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Steve Miller


The Tomorrow Log

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Meanwhile, on another side of the Universe. . .

Meet Gem ser'Edreth, a wizard with electronics -- and a freelance thief. Deliberately solitary, unencumbered by family or friends, he immerses himself in his profession, rising to a pinnacle of skill so exalted that the planetary crime boss seeks him out with a commission to steal. Refusing the commission, of course, is his first mistake.

Gem's hidden past proves an unexpected liability and his plants to leave the planet go catastrophically awry. Suddenly embroiled in interplanetary politics, a potential interstellar war, and in possession of an ancient object of power an an unwanted cousin, Gem discovers that the mysterious Witness for the Telios may hold the key to his salvation -- or his undoing.

Duainfey

Duainfey: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Rebecca Beauvelley is a ruined woman.

In a moment of girlish folly, she allowed a high-flying young man to take her up in his phaeton, not realizing that he was drunk. When he dropped the ribbons, she recovered them, but could not avoid disaster.

The young man was killed. Rebecca survived, crippled, and with a reputation in tatters.

Against all expectation, her father has found someone who will marry her. Rebecca's life seems set, and she resigned to it. Then, Altimere of the Elder Fey enters her life--and everything changes.

Longeye

Duainfey: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

There are heroes in the mists...

...and ghost trees infiltrating the groves of the living.

The fabric of the world, on both sides of the keleigh, is unraveling. The survival of the trees, the sea, and the world depend upon two wounded people -- Meripen Longeye, a Fey desperately tortured by humans; and Rebecca Beauvelley, a human enchanted and enslaved by Fey.

Can they learn to overcome their pasts to work together as Ranger and Gardener Or will the world falter on its own cruelty

...Longeye is the final book in the duology begun in Duainfey.

Dragon in Exile

Liaden Universe

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Star-trading Clan Korval--known to Terrans as the Tree-and-Dragon Family and to the locals simply as "the Dragon"--has been convicted of crimes against the homeworld. No matter that one of the "crimes" consisted of saving the elitist planet of Liad from very real internal threats, the Council of Clans wanted Korval heads to roll. Unfortunately for the Council, the Dragon's allies conspired to impose a milder punishment for saving the world: banishment, rather than execution.

Now relocated to the free-for-all world of Surebleak, the Dragon is under contract to keep the Port Road open to all traffic, and to back the New Bosses in imposing law and order on a society originally based on larceny and assassination. This modest rustication is going surprisingly well, until Korval discovers that the enemy they'd sought to destroy. . .wasn't quite destroyed, and is more determined than ever to eradicate Korval.

While the banishment killed no one initially, many of Korval's trading allies are spooked, and some are reneging on ancient agreements, leaving the Dragon to make its own way. The clan's efforts to stealthily recruit new allies is going haywire, and a secret death toll is rising even as the clan's adherents endure increasing exposure to danger and deceit off-world.

To make matters worse, an active portion of Surebleak's native population liked the Old Ways just fine, and are conspiring to take the New Bosses--and the Dragon--down, and are sure they have the firepower and people to do it.

The exiled Dragon has to make an urgent choice--accept an alliance with criminals or face down each and every enemy in person, one by one.

Necessity's Child

Liaden Universe

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

The kompani see none as an enemy, and yet few as friend. The kompani exist in many places, living quietly in the shadows, thriving off the bounty that others have no wit to secure, nor skill to defend. Their private history is unwritten; their recall rooted in dance and dream. The Clan Korval is in many ways the opposite of the kompani. The interstellar trading clan is wealthy in enemies, fortunate in friends. Korval protects itself with vigor, and teaches even its youngest children the art of war.

And when representatives of Clan Korval arrive on the planet Surebleak where the kompani has lived, secret and aloof, the lives of three people intersect-- Kezzi, apprentice to the kompani's grandmother; Syl Vor, Clan Korval's youngest warrior; and Rys, a man without a world, or a past.

Necessity's Child is a standalone adventure in the popular and exciting Liaden Universe.

Agent of Change

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Fleeing the scene of his latest mission, Val Con yos'Phelium finds himself saving the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a young Tarren on the run from interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without slaying each other-or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them.

Conflict of Honors

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Sixteen-year-old Priscilla Delacroix was declared legally dead by her mother, High Priestess of the Goddess. Banished to survive on her own, Priscilla has roamed the galaxy for ten years as an outcast--to become a woman of extraordinary skill....

An experienced officer assigned to the Liaden vessel Doxflon, she's been abandoned yet again. Betrayed by her captain and shipmates, she's left to fend for herself on a distant planet. But Priscilla is not alone. Starship captain Shan yos'Galen is about to join Priscilla's crusade for revenge. He has his own score to settle with the enemy. But confronting the sinister crew will be far easier--and safer--than confronting the demons of Priscilla's own mysterious past.

