I wasn't sure how to write this series of posts without including spoilers, but I'm going to hunker down and take my best shot because there are some things I'm excited to share with readers.
This will be the first of many blogs where I talk about the connections between stories in the Inherited Stars universe. You can think of them as part treasure map and part travel guide.
I'll even include a little quiz at the end for those who've read the stories and should I get any correct responses, yes, there will be prizes.
So to kick off the series...
Blame it on Dartis
Inherit the Stars is the first full-length novel in the series because it takes place at such a dynamic place and time in my Inherited Stars history. What might be a mere mention in this story that takes place 1500 years in the future, may come life in living, breathing color in other stories set in different timelines.
StarDog takes place in the same timeline, about six moons (six months) before the events in Inherit the Stars, just as the Ithian Alliance is starting to tighten its vice-grip on the known galaxy. But fate has a lot more in store for the hero, star navigator Taro Shall, than he ever expects when he's sent by his captain on a simple mission to hire an exterminator. You see, his ship--Calypso--picked up a serious problem on its previous stop.
As Taro sets out, it's apparent he doesn't have a very high opinion of Dartis.
The wall com clicked on as he headed down the curved passage toward the airlock. Captain Jordan’s voice filled the corridor. “If you see Pareen out there, tell him to stay away from Calypso until I shoot him an all-clear on his recall. I’m not going to drop the quarantine flags. Don’t want to scare off our client.”
“You got it, Skipper,” Taro answered as he reached Calypso’s main airlock and activated the controls to extend the ramp.
“And watch out for Palies. I want no trouble with the Ithians.”
“No messing with the Alliance. Check that.”
Outside the ship, Carduwa’s warm, herbal-scented air ruffled Taro’s hair and danced along the pavement in gentle eddies. A friendly sun lit the heavy greenery of tall trees and dense shrubbery just beyond the spaceport grounds. This planet was nothing like the bone-dry dustbowl of Dartis. Thank the Island Spirits for that much.
Because of his innocent quest to rid his ship of sand vipers, Taro ends up being sucked into something he never saw coming. Blame it on Dartis.
Taro's not alone. Six months later, as Inherit the Stars opens, the Rathskian slave hero, Sair (he doesn't have a last name--that's part of his culture) begins his own journey when he slips off a merchant starship where he'd stowed away.
No shouts of alarm spiked above the roar of the busy spaceport when he darted off the ship. Outside the hangar, he tried to disappear into the crowd on the bustling street. He sucked in his breath when a sharp-featured man in a dusty sun cloak strode straight for him.
Carduwan, not Ithian. Thank the Fire Lords. A neutral.
Sair caught the man’s arm. “Where am I?”
The Carduwan registered his size and build, his expression melting from annoyance to fear. “Eliptis hangtown.” He edged away. “Sir.”
The man’s eyes widened, and he croaked, “Dartis.”
Just my luck. A sandy, hell-baked ball where the Ithians ran as thick as rats in grain.
It's apparent Sair shares Taro's opinion of Dartis.
And just like Taro, Sair also get swept up in something he never sees coming when he negotiates his escape away from the Ithian-held planet. Blame it on Dartis, again.
Dartis is a small, backwater planet with one major spaceport that provides the lifeblood for a world that's poor in resources or industry. Most of the population makes their living off that single spaceport, in one way or another, respectably or not so.
The space hub has no formal name. It's simply called Eliptis Hangtown after the town where it's located. "Hangtown" is slang for spaceport, deriving from another slang term "hang" which is short for hangar.
Yet this sandy little "hell-baked ball" that gets no respect is the catalyst to kick off two adventures in the Inherited Stars universe.
For those who've read StarDog:
When the story opens, how many days had it been since Calypso left Dartis?
For those who've read Inherit the Stars:
What bothered Sair about the dust of Dartis clinging to his boots?
For those who've read both stories:
A ship in StarDog is destroyed in Inherit the Stars. What's the name of the ship?