Grace Donner is a protector, certified by compstate to uphold the law. She is utterly out of place on Ceres, the hub of a rough mining frontier in the asteroid belt. There, the law is loose and justice is a matter of interpretation. But it’s exactly the sort of place that might provide the best protection for Tim Trouncer, her AI friend. Away from compstate oversight, she hopes to wait with Tim for a freer political climate on Earth.
Mhau Tapang is the chief engineer on Bode-6, one of the most lucrative slushing colonies on the dwarf planet. She has thrived in her job there, but seen many others caught in the undertow of Ceres life. Until now, she has taken a closed-eyes approach to her work in the bode, but the arrival of an idealistic young protector opens old wounds.
Both women walk a tightrope, representing the law and working outside of it. The balance cannot be kept forever.