"Izzy, do you have a minute?" Jan knew that Isaac hated the nickname; that was one reason he used it. However, this might not be one of those times. The senior data tech from Logistics and Supply had a serious look on his face as he floated in the doorway of the Sensors and Tracking office.
"Not really, but you look like I need to, Janny." Isaac used Jan's least favorite nickname in response, but again, there was no rancor . . . just a slight irritation.
"Well, it's the trajectory data from Ceres Station. There's a serious downtick in arrivals and departures." Jan held up a databord to emphasize his point. Isaac could see nothing but columns of numbers on the 'bord's display screen.
"That's Traffic Deconfliction stuff, Jan. What does it have to do with Logistics?"
"It's an odd pattern, Isaac." The very fact that Jan wasn't calling him by a nickname was a tell-tale that he was worried.
"Well, it's a pattern. Something strange."
Jan touched his 'bord, then flicked his fingers in a gesture toward the wall screen in front of Isaac. The numbers now appeared on the screen accompanied by a graph of inbound and outbound trajectories over the previous twelve months. "See here?" A bargraph appeared showing totals per month, declining toward the present. "A thirty percent decrease, and it's all in trajectories inbound and outbound from the Belt."
Ceres was the primary supply base for the independent miners and prospectors working the Asteroid Belt. Every one of the stakes in the Belt needed resupply, approximately every three-to-six months. A decline in ship traffic meant that they weren't resupplying at Ceres.
But there wasn't any other location to resupply other than Earth or Mars . . . was there? Belters wouldn't willingly enter The Well just for groceries.
"What does Ceres Logistics say?" Isaac asked his counterpart.
"Earth shipments are on schedule, but the warehouses are starting to back up. Stuff is not being distributed outbound as fast as it's being supplied. The weird thing is that the major difference is in produce and consumables."
"What? We've never seen a surplus of fruit and vegetables! Ceres is usually right on the fine line of shortfall—only the L4 and L5 farms keep that from happening. It would drive the prices sky-high if not for the price controls ordered by Congress three years ago." Isaac thought for a moment. "Okay, Jan, so why did you bring this to me?"
"Well, Isaac, I was hoping you could run some tracking and figure out where the Belters are going for their groceries—if not Ceres, then where? We need to know in order to ensure that it's safe . . ."
". . . and job security has nothing to do with it."
"Well, once that big colony ship out at Mars is finished, stocking it is going to use up everything we've got. There won't be any surplus; it'll be a logistics nightmare." Jan shuddered. "That's why we need to figure this out. It could mess up all of the planning."
# # #
"Entry Squad, this is Eagle One. Sound off."
"Eagle Five, ready."
"Eagle Four, ready and waiting."
"Eagle Three, planting daisies and watching the grass grow."
"Eagle Two, about to put a stiction boot up Eagle Three's ass if he doesn't watch his comm discipline. E-Two ready."
"Eagle Six, this is Eagle One. Carl is being a pain in the ass and is about to earn a pain in the ass, but we're ready to enter."
"One, this is Six. Clear to enter."
"Go, go, go. Execute entry plan alpha."
"Five, in and clear right."
"Four, in and clear left."
"Three, in and Oh my god, it's full of stars!"
"Two, in and clear straight. Oh. Oh my."
"Eagle Six, this is Eagle One. You're not going to believe this, sir, but the asteroid's been hollowed out and turned into a biosphere. There's soil, plants, even trees."
"Eagle One, are there lifesigns?"
"Sir, this entire place is lifesigns."
"Not what I meant, One. Are there any people in there?"
"Negative, sir." The comm was silent for many seconds as the squad leader checked his sensors. "There's insects in the soil and on some of the plants. Something small is flying… honeybees?" After another pause, he continued, "not even a mouse, sir."
"Understood, Eagle." A new voice had come over the comm. The sergeant recognized it as belonging to the lieutenant colonel in charge of the Marine patrols for the outer Belt. "It was a long shot, anyway. Tracking says there's been minimal activity to this rock in the past year. Foxglove and Gladius platoons have found the same thing—hollowed-out asteroids with full biospheres inside. RTB and get prepped for a six-day high-gee boost. There are several more promising targets about ninety-degrees' rotation from your AO.”
