Without a doubt, we know Mars held intelligent life sometime in the past. Perhaps aliens are still here.
–Gretchen Blake, archaeologist
After a disagreement with her project leader, Gretchen Blake finds herself blackballed from the archaeology field. Around the same time, her husband declines to renew their marriage contract.
Alone, with money a growing concern, she accepts a job from MarsVantage to decipher odd symbols in a remote Martian cave. If she can correctly interpret them, MarsVantage will gain access to a cavern filled with an energy source that could dramatically improve their circumstances while Gretchen could reclaim her position on Earth.
Interplanetary, MarsVantage’s Earth-based rival will stop at nothing–industrial espionage, bribery, theft, and even murder–to keep Gretchen and MarsVantage from succeeding.
Before ever stepping on to the Martian plain, Gretchen finds herself caught in the middle, wanting only to finish the job and return to Earth. As time goes on, she discovers something more valuable than energy–she finds intriguing alien information that could forever alter her future as well as MarsVantage’s and quite possibly humanity’s.
Can Gretchen secure the alien technology? Will she stay on Mars, a place she finally feels like she belongs, and pursue a budding relationship with her MarsVantage project leader, Frank?
Gretchen – The government forced me to move to an appropriately sized apartment after my husband non-renewed our marriage contract. If I don’t get work soon, they’ll transfer me into dirty, ill-maintained public housing. Check out how I’d cast this role.
Frank – On Earth, Washington is slowly squeezing MarsVantage with taxes, fees, and regulations. If we don’t change course, we’ll go under for sure. Now’s the time to spend the money to hire an archaeologist to go after the energy crystals known as Marsium121 that is sealed behind odd symbols in a Martian cave. Check out how I’d cast this role.
Chuck – Peter Konklin planted spies within my company, MarsVantage. As Frank is fond of saying, either we’re the unluckiest company around, or someone is feeding Konklin confidential information. Between that and Earth finding ways to hinder our success, I’m not sure how MarsVantage will survive. Chuck out how I’d cast this role.
Peter Konklin – My competition, MarsVantage, will soon be mine. The regulators and congresspeople are doing my bidding, slowly squeezing MarsVantage. I just need to stop the archaeologist consultant that they hired. I don’t know what she’s after, but MarsVantage doesn’t spend money they don’t have to. And I’ll do whatever it takes. I’d prefer to bribe Gretchen, but I’ll eliminate her if it comes to that.
The Caretaker – As this planet died, my people, the Bvindu, evacuated in search of a new world to inhabit. They transferred my consciousness into the master control system. My mission was to safeguard of history, knowledge, and cultural treasures. Their return is long overdue, and I trapped, unable to search for them until a pair of aliens wandered into my power generator.
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The government and blackmarkets play a role in the novel.
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