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As Earth's ability to support human life diminishes, the Global Space Agency is formed with a single mandate: protect humanity from extinction by colonizing the solar system. Venus, being almost the same mass as Earth, is chosen over Mars as humanity's first permanent steppingstone into the universe. After a puzzling accident, Arik Ockley -- part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth -- wakes up to find that his wife is three months pregnant. Since the colony's environmental systems cannot safely support any increases in population, Arik immediately resumes his work on AP, or artificial photosynthesis, in order to save the life of his unborn child. His new and frantic research uncovers startling truths about the planet, and about the distorted reality the founders of the colony have constructed for Arik's entire generation.