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Joshua Calvert

A Ruin Ring scavenger with the uncanny ability to make significant finds within the Ring. The most significant occurs early in the Reality Dysfunction; a completely intact Laymil electronic circuitry board which turns out to contain a tremendous amount of information about the Laymilian culture. Calvert has the board sold at auction whereupon it is acquired by Tranquillity for its research efforts (at the price of over 7.5 million fuseodollars). Joshua uses the money from the sell to finalize repairs on the Lady MacBeth, a spaceship once owned by his, now disceased, father. As a result of Tranquillity’s acquisition, he meets 18 year old Ione Saldana. The two of them immediately launch into a brief, passionate affair. Joshua always uses neural nanonics to prolong his sexual prowess until his partner has an orgasm first. He then turns them off and reaches his own climax. This makes him a terrific lover, always considering the complete enjoyment and satisfaction of his mate before surrendering himself completely to the act.

After eight months of life as a space transportation provider, the Lady MacBeth becomes a financial liability. Joshua and his crew have been busy, but not profitable because the ship requires so much capital for fuel, operations, and maintenance. He decides to accept an offer by Hasan Rawand to be a partner in a mission to deliver antimatter confinement equipment. The lucrative venture promises enough money for the Lady MacBeth’s crew to solve its cash flow problems.

After this venture, Joshua goes to Lalonde and uses the money from to take on a load of mayope which he and his crew plan to take to Norfolk in exchange for a load of the renowned Norfolk Tears. By selling a load of Tears himself, instead of simply transporting for a middleman, he will bring very lucrative profits to the Lady MacBeth’s crew. During his brief stay on Norfolk he has an intense sexual relationship with Louise Kavanagh. Uncharacteristically, he tells Louise that he loves her and promises her he will come back for her. Unbeknownst to Joshua, Louise becomes pregnant with his child.

After the splendid success of his mayope run to Norfolk in exchange for Norfolk Tears, Joshua decides to try and secure a monopoly of the product on the planet for at least two more conjunctions. That will require large sums of up front money. Joshua plans to use the crews vast earnings from the recent Norfolk run to bribe mayope sources on Lalonde. The Lady Mac returns to that planet with those plans in mind.

Joshua secures the financial backing to secure a monopoly on mayope just as the news of Laton’s appearance and the strange events on Lalonde surfaces. The Lady Mac’s crew decides to Lalonde anyway. One more run and they will all be immensely wealthy. In order to pull it off, however, Joshua and his crew sign on Terrance Smith’s mercenary battlegroup, agreeing to fly troop escort to the planet. Once there, they hope to load up the precious wood and return to Norfolk for another load of Tears.

When the mercenary group become entangled in the Battle of Lalonde, Joshua is forced to make an unconventional maneuver with the Lady MacBeth by flying through Lalonde’s atmosphere to avoid combat wasps. The crew decides to jump to Murora, the largest gas giant in the Lalonde system. There they intend to wait out the battle, then return to attempt to pick up the mercenary team the crew dropped on Lalonde as part of Terrance Smith’s response to the “invasion” of his planet. At Aethra, the ship is forced to rescue surviving Edenists from an attack by sequestered mercenary vessels that arrived before the Lady Mac. In another masterfully executed precision flight, Joshua navigates the ship toward the lifeboats of the survivors and scoops them up rather abruptly while the sequestered ships close in on the Lady Mac. A problem immediately becomes apparent when it is discovered that most of the Edenists are children, incapable of withstanding the type of acceleration needed to outrun the approaching enemy vessels. Joshua, thinking quickly, has all the children placed in zero-tau pods. The Lady Mac, which has been countering several launches of combat wasps by the other vessels throughout this time, launches its last combat wasp and heads toward the rings around Murora with the hope of confusing any enemy wasps amidst the debris of the ring. Joshua’s last wasp releases 27 fusion bombs which detonate 100 kms behind the Lady Mac, forming a temporary visual and electronic barrier to mask his decent into the ring.

After pulling off the rescue of the Edenists stationed at Aethra and hiding the Lady MacBeth inside the debris forming a ring around Murora, he sends Warlow and Ashly out to tether the ship to a large ring particle position directly above the spacecraft. With that accomplished he can shut off the ship’s engines and float along the ring effortlessly without fear of Maranta and Gramine, the two ships attempting to destroy the Lady Mac and Aethra, detecting his ion plume within the ring.

Aethra (whose affinity band has been connected directly into the Lady Mac’s computer thanks to Gaura) alerts Joshua that Kelly Tirrel is sending a microwave communication. In it, Kelly states clearly that Lalonde has been taken over by possessed beings coming back from the dead. They are need of immediate assistance. The Lady Mac’s crew discusses this briefly. Some feel Kelly has lost her mind, others that she might actually be possessed herself. But, Joshua’s instinct tells him that she is telling the truth.

