Shifting Reality is book 1 in the ISF Allion series.
A few years ago, a military doctor walking the corridors of New Jakarta Space Station saved Melati’s life. She signed up for the International Space Force to pay back her moral debt to him. But her family thinks she has betrayed her people. It was ISF who forcefully removed their grandmothers and grandfathers from the crowded slums of Jakarta to work in interstellar space stations.
It is Melati’s job to teach six-year old construct soldiers, artificial humans grown in labs and activated with programmed minds to serve in an interstellar war. Her latest cohort has one student who claims that he is not a little boy, but a mindbase traveller whose swap partner took off with his body. It soon becomes clear that a lot of people are scouring the space station for this fugitive, a scientist with dangerous knowledge about interstellar space.
The best place to hide in the space station is amongst the many cultures and subcultures of the expat Indonesian B-sector. Looking for him brings Melati into direct conflict with her people. She does not want to be seen as one of the enemy, but if the scientist’s knowledge falls in the wrong hands, war will come to the station.
Far in the future, humanity has expanded into space. There are three types of settlers: the well-off, well-educated elite, the artificial humans created for specific jobs, and the workers who fly out to the ice rings to harvest ice, or work in the processing plants.
Melati is from the worker class. Years ago, her grandmother was conned into accepting a position as worker in the “palaces in the sky”. She lived in overcrowded Jakarta, but workers came from all the slums on Earth. They were promised free food and accommodation.
They didn’t know that they would never see their home countries or families again.
Seventy years later, they’ve formed vibrant communities aboard the space stations in the jumble of corridors where farming illegal chickens is a national sport. They’re inventive, bored and under-used people. The younger generation gets up to all kinds of mischief while the elders are trying to keep the memory of the old country alive.
Melati has crossed the elusive divide between the worker class and their military supervisors of the International Space Force. Allion is their enemy but they seem myth more than reality. But are they? Everything is space is either too close or impossibly far away.
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