Two of the other three squads of Eagle platoon were securing the entry and docking structures on the exterior of the hollow asteroid, while the third was checking on a few rocks in the near vicinity. The new orders meant that they would return to their patrol ship, along with the other two platoons of Charlie company, Fourth battalion, Five-Oh-First regiment of Lunar Marines. Their next destination was one-quarter of the way around the sun from their current position. It would require nearly a week at one-and-a-half gravities of acceleration, and the same amount of deceleration, to get there in time to meet up with the rest of Charlie 4/501. Even though all Marines trained at a minimum one-gee, their bodies would require preparation for the extended load.
Command was hot to get them onto the next target.
What was with these hollow worlds, anyway?
# # #
"Sensors and tracking. Isaac."
"Have you seen the latest, Izzy?"
"Hi, Jan. Nice to hear from you, too. How are Maureen and the kids? Enjoying the new posting? Thanks, Lorraine and I are fine. Jakob starts at the Academy in Harriman Dome next month."
"Umm. Oh. Sorry, Iz. It's just that there's a new report in from Cybele."
"Cybele. Three-hundred-kilometer C-type in Outer Belt? Okay, I heard something about—Hey, isn't that where they found the kids last week?"
"Yeah. Hollowed-out and bio-formed just like the rest, but this one had people living in it. There were a few older rockrats, some whole families, and lots of dependents."
". . . and the new report? Don't keep me waiting, Jan."
"Oh. Sorry. Well, the report said that one of the older folks said the habitat was set up by someone named 'John Chapman.'"
"Chapman, huh? That name rings a bell."
# # #
"General Ishihara, how is the search going?"
"Mr. President, there is nothing new to report. So far, the Patrol has located seventeen unregistered biospheres—thirteen uninhabited and four inhabited ones. I need to caution you that we have surveyed less than ten percent of the Belt, though.
"The Trajectory Deconfliction division claims that each of the uninhabited spheres has been visited at least once since we started tracking six months ago, but that they have not yet been able to track any of those ships to its next destination. In each case of the occupied worlds, the residents claim that they were told of the biosphere by a man who called himself John Chapman, and that they could move there as long as they 'promised to tend the orchard.'"
"John Chapman. Why do I recognize that name."
"Johnny Appleseed—a legend in colonial America, Sir. Planted apple trees. I'm rather surprised to be saying that to an American President, Sir."
"Oh, I know the legend, General—for that matter, it's more than legend, it's history. Appleseed planted hundreds of nurseries, mostly apple, but other fruits as well. They stretched from Pennsylvania to Illinois and he actually tended them himself. He was a preacher and his travels allowed him to return and tend to the nurseries for decades." The President paused and chuckled at the expression on his chief of staff's face. "Well, I was a history professor, General. So, this person or organization styles itself after Johnny Appleseed?"
"Individual, as far as the reports go. All of the people interviewed provide the same description."
"So why do they say he's doing this . . ." The President gestured vaguely.
"Terraforming, sir. The witnesses said he's establishing these worlds to preserve Earth's fruit trees."
". . . and that sounds familiar, too, although that movie is over one hundred years old by this point."
"Yes, Mr. President. It doesn't change the fact that he's violating the Planetary Protection statutes, though."
"Stupid. The laws, not this Appleseed person; but then again, if he's supplying the rock rats, he probably doesn't care about Earth laws anyway. Still, the Alliance is fragile enough as it is."
"We'll find him, sir. It's just a matter of time."
"I'm certain that you will, and a smart man will be ruined, I'm sure." The President sighed. "Keep me posted, General."
# # #
The gavel slammed. "Siôn Céapmann, aka John Chapman, you are charged with violations of the Planetary Protection treaty, the Luna-Belt trade pact, and the Food and Drug Act of 2120. How do you plead?"
"Not guilty, your honor."
The defense attorney had wanted the trial to be publicly streamed on the 'net, but the prosecutor invoked federal security concerns. That didn't keep the proceedings from being viewed with interest by several governmental agencies on private channels.
"So this is the guy responsible for the hollowed-out asteroids?"
"That's what they are saying. He hollowed out carbonaceous chondrites, turned the slag into soil and atmosphere, installed lightpipes, then planted trees and other plants."
"He couldn't have done it alone."
"That's pretty obvious, but no one has come forward and he's not talking."
Elsewhere . . .
"He screwed up a decade of logistic planning. We knew that Victoria was going to need provisioning, and we planned for it. That's why we got the contract. He screwed it all up. Ceres has overflowing warehouses and produce rotting in the cryo-prep area. He's a menace."
