Nikolai Sholokhov has arrived in Moscow for what is euphemistically called "Privilege," after spending eighteen months on the Moon calibrating an array for the Star Whisper Project - an ultra-secret program that has detected radio signals around a distant star in the constellation Hercules. Earth's population has been decimated by a gender-sensitive virus that raged across the globe over a century ago: Fevreblau. Sheltered by the State, women who survived the Blue Fever are considered Exotics, used to prevent populations from dissolving in a shattered world. Before his scheduled appointment, Nikolai meets an adroit thief, Yuri Tur, who in turn introduces him to Moscow's premier underground leader, Mintz. Mintz is interested in the signals detected by the radio-telescope. Nikolai also befriends a frightened young woman, Galina Toumanova, fleeing one of the larger Union Houses during a citywide riot. Together, they make a daring escape south to Star City (Baikonur Cosmodrome) and into the Archipelago - orbiting habitats in cislunar space. Once there, Nikolai discovers he alone is at the epicenter of a sweeping revolution that will not only change the basic social dynamics of Humanity, but the culture of an entire world.
Kenneth Mark Hoover is a professional writer living in Dallas, TX. He has sold over 60 short stories and is a member of SFWA and HWA. His fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Strange Horizons, and many others.