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These are the dying days of a failed species. Twin climate catastrophes have rendered Earth all but uninhabitable. Humanity never developed the technology to expand beyond the embrace of its home star. The remnants of the race — no more than a few million in all — have taken precarious refuge in space stations, on the surfaces of unfriendly planets, or in endlessly wandering fleets. Food and water are scarce, but accidents and violence are in plentiful supply. There are few reasons to believe in the bright future humanity once envisioned for itself.

Still, life is tenacious. Civilization continues, after a fashion, and there are many who believe that the future is still worth fighting for. You are one of these optimists. Something has kept you from giving up, whether it's idealism, curiosity, stubbornness, or the simple promise of money to be made. You are not content to huddle in a decaying space station, waiting for the inevitable. You are destined for greater things. You and a few kindred spirits have pooled the last of your He3 credits and bought a ship. It's rickety and underpowered, but it's a start.

But be careful. Optimism won't protect you from a ruptured airlock, a runaway station fire, or a pirate ambush. And there are rumors of other, darker threats that lurk in the untraveled darkness beyond the orbital plane…

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