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We are live, we are live, we are live. . .Helen Vectorvich just botched first contact. And she did it in both virtual reality and outer space.Only the most elite Far Reaches deep-space pilots get to run waldos: robots controlled from thousands of lightyears away via neural integration and quantum entanglement. Helen and her navigator were heading the construction of a wormhole gate that would connect Earth to the stars . . . until a routine system check turned deadly.As nasty rumors swarm around her, and overeager junior pilots jockey to take her place, Helen makes a startling discovery: microscopic alien life is devouring their corporate equipment. Is the Scale just mindless, extra-terrestrial bacteria? Or is it working -- and killing -- with a purpose?While Helen struggles to get back into the pilot's chair, and to communicate with the Scale, someone -- or something -- is trying to sabotage the Far Reaches project once and for all.

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