By F.M. Busby
Includes Young Rissa, Rissa and Tregare, and The Long View
Suddenly Rissa knew their terrible guess had been right—for Lena Hulzein did not flinch. Instead: "If you don't fear for yourselves, fear for this planet. For I've made sure it won't outlive me!"
All the way from the prison of Total Welfare, Rissa had fought the odds, setting her skills and fury against men and aliens alike. She had allied herself with the most dangerous man in space. . . .
And now—was it all to be for nothing?
Twenty-three years before Rissa Kerguelen was born . . .
Aged ninety-two, Heidele Hulzein died. Control of the Hulzein Establishment passed to Heidele's parthenogenetic gene-replicated daughter, Renalle.
The bid of United Energy and Transport won the North American election and ousted the Synthetic Foods combine from control of that continent. UET's new Presiding Committee immediately began construction of the controversial Total Welfare Centers.
Near Crater Lake, Oregon, the first known alien spaceship landed. UET pronounced it a hoax, meanwhile sending Committee troops to investigate.
The commanding general followed orders. As soon as he ascertained that the Shrakken lacked faster-than-light communications, he pumped their ship full of cyanide gas. The media reported the aliens' unfortunate susceptibility to Earthly infections.
Within the year UET's laboratories duplicated the Shrakken space drive. Earth—or rather, UET—began interstellar travel. Going always away from the Shrakken worlds, UET found habitable planets and began colonizing—not always with the colonists' consent.
Some ships did not return. Space is vast and light-speed imposes limits, but dissidents spoke of Escaped Ships and of Hidden Worlds. UET halted exploration to guard its holdings against outlaw raids. Such raids were not long in coming.
Twenty-three years after the Shrakken landing, UET moved—massively—against the Hulzein Establishment. Aged eighty-six, Renalle Hulzein fought and died where she had lived, but her daughter Erika—also parthenogenetic, carrying only Renalle's replicated genes—escaped southward. By Renalle's forethought and her own, she salvaged much of the Establishment's assets and a majority of its personnel.
Fourteen days after Renalle Hulzein's life ended, Rissa Kerguelen's began.