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The first part of Captain Nia Elain's voyages of discovery cover the period from early 1378 through late 1381, and serves as a backdrop of events that end the Imperium. The emperor of the Ataro Empire is still the strongest political leader and wisely finances the Eagle's Seed on a voyage of discovery of the halo worlds. Why? Three key points. First, one of the brilliant nova on Aquila Prime, Alexandra, has invented a revolutionary hydrogen engine and fuel collection system, which if works, will provide unlimited sub-light cruising. Second, one of Ashford-5's telepaths, Hans, has invented a new hyperdrive engine, which will allow ships to travel five times farther than before and many times faster as well. Both new engines must be tested. Third, the emperor is also looking for additional political and military support from unknown halo worlds, because he is certain the Imperium will soon disintegrate. The robots running Aquila Prime and their new nova, that is, the hermaphrodite victims of the bio genetic agent attacks, have other ideas. The evolution of the humaniform robots to assist these nearly helpless victims has skyrocketed. The new Model 7's are almost indistinguishable from a human! The robots have gathered nearly a million genius individuals in their main city, but the other hundred million survivors are basically psychotic, insane. In order to ensure these geniuses survive, the robots need to add more millions of new "nova" to their population. Hence, Thanos begins to secretly launch more bio genetic agent attacks on other hub worlds, after which Aquila Prime graciously accepts all the survivors the Imperium can rescue from these doomed worlds. Unexpectedly, a young astronomer working on his PhD thesis develops a way to know when a red supergiant star will go supernova, destroying itself all around it. Boon is set to go off and threatens some ten densely populated hub worlds, along with two in the Federation of Planets portion of the hub. Emperor Bino steps in and has the Academy on Aquila Prime verify Jon's thesis and calculations. Once done, Jon and Zoe from the Academy then join the Eagle's Seed to set up observation sites for this "big bang," which goes off as he predicts. Further, Minta, Alenandra's robot assistant, follows orders and unleashes the bio agent attack on the people in the Eagle's Seed. Her objective is to undo all of the many cures Nia Elain and most of the crew have had, making them pure "nova" again. Twenty-two of the top humaniform robot models are then delivered to the ship, while they are in their comas. Only Zoe and Alexandra are unaffected, since they are already nova. With each person now having their own the humaniform robot assistant, the exploration of the halo begins. Along the way, they uncover how the geneticists on Ashford-4, who created this terrible bio genetic agent, obtained their samples! They discover the Ceri, who are spiritual beings who have no need of a physical body of any kind to operate. They appear near godlike to the crew. When a Ceri becomes too bored with life, they then tend to join the doll society, picking up a plastic-like doll body, whose appendages are replaceable. However, over time, the spiritual beings thirst for more exciting sensations that a doll body can provide, and head for Aquila Prime to take over new nova bodies. The Emperor of the Ataro Empire finally discovers that Minta was responsible for the terrorist attack on the Eagle's Seed and that the robots of Aquila Prime launched a dozen genocide attacks on the hub worlds. A battleship commander also learns this and launches a nuclear attack on Aquila Prime, wiping the entire planet out, including the nova and their robots.
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