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Down Pad

A few years from now, reusable spacecraft provide routine, daily access to space. And as always, it's the enlisted boots on the ground that keep everything going. They need a special combination of people, both laser-focused detail-obsessed computer jocks and the oil-stained salt-of-the-earth folks who just make things work.

Space Force enlistees go to boot camp in Boca Chica. That's also where the Space Force operates its workhorse, the Shrike, the military version of the SpaceX Falcon 9. The landing pads are nicknamed down pads, a name reflected in the local military hangout, The Down Pad, which provides food, drink, dancing and gaming.

But not everyone who wants to join the Space Force will make it. Jake Blacksmith, a detrans man, has to fight to get in. Camden Tanner, more comfortable with computers than people, has to fight to fit in. As Blacksmith and Tanner rotate between the base and The Down Pad, each must navigate his own path in life. Where will it lead each of them?


Mary Hare
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