"Technically, he made our job easier, we always ran short on fresh produce for the belters."
"Who cares about the belters? Scarcity drives the prices up. The Victoria contract was supposed to set us up for the next decade; now we'll be lucky if we just break even over that same number of years."
In Mars orbit . . .
"I like this Chapman, person. You say he's a plant geneticist, Adam?"
"Best I ever met," said Adam Walker. "I tried to recruit him for the TRAPPIST-2 mission, but he turned me down. I ran his name anyway and apparently the psychs had their own reservations."
"Hmm, perhaps we can make him an offer he can't refuse," mused Keegan Coran.
Later . . .
"Mr. Chapman, this court finds you guilty. You are sentenced to life imprisonment on Earth. Since you have spent most of your life in reduced gravity, and this would essentially be a death sentence, the Court has considered the alternative that has been presented by Mr. Coran." Gavel bangs. "You are hereby sentenced to exile in the form of the TRAPPIST-2 colony mission. You will be remanded to the custody of the Colony Foundation in the person of Mr. Adam Walker, where you will be immediately placed into cryo-suspension until the mission arrives at its destination. Since we have your recorded assent to this sentence, we feel that we have offered sufficient clemency to fulfill our humanitarian obligations. As such, we have a Finding from the President that there can be no appeal without reinstating the original on-Earth sentence." The gavel banged again. "This court is closed; members of the jury, you are dismissed."
# # #
The man was essentially naked except for a light mesh singlet holding the sensors in place. He sat up and looked around. There were five other individuals within sight, also just getting out of their cryopods.
He nodded at the questioner, not yet able to bring himself to speak.
"Welcome to Cistercia. You and the others in this cohort are part of Terraforming Team Six. You will have your work cut out for you."
"W—wh—why?" he finally got out.
"I don't have all of the details. I was simply told that the expected advanced terraforming did not happen. We're carving this world out all by ourselves."
John swung his legs out over the edge of the 'pod. Full gravity. We're on the planet already. "Gravity?" he croaked.
"Don't worry, you've had one hundred seventy years of medical treatment in the cryo to strengthen your bones and circulatory system. Any weakness you feel right now is strictly muscular. It will dissipate in a couple of days." He was handed a bulb of opaque liquid. "Drink this. It's protein, electrolytes and a mild stimulant. Think of it as a coffee smoothie."
John did as he was told. A new world, a new biosphere, and one that wasn't supposed to require environment suits—or, at least that was what it was supposed to be. "Atmo? Temp? Water?" The cool liquid was easing the dry soreness of his throat.
"Earth normal within ten percent all around. This is Antonia, we've been onsite for about two years getting the habs set up. It feels like subtropical Earth—Florida or the Mediterranean—oh-two is a touch high, but it's moist enough that there's not much fire hazard. We're also near a river delta, and just off of a large bay, so we have freshwater and low-saline shallows available. There's rainforest equivalent well to our south, cloud-forest in the highlands to the northeast, and grasslands to the northwest." The man recited the conditions without obviously consulting the databord in his hands, so he must be involved in either the terraforming or science groups.
"Sorry, but you are?"
"Oh, yeah." The speaker tucked the 'bord under his left arm and held out his right hand. "Emílio Belo, supervisor for Terraforming Section B; that's groups five through eight. Yours is the second cohort we've decanted today." Releasing John's hand, he consulted the 'bord. "Once your cohort is ready, I'll take you over to the dorm and we can get you kitted out. Your personal cargo kilo is in the drawer under your pod, and your allocated cubic meter of effects will be delivered to the dorm later. We're all in dorms for the time being, but you'll be assigned to a remote facility within a couple of weeks. Again, welcome to Cistercia."
# # #
"Absolutely amazing." Belo looked over the field of small trees, each about a meter in height.
"They are a fast-growing variant. That means less time until they flower and fruit, but they won't live much more than ten years. The trees—and the fruits—will always be small because of that fast growth, but at least it will provide fresh fruit." Chapman beamed with pride, but then his face fell. "Unfortunately, they will need to be replaced sooner than ten years. The downside of this strain is that it depletes soil nutrients in a few years… and they need Earth nutrients. The Cistercian soils are not enriched enough to grow any of the strains we've tested so far."
