You can run but you can’t hide — not even in space.
Commander Scott McNabb, of the science vessel Hermes, is three years into a five-year-long survey of the asteroid belt. It’s an excruciatingly dull mission, yet it keeps him far away from his debts and the agencies that are chasing him down.
But his fortunes change, along with the other four crew, when they discover a derelict spaceship in orbit around a binary asteroid. Scott’s share of the salvage bounty would be enough to clear his name and start a new life. All they have to do is retrieve an item of cargo and return it to Ceres.
It should be simple.
However, the cargo happens to be an experimental quantum device lost while en route to Europa, and ownership of this technology could fundamentally change the balance of power within the solar system. Now that word is out of its discovery, the Hermes finds itself being hunted down by those who want to take possession of this device, including the very people Scott has spent so much time and effort hiding from.
And there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.
But Scott is getting pretty tired of running away. If he wants any hope of a new life, then he’s going to have to stand up and fight for it, even if that means endangering himself and his crew. Yet, after a lifetime of running and hiding, Scott’s not sure if he has what it takes—maybe he really is just one of life’s perpetual losers. Then again, there is a deep river of rage welling up inside him, born out of a lifetime of countless accumulated injustices, each one inching him ever closer to the edge—and this could be the one that finally makes him snap.
The story is set a few centuries into the future where humanity has colonized most of the inner solar system. The asteroid belt (The Belt) is now a hive of mining activity and ships ply the trade routes to Earth and Mars. The technology depicted is, for the most part, what I consider to be technically plausible, although I do stretch it a little with quantum entanglement. That said, you won’t need a calculator or a slide-rule to enjoy the story.