A SpaceOpera series by ElizabethMoon.

Kylara Vatta gets forced out of her naval academy for a scandal she accidentally helped create. Her family runs a powerful trading business and she's sent to captain an [[UsedFuture outdated]] [[CoolShip trade ship]] to a planet where it's to be sold for scrap, not quite aware that it's a SecretTestOfCharacter from her father and brother to see how she'll rise up to danger and hold up in the family business. They get more danger than they bargained for however, as a criminal conspiracy threatens to violently bring down the corporate structures that space currently relies on... including the Vatta family.

The series includes the following books:

* ''Trading in Danger''
* ''Marque and Reprisal'', titled ''Moving Target'' in the UK, New Zealand and Australia
* ''Engaging The Enemy''
* ''Command Decision''
* ''Victory Conditions''

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!!This series contains examples of:
* AbsentAliens: Instead, the galaxy is populated by wildly divergent cultures of humans, with various degrees of {{Transhumanism}} in effect.
* ActionGirl: Kylara Vatta, TheCaptain. Knows her way around both space and hand to hand combat due to her military training.
* AerithAndBob: With a dose of MeltingPotNomenclature. The characters from the Vatta family are named Helen, Stella, Osman, George, Stavros, Gracie and Kylara, for example.
* AnyoneCanDie: In ''Victory Conditions'', [[spoiler: almost the entire crew of Ky's ship]] is killed unexpectedly in the midst of a battle scene.
* AppealToForce: [=InterStellar=] Communications tells one mercenary company, when one of their ansibles is damaged in a fight, that they will collect a deposit from them and then hold an inquiry into the incident, and collect the fine out of the deposit if the mercenaries are found responsible. When the mercenaries object and ask the representative about a trial, they are informed that [=InterStellar=] doesn't resort to the courts, [[KangarooCourt they arbitrate their own disputes]]. Since all interstellar communications run through them, they can pull this off.
* ArmsDealer: Ky must deal with both Gun Shop Owners and Space Shooter Sellers, and finding one of the latter that won't screw her or hasn't been bought by the enemy is a difficult job. The better ones, in both cases, are often slightly less than legitimate.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Ky.
** In the later books, the politeness obsessed and slightly silly Cascadia System [[spoiler: throws in their lot with Ky's anti-pirate Privateer flotilla, giving her some legitimate backing and some not-insubstantial military and industrial resources.]] The same overly polite people also arrest and execute one of the villains [[spoiler: [[SeriousBusiness for being rude in court]].]]
* BioAugmentation: Used for thing ranging from making it easier to install implants, to alterations that make the subject seem downright alien.
* BlackBox: The hyperdrive and the [[SubspaceAnsible Ansibles]]. The crew does not know how to service or repair either of them, as the manufacturers of both are very protective of their design secrets. This becomes a plot point when the hyperdrive breaks down in the first book [[spoiler: And when the Ansible network begins to fail]]. Also applied to various components on the ship that Ky does not know the workings of. Usually she doesn't get an explanation, so she and the reader both move on while more specialized characters work on the equipment.
* BlackSheep: Osman Vatta, a former member of the Vatta family who becomes a pirate. Has a form of PaterFamilicide done to the others as part of their plans.
** Subverted with Rafe who thanks to the bad guys is made to look like this, but ends up the ProdigalHero when he returns to rescue them.
* BlingOfWar: Ransome's Rangers when Ky first meets them are decked out in this.
* BloodKnight: Kylara is afraid that she might be one (see TheseHandsHaveKilled, below)
* BodyGuardBetrayal: The security firm who hired him out gives a full refund afterwards. For fairly obvious reasons, they don't ask if a new bodyguard is required.
* BrainComputerInterface: Many of the characters have multipurpose implants which allow them to access computer networks and send and receive information.
** One such implant also acts as a sort of CyanidePill, dumping poison into a mook's body when the heroes attempt to interrogate him.
* BrickJoke: The fruitcakes.
* CallBack: Stella's backstory becomes very relevant again when she ends up a temporary guardian of Toby's girlfriend [[spoiler:who did pretty much the same "reveal a family secret to a lover" thing Stella did at her age, only in her case it's her father who was the bad guy, not Toby. And of course, they're both daughters of SpacePirates, though Stella was adopted young.]] Stella reflects how lots of things they say to each other are word-for-word [[MeaningfulEcho Meaningful Echoes]] of her own thoughts and things she and her mother argued about.
