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The CLUSTER series of SF adventures is set in a future focused on colonization of distant planets. Sphere Sol is about 100 light years in diameter, centered on the Earth’s sun. Surrounding this sphere are other, similar spheres each centered on another star such as Polaris or Canopus. Colonization is accomplished by: instantaneous teleportation, called matter transmission or mattermission (very expensive); “freezer” ships in which colonists are sent in cryonic preservation at very high speeds (much decay and average 50% loss of colonists occurs during the voyages) and lifeships, slower, safer multigenerational vessels with voyages that run to centuries (during which the travelers regress in technical sophistication.) Because of the difficulty of colonization and the smaller population bases, all spheres suffer spherical regression--the greater the distance from source star to colony, the lower the level of technology that survives. Social organizations regress backward to historical periods of the home planet's past. Outworld, Sphere Sol's farthest colony, is populated by paleolithic tribes who hunt with flint spears and make fire. Colonists know about the interstellar empire and the home worlds mattermit government and security personnel to all colony worlds. Every living thing has a Kirlian aura that can be measured. Through transfer, a refinement of mattermission technology, the mind and personality of individuals with high aura can be sent to animate a body physically distant but a hosted aura fades at the rate of about 1 unit per Earth day and higher-Kirlian individuals last longer and thus have more freedom of movement. The first three novels in the sequence, CLUSTER, CHAINING THE LADY and KIRLIAN QUEST form a linked trilogy. THOUSANDSTAR and VISCOUS CIRCLE came later and take place in the time sequence between the second and third volumes of the original trilogy. Twice before, Milky Way Galaxy has been on the verge of extinction, and twice before a heroic defender has come forward to throw back the invaders from Andromeda Galaxy. In KIRLIAN QUEST the galaxies are united in an alliance of peace. But Hweeh of Weew, the Milky Way's leading research astronomer, observes that Amoeba--just beyond the galaxies' common frontier--is expanding ominously in the direction of the twin galaxies. Herald the Healer is called in. Armed only with his hyper-intense Kirlian aura, he wages an almost single-handed battle against the greatest threat ever to face the galaxies. But first he must unravel the secrets of the Ancients - astounding secrets whose import could never have been imagined... For a thousand years Sphere / of Andromeda was cursed by the other spheres because a representative, Llume of /, betrayed Andromeda during the Second War of Energy. As KIRLIAN QUEST opens, a new threat has appeared on the horizon: the Space Amoeba, a fleet of alien ships one million strong, whose intentions are definitely hostile. Herald the Healer, aural (but not literal) descendant of Flint and Melody, who is a / of Andromeda, has the chance to redeem his species' honor and save the galaxy, but in order to do so he must solve the riddle of the Space Amoeba and of the Ancients themselves.