Prologue

After Earth burned, the remnant of humanity was contained in the self-sustaining asteroid mining colonies. Carey Atkinson declared asteroid DZ-74316 the city-state Mechatropolis and herself its first mayor. The rest of the asteroid belt ultimately followed suit and the diversity of humanity became embodied in the dozen asteroid city-states, from Arthaign’s flowing drapery and elegant suits, through Khaya’s spacious, efficient corridors to the gaslit streets and polished wood of Mechatropolis.

In the prestigious upper echelon of the Mechatropolis delvings, together with the City Hall and the spaceport, stands the Academy for Mathematical Sciences, founded in Atkinson’s time and still delivering new and fascinating innovations. A selected few youngsters are invited into the Academy’s lecture theatres and teaching laboratories to uncover some of the universe’s deepest secrets.

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