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To my mother, Martha Grace McCluney Beason, for leading me to books. (Doug Beason)
To Dean Wesley Smith, for being more than just the right place at the right time. (Kevin J. Anderson)
L-4: AGUINALDO—5 Years Before Day 1
He thought the experiment would work, but even if it failed, he knew he could bluff his way through. The Filipinos held their Dr. Luis Sandovaal too much in awe for them to doubt anything he did.
Sandovaal ignored the crowd around him. President Magsaysay stood quietly by the airlock, along with the rest of the Council of Twenty. Sandovaal stared past the group, past the habitats and experimental fields, and gazed instead upon the sweeping curve of the cylindrical colony’s far side, where Filipino children played floater-tag in the zero-G core.
Sandovaal’s whole life revolved around success: taking outrageous chances, working long hours until he felt absolutely sure his experiments would prove out. Admitting to being only “second best” seemed as bad as conceding defeat. The field of applied genetics evolved too fast for stragglers.
That had always made it necessary for Sandovaal to take certain . . . chances . . . with his bioengineering research so he could remain the best, the most innovative. He had come to carry on his researches at L-4, the gravitational stable point 60 degrees ahead of the Moon in its orbit, four hundred thousand kilometers away from Earth—where the rest of the planet would be safe in case anything went wrong.