"That shouldn't be a problem. We'll just terraform more hectares of land. Until then, these will make excellent luxury goods in the marketplaces."
Chapman's expression darkened. "What we grow here is supposed to be for everyone."
Belo laughed and slapped Chapman on the shoulder. "And they will be. Eventually."
When the supervisor left the test nursery, John turned to his co-worker, Maile Kailani. "Luxury goods. Typical bureaucrat thinking. What we need to do is develop a strain that thrives on native soil and does the transformation for us. These trees and their fruit should be for everyone."
Maile nodded. "I've heard this argument before. I've made this argument before, remember?" She was native Hawaiian; an agronomist in the Green Sahara project before joining the colony mission. "Look, I studied plants that could turn a bare rock lava field into grasslands, pineapple fields and macadamia groves. We never quite managed to transform equatorial Africa back into fields and forests, but we learned a lot. We'll make this work."
John grunted and turned back to the grove of young trees. He took a sample container out of a pouch on his belt and scooped a small amount of soil into it. He repeated the process at several points across the field, and then proceeded into the defoliated perimeter and into the native Cistercian growth past the quite literally terraformed fields of the agricultural research center.
Maile shook her head as she watched him move off. He's obsessed with fruit trees and making sure every single colonist can have their own garden complete with fruits and vegetables. Well, I suppose that's a pretty good obsession.
She heard a faint buzz behind her and turned to see a small honeybee settling in on a flower in an adjacent plot of hibiscus shrubs. Technically, they weren't food plants, but rather were interspersed with the plots and groves to encourage pollinating insects. "The fact that they smell nice doesn't hurt," she muttered to herself.
"The bees are doing fine. In fact, they're doing better than our best projections." She hadn't heard Cruz Fernandes, Team Six's apiarist, come up beside her. "I'm fairly confident that there's hives out in the outback by now." Cruz waved vaguely at the low native growth beyond the terraformed region.
"That would be good, especially if . . ." she trailed off without finishing the thought.
". . . especially if Apple Tree Johnny goes through with his plans."
"Shhhh. That's not something to spread around."
"Hah! As if no one knows."
"Well, as far as we can tell, Emílio doesn't know. And if he doesn't know, the colony leadership doesn't know."
"Those fools?" Cruz phrased it as a question, but it wasn't really. Everyone on the terraforming and agriculture teams knew that something was out of synch between colonists and colony administration. "How in the hell did we end up with an eco-protection idiot as mayor?"
"Especially on an interstellar colony mission?" Maile asked in turn.
"Exactly. Rumor has it his father bought his selection."
"Who's his father, anyway?"
"Actually, no one's really sure, some say Keegan Coran, the Foundation CEO, some say he was a high muckety-muck in the FEFfer movement."
"Fix Earth First? But they hated the mission."
"So, what better way to make sure we fail? If the sabotage didn't kill us, the government would."
"True. Which is why those of us who know John's plans aren't telling," Maile concluded.
# # #
"Okay, let's call a break." The men climbed out of the ditches and off of the heavy machinery and headed for the shade of the trees lining the sides of the roadbed.
On Earth, crews would have set a course and programmed a RoadBuilder2150 or similar fully automated device to clear the ground, prepare the base and leave behind a weatherproof surface for suitable wheeled and ground-effect vehicles alike. The loss of the automated heavy terraforming equipment meant that the Cistercian colonists had to revert to techniques used throughout the late Twentieth and early Twenty-first centuries. They had plenty of heavy construction equipment, but it meant that the road-building crews had to actually operate bulldozers, excavators, pavers, and yes, picks and shovels. The overland road between Antonia and New Virginia would take a decade to complete at this rate, so the crews made sure to pave right up to the ground that they cleared, as soon as they cleared it. The result of that policy was that homesteads, ranches and farms followed close behind the leading edge of the road. With "civilization" so close behind, many of the crew lived close to the leading edge of construction, so the actual "construction camp" was fairly small, but well-supplied.
However, they were not so well-supplied that Nguyen Phan's lunch went without notice.
"Apples? Full-size apples! Where did you get apples?" one of the other construction crew asked quietly.
"What, Newby has apples?" Hector Santos' voice was not so quiet, and several heads turned to listen.
"Quiet!" hissed Gernot, the one who first spoke.
