In the 22nd Century, the 21st’s nerdy little brother, the rule was to lie low for security. The executive floors of the TTA Seattle quadplex lay within a cowling of offices designed to take the blow of any hijacked ships transformed into ad hoc missiles



Jupiter has icy moonlets to spare. In terms of energy, it is far less expensive to push one into Low Earth Orbit with a Terran Trade Authority tug than to haul the equivalent mass of ice into orbit from Earth’s surface. But there’s a shelf life.



The rise of the Terran Trade Authority occurred on an accelerated timeline that would have been unthinkable without our Cetasian patrons in the Integrated Star Systems Alliance (ISSA) who exchange advanced technology for the right to colonize Earth’s vast but underutilized oceans.



Early designs of the monowheel motorcycle were plagued with gerbiling, where riders would be caught spinning inside the big wheel like a cat in a dryer. By 2085 the Terran Trade Authority unveiled gyroscopically-stablized models that got out in front of that problem, literally.



It had been so long since Gina had strolled the lower maintenance levels of Fortuna that she forgot the viewports there weren’t treated to block the harsh sunlight out at Lagrange-4. She was amply reminded of that fact hours later with bad sunburns on her thighs. Hospital bad.


The inside surface of the outside ring of TTA Tradestars are for automated hydroponics. The task of ensuring the food supply is too critical to trust to unreliable human beings, but some of the available surface is allowed to grow wild in another concession to human psychology.



The colony of Fortuna is situated at the leading Lagrange libration point (L4), equidistant from the Earth and Moon, where the gravity of the Earth and Moon balance the colony’s centrifugal force with no expenditure of station-keeping propellant required.



By careful engineering of an upper layer of the atmosphere the world of Myrrha in the Epsilon Indi system routes most light around its limb, rendering the planet nearly invisible. A casual scan reveals only the moon.



As a girl Teresita would often pedal to the Duwamish after school and watch Terran Trade Authority ships take on cargo as they hovered over Seattle in neutral, then depart for the colonies with a roar. Her memories of that time still crop up in her waking and sleeping dreams.



Sketchy rumors leaked of alien maintenance activities in the four corners area of the southwestern US. An entire alphabet soup of government agencies failed to contain information about the ship refit program, and the test flights themselves were notoriously difficult to conceal.