The First One’s Free began as two novellas, one about Kai and Tishla’s receiving the potato that leads to the invasion of two human colonies. The other was called The Marilynists, which prominently features a cult that worships Marilyn Monroe. At the center of this second plotline is Douglas Best, the agriculture minister of Jefivah, humanity’s oldest interstellar outpost.
And if the Compact is the United States, then Jefivah is West Virginia in terms of prestige and power. Its hypergates are outdated. The planet is beset by underdevelopment and factional bickering. Whereas economic, ethnic, or religious groups form power blocs on most worlds, this planet must deal with the Marilynists.
We meet Best as he is overseeing the removal of a nuclear arsenal so that civilians can take over a new colony world. Since the Marilynists were recruited as settlers, the world becomes known as Marilyn. Only some of the weapons go missing, putting Best in hot water. Only when one of the Marilynists holy men intervenes does he stand a chance of clearing his name. He needs to find the mysterious Mr. Luxhomme, who brokered the deal to take over an old military outpost in exchange for his company having exclusive GMO rights. For Jefivah, it’s a boon. They have no colonies, and the planet’s climate could have been designed by George RR Martin – you don’t know when summer or winter will end.
Best is a bland politician functioning as a bureaucrat in the beginning. He’s sort of the everyman thrust into the highest levels of his government only to get trapped by political maneuvering. In the beginning, he’s pretty much carried away by events, but as he grows tired of everyone putting their agenda first and not taking him seriously, he takes matters into his own hands.
The First One’s Free is available now on Amazon.