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About the Book
In near future 2094, Earth is on the brink of nuclear winter. A secret evacuation is already underway, and Solomon Reach and his crew have guaranteed passage on the last ship to leave for colonization and exploration of a new planet in the Andromeda galaxy. When Solomon learns of a betrayal that will have catastrophic consequences, he is faced with an impossible choice: who will live and who will die?
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Lifter 2, Solix Sky Space Elevator
Today, equatorial Earth shone out against the abyss of the cosmos, its blues and greens almost the picture of paradise from this distance. Almost.
As the lifter rose up through the 30,000-kilometer mark toward the Solix Sky Elevator’s Docking Station, Solomon Reach’s gaze drifted down through the viewing panel beneath his feet for the first time in a long time. It wasn’t his custom to think about what was happening down on Earth. He was one of the few living in space who kept his eyes on the stars.
In the last few weeks before launch, almost everyone else, including his Reach Corp crew, focused their attention on what and whom they were leaving behind. Crews gathered to view the planet below, anxious to memorize the shapes of the continents, the vastness of the oceans, and the whorl of storm clouds—signature markings of the only home they’d ever known.
Each vertical kilometer took the elevator’s lifter further from Earth and closer toward their final destination: New Eden, Paradisi System, Andromeda galaxy. Earth had been their Eden once. Long before the threat of nuclear war, before the terrorists controlled the world’s borders, before the storm of 2093 destroyed much of the food supply. He barely remembered the feel of real earth. It had been years since he had felt blades of grass between his toes. But he no longer cared. Always on his mind was the future he had built and the new world that lay ahead.
One hundred thousand Founders had already left on the ten other Asteria-class spaceships Reach Corp had designed for them. They would have landed on New Eden by now. Thus far there had been no communication from any of them. Of the ten thousand crew and passengers yet to leave on the eleventh and final ship, the SS Challenge, most worried that the Founder ships had met with disaster or failed to make it through the Sideris Gate or the wormhole itself. Solomon was not among them. He felt certain now that the Founding Families simply did not care whether the final ship arrived in the Paradisi System at all.
Five thousand of those waiting to take the ship to the Paradisi System were Solomon’s Reachers, what he called his Reach Corp crewmembers and their children. When Solomon’s father had led Reach Corp, he signed a contract with the Founding Families, the pillars of Earth’s elite and the group who had secretly launched the Paradisi Mission back in 2025. Their deal was simple: Reach Corp would build the three space elevators, space stations, and ten ships needed to launch the requisite number of humans to populate the new planet.