I get a lot of questions about two acronyms I use in my Science Fiction: ESTO and GEM
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.
Prisoner 374215: everyone needs hope to survive, but sometimes you have to be brave enough to face it
The heroes of the revolution are consigned to the history books, all except one. Aren Dalsgaard, who is cryo-frozen and wakes over a hundred years later. But we'll get to him in a moment.
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.
Vassily the Beautiful: the Russian fairytale gets twisted and tangled in a SF remake
Even with the war over and non-aggression treaties signed, both ESTO and Altair are unable to drop their collective guards. Military and weapons experimentation still forges ahead, sometimes with spectacularly disastrous results. Altair has their Novasym fighter ships, the most responsive, maneuverable ships in the galaxy because the ships are partly bio-gen symbionts, responding directly to an implant in the pilot's brain. The implants aren't always successful, to the detriment of the pilots, nevertheless, ESTO wants desperately to outstrip this technology.
Gravitational Attraction: A mysterious distress call draws the crew of courier ship Hermes to what appears to be an empty, drifting troop vessel--empty except for the blood and gore spattered corridors and a lone survivor locked in a holding cell. Drawn to the handsome, traumatized man, the crew’s comm officer, Isaac Ozawa, makes Turk his personal responsibility, offering him the kindness and warmth he needs after the horror he experienced.
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 days directly after galaxy-wide contact with the Drak'tar, Aren Dalsgaard, considered a hero of the rebellion against the Corporation, is revived from his cryogenic stasis. His skills and his knowledge are necessary to the ESTO government since in the age of the Ozawa Compact, different methods of dealing with humans and altered humans have become necessary.
Sub Zero: a cryo-revived investigator, mysterious boxes and a beautiful, evasive young man…always send the right man for the job, even if he's been dead for a hundred years.
ESTO - the Eridani Sector Treaty Organization was born from a desperate rebellion against a despotic plutocracy. A far-flung confederation of planets, ESTO's original intent was to build a republic where humans could be free, autonomous individuals. Original intents are often difficult to maintain. Suspicions and ambitions lead to border wars and bureaucratic neglect.
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.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.