"Well, of course," answered Nguyen. "There's a grove of apple, orange and pear trees on my father's farm." He was new to the crew, just turned thirteen, and part of the first generation of children born on Cistercia. No one was very old on the crew—except for Mr. Santos—because frankly, the colony couldn't afford idleness from anyone capable of working.
"Your dad planted them?" Paola asked. She, too, was new to the crew, and also from a farm sited about ten klicks back from their current location. "You'll have to tell my grandfather how he got them to survive. Grandpops wants lemon trees so that he can make his family's traditional limoncello."
"He didn't plant them. They were there when he cleared the land."
"Nonsense. Earth fruit trees don't grow in this soil. They certainly don't grow out in advance of the terraforming perimeter." Hector was not only foreman of the ground-prep part of the road-grading crew, but he'd originally been part of the crews that cleared native Cistercian life out of the zones that were marked for agriculture. "Earth and Cisty life don't grow in the same places. The terraforming eggheads said it was something about extra 'tides and nuclei or something like that."
Nguyen looked up at the sky. There were two moons up there, although only one was visible in mid-day. "Tides? But we're nowhere near the ocean?"
"Not that kind of tides, Newby. The science-y kind… And no, I don't know any more about it. I only know what the eggheads said—" He broke off as one of the members of the vegetation-clearing team came running up.
"Mr. Santos, we have a problem with the trees."
"What problem? Either cut them down or bulldoze them."
"No, it's not that. These are Earth trees!"
# # #
"My God, John, you look horrible."
"I've been camping. Lost my gear in a storm a month ago."
"You've been gone for almost three years. People have been looking for you."
"I've been tending my nurseries."
"Yes, that's why they've been looking for you—"
# # #
The gavel banged. John winced; it brought back bad memories.
"John Chapman, you are charged with resisting arrest, failure to register your whereabouts with the Committee for Public Safety, and fifteen counts of violating Antonia Terraforming Ordinance 10-505.3, regarding commingling of Terran and Cistercian lifeforms." The judge paused, looked at the gallery and saw the nod from the Mayor. "How do you plead?"
". . . he performed unsanctioned genetic splicing on Cistercian and Earth plants . . ."
". . . he's insubordinate. He listens to orders and instructions only when they suit his own purposes . . ."
". . . well, he didn't resist arrest exactly, it's just that noone wanted to get that close to him . . ."
". . . there's groves of apple, cherry, pear and citrus trees halfway to New Virginia . . ."
". . . we had to re-route the overland highway five times to avoid digging up orchards . . ."
". . . we’re starting to find Terran growth all through the wildlands, now . . ."
". . . I mean, just look at him! Does a reputable scientist come to court barefoot and in clothes that are frayed at the ends of the pants and sleeves? This man is no more a scientist than—than you are, Your Honor! ..."
". . . what my esteemed colleague should have said is that my client cares more about science and feeding people than about his own appearance . . ."
# # #
"Miss Forewoman, what are the jury's findings?"
"Your Honor, on the charges of resisting arrest—we find John Chapman not guilty. On the charges of violating Terraforming Ordinance 10-505.3—not guilty. On the charges of not reporting his location—guilty . . ."
Gavel bangs. "Miss Foreman, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the court thanks you—"
"Your Honor, we're not done. The Jury wants to add that we think the registration regulation is stupid. The rules limiting the planting of Earth crops are stupid, and frankly, we suspect that the Mayor . . ."
Gavels bangs repeatedly. "Enough. Jury, you may not editorialize in my courtroom. You are dismissed."
# # #
"Mr. Chapman, you have been cleared of all charges except failure to report your location to the proper authorities. Since we cannot sentence you to anything like returning you to Earth, you will wear a tracking bracelet at all times, and are banned from travel beyond the city limits.
"And keep in mind that the court is aware that this is your second strike. If you persist in defying authority, we will put you back in cryo—indefinitely."
# # #
"Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor! A statement for the newsbriefs, please." The reporter held a databord up so that its pickups would record the politician's image and words.
"Why certainly, Janet. I would like to say that City Hall is somewhat displeased that the jury has acquitted the so-called 'Apple Tree Hero.' Rest assured that this man is no hero. We are scrutinizing his activities and backtracking his movements while he is off the grid and are certain that he has violated many more laws and ordinances than the paltry few presented here. Trust me, we will stop this terrorist in his tracks!"
Multiple voices clamored for attention.
