Randy Tagget is afraid, and he has every reason to be. The entire human race is on the verge of being wiped out, except for a small number of scientists, engineers, and technology experts who have a slim chance at survival in space. If they can overcome the failings of their species, they may earn an opportunity to repopulate the earth - provided they can stay alive to do it.
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The Earth is wrapped in a thick blanket of dense, dirt-infused cloud cover. It is the aftereffect of a massive slab of space debris slamming into the planet - potentially exterminating all animal life on the surface. Randy Tagget and several hundred survivors populate the Lifeboat Augusta, one of three orbiting space platforms intended to preserve human life. Tagget and his counterpart, Keisha Miller, launched into space with every intention of returning to earth as soon as it was safe.
Randy Tagget and Keisha Miller have escaped the Augusta and the increasingly unbalanced and dictatorial Governor Fuentes, but where to go? Their options are limited and bleak. Find another lifeboat to dock with, or die. And what of their former home? Can Tagget and Miller find the help they'll need to wrest the Augusta from Governor Fuentes' control? The future of their fellow survivors hangs in the balance, and the clock is ticking.
Randy Tagget and Keisha Miller return to the Augusta from their self-imposed exile, with orbital nomad Pierre Martin in tow. The environment has changed in their absence and the experiment in human survival is preparing to move into phase III. Yet even as they close in on their goal of returning to the surface of the planet to re-establish a human presence on earth, the risks inherent with achieving that goal become increasingly clear and intimidatingly unavoidable.
The human instinct for survival is strong, especially when the circumstances are dire. When five women and two men return to Earth as part of a disjointed and meager population, with the intent of completing a barely conceivable mission of reestablishing themselves on the surface and repopulating the planet, dire is an understatement.