The Beyond started with the Stations orbiting the stars nearest Earth. The Great Circle the interstellar freighters traveled was long, but not unmanageable, and the early Stations were emotionally and politically dependent on Mother Earth. The Earth Company which ran this immense operation reaped incalculable profits and influenced the affairs of nations.
Then came Pell, the first station centered around a newly discovered living planet. The discovery of Pell's World forever altered the power balance of the Beyond. Earth was no longer the anchor which kept this vast empire from coming adrift, the one living mote in a sterile universe.
But Pell was just the first living planet. Then came Cyteen, and later others, and a new and frighteningly different society grew in the farther reaches of space. The importance of Earth faded and the Company reaped ever smaller profits as the economic focus of space turned outward. But the powerful Earth Fleet was sitll a presence in the Beyond, and Pell Station was to become the last stronghold in a titanic struggle between the vast, dynamic forces of the rebel Union and those who defended Earth's last, desperate grasp for the stars.
Merchanter's Luck—His name was Sandor and he was the owner and entire crew of a tramp star-freighter that flew the Union planets under false papers and fake names. Her name was Allison and she was a proud but junior member of the powerful family whose mighty starship, Dublin Again, was the true queen of the spaceways. They met at Viking Station, she seeking a night’s dalliance, he desperately in search of a spacer assistant. Their fateful meeting was to lead to a record-breaking race to Pell Station, thereby catching the calculating eye of the grim commander of the Alliance battlecraft Norway, and a terrifying showdown at a deadly destination off the cosmic charts.
Forty Thousand In Gehenna—When forty thousand human colonists are abandoned for political reasons on a planet called Gehenna, and re-supply ships fail to arrive, collapse seems imminent. Yet over the next two centuries, the descendants of the original colonists survive despite all odds by entering a partnership with the planet’s native intelligence—the lizard-like, burrowing calibans.
In Cuckoo’s Egg: They named him Thorn. They told him he was of their people, although he was ugly in their eyes, strange, sleek-skinned instead of furred, clawless, different. Yet he was of their power class: judge-warriors, the elite, the defenders. Thorn knew his difference was important—but not important enough to prevent murderous conspiracies against him, his protector, his caste, and perhaps against the peace of the world. But when Thorn finally learned what his true role in life was to be, that on him might hang the future of two worlds, then he had to stand alone to justify his very existence.
In Serpent’s Reach: Raen a Sul Meth-maren was very young when the machinations of her distant kin erupted into a bloodbath. Years passed and Raen bided her time. Then, on a voyage to the outermost planet of the Reach, Raen encountered Betas with an intriguing tale to tell, an Azi unlike any other, and a Blue Warrior who remembered her contribution to the Hive mind. And she knew her time had come….
They were the mri—tall, secretive, bound by honor and the rigid dictates of their society. For aeons this golden-skinned, golden-eyed race had provided the universe mercenary soldiers of almost unimaginable ability.
But now the mri have faced an enemy unlike any other—an enemy whose only way of war is widespread destruction. These "humans" are mass fighters, creatures of the herb, and the mri have been slaughtered like animals. Now, in the aftermath of war, the mri face extinction.
It will be up to three individuals to save whatever remains of this devastated race: a warrior—one of the last survivors of his kind; a priestess of this honorable people; and a lone human—a man sworn to aid the enemy of his own kind. Can they retrace the galaxy-wide path of this nomadic race back through millennia to reclaim the ancient world that first gave them life?