Carpe Diem

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 3

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

On the run from interplanetary assassins, covert operative Val Con yos'Phelium and former mercenary sergeant Miri Robertson have wound up stranded on a distant planet with no rescue in sight. Until they figure out a way back to Liad, these two lost souls must find a way to trust each another--and let their love heal the dark wounds of their past....

Back on Liad, Shan yos'Galan, Val Con's cousin and foster brother, and his life-partner, Priscilla Mendoza, have initiated their own search for the missing member of Clan Korval. But what they don't know is that those who seek to destroy Val Con and Miri are just as determined to bring down Clan Korval. All the deadly enemy needs is someone to unwittingly lead them to their target....

Plan B

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 4

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Val Con yos'Phelium is a fugitive. The heir of Clan Korval is wanted by the covert Liaden agency known as the Department of the Interior, whose rulers have declared unofficial war against the entire clan. With only his love, Miri Robertson, by his side, Val Con plans a desperate gamble by forming an alliance with Clan Erob on the planet where Miri was born.

But Val Con's cousin, Shan yos'Galan, can't wait for help that may never arrive. With enemy agents closing in, he invokes Plan B--setting in motion a series of events that will have dire consequences not only for him and his life-mate Priscilla Mendoza, but for all of Liad...

Local Custom

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 5

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Each person shall provide his clan of origin with a child of his blood, who will be raised by the clan and belong to the clan. And this shall be Law for every person of every clan...

Master trader Er Thorn knows the local custom of Liaden is to be matched with a proper bride, and provide his prominent clan Korval with an heir. Yet his heart is immersed in another universe, influenced by another culture, and lost to a woman not of his world. And to take a Terran wife such as scholar Anne Davis is to risk his honor and reputation. But when he discovers that their brief encounter years before has resulted in the birth of a child, even more is at stake than anyone imagined. Now, an interstellar scandal has erupted, a bitter war between two families--galaxies apart--has begun, and the only hope for Er Thorn and Anne is a sacrifice neither is prepared to make...

Scout's Progress

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 6

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

All of her life, Aelliana Caylon has lived by the rules of her overbearing brother, the head of the Caylon family. Though she is a brilliant mathematician, he has convinced her that she has no worth beyond what value she might have in an arranged marriage.

Then, on a dare, she plays a game of chance--and wins a starship. It is her way to escape her home, her planet, her drab life--if she can qualify as a pilot.

Enter the accomplished Scout and Master Pilot known only as Daav. Aelliana hires him as her instructor. She finds him gifted teacher. He finds her a quick study.

And they also find an unexpected attraction, one that could have dangerous repercussions for them both...

I Dare

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 7

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Lee and Miller's eagerly awaited conclusion to the Agent of Change sequence, of their Liaden Universe series.

This long-awaited culmination of the Locus best-selling Agent of Change sequence of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's internationally acclaimed Liaden Universe® novels, pits unexpected friends and enemies against each other in a war that spans planets and races and threatens to bring interstellar violence to the very surface of fabled Liad. Val Con yos'Phelium--a Scout, former Agent of Change, husband, brother to Turtles, and designated heir to Clan Korval's fortune and mission.. .whether you considered him respectable or not, no one would call him a gambling man. When he reappears demanding Balance and retribution, on his capable shoulders the fate of his Clan, his world, and his civilization...

Pat Rin yos'Phelium--fond father, bon vivant, ne'er-do-well... and a professional gambler. The enemies of Korval have offered Pat Rin the Ring that would make all of Korval's holdings his own and a Juntavas Judge has offered Pat Rin a world... When he appears with hired guns in tow no one is expecting him and no one knows what he'll do. For you see, Pat Rin is a gambling man.

Mouse and Dragon

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 8

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Aelliana Caylon has endured much, and finally, she appears to have won all: a spaceship, comrades, friends--and the love of a pilot she adores.

Even better that her lover--the man who was destined for her, a man as much a loner as she--is also the Delm of Korval, arguably the most powerful person on all of Liad. He has the power to remove her and protect her from the toxic environment of her home Clan. Best of all, he agrees to sit as her co-pilot and her partner in a courier business.

Even happy endings sometimes show a few flaws. Such as Aelliana's home clan being not as agreeable to letting her go as it had first seemed. And the fact that someone is stealing pilots in the Low Port, which falls within the Delm of Korval's honor. Oh, and the revelation that the man she loves--the man who is destined for her--isn't entirely the man she thought he was. And finally, she discovers that even the lift from Liad she'd so fervently desired, is part of a larger plan, a plan requiring her to be someone she never thought she was, or could be.

