Book Eight: Private Possibilities

When Jenken Mizlek planned his Raja vacation, his present to himself for finishing his general education, he could never have imagined that anything about it would be more exciting than his visit to the Preserve, the jungle commune in which the social experiment, Primal Living, was being carried out. After all, though most outsiders thought of it only as a nudist colony, Primal Living was quite possibly the most important social experiment in the history of the Rajalan race.

But Jenken’s vacation on the mother world holds some surprises, including a beautiful young woman named Swee who is taking part in the experiment, and her equally beautiful sister, Machja, who is not.

And then there’s the filthy rich playboy who mistakes Machja for his lost love. When he tries to follow her home one night when she’s walking with Jenken, Machja calls in Public Safety and the playboy is incarcerated.

The head of security for the playboy’s father’s commercial empire thinks Jenken and Machja are in on a plot by a commercial rival to compromise the son. The media thinks Machja has taken the son for a large settlement. Before Jenken knows what’s happened to him, he and Machja are fleeing a quarantined city with both the scandal media and commercial espionage agents interested in finding them.

Muk Vajlit and Kalem Rommen are private investigators. They got out of corporate security years ago when the woman they had been hired to protect, the philanthropist wife of a ruthless corporate magnate, died. But now they have a client they’ve undertaken to protect on an ongoing basis who is involved with the family they once worked for. And to get her out of a dangerous place they have no choice but to get involved with the family again themselves. The problem is that one of the greatest dangers to their client is the same family member with whom she’s involved.

Swee is the Primal Living experiment’s most trusted practitioner of natural medicine. Her fellow members rely upon her to provide for all their medical needs. Medical technology is forbidden in the experiment. One thing Swee has nothing to treat effectively is serpent bites. When she experiments upon herself by introducing tiny amounts of a deadly serpent’s venom into her bloodstream and then trying new treatments upon herself she begins to experience strange dreams and visions. They tell her a planetary system wide tragedy may be about to occur if she can’t find a way to prevent it.

To prevent the tragedy, Swee’s dreams tell her, she’ll have to convince some of the very sentients Jenken and Machja are avoiding taking her dreams seriously. The crisis could break at any moment. And Jenken and Machja may have to walk into the very situation they’re trying to avoid in order to give her entrée to the man whose confidence she ultimately needs to gain.