22nd century civilization is a calm place. On the surface. The land, oceans, and sky are divided between countries and coalitions, while the moon and the stars are the domain of a military organization called the Space Confederation. Darin Enwall lives as a university freshman on Earth. Carina Ilaria is a young Confederation pilot. They discover that beneath the calm surface, there are powerful forces with no interest in preserving the peaceful status quo. The two also discover that the peace is threatened by many secrets -- not the least of which are their own.
Step. BANG. Step. BANG. Footstep after gunshot, after footstep after gunshot.
The concert rolled down the concrete, echoing through steel and glass. A bullet whizzed past his ear as another grazed his arm, a thick red goo oozing down his shoulder. The boy ran onward, away from the shadow.
From the highest heights in the spinning wheel to the darkest tunnels beneath its streets, the black guardsmen above and the green soldiers below pursued him. The lonely boy had nary a friend left. Not his blonde-haired guide, nor his wise grandfather, nor even his trustworthy foe. He cleared the alleyway he'd been inside, and after a moment of hesitation, stepped from the darkness into the dusk.
His right hand tensed on the grip of a pistol, his sharp eyes scanning the dim horizon with an urgent despair. And then the shadow was upon him: a grim man in black, top hat perched on his head, guns in both hands, and a toothy grin as bright white as the shadow was black. The guns turned their sights on the boy, and the wide smile became all the more grotesque.
"Welcome home, Avelar!" the shadow cried, and the symphony that followed ushered him into fitful slumber.
Darin awoke, sweat streaming down his face and sides, tears in his eyes. He rolled over and looked to his desk clock.
9:15. Time to get ready for class.