* {{Catchphrase}}: The oft-repeated "Trade and Profit."
* ChekhovsGun: The model kit and the fruitcakes from ''Trading In Danger''.
*** Partially deconstructed as the kit was intended for an entirely different use.
** The armored command pods from ''Victory Conditions''.
* ChekhovsSkill: Kylara learns how to shoot the equivalent of a dart-gun in the first book. [[spoiler: She later uses this skill to put down a mutiny.]] Justified as the [[CrazyPrepared reason]] she learned in the first place
* CoolOldLady: Aunt Gracie. She dotes on other family members, insists on giving largely inedible fruitcakes and was a pain in Ky's side, but she turns out to be [[spoiler: the company spy]] and has an ExpansionPackPast, and the fruitcakes turn out to be specially formulated to hide things like documents and diamonds.
* CoolShip: The ''Gary Tobai'' (nee ''Glennys Jones''), the ''Vanguard''.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: Generally averted, but without proper medical care, PhotographicMemory brain implants give can make things like PTSD worse.
* CyborgHelmsman: Nearly all captains and their crew rely on their implants to pilot ships.
* DaddysGirl : Ky shows traces of this.
* DepravedBisexual: Osman Vatta, family blacksheep and pirate, who, according to Ky's one crewmember who knew him, "liked pretty faces, didn't matter what gender".
* TheDitz: In her youth, Stella gave a lover family codes that enabled him to steal from them, and got cursed with a reputation as "the idiot Stella" for years after, but Aunt Gracie took Stella under her wing and CharacterDevelopment ensues. Now she uses the beautiful ditz personality as a facade to charm people for favors and info.
* TheDulcineaEffect: Happens to at least a few of the male characters towards Ky. Very nearly gets her killed on the first occasion, after a crewmember ignored Ky's orders to the crew to stand down when they were boarded by a team of mercenaries. After a while, she begins to become very frustrated at the tendency for men around her to cause additional trouble [[StopHelpingMe trying to protect her]].
* FamilyBusiness: Kylara Vatta enrolled in the Slotter Key MilitaryAcademy specifically to avoid getting roped into her family's shipping company. She ended up getting shanghaied into being a ship captain within days of being forced to resign from the Academy within weeks of graduation.
* FantasticRacism: A common occurrence on the [[NoTranshumanismAllowed anti-humod worlds]]. Gretna in particular has move not only into this but also into regular racism with their attitude against anyone who doesn't have [[ThoseWackyNazis pale skin, blue eyes, and blond hair]].
* FelonyMisdemeanor: In the Cascadian system of the Moscoe Confederation, where Ky travels in ''Engaging the Enemy'', the Cascadians have the ''death penalty'' for being rude and in contempt of court, but you can set clandestine bugs on someone's dock with the correct, easy to obtain permits. (If the person you're bugging is a citizen you have to politely inform them of your intent, which kinda defeats the purpose... But permits for bugging anything "public" don't require any notification. And yes, police can ask for any such data.) Politeness and protocol are SeriousBusiness.
** That said, they are also remarkably lenient in ''enforcing'' this rule on outsiders, who they understand aren't used to their unusual social norms. One antagonist still manages to get himself killed for being contemptuous in court, [[TooDumbToLive despite numerous repeated warnings from the judge.]]
* FightingForAHomeland: From ''Marque and Reprisal'' onward, Ky fights to get the scattered remains of her family and Vatta Transport back together and restore the ansible network, including that to her home world.
* GentlemanAdventurer: Ransome's Rangers play this ''very'' straight at first, weirding out the rest of the characters. [[spoiler: [[PlanetOfHats Their hat]] is sudden and abrupt CharacterDevelopment; Ransome [[CatapultNightmare wakes up in the middle of the night]] and realizes that he needs to be far more calculating and careful in what he does. He continues to help Ky, but he is far more responsible from then on.]]
** Deconstructed as well. Most of the Rangers die (or are implied to have died) in the course of the books due to their adventuring, usually while taking reckless courses of action.
