Mighty Good Road Author:Melissa Scott Salvage was Gwynne Heikki's business. She and her partner, Marshallin Santarese, had taken on and completed seemingly impossible jobs across the galaxy, wherever the Loop Trains and FTL ships could carry them. — But Santarese was tied up on an underwater recovery expedition when they won an almost too lucrative contract from the Lo-Moth Corporat... more »ion, so Heikki recruited their usual back-up freelance team to help her. The mission: to find and salvage a lighter-than-air craft that had disappeared in the wilds of the planet Iadara while transporting a valuable experimental crystal matrix.
The Loop was run by crystal matrices. It was a kind of interstellar railway that twisted time-space through crystal patterns, moving passengers to key Exchange Point stations among the stars. The lost matrix might prove to be the long-sought universal pattern that would open Exchange Points to all worlds. Anyone who used the Loop--and everyone did sooner or later--understood the importance of such a discovery. Exchange Point One had almost been destroyed when one too many matrices was activated there many years earlier; without a universal matrix, Loop travel would always remain limited to a finite number of stations.
Heikki knew that Iadara was a difficult world for search and salvage, beset by violent, ever-changing weather patterns. Another salvage team had already failed, but there was something strange about their failure; though she had no way of proving it, she suspected that someone had bought them off. Not that it mattered. Gwynne Heikki wasn't about to s4ell out the Lo-Moth Corporation. And she had an advantage over any other salvager tackling this particular job: she'd spent her childhood on Iadara.
People there didn't welcome outsiders, yet Gwynne was as close to being a native as any offworlder could ever hope to be. Whatever had happened to that missing craft and its cargo, she was confident she could handle not only the worst that Iadara might throw at her, but also any problems with the locals...
She just never figured on how far human treachery could go when there were astronomical profits at stake.« less