Alliance of Equals

Liaden Universe: Agent of Change: Book 9

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Beset by the angry remnants of the Department of the Interior, challenged at every turn by opportunists on their new homeworld of Surebleak, and somewhat low on funds, Clan Korval desperately needs to reestablish its position as one of the top trading clans in known space. To this end, Master Trader Shan yos'Galan, aboard Korval's premier trade ship, Dutiful Passage, is on a mission to establish new business associations and to build a strong primary route that links well with existing Loops and secondary routes.

But reestablishing trade and preserving the lives of the few remaining members of the clan aren't all of Korval's problems. Matters come to a head as Dutiful Passage, accustomed to being welcomed and feted at those ports on its call-list, finds itself denied docking, and blacklisted, while agents of the DOI mount armed attacks on others of Korval's traders, under the very eyes of port security systems.

Traveling with Dutiful Passage on this unsettling journey is Padi yos'Galan, the master trader's heir and his apprentice. Padi is eager to make up for time lost due to Korval's unpleasantness with the Department of the Interior. She is also keeping a secret so intense that her coming of age, and perhaps her very life, is threatened by it.

A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume 1

Liaden Universe: Constellation: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

First collection in one volume. Seventeen short tales of the Liaden Universe brought together for the first time. Space opera and romance on a grand scale in a galaxy full of interstellar trading clans.

Thirty-three shorter tales of the Liaden Universe brought together for the first time in two mega-volumes. Seventeen tales to start with in Volume One!

The nationally best-selling Liaden Universe novels are treasured by space opera aficionados for their wit, world-building, strong characterizations, tender romance, and edge-of-the-chair action.

Since 1995, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller also created shorter tales, illuminating additional facets of the Liaden experience. Here is a vast tapestry of tales of the scouts, artists, traders, priestesses, sleight of hand magicians, and pilots who fill the Liaden Universe with the excitement, action, and romance that readers of the hit series have come to adore.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Liaden Universe.

A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume 2

Liaden Universe: Constellation: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

BOOK 2 in The First Liaden Universe Collection. Fifteen short tales of the Liaden Universe brought together for the first time. Space opera and romance on a grand scale in a galaxy full of interstellar trading clans.

Thirty-three shorter tales of the Liaden Universe® brought together for the first time in two mega-volumes. Fifteen tales complete Volume Two!

The nationally best-selling Liaden Universe® novels are treasured by space opera aficionados for their wit, world-building, strong characterizations, tender romance, and edge-of-the-chair action.

Since 1995, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller also created shorter tales, illuminating additional facets of the Liaden experience. Here is a vast tapestry of tales of the scouts, artists, traders, priestesses, sleight of hand magicians, and pilots who fill the Liaden Universe® with the excitement, action, and romance that readers of the hit series have come to adore.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Liaden Universe.

A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume 3

Liaden Universe: Constellation: Book 3

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

BOOK 3 in the multivolume Liaden Universe short fiction collection. Tales of the Liaden Universe brought together for the first time. Space opera and romance on a grand scale in a galaxy full of interstellar trading clans.

A dozen recent Liaden Universe short works are added to the collection in the third volume of A Liaden Universe Constellation. Ranging from comic to cosmic, only one of these works was first published before 2011. These welcome new additions bring the collected Constellation of Lee & Miller Liaden short stories to 45 works in three mega-volumes.

The nationally best-selling Liaden Universe novels are treasured by space opera aficionados for their wit, world-building, strong characterizations, tender romance, and edge-of-the-chair action.

Since 1995, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller also created shorter tales, illuminating additional facets of the Liaden experience. Here is a vast tapestry of tales of the scouts, artists, traders, priestesses, sleight of hand magicians, and pilots who fill the Liaden Universe® with the excitement, action, and romance that readers of the hit series have come to adore. Contains all new entries published after 2011.

A Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume 4

Liaden Universe: Constellation: Book 4

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

For more than thirty years, the Liaden Universe novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have captivated readers with their unique blend of action adventure, science fiction, and romance. In addition to twenty-one novels (and counting), Lee and Miller have written dozens of shorter works based in the Liaden Universe, featuring the strong characterization, detailed world-building, wit, and derring-do that readers of the series adore.

This fourth volume collecting Lee aned Miller's shorter Liaden Universe stories features four novelettes, two novellas, and two short stories.

