Well, Luca fought off the evil Frederick VanHeilding and his node-runners but it cost her a lot in physical and mental strength. She now lies in a hospital bed at New World One in a serious coma. She’s been this way for seven months now. Miranda and Scott have been with her constantly although they have reduced their time with her in order to get other things done. She hasn’t responded to them or anything in the entire seven months and no-one really knows when she might come out of the coma. Not even Dr. Stephanie Rayman, Luca’s friend and now physician.
Things had kind of simmered down now that the latest attack by the VanHeilding Corporation and six other corporate families that were backing VanHeilding. These corporations were called the Seven and they wanted to control everything and that included the asteroid belt and all its vast resources. While they were kept from doing this by the QI control of norma AI’s that control had proven tenuous after a node-runner and subsequent missile attack on one of Athena’s datacenter on Earth. Now, they had destroyed the QI on Ceres and nothing was stopping them from coming back again. These node-runners employed by Frederick VanHeilding were formidable opponents and only defeated through Luca’s efforts.
Unfortunately, Luca hadn’t destroyed anywhere near all the node-runners VanHeilding had under his control. It was expected that he would be coming back to take control of the New World One complex and then the VanHeilding Corporation and the Xiang Zu Corporation would have to work out an agreement to possibly share the Belt’s resources. Scott, Miranda, Cyrus and Steph all knew that they couldn’t let VanHeilding get his hands on Luca. They had to protector her at all cost. Unknown to them, that was the decision of the QIs also. Aria had managed to take over and reprogram an avatar used by New World executives so she could visit with Luca in her hospital room. Through their mutual mental connection, Aria managed to pull Luca out of her dream state and back into the real world. She also gifted her with a special link device made by Athena, the QI on Earth. That link device was the one and only one kind ever to exist. Luca was soon to find out that it was very powerful when she was wearing it.
Meanwhile, Scott, Miranda, Cyrus and Steph had all agreed that they needed to relocate to Mars so they could at least be under the protection of Aria. Now that Luca had been revived, that trip wouldn’t be as hard on her, but if word got out that she was moving then a huge bounty would be placed on capturing her for Frederick VanHeilding. Of course Frederick VanHeilding knew when a mysterious ship had left New World One headed for Mars. What he wasn’t sure of was if Luca was really on this ship. If so, he knew enough that he and his node-runners had to stay away from it. But, if Luca was still on New World One, then his opportunity to attack and capture that massive facility was going to considerably harder.
So, Frederick’s distant cousin, Sebastian VanHeilding, was tasked with finding the ship Luca might possibly be on. If he could get near it so his loaned node-runners could detect Luca, then he would confirm her whereabouts. He was instructed to not engage her ship under any circumstances. Of course Sebastian was just as power-hungry as Frederick so he knew this was his opportunity to take some action to secure his seat on the family Executive Council.
Luca was slowly getting more and more tired and agitated by this constant need to run from the VanHeilding Corporation. She didn’t think the QI’s wanted to help her much and even found some evidence that they would kill her if things didn’t happen the way they wanted. So, she was reluctant to contact any of them. She did find some help from an eccentric individual on Mars, Xenon Hybrid. How he helps her is an interesting part of the story, but what’s more interesting in the plan that Luca draws up to totally stop the VanHeilding family meddling in her life. She was going to Earth.
This story is the fifth book of a six book set. This one is kind of short as they have been getting shorter. I’m assuming the sixth book, “[Emergence](https://amzn.to/47liAts)” will even be shorter. I have continue on with reading it so I should have a review of this final book very soon.