.

On their way to the inner habitat to find Shan’s comrades, he and Drake encounter the bounty hunter Winter, who reveals that he does not work for Michaela Cross. He instead works for the Djinn, a mysterious figure who helped Drake once before. Winter insists Drake must go to Eros to see the Djinn.

Rora and Tsai-Liu both crash their flyers, destroying the high-speed tram station outside the inner hab just as Shan, Drake, and Winter arrive. Tsai-Liu is intent on killing Rora. It is clear now that, like Nadezhda Khatami on Vesta, the MCI operative is another of the Angel’s mindless puppets.

Winter reveals himself to be an android, and fights Tsai-Liu. The two appear equal in strength. Sacrificing himself, Winter destroys them both.

On Vesta, Roger Jon Grey awakes from the dead. His neural implants have repaired the damage inflicted by the Angel. In fact, his implants have made improvements. Almost more machine than man, he commandeers Mona Dagget’s ship.

Katia has already left Vesta, leading a small fleet of ships to meet the invading Earth forces. Her ships are pathetically overmatched, the battle one-sided. Aboard Dagget’s ship, Grey is too late to save Katia, the woman he loves.

He does, however, discover that Dagget’s ship carries a secreat weapon, identical to the fearsome beam weapon discovered by Shan Taishan… He uses this to wipe out the invading Earth fleet, before turning his back on Vesta and setting course for Earth with a plan for vengeance…

On Ceres, the Martians complete their takeover. Shan Taishan visits Drake in the medical center and tells him he must go to Eros, honoring Winter’s last wish. The Djinn, whoever that is, stands in opposition to the Angel and their enemies. Taishan himself must return to Mars, where his sister – Minister Meredith Taishan – has just assassinated Carter Saldana!

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