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Chapter One

“The time has come for you to uphold the honorable name of Jameson. I have enrolled you in The Royal Academy for the last two years of your education and from there, you should get a commission in the Space Corps with ease. I fully expect you’ll be commanding your own ship by the time you’re twenty.”

The words filled my heart to bursting, excitement bubbling up inside me like the fizz in a carbo drink from Earth-that-was. There was only one problem—they were meant for my twin brother, Kristopher, not for me.

Kristopher and I were the closest of siblings. Years of chronic lung disease as a child had kept my brother home and I had stayed with him instead of being sent to a charm school for privileged young ladies and married off, like others of my social class and sex. I had taken classes alongside Kristopher from the first, although I was a woman and, to my father’s way of thinking, not worth educating. But my brother worked better with me beside him, a fact not lost on his many tutors. Now, though, he was going where I could not follow. Taking classes in the comfort of one’s home was vastly different from enrolling in the Academy.

“Father, no.” My brother’s mild brown eyes grew large with horror. “I cannot go to the Academy now—not when Maestro says my technique is almost perfected. I need to practice for hours each day. I can work my lessons into my practice time here, with my tutors, but I am quite sure that wouldn’t be possible at the Academy.”

Our father frowned, his face filling the viewscreen which hung over the fireplace like a thundercloud. “I only allowed you to start that music nonsense in the first place because you were too sickly for school. But my physician tells me you’re sound now—completely fit. As there is no longer any need for such idle distractions, I expect you to drop it immediately.”

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