Emmett Atwater and his team journey to the planet Eden after a series of interstellar competitive trials that led to the deaths of some of their team members.
Most of the teens joined the Babel competition for the lucrative compensation offered to their families on Earth, an appealing incentive for Emmett, who was raised on the poor side of Detroit. Having landed, their one job is to mine nyxia, a very expensive resource. Upon landing, Emmett and his crew meet the planet’s inhabitants, the Imago, a race of humanlike beings who seem amicable and willing to share information about their planet and species. The Imago are, however, headed for extinction due to a shortage of females in their world. When one of Emmett’s team members discovers she is pregnant, she becomes a valuable asset for the Imago. Meanwhile, Emmett learns that his employer has stashed away marines—people frozen in hidden cryogenic chambers, set aside for battle. Many questions arise: Why are the marines there? Will the team get to go back home to Earth as promised when the mining is complete? If there is a secret battle plan, which side will Emmett and his team join, Babel’s or the Imago’s? The diverse characters are a refreshing aspect of this tale; however the worldbuilding of the planet Eden falls short.
A story with potential; perhaps the next installment will deliver more imagination. (Science fiction. 14-18)