* HeroicSacrifice: During the battle for [[spoiler: Nexus]], the badly under-equipped military uses its own ships as decoys to draw out the enemy and [[TakingTheBullet drawing fire away from]] the ironically better-equipped [[RedShirtArmy but still badly out-matched]] [[LawEnforcementInc corporate security forces]] in the system.
** Those same security forces employ a BatmanGambit where they take serious losses to defensive fire trying to [[ZergRush close the range and engage]] the SpacePirates' warships at close range... once the Pirates lower their shields so they can employ [[BeamSpam all of their firepower]], the security ships open up with all of the weaponry ''they'' had been holding back, causing disproportionate damage at a high cost in their own ships and lives.
* HiddenAgendaVillain: Gammis Turek and Lew Parminas overall goals are never clearly defined.
* HonorBeforeReason: Generally averted in the earlier books (note that their slogan is "Trade And Profit". You don't get paid much if you get yourself killed.) In the later books, Stella becomes concerned that Ky is falling victim to this.
** And of course, [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Ransome's Rangers]].
* HumiliationConga: Kylara suffers one of these when she is forced to resign from the Slotter Key MilitaryAcademy due to a scandal she unwittingly helped cause, when she had been one of the top students in her class (her boyfriend was ''the'' top student in the class). Through the course of the first book, she is tricked into helping cause the scandal, forced to resign from the Academy, ends up being put to work captaining the oldest ship in her family's fleet on a one-way trip to get it disposed at the junkers, and on the way the aforementioned ship ''breaks down'', leaving her stranded in the midst of a local civil war. After she comes out on top in the whole crisis, she gets a Dear John letter from her boyfriend telling her she's disgraced the Academy and the armed forces and that he's leaving her because he's ashamed of ever loving her.
** Towards the end of ''Victory Conditions'', [[spoiler: Ky's ex-boyfriend]] gets a very karmic one after Rafe calls him out publicly and Kylara, [[spoiler: now being the fleet admiral]] dismisses him as insignificant, his shipmates defend their admirals honor. Rather than explain what happened or why, he tells the medics that he "[[CutHimselfShaving fell down a ladder]]". The medics [[GenreSavvy deduce]] that he must have really pissed off the ladder first. He is also like Kylara forced to resign his commission, due to the scandal, and joined [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Mackensee Military Assistance]] to disappear.
* HyperspeedAmbush: Generally limited to some of the better equipped space navies; most civilian and commercial-grade equipment just isn't designed for that sort of thing. That said, limitations in sensors and communication (limited to light-speed within a star-system, given that the FTL communications arrays are space stations unto themselves) preclude this strategy from being used in most circumstances. [[spoiler: Until someone develops a FTL communications rig that can easily fit aboard a starship. Then it becomes the standard tactic.]]
* HyperspaceLanes: Hyperdrive allows ships to travel to any nearby system they choose, but if they travel to systems marked on their charts as off limits, they run the risk of running into all sorts of unknown hazards. Less scrupulous starship captains occasionally use these off-limits star systems as meeting locations off the beaten path to conduct illegal business.
* IncrediblyLamePun: ''"A Mine is a terrible thing to waste!"''
** Kylara is obviously very pleased with this line. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Nobody else is]].
* IndestructibleEdible: Aunt Gracie's fruitcakes, somewhat subverted when it turns out that a few of Ky's crewmembers ''love'' fruitcake and would have happily taken them from her if she had only mentioned having them. They're also good for smuggling things...
** Brief mention is given of the previous generation's Uncle Evar's Sausages, which were "hard as a rock" and even used as a weapon at one point.
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: References are made to "Old Earth" but not its fate (which would determine whether this should really be EarthThatWas); if it's still inhabited it's far from the major center of ''this'' part of the universe.
** At one point Ky considers retreating to "the Old World where we came from" and rebuilding Vatta Trading there which may or may not mean Earth has some kind of different interstellar civilization running.
* IntrepidMerchant
* LaserGuidedKarma: One particularly JerkAss mole gets himself the death penalty by [[DisproportionateRetribution being rude]] towards Ky in a Cascadian court, [[WhatAnIdiot despite being familiar with the local laws]] [[TooDumbToLive and being warned repeatedly]].
