Please visit the Recaptains blog in you need a refresher on the first book in the series.
Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI.” - front flap.
Roderick LaRoux is doing damage control in an attempt to make the galaxy forget the accusations directed at him in the Avon broadcast. As part of his outreach program, he has opened his holosuite, which takes up an entire floor, to the public for a minimal fee. It is a place that provides a fun, safe setting for people and their children to have fun. It is here that Corinth Against Tyranny plans to hold its latest protest.
Seventeen-year-old Sophia Quinn has spent the past year trying to get close to Roderick LaRoux. While waiting, Sophia catches a boy not much older than herself, staring at her. He has a lapscreen plugged into a data port. What throws her for a loop is the fact that he was wearing a LaRoux Industries shirt. Sophia tries to calm her nerves and the deflect any superstition by flirting with him. Her ploy works; he winks and grins. The boy pushes a button on his lapscreen and a holographic bird sweeps across and then freezes mid air. Suddenly, the entire holosuite vanishes and everyone finds themselves in a stark, white room. Sofia sees that people are looking around confused and realizes that it wasn't planned by the protesters. Before she can make her escape, something catches her eye. Sofia sees the boy remove a chip from the lapscreen and place it in his pocket. He gets up and eases into the security camera’s blind spot. He takes off his LaRoux Industries shirt and turns it inside out to reveal a shirt that matches the current fashion trend. He instantly blends into the crowd and she realizes that he is not with the protesters.
A voice comes over the loudspeakers alerting the crowd that a security breach has been detected. Security officers are covering all of the exits and the crowd is asked to cooperate. Sophia knows that her concealed genetag will not pass inspection and that she will be seen as a border planet insurgent and the cover she has worked so hard for will be blown. She looks for another escape route and a possible diversion. She sees the boy and decides that his fake uniform will keep the attention away from her. Sofia whispers to the guard that the boy over there needs help. Before she can slip out of the door, the guard wants her to show him and signals for more help. Stuck, she does the only thing she can. He is her fiance and stress makes his condition worse. The guard comments that the two of them were just fine a moment ago. They can wait. She pleads some and they want to call for a medtech, but she is still unable to escape. Suddenly, the boy drops to the ground and begins convulsing. The guards panic and order her to do something. Now, Sofia begins to panic when it seems that his condition worsens. Just then, the strange ring that the projectors had concealed comes to life as it begins to light up. Everyone in the room becomes entranced by it, including the guards. The boy puts his hand on her own, gets her attention and asks her when the wedding will be. Sofia helps him up. She realizes that they both want the same thing, to make their escape. Before they can leave, a man drops to the floor with his eyes glazed over. Sofia is taken back to the night on the military base in Avon where her father strapped on a bomb. Everyone in the holosuite has that same dead look in their eyes.
Gideon Marchant knows that he should stay out of trouble but the girl with dimples is too hard to resist. He also isn't buying her story about the reason she was at the holosuite. Gideon is disappointed that he is leaving LaRoux Industries without any new information on Commander Antie Towers. While Gideon works on a distraction, he asks Sofia for her name. Alexis, she answers and he replies with his but she calls him out on using a newscaster’s name. He asks her if they are going to split up once his distraction starts and she initially says yes. But she does have an access card for the fire stairs. The alarm sounds and she tells him that he is an idiot. They need to leave through the stairwell. Gideon tells her that everyone will be heading away from the fire, allowing them clear access.
As the two are heading for the stairwell, a loud scream can be heard over the shrieking alarms from the hollow sweet. The screen is stopped by the one of a laser weapon. Then look at one another. Gideon thinks he knows what was happening in that room but one look at dimples and he says that her mask has slipped. She knows what is coming and they head on down the hall. After 15 minutes of walking, they stop at an exit sign guarded but what looks like a guy new to the job. Sophia quickly swipes hair dye to streak her hair and tells him to wait. Gideon knows that he is seeing a real professional at work. He turns his shirt back out to show the LRI logo. Hysterical, she finally gets the guard to run down the hall looking for a man who pulled a gun on her. Gideon joins her and they enter the emergency stairwell.
Just before they can reach the ground level, three security guards come through the door. Gideon steps out of their hiding spot and hopes that his uniform will help them out. Alexis stays behind him and offers up that they are maintenance and doing a manual check of some of the alarms. The guards go back down the stairs. Just when they think that they are in the clear, the guards order them to stop. Sophia opens the door and drags Gideon with her. As they are closing the door, he hears the sound of a laser gun before feeling a sharp pain in his arm.
Sofia knows that they need to make a quick getaway. She waits for a taxi with a younger man driving so that she can work for a free fare. Finding her mark, she isn't happy that Gideon isn't playing along. The cabbie drives them to the rich part of the city. Sofia sees her plan disintegrating when the cabbie wants her to wait while her “brother” goes to get their aunt’s money. Sophia realizes that time is of the essence when she sees the severity of Gideon’s wound. Going for the maximum shock value, she kisses her “brother” and unlock the doors while the cabbie watches. The two are able to make their escape and head to her apartment.
Gideon knows that Alexis's name isn't Kristina either when the doorman calls her that. He is shocked when they arrive at the penthouse apartment. She goes to gather a first aid kit and he jokingly asks if she is really Lilac LaRoux. He knows she isn't by the locks of her hair and the fact that she knows how to treat his wound. After she is done, she tells Gideon he can either stay or leave but she is going to wash the dye out of her hair. He know that the two of them have to talk about what just happened. They are going to be hunted down for what they know. Gideon admits that he has told her his real name. Alexis is really her middle name but that is all she will tell him. The two finally talk about the lighted ring in the room and how the people reacted to it. He is desperate to find Towers. Alexis says that she has seen people act that way before, like husks, but she won't tell him where. Knowing all the he has learned since Lilac asked him for security assistance, he deduces that she is from Avon. He doesn't tell her the entire truth about the ring but thinks that the two of them should work together since they are both after info on LRI. She refuses and Gideon says that he is in her debt and will leave her a way to contact him. He secretly hopes that she will want to work together in the future. Gideon asks her if she has ever heard of the Knave of Hearts. Sofia goes still. She asked if he works for him and why he's looking into LRI. Sofia also asks Gideon not to mention her name to the Knave. He realizes that she is terrified of his online persona. Instead, he sets her up with a private email link that will only come to him. As he is leaving, Sofia asks Gideon if she can trust him. He grins and says, “Take a bullet for you twice, if I have to.”
Will Sofia contact Gideon for help? How does he uncover her true identity? What exactly is he doing for Lilac LaRoux? How will Sofia text when she discovers who the Knave of Hearts is? How deep does Roderick LaRoux deceptions go? What does the ring do that Sofia saw Avon and Corinth? Will either of their covers be blown? Can Lilac and Tarver bring down her father and LRI? What have Flynn and Lee been up to? How do the three couples from the Starbound trilogy finally come together?
Fans of the Starbound trilogy will be eager to see how the story ends.