The problem is how to make a ZTT jump back to Lalonde with two possessed ships flanking him. Such jumps are impossible within a gravity influence. The answer is to maneuver to the “Lagrange point” between Murora and Murora VII, the gas supergiant’s small moon. It is a complicated maneuver. The Lagrange point itself requires the ship’s fusion nodes be triggered in precisely one-tenth of a second. The ship will then have to jump to Achillea, the third gas giant in the star system, slingshot around, its moon into a trajectory properly aligned with Lalonde.

Joshua pulls off the brilliant flying maneuver at the Lagrange point. He ultimately returns to Lalonde via a slingshot around Achillea, but is unable to initially make contact with Kelly Tirrel or any of Reza’s scout team. Then, the crew spots Reza’s detonation of his team’s nuke. This gives their position away. At the same time, Joshua receives a communication from Kelly that they are under heavy attack by the possessed in the form of a medieval army. Joshua immediately sends the Lady Mac’s spaceplane to the rescue.

His return to Tranquillity in a badly damaged but serviceable Lady Mac sends alarm throughout the habitat. Everyone realizes that he is the ONLY one of Terrance Smith’s vast armada to make it back to safety. Father Horst’s group of children are naturally the focal point of everyone’s immediate attention.

Since the press reports are released regarding his brilliant flying maneuvers at Murora everyone calls him “LaGrange” Calvert. His exploits are renown but he is not allowed any rest. Ione quickly talks him into going in search of Dr. Mzu. He accepts not only because of Ione’s persuasive abilities, but because he realizes what an incredible danger the Alchemist could be if unleashed.

His cover for his search mission for Dr. Mzu is that the Lady MacBeth has been contracted by the Lord of Ruin to secure some components for the habitat’s SD platform. As the ship is refitted for departure, he and the remaining crewmembers attend a brief service arranged by Father Horst commemorating those who died to get the children off Lalonde. After the service he happens upon Kelly Tirrel who tells him she is going to take all the money she made from her reports and place herself in zero-tau in order to avoid death and the beyond. Joshua tells her that “I know what happens when you die. But you can’t give up hope for something better. You can’t stop living just because you’re frightened.” In his own way, this marks the beginning of his coming to “faith.”

Initially, Joshua attempts to discover what happened to the Udat. He learns from a hired informant that it docked on the Nyiru asteroid and left for the Sol system. However, Dr. Mzu hired the Samaku to take her to Ayacucho. Joshua is somewhat alarmed by this news as he realizes that Ione’s hunch about the doctor is correct, she is going to the remnants of her dead nation to recover the Alchemist.

When the Lady Mac docks at Ayacucho, he is immediately greeted by legal representatives of the company which operates the spaceport. His father, Marcus, left the port over 25 years ago in August 2586 without first settling a debt owed to the port. Naturally, he chooses to pay the fine of 289,000 fuseodollars plus the legal fees of 23,000 fuseodollars, rather than be delayed by a court proceeding that would interfere with his search for Dr. Mzu.

He correctly deduces that when Pauline Webb stopped him from contacting T’Opingtu’s management in search of Dr. Mzu it was a clear indication that his search was headed in the right direction. He believes Mzu herself set up the company as a means to somehow deploy the Alchemist. Since Ikela is dead, the logical choice is to go for his daughter, Voi, who will inherit the company.

While discussing strategy with his crew in the Bar KF-T, two possessed walk into the room. Joshua’s electronic warfare block datavises an alarm. His accompanying serjeants urge the crew to get down. Special agents already in position destroy the possessed with chemical projectile weapons.

Before leaving Ayacucho, Joshua’s ownership of the Lady MacBeth suddenly becomes challenged by Liol Calvert, a man who appears to be the ebony version of himself. Liol offers to buy himself into half ownership of the Lady Mac or to contest the ownership entirely through legal action. Joshua avoids possible legal entanglements by agreeing to have a DNA profile run on Liol to determine if he is, in fact, the son of Marcus Calvert.

Meanwhile, Joshua desperately tries to locate Voi. He enlists the assistance of Kole, a Ayacucho socialite, and tracks down Adok Dala, Voi’s former boyfriend, and (coincidentally) Shea, Prince Lambert’s current girlfriend in the middle of a MF band’s benefit concert for Dr. Mzu’s legal fund. Before he has a chance to find out anything from Dala, four Edenists armed with nervejams approach. Joshua sneaks away with Shea, but the Edenists get to Dala with the nervejams.

At the same time, Ayacucho’s communication and other electronic systems begin to fail. Joshua realizes that possession is quickly overtaking the asteroid and decides to make it back to the Lady MacBeth with Shea in tow. He still hasn’t had the chance to find out anything about Voi or Mzu and fears that the Edenists might have gotten the correct informant (Dala) while he is stuck with saving Shea.

