In a very believable future, corporations own their employees and ever ything they create from the moment people graduate and find a job.
Looking to avoid this fate, Adda and Iridian steal a colony ship and deliver it to a band of pirates in a play to join the crew. Their plan seems to go off without a hitch—until they arrive at the Barbary Station and learn that its security AI has taken over and deemed almost everyone a hostile.
While Adda works to wrest control from the AI, Iridian tries to earn the trust of the crew and secure a job post-crisis. Of course, in order to have a job post-crisis, they somehow have to survive the crisis. With everyone around her dropping like flies, Adda races to rescue the pirates and refugees on the station.
The book is a good representation of what it takes for two outsiders who already have a bond with each other to then build relationships with an established group. Maybe we don’t have a nasty AI running around with bioweapons, but we still face social pressures on a regular basis. And job stress. And relationship drama. Okay, it’s a very good thing that we don’t have to deal with the AI.