String of Worlds

Alex MacArthur distinguished himself by service to the New Republic during the Second Civil War, but found the new society sufficiently unnerved by his work that he found himself unpopular with the new ruling class. Glenn Miller, a fellow Air Force pilot who took the side of the rebels and worked with Alex found himself equally uncomfortable. As happens in revolutions, successful ones at least, long-hidden secrets of the previous regime are revealed. And the revelation that technology from alien visitors was not only acquired and studied by Earth scientists but gave them the capability for interstellar travel. Not faster-than-light, but with hibernation technology allowing for people to make the lengthy trips without aging significantly. Disenchantment with their homeworld and the attraction of adventure led the two friends to volunteer for a mission.

Apparently the earth scientists didn't understand it well enough. The ship's computer is in complete control, and steers the ship to a destination of its own choice. An engineered solar system many light-years away, with thirty planets of identical size in a common orbit around a star very much like the Earth's own sun. The adventure they sought will not disappoint.

The ship's computer instructs them to use one of the shuttles to visit the nearest planet, where it promptly crash-lands leaving them stranded on a primitive world. An Earth-like human population with a high level of social organization lives in a world seemingly engineered to provide natural solutions for technological development, but it has either been lost or not yet discovered. Societies ranging from aboriginal to medieval populate two large continents separated by large but shallow oceans, and a multiplicity of islands.