"Yes, I said what I meant. John Chapman is an ecoterrorist. He is now, and he was before we left Earth and Mars. He has no regard for the consequences of his unrestrained genetic monstrosities . . ."
An object flew out of the crowd and hit the mayor on the side of the head. Security guards immediately closed in and hustled him off the entry steps of the municipal dome. More objects continued to fly, pelting the mayor and his security team.
For the most part, the fruit squished when it hit, seeing as it was largely rotten—that is, except for the dwarf-apples which were still mostly solid. The fruit had come from the city leader's own commissary supply. No one wanted to pay the commissary's exorbitant prices when the city market sold fruit at less than a tenth of the cost. Hence the rotten surplus that constituted a classic protest against oppressive authority.
"It might be time to activate Operation Trudovik," the mayor muttered to his chief aide once they had escaped the crowd.
# # #
Maile Kailani waved to the crowds at her inauguration. She scanned the gathering looking for a particular face—long stringy hair and a lined, weathered face. John Chapman wasn't a young man when the judge on Luna had sentenced him to exile, and he'd spent most of his twenty years on Cistercia out in the fields and forests. She hoped he was here. He'd been one of the major reasons for it.
The demonstrations following Mayor Ivanoff's accusations of ecoterrorism had brought about a major change in government. The mayor and his Committee for Public Safety cronies had left on the next shuttle, destination unknown. Over the next few months, nearly five hundred others left Antonia, cutting the colony's population by nearly one-tenth. Strangely enough, the workforce was not greatly reduced, since the people who went missing were predominantly from the science, education and administration offices.
In their absence, many of the regulations that had limited colony growth, including the expansion of the farming and ranching lands, were repealed. There was considerable progress in adapting Terran lifeforms to grow in Cistercian soil without preconditioning, and a new Office of Forestry was established to foster and guide the industry that was transforming the native plains and forests with Earth-Cistercian hybrids.
John would love it—if he were here. Maile scanned the crowds again but didn't see him. Oh, there were still reports of Apple Tree John sightings, and nearly every month someone reported coming across a previously unmapped grove of fruit trees. Just last week they received a report of a brand-new nursery with seedlings that couldn't be more than two months old.
He was out there, and the whole colony was thankful.
Maile proudly brandished and then bit into the fresh apple a staffer had handed her. It was the symbol of her campaign, and it never failed to get an enthusiastic reaction from the crowd.
Thank you, John, wherever you are.
# # #
A statue stands in the Municipal Park in Antonia of a thin, raggedly clothed man of advanced years. He has one hand upraised, holding an apple. The other hand is down at his side, holding a gardening tool. One foot is raised and resting on a rock. A plaque attached to the rock reads:
Apple Tree John: Siôn Céapmann, plant geneticist, agronomist, nurseryman, who took the name John Chapman in honor of the legend of "Johnny Appleseed." Born 2131 CE, Rinehart City, Luna; died Cistercia, date unknown. Chapman defied authorities on Earth, Luna and the Belt by creating unlicensed asteroid biospheres containing plants and trees adapted to grow in low-gee, low-oxygen and low-nutrient soils. He joined the TRAPPIST-2 Colony Mission in lieu of a life sentence for violating Earth-Luna-Belt ecological laws. Chapman is credited with developing plant varieties that would grow in Cistercian soils without terraforming and is suspected of being responsible for spreading groves of fruit trees throughout the wildlands outside the colony perimeter. He is often associated with apples and apple trees, even though he always took care to promote all manner of flowering fruit and nut trees and shrubs. This statue marks the location where Mayor Maile Kailani launched her Appleseed Campaign to oust the corrupt of administration of Mayor Filip Ivanoff—the success of which Mayor Kailani attributed to the example set by Chapman.
—Encyclopedia Astra, Gannon University, Antonia, Cistercia, AA212.
Copyright © 2021 by Robert E. Hampson
This story is set within the shared future history of The Founder Effect , edited by Robert E. Hampson and Sandra L. Medlock. The anthology contains stories by David Weber, Larry Correia and more! Robert E.Hampson is a scientist, teacher and author who uses his Ph.D. to study memory and diseases of the brain. He turns real science into hard-science and military SF and likewise incorporates for SF influences on science into his teaching. He is also a popular convention panelist who makes science—and science fiction—interesting and accessible to the public. Find out more at his web site here.