Return of the Convict
Overview - Return of the Convict takes place in 2143, in the aftermath of wars, plagues and environmental collapse. A technocrat government has taken charge. The administrators work closely with an artificial intelligence whose mandate is to bring Earth's biosphere back to health. Read more...
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More About Return of the Convict by William Alan Thomas
Return of the Convict takes place in 2143, in the aftermath of wars, plagues and environmental collapse. A technocrat government has taken charge. The administrators work closely with an artificial intelligence whose mandate is to bring Earth's biosphere back to health. Dom Tessier is a cadet at Vancouver's Space Training Academy. Brain implants have enhanced his memory and sped up the learning process. Now he's given a telecap, which lets him receive and transmit thought messages. In another year he'll be fully transformed. The cadets are required to take at least one arts elective, and Dom likes music. After history class, he goes over to the Polaris building and finds an empty practice room. Sitting before the multivox, he starts to play The Cosmic Song when Astra Allison, a girl he knows from elementary school, comes in with friends. They tell him to keep playing, and begin to dance. The session seems to reestablish the trust and understanding they knew as children, and Dom looks forward to seeing her again in martial arts class. However the attending senior is George Damon, who Astra's just broken up with. Dom can't stand the man, and when they spar, things get serious. Dom's life holds a mystery: someone's love child, brought up in the creche, he's gone to the best schools and never lacked for money, but he has no idea who supports him or why. His guardian, a lawyer, is closed mouthed about the Lupine Fund. The benefactor is Lucas Rivera, a career criminal who was convicted of bringing in illegal immigrants thirty years ago, and transported to Mars. Now very ill, he's back on Earth. Vancouver's Grace Hospital has technology that might save him, and the owners are in his debt. His flight from New York City goes badly awry when insurgents force the craft to land and come aboard. While searching Lucas for valuables, one of the hijackers spots a familiar lumitoo. Lucas is brought to the cargo hold, where cases are being off-loaded. The Resister leader, Eddie McCool, recognizes Lucas immediately, as the two grew up together in the same gang. He takes Lucas to a farm in Montana. The delay is lift-threatening. When McCool goes on another raid, Lucas finds the loot taken in the hijacking. McCool returns too soon and Lucas has to kill him. Lucas leaves knowing that powerful forces will be after him. His main ally is Tomi, a small robotic octopod that rides on his back. Thanks to a brain implant, the two communicate by thought. Dom and three freshmen stumble across a bank robbery. The cadets intervene, and Dom grabs the leader's gun. They're fired on by a man on the robbers' airship. Dom shoots back, blowing up the ship. The cadets share a reward, and Dom is nominated for the school executive. Astra gets nominated too, and her mother invites Dom for the weekend. Returning to Alison Farms means a lot to Dom, especially when Astra's father calls from Mars. Dom and Astra try their telecaps while kissing, and it's intense. Lucas arrives in Vancouver, after staging an accident to throw his pursuers off this trail. He's set upon by thugs, who leave him for dead. Tomi contacts Grace Hospital. Dom's guardian finally tells him the truth: he is Lucas's clone. Dom goes to Grace Hospital. The hospital psychologist Bibi Santos takes him to see Lucas, who is suspended in a glass tank. Bibi explains that thirty years ago, Lucas brought her family to America. She shows Dom pictures of Lucas at the bow of his submersible, and of a young woman standing on a green launch. Bibi looks about eighteen, and Dom asks if the picture is of her mother. "I'm almost the same age as Lucas," she replies. "This hospital is a special place, and I've been able to reclaim my youth. We're hoping Lucas will do that too." What she says seems preposterous to Dom. However life has spun him a tangled web, and the future will ask more than he can imagine.