Introduction

This is reality. There’s no hyperspace or warp bubbles to cheat the distances between the stars. Each step that humanity’s seed made across the cosmos took a long, long time. Centuries.

Chapter 1: People eggs

I told Jesus that Gene Shatwell Wouters wasn’t nice. Jesus told me to stay far away from her. He would deal with her in his own time.

Chapter 2: Devil’s Breath and Mardi Gras

I opened the lid and pulled out a smaller round wooden box. I lifted the lid, sneaked a peek inside and did not let Columbine see. I teased her with with a pantomimed expression of delight, my eyes wide with effected excitement and my mouth pursed in an overly emoted conspiratorial grin.

“We’ll get in trouble,” Xavi said sternly.

Chapter 3: The Hirsuit Hoodlum

Terra Beata’s climate limited humanity to a thin strip. That strip, a good distance from the limb of the planet, the Intelligences called goldilocks zone. If I ever meet Goldilocks I’ll kick her ass. On Terra Beata, goldilocks does not mean “just right.” It means you will not die today from violent storms, drought, heat stroke or extreme cold.

Chapter 4: Such, Such, Such. So, So, So.

Esau Shatwell Ironsi followed the directions Kedar gave him to get to the Ironsi family’s office. He could not find it. The building at the address had only one door, and that door had a sign over it that said, “Sam and Ella’s.” Look for the yellow Ironsi sign, Kedar told him. He saw no yellow Ironsi sign. Maybe Kedar …