Joshua’s nanonics begin to breakdown as he rushes back to his ship. He is attacked by a possessor in Arab robes, having his pistol knocked away by a painful energistic jolt. On the verge of becoming possessed, he flashes the crucifix that Father Horst gave him at the possessor. But, it doesn’t have any effect on the Muslim. Joshua learns that his own belief in the power of the crucifix is inconsequential when it is directed toward a possessor of non-Christian faith. One of the serjeants blows the Arab’s head off.

Joshua and Shea make it back to the Lady Mac, injured and shaken after fighting off possession. For Joshua, it was a profoundly personal experience. He saw the souls in the beyond briefly. “We’re going to die, and be condemned to live in the beyond. All of us. Every sentient entity in the universe,” he tells his crew in horror. “After tens of thousands of years,” he mourns, “the universe finally reveals that we have souls, and then we have the glory snatched right back and replaced with terror. There has to be something more, there has to be.” He questions the purpose of a universe that does this to people. He only hopes that humanity can learn enough from the Kiint to resolve this torment.

Safely back in space on the Lady MacBeth, he learns that the Tekas left Ayacucho from Shea. Ironically, he learns the exact destination of Prince Lambert’s vessel from Liol, who is a good friend of Lambert and actually assisted in calculating an “odd manoeuvre” given to Lambert by Voi. It is going to Nyvan. Liol was taken aboard the Lady Mac after the DNA results proved there was a 97 percent chance that he is Joshua’s brother.

He tracks the Tekas to Nyvan, discovering that four people disembarked from the ship, one of which was Dr. Mzu under the alias, Daphine Kigano. Goes to a data security firm and enlists the assistance of Richard Keaton in locating Dr. Mzu. Simultaneously, three Capone organization starships emerge above Nyvan and approach the Spirit of Freedom for docking. Joshua is informed of this by his crew. He orders the Lady MacBeth to disembark from the docking station in order to avoid the three organization ships.

He, Richard Keaton and others are attacked by the possessed while en route to the ironberg foundry to intercept Dr. Mzu in the Capone organization’s attempt to take her off Nyvan. Ione (as the consciousness of the serjeant escorts) saves them with vicious counter fire. The ensuing skirmish leaves only one serjeant remaining to assist Joshua on his mission. He succeeds in capturing Dr. Mzu when she inadvertently runs into him while trying to escape from Baranovich. But Joshua’s success is short-lived as Monica Foulkes arrives with other ESA agents to take control of the situation.

The lasts until a combination of firepower from the organization’s frigates, the Tonala Police forces, the ESA agents themselves, and white fire from the possessed weakens the structure of the Disassembly Shed to the extend that it starts of cave in. Joshua decides to forget about Dr. Mzu and tries to save himself and his accompanying crewmembers. But, as he attempts of find safety, all the others (the ESA agents and Dr. Mzu’s entourage) end up following his lead out of sheer desperation.

Matters become even more desperate when the Lady Mac finally appears above Nyvan’s horizon and Sarha informs Joshua of the impending doom brought on by the ironberg rapidly falling toward the foundry. Ashly, in a brave piece of flying manages to get the Lady Mac’s spaceplane to the foundry, avoiding all the fire from the various sources. Meanwhile, the Lady Mac manages to clear a path for the others to board the spaceplane with accurate fire from orbit. Joshua boards the spaceplane along with all the others who have followed him through this spectacular venture (Dr. Mzu, Monica Foulkes, Richard Keaton, among others). Joshua refuses to take the possessors Gelai and Ngong aboard, even though they greatly assisted in the escape. Also left behind is Melvyn Ducharme, the Lady MacBeth’s fusion specialist, who was a casualty of the attempt to take Dr. Mzu.

Moments after Ashly launches back toward the Lady MacBeth, the gigantic ironberg crashes into the foundry completely destroying it, everyone and everything within several kms of it in a series of resulting explosions, shock waves, and minor quakes.

The Lady MacBeth manages to locate the Beezling near star DRL0755-09-BG. As he is docking to remove the crew and secure the Alchemist, the Lady Mac comes under attack by the Urschel and Raimo, which followed him there from Nyvan. The two Capone organization ships outmaneuver Joshua and force him to use the Alchemist in order to escape from their deadly antimatter combat wasps. He convinces Dr. Mzu to datavise the blueprints for the Alchemist over to him so he can plan how to use it to facilitate the Lady Mac’s escape.

He launches the Alchemist into a nearby gas giant in the stellar system and places the Lady MacBeth on a tight trajectory around the planet, using its gravity to sling the ship out and away as the Alchemist goes down and in. Meanwhile, the two organization starships close in on the Lady Mac just as the Alchemist activates and turns the gas giant into a nova, destroying both frigates as The Lady MacBeth makes another narrow escape. Joshua orders a course set for Tranquillity.