Sure to delight longtime fans and newcomers alike, these tales highlight why the nationally best-selling Liaden Universe® novels are treasured by space opera aficionados, with amazing settings, strong characterizations, compelling romance, and edge-of-the-chair action in stories that range from cosmic to comic.

Table of Contents:

  • Friend of a Friend (2016) - novelette
  • Street Cred (2017) - novelette
  • Due Diligence (2017) - novella
  • Degrees of Separation (2018) - novella
  • Excerpts from Two Lives - (2018) - novelette
  • Revolutionists - (2018) - short story
  • Cutting Corners (2017) - short story
  • Block Party (2017) - novelette

Balance of Trade

Liaden Universe: Jethri Gobelyn: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Assistant Trader Jethri Gobelyn is an honest, hardworking young Terran who knows a lot about living onboard his family's space going trade ship 'Gobelyn's Market', something about trade, finance, and risk taking and a little bit about Liadens.

Oddly enough, it's the little bit he knows about Liadens that seems likely to make his family's fortune--and his own. In short order, however, Jethri Gobelyn is about to learn a lot more about Liadens... like how far they might go to protect their name and reputation. Like the myriad of things one might say--intentionally or not--with a single bow. Like how hard it is to say "I'm sorry!" in Liaden. Like how difficult it is to deal with a beguiling set of Liaden twins who may very well know exactly what he's thinking.... Soon it became clear that as little as he knew about Liadens, he knew far less about himself. With his very existence a threat to the balance of trade, Jethri needs to learn fast, or become a pawn in a game that will destroy all he has come to hold dear.

Trade Secret

Liaden Universe: Jethri Gobelyn: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Star-spanning galactic trader Jethri Gobelyn's story continues in the seventeenth entry in the Liaden Universe series by master storytellers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

In a universe full of interstellar intrigue and burgeoning commerce novice Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn, adopted by a Liaden clan after an ill-directed bow of honor insulted the scion of a major Liaden house, is alive and whole to tell the tale. Convinced that the adoption has saved his life and made his future he settles into a comfortable and even elite routine, a Trader's Ring his goal.

Even as Jethri's initiation into the mysteries and joys of Liaden Festival bring him to manhood he's forced to face Necessity and the facts of life: his adoption has also invigorated a net of unfinished Balance far more complex and potentially deadly than a simple Terran blood feud. He must embrace his Terran birthright as well as his Liaden connections while leaving behind the safety of the great Liaden trade ship Elthoria to defend his honor and that of shipmates past and present. Forced to sit Second Board as a back-up pilot on a Liaden Scout ship, Jethri's convinced he's already at wit's end--when several familiar faces threaten all that he knows of himself, and all that he wishes to do.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Liaden Universe.

Crystal Soldier

Liaden Universe: The Great Migration Duology: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Suddenly, staying alive is more than a personal problem...

In a galaxy worn down by generations of war against an implacable foe, a star pilot's mission brings him an unexpected ally and a chance to serve his troop--and mankind.

M. Jela Granthor's Guard is a soldier who was born to be a~ soldier, a solider whose genes were selected before birth, whose life was chosen for him as one of service and dedication.

Cantra yos'Phelium is an ace pilot and a thoroughgoing rogue. She trades the dark and the gray markets along the war-torn Rim, running solo, and with an eye firmly on her own profit.

When chance deals her an ex-soldier, she's inclined to leave him where she found him. That was before mutual trouble arose, and Jela proved himself a good man in a tight spot. Still, she thought to ditch him next planet down the line.

Only he wasn't being easy to ditch. Worse, he had a puzzle going that just naturally drew a pilot's close attention.

So the two of them form an unlikely--and uncomfortable - alliance, the soldier intent on his mission; the pirate intent on her survival.

And neither one, in the face of alien technology, outlaws, and the enemy's renewed assaults, can quite forget a life lesson shared by people who live on the edge of chance:

Sometimes, no matter what, you're just going to lose...

Crystal Dragon

Liaden Universe: The Great Migration Duology: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

You can't go home again...

What do you do when home is a conspiracy that's been 3 discovered and destroyed? When home is a planet in a star system that's gone missing? When home means working for the destroyers of galaxies When home is a spaceship that's calling out to the enemy? Cantra 'yos Phelium isn't a quitter, but she has more than a little problem: the Enemy has accelerated its attacks and how do you fight an Enemy whose, major form of attack is the de-crystallization of everything around itself? A smuggler with a rogue soldier for a co-pilot, and a tree with an attitude for crew, Cantra's the only one who can get close to the man who holds equations that might, that just might&--thwart the Enemy.

All she has to do is help a young pilot from a missing world, juggle a slippery promise she never quite made to a pair of wizards, and then forget who she is along with everything, and everyone, she's ever known.

