by JC Hay
All the excitement lately has been about those seven planets discovered in TRAPPIST-1, but thirty-nine light years is a long way to travel, and if we want to spread beyond our fragile blue-green rock, we’re going to need to look a lot closer to home. That means Mars.
I consider myself an optimist where Mars is concerned. Despite humanity’s mostly bad track record sending stuff to our nearest neighbor – we’re currently only at a 44% success rate overall – I think that the time is going to come when we establish a long-term base of operations on the Red Planet. Maybe not in my lifetime, but before the century is out.
That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to be easy – every element of Mars seems to be designed to inhibit human habitation. From the reduced sunlight (leading to a sense of perpetual exhaustion, at least for the first generation of colonists), to the superfine dust that clogs even the tightest seals, to the broader dangers of windstorms and radiation, Mars is not rolling out a welcome mat for us.
The moon wasn’t in a hurry to welcome us either, but we managed to make that trip repeatedly (not without risks, or deaths, but we did it). Mars will be the same way. In my Corporate Services books, the colony on Mars is in its infancy. Though we haven’t seen it in the books (yet), I’ve got a clear picture of how it looks – domes of 3-d printed concrete, covered with two-three feet of soil to protect the inhabitants from radiation and micro-meteors. Those, in turn, connect together to form larger structures like workshops and gardens, running of a combination of wind and reduced solar. It’s not a utopia, but it’s enough of a break from the corporate wars that high-tech thief Elise wants to head there as soon as her next job is done.
Too bad fate has other plans.
From the underworld of corporate infighting…
Heavily modified and highly skilled, “acquisitions expert” Elise Briggs worked behind the scenes of the corporate world’s espionage wars. Or she had, until her most recent target turns up murdered and she’s forced to go on the run with the only person who can exonerate her, the victim’s lover and personal assistant.
…To the city’s glittering towers…
Plucked off the street to be the plaything of one of the richest women in the world, Na’im thought his life was finally complete; his obedience and the suite of cybernetic modifications he carried were a small price to pay for life at the top of society. Until his boss is murdered and his only ally is the professional thief hired to rob them.
…They can’t run from what’s inside
On the run and running short on allies, Elise and Na’im are about to discover that the murderer is closer than either of them suspect. If they plan to survive on the futuristic streets of Dubai, they need to learn how to trust each other, because when everything can be upgraded and emotions can be programmed, sometimes all that can keep you human is your heart.
Dubai Double-Cross is available now from:
JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and space opera, because the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.
In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter, and a member of RWA’s PAN (the published authors network).
His Corporate Services series, a set of connected cyberpunk romances, are set eighty years in our future where the limits of humanity are being stretched and tested, and our hearts are the hardest thing to keep pure.
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