We'll talk about the GEM drive another day, but today I'd like to talk a little bit about ESTO - the Eridani Sector Treaty Organization.
The Eridani systems, based loosely around one of our nearest Sun-like neighbors, Eridani Epsilon, is an intriguing place for Earth folks since it's one of the most likely places nearby (in relative space terms) that could support life. In The ESTO novels, these are a loosely aligned group of systems brought together by proximity and their mutual hatred of one thing: the Andalusian Corporation.
For several centuries, the Earth-based interstellar corporation held all of human space in its cruel, titanium fist. But cracks began to show. Amidst oppressed systems, heroes began to emerge, a revolution slowly brewing.
By the time we get to Prisoner 374215, the corporation is in its final years. Its prison gulags and ever more draconic policies only hasten its death. In Prisoner 374215, we see the horrors of the prisons, but also the hope engendered by ever-increasing small victories.
ESTO is born - the Eridani Sector Treaty Organization, a group of united human planets located roughly around Eridani Prime, the center of the Organization circling Eridani Epsilon. There are other free human organizations - the spacefaring Hanseatic League, the Adanai Collective, and another rebel group to emerge from the wars, the Altairian Empire. Long years of war breed suspicion and soon ESTO and the Altairians are at each others throats, the ESTO government certain that the Empire has plans to invade, the Empire certain that ESTO is far too aggressive and dangerous a neighbor. The ESTO-Altairian War is protracted and bloody and leaves both sides resentful and angry with hair-trigger military leaders and well-funded standing armies.
Some planets, though, are too far on the outskirts to be dragged into the aggressive posturing. New Makorov, settled largely by Earth emigrants of Russian descent, is one of those planets. Resource poor and out of sight of the authorities, it's the perfect place for criminal elements to go to ground.
Isaac knows firsthand what it’s like to be different and an outcast, and this cements their bond. Once a promising pilot, Isaac was left with a damaged body when his brain didn't meld with the high-tech implant needed to fly fighter ships. Turk’s brain is no better. The result of a military experiment gone wrong, his natural abilities have been augmented to a dangerous degree.
When an amoral, power-hungry admiral kidnaps Isaac and uses him to convince Turk to become the cataclysmic weapon he’s hungered for, it will take Turk’s strength, the ingenuity of the Hermes crew, the help of the enigmatic Drak’tar, and Isaac’s own stubborn will to save them.
In the post-war galaxy, paranoia and xenophobia color every action. A few brave individuals reach out, though - to other races, other worlds, to those unlike themselves.
These stories follow the heroes who struggle to change minds and win hearts, to redefine how humans will fit in a universe where we are no longer alone.