At the dawn of the third millennium, the most notorious hackers are exiled to the prison planet Claustrom.
Accessible from Earth’s solar system through a gravitational hyper-gate, the remote solar system supports two inhabitable planets, Claustrom, the prison planet and Midway, a gambling paradise run by the Casinos, a conglomerate of gaming organizations.
A constant stream of pleasure cruise ships make the transit between Earth and this system, offering eager travelers the trip of a lifetime. Gambling, entertainment, riches and open space like nothing humans have seen in their lifetimes on Earth can be found here.
The riches and technology of Midway created the need for a detention facility on Claustrom, holding those who pose a risk to profits. On Midway Earth law doesn’t apply, but Casino law does. But it’s not as clear-cut as it might seem, however, as the two planets and two societies have an unusual symbiotic relationship.
A second hyper-gate connects this remote system to a portal at the edge of the galaxy. Here lies New Manhattan, a manufactured world. It is a playground where the ultra-rich seek outdo one another with matter and gravitational manipulation. No solar or planetary system exists here, and the only matter available to manipulate is that which is transported from other systems. Huge construction ships assemble components via robotic automation during the inbound voyage and then become part of the quickly developing man-made planet upon arrival.
It’s an exclusive society with invitations to visit and live there extended to only a select few of Earth’s overpopulated many.
The crew and passengers of The Raven, an executive transport shuttle, have filed a voyage plan for a return trip from New Manhattan to Midway with a follow-on flight to Earth. Little do they know their routine transit is about to fly wildly off course.