PROLOGUE AND SYNOPSIS
Advances in space travel have allowed the human race to extend far, far beyond the reaches of our solar system. New worlds, discovered continually, are cultivated as vacation destinations. The wealthy live in a cosmic paradise, but the majority of humans are born and raised with a sole purpose: to sustain that paradise.
Ancient faiths have gone extinct; replaced by free-market mantras and corporate deities.
The military and police are privatized, executing freelance justice in the name of the highest bidder. One such organization, The Interstellar Military Service (ISMS), has two distinct duties: to police outer space and to explore uncharted territory, claiming new worlds for whomever commissions the voyages.
One of the largest buyers of new terrestrial estate is Pi, an information technology giant. After recently acquiring the data, rights, and methods of all of its former competitors, Pi is the sole remaining personal information congregator. And while selling personal information is the most lucrative business in the cosmos, they also manufacture their own electronics.
There are those, however, that live outside the realm of the rich and the poor. They are those that live in The Underground; a term referring to any number of self-governing societies that grow from those individuals who wish to escape the modern social hierarchy and the 'justice' system. In the Underground, one’s worth is measured by his or her value to the whole of society.
Recently, tales have rolled through the Underground of a disastrous encounter in unexplored territory between an ISMS ship and a god-like Being. The infiltration of these tales through the working class has many questioning their contemporary faiths, instilled by their employers and enforced by their peers. The media’s vehement denial of this encounter - what has come to be known as 'The Event' - has many questioning their place in the universe.
New life is waved into the flames of an old insurgency, the Black Sea Pirates. Deemed a 'terrorist organization,' the Black Sea Pirates' purpose is to fight in the name of the working class and uncover the truths of the universe. The truths of which have become ever more grey since 'The Event' and the surfacing of individuals with abilities that many believe to be magic.
The Pirate known as Beck is sent on his first mission, to an Earth-like moon, Aezerea, to investigate why Pi is evacuating valuable metal reserves from its terrestrial manufacturing plants to other facilities off-world. But Aezerea is a moon of many worlds, and Beck finds himself in the seedy Aezerean Underground, searching aimlessly for clues to the mystery behind the mystery.
Meanwhile... Rii was born and raised in the Pi worker system on Aezerea. She knows nothing about her real parents. She doesn't even know her real name. The surest thing in her entire life is that she was raised to be a 'cleric,' or office worker. Unexpected news, however, makes her rethink her life at Pi and a forgotten fairy tale called The Lone Leaf inspires her to look to the Underground for a new beginning.