** In addition he basically gets thrown off a more profitable in an earlier book by badmouthing Ky to her father.
* LawEnforcementInc: In ''Victory Conditions'', the last book in the Vatta's War series, it is discovered that the ''actual'' military of [[spoiler: Nexus]] has been gutted out by long-standing corruption because everybody knew that nobody would ever dare to attack them, and so the defense of the homeworld against SpacePirates ends up falling to the corporate security forces of the planet's dominant MegaCorp. They're [[RedShirtArmy poorly equipped and not trained for the task]], [[spoiler: but they ''do'' have [[TheCavalry outside assistance]].]]
* LooseLips: [[spoiler: Toby's girlfriend]] mentions that she recognizes some of the [[SpySpeak code words]] used by the SpacePirates while reading a rough draft of a sci-fi story [[spoiler: Toby]] [[ItsForABook claims that he is writing for fun]]. [[spoiler: It turns out that they are part of the company code used by her father's business, implicating him in the conspiracy.]]
* TheMafia: Gammis Turek has gained control of most of these on the various planets, mostly to be used as spies and assassins for his goals.
* MegaCorp: [=InterStellar=] Communications Corporation, which operates a stranglehold monopoly on all instantaneous faster-than-light communications in the known galaxy [[spoiler: at first]].
* MerchantPrince: The Vatta family.
* MilitaryAcademy: Slotter Key's space force academy.
* TheMole: There are at least a few in the Vatta family, as well as in various other interstellar organizations. Various moles either end up revealing themselves by making a move against Ky, or are revealed by other means.
* MortonsFork: Aunt Gracie gives Ky several of her [[IndestructibleEdible infamous fruitcakes]], which Ky dislikes greatly. Ky has to decide between taking the unwanted gifts with her (forcing her to leave something else behind due to strict weight allowances in space travel), or disposing of them before leaving home (which her aunt would inevitably learn about, causing unwanted family drama).
* MrFanservice: Rafe, particularly when [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic peeling a lime.]]. He uses this to his advantage on numerous occasions.
* NeuralImplanting It's not instantaneous, but most education is reliant on implants, with Slotter Key Military Academy being one of a few places where you must "learn to learn" without relying on the implant.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: For Ky this is practically a character trait. She's forced to resign from her homeworld's MilitaryAcademy because she thought she was helping another cadet find a minister of his religion - the guy she helps breaches confidentiality and starts a public relations scandal. She takes on some stranded spacers of her home planet into her crew: one of them [[spoiler:disobeys orders when they are boarded by mercenaries for inspection, dies and]] almost gets Ky killed. Her family knows she has a reputation for this.
* NonIdleRich
* NoodleIncident: Passing reference is made to the first run that Ky's father and uncle went on, which is later detailed in one of Elizabeth Moon's anthology collections. Later books indicate that the Vatta family may have quite a few of these they'd rather outsiders [[OldShame not know about]].
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: Played with, a few religions feel that ''any'' modification of the body is a sin, but in the galaxy they are a general minority. In later books it's implied that anti-humod worlds are funding the SpacePirates. This is further supported by their refusal to join the alliance that now funds Ky's new SpaceNavy.
* NotHyperbole: Aunt Gracie, [[spoiler: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Family Spy]]]].
* NotThatTheresAnythingWrongWithThat: Invoked several times in internal commentary on the Moscoe Confederations fixation on trees.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: See TheDitz.
* ObliviousAdoption: Some bastard children of family turncoat Osman Vatta were tracked down young and quietly adopted into better Vatta families. [[spoiler: One of them turns out to be Stella, who doesn't take the discovery well.]]
* OldSoldier: Master Sergeant [=MacRobert=]
* OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap: Fresh food is a limited resource on long space trips, the puppy that the crew adopts is a novelty (but not to the one from the backwater system where animal labor is used a lot). In the Moscoe Confederation, where dogs are both rare and expensive, young Toby Vatta earns a tidy sum selling the dog's sperm for breeders.
* PapaWolf: Ky's father has a moment of this with a Captain that dislikes her.
* {{Planetville}}: Mostly averted.
* PlanetOfHats: Mostly averted. The two biggest examples are Cascadia, whose people are extremely courteous and way into [[NatureLover trees]], and Gretna, whose people are [[NoTranshumanismAllowed against modification]] and behave like [[SpaceJews White supremacists]] to all who don't look like themselves. Otherwise most planets are either Pro or Anti {{Transhuman}}.
