THE DIMENSION RUNNERS . . .
Dimension Runners are assumed to be a myth, even within the majority of the Pilots Guild. They do all they can to perpetuate the idea, as it preserves their privacy and allows them to operate under cover of the Pilots Guild itself. They have been unearthing the ruins of the Elder civilizations, and puzzling out their legacy for hundreds of years.
But now, something is stirring in the depths of space. The gifts of the Elders are powerful, and some have yet to be discovered.
Embarking on your career is hard enough when everyone thinks you’re too young. It’s a real pain when you’re the wrong species, and worse still when a high-ranking murderer comes after you.
Kaleida doesn’t want to be human, but Gatauan genetic engineering isn’t that good. Escaping to T’ormalin, the sector’s Pilots Guild headquarters, seems like a good idea. Becoming a pilot should give her the authority to stand up to anyone, even the murderous Governor of Ryat.
Assigned by her instructors to a passenger liner full of humans, Kaleida takes matters into her own hands and instead signs on with the crew of the Barracuda – a small Gatauan trader. Some of the crew are welcoming. Others want her dead. But the crew of the Barracuda have troubles of their own, and Kaleida finds she’s walked into the middle of a hidden conflict that may destroy not only her new friends, but the Guild itself.
And who are the mysterious Dimension Runners?
Doing a favor for a friend shouldn’t be a big deal. But when Kaleida’s former Guild instructor asks her to meet with his associate Maurice on Anthris-Four Station, the meeting ends with Maurice dead and Kaleida in possession of a stolen object and a deadly secret.
Kaleida is summoned to give her version of the events to the Dimension Runners Council, where she finds the members unaccountably hostile. Somewhere there’s a traitor who knows more about her secret than she does.
While some members of the Council view her with suspicion, others offer her the opportunity to challenge the ancient ruins of Cantor City and harness the mysterious power called starsong, or die trying.
If she isn’t murdered first.
The Trathian anomaly is getting stronger and more dangerous. Kaleida should be heading to Trathia with the Guild’s research team to figure out how to shut it down.
Instead, she and the Barracuda’s crew have been sent on a last-minute rescue mission in interdicted Eerhaas space, to the Eerhaas homeworld. If they’re caught, the Concorde will accuse them of assisting the Eerhaas and prosecute them as terrorists. The Eerhaas themselves are on the brink of civil war, and many remember their humiliating defeat during the last Concorde Assembly at the hands and paws of the Barracuda’s crew. Whiskers are on edge.
The mission to find the lost researchers will take the team from the edge of Eerhaas civilization, to the heights of a dangerous and wondrous wilderness, finally to ascend the Spires of Eternity and their pre-disaster ruins.
But something else inhabits the ruins, something alive. And it wants to be left alone.
The crew of the Barracuda has been contracted by the Dimension Runners to transport their research team to Trathia where they will assist in shutting down the Trathian anomaly. Expanding across the crater and into the ruined city nearby, the anomaly threatens to rupture a hole in the fabric of reality. They all hope to bring a quick end to the threat.
When the dimensional tentacles interfere, disabling the wild anomaly becomes even more hazardous. And the crew comes to realize that theirs are not the only lives on the line.
Back on Gosper, where Dimension Runner researchers study the ancient City of Cantor, something that began as a prank between colleagues has gotten out of hand, and may have dire consequences for everyone, even hundreds of parsecs away on Trathia.
Perhaps especially on Trathia.
In the midst of the chaos, Kaleida must discover whether her link to the wild anomaly is an asset or a disaster before everyone’s time has run out.