Fledgling

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 1

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.

Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is not what Theo is used to. Once settled back inside the Wall, Kamele becomes embroiled in faculty politics, and is appointed sub-chair of her department. Meanwhile, Theo, who has a notation in her file indicating that she is "physically challenged" has a series of misadventures, including pulling her best friend down on the belt-ride to class, and hurting a team mate during a scavage game.

With notes piling up in her file, Theo only wants to go "home," to the house in the suburbs, and have everything just like it used to be.

Then, Kamele uncovers evidence of possible dishonest scholarship inside of her department. In order to clear the department, she and a team of senior professors must go off-world to perform a forensic document search. Theo hopes this will mean that she'll be left in the care of the man she calls "Father," Professor Kiladi, and is horrified to learn that Kamele means to bring Theo with her!

Saltation

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 2

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

Theo Waitley is a Nexus of Violence. Thrust mid-year into a school for pilots far from the safe haven of her birth home on scholarly Delgado, young Theo Waitley excels in hands-on flying while finding that she's behind the curve in social intricacies as well as in math. Her mentors try to guide her studies and training into the channels best suited to her special abilities and inclinations, including suggesting that she should join in the off-world student association, a plan resulting in mixed success.

After a series of confrontations, fights, and ultimately a riot after which she is thanked for not killing anyone, Theo is named a "nexus of violence" by the school's administration. Facing suspension and carrying little more than a hastily procured guild card, a pistol taken from an attacker, and the contents of her pants pockets, Theo must quickly decide if she's ready to return to Delgado in disgrace, or launch herself into the universe as a freelance pilot with credentials she's already earned.

The sequel to Fledgling, Saltation is the tenth book in the Liaden Universe series.

Ghost Ship

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 3

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

The new novel in the Liaden Universe series. Over a quarter million copies sold in this series to-date! Space ships, action, adventure--all tied together with a strong dollop of romance and family saga--make this a compelling series for a wide range of readers, from romance to military SF lovers alike.

Theo Waitley is an ace starship pilot--and pure maverick. Her mom is a renowned Terran scholar and her birth father is an interstellar aristocrat in hiding. Whatever, thinks Theo. She still feels like a socially-challenged misfit. But after being selected to train with the best-of-the-best at the pilot academy, she figures she can leave behind those gawky, misfit days of teenage angst that made life so complicated before! But for Theo, life is about to get even MORE complicated--and deadlier still. For even though she's survived the Academy and become one of the best pilots in the galaxy, the past is about to blast her with gale-force winds. Theo can run, but she can't hide. Her destiny as master pilot and leader of a powerful Liaden clan calls, and there are LOTS of enemies who will try to make sure she's quite dead before she has the chance to make an answer.

Dragon Ship

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 4

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

First Class courier pilot Theo Waitley was already known as a nexus of violence--and then she inherited the precarious captaincy of a mysterious self-aware ship. Now she has a trade route to run for Clan Korval while she convinces the near mythic ghost ship Bechimo--and herself--that she wants to commit herself as the human side to their immensely powerful symbiosis. While her former lover battles a nano-virus that's eating him alive, Theo is challenged to rescue hundreds of stranded pilots and crewmen from an explosive situation in near orbit around a suddenly hostile planet. Lovers, enemies, an ex-roomie, and a jealous spaceship are all in peril as Theo wields power that no one in the universe is sure of, especially her.

The Gathering Edge

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 5

Sharon Lee
Steve Miller

The luck runs rough around Theo Waitley. Not only are people trying to kill her and capture the self-aware intelligent ship Bechimo to whom Theo is bonded, they're also trying to arrest her crew members, and throw the dignity of an important passenger, the duly-constituted norbear ambassador Hevelin, into question.

No wonder Theo and her crew felt the need of a break, and retired to what Bechimo refers to as "safe space." Unfortunately, safe space may not be so safe, anymore. It seems that things are leaking through from another universe, and another time. In fact, whole spaceships are coming through. One of those ships is a blasted battleship seemingly fleeing a long-lost war. What's more, its crew may be members of Theo's ancient ancestral line--her relatives. It's certain that they are in dire need of help. Theo has a choice to make. It seems that Bechimo's "safe space" is about to become deadly perilous.

Neogenesis

Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley: Book 6

Steve Miller
Sharon Lee

Menace from Back Space Looming out of the Dust of Time

The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.

Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors--humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe--socialized them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive.

Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo's brother, Val Con yos'Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler. Recently, he approved the "birth" of the butler's child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.

Then there's Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made--and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky--and a good deal less honorable.

All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes.

The question is: Who will get to it first?

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