* {{Privateer}}: Ky Vatta becomes a spacefaring privateer in ''Marque and Reprisal''. Due to a company policy of not doing business with privateers, this causes Kylara to lose the protection of the Mackensee Military Assistance Corporation's forces that she had been enjoying until then. [[spoiler: Starting with the third book, privateers from several different worlds begin to band together to try and fight against the SpacePirates.]]
** It is worth noting that in this universe, not everybody makes a clear distinction between privateers and pirates (just as in RealLife). Some particular mention is made of the fact that Ky's homeworld of Slotter Key has a sizable privateer force, which has an effect on how people deal with her when she starts to travel off the beaten path in later books.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Mackensee Military Assistance Corporation, and others. Interestingly enough, the [=MMAC=] is portrayed as a very professional force, ''very'' picky about who they do business with, and going out of their way to avoid the negative trappings of this trope. [[spoiler: They join forces with Ky's Privateer force and several system defense forces in order to stop the Space Pirates from sacking Nexus.]]
* ProtocolPeril: Being in contempt of court on Cascadia carries the death penalty...and the thick manual of politeness protocol that Ky, her crew and other visitors to Cascadia have to learn is a daunting obstacle.
* RammingAlwaysWorks: {{Invoked}} by the riggers who semi-accidentally end up [[spoiler:crewing the newly-commissioned battleships at Moray. Averted when almost all of them die before the real battle commences, since they have no military training and base their tactics on television shows.]]
* RedHerring: Much {{foreshadowing}} is dropped towards the end of one of the books regarding the military liaison on another Slotter Key Privateer that Kylara's ship has been accompanying. Every implication is given that this liaison will be Kylara's [[WorkingWithTheEx ex-boyfriend from the academy]], who rather scornfully dumped her via Dear Jane letter. Cue the beginning of the next book where we meet him... and he's someone she has never met before.
* RetiredBadass: Aunt Gracie.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Ky's trip in the ''Glennys Jones'' was supposed to let her father and his brother see how Ky will take inititive; they don't actually expect her to scrap the ''Glennys Jones'' without trying to buy it for herself. They went through much the same thing when they were her age. Getting stranded in a war in Sabine wasn't part of the plan however...
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend: Both Ky and Rafe.
* SpaceIsAnOcean
* SpaceNavy: The Space Defense Force
* SpacePatrol: Suggested as a name for Ky's SpaceNavy, and [[TakeThat rejected]] quickly.
* SpacePirates: Led by one man who has turned them into a pirate [[Main/TheSyndicate Syndicate]] to rule the galaxy.
* SpaceTrucker: Why Ky feel is her basic job as captain of ''Glennys [=Jones/Gary=] Tobai''.
* TheSpyMaster: [[spoiler: Aunt Gracie]].
* SubspaceAnsible: A key feature of the series is the pirate disabling ansibles to cripple communication.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: {{Averted}}, the aversion {{Subverted}}, [[ZigZaggedTrope and then finally averted properly]]. Rafe and his sister were given therapy after Rafe was forced [[spoiler: to kill a would-be-assassin sent after them as children]]. Turns out the Therapist was working for the bad guys and proceeded to intentionally [[BreakTheCutie mess them up worse]]. [[spoiler: After Rafe returns home and begins cleaning up house in his family's company, he gets his sister a new therapist who isn't in his enemies' pockets.]]
* TheseHandsHaveKilled: Ky shoots and kills a pirate who was attempting to take her ship, she ends up angsting over it in particular because she realized that she ''[[BloodKnight enjoyed]]'' it.
** And it happened to Rafe as a child in his BackStory, leading to ThereAreNoTherapists, above.
* ThievesCant: The pirates have their own language.[[spoiler:In the last book one of the younger Vattas realizes the enemy language is quite similar to the "family code" used by one of his classmates; her father turned out to be a spy but she didn't know and actually helped translate for the coalition.]]
* {{Transhuman}}: As pointed out by a therapist in Victory Conditions, most of the setting's population are technically genetically modified cyborgs, even if they tend not to think of themselves that way (as long as enhancements don't involve extra limbs or something else easily visible.)
* {{Tuckerization}}: Many of Moon's real life friends get cameo appearances in ''Victory Conditions'' as they die valiantly in battle.
* UnusualEuphemism: "Heavy Machinery" for "Big Honkin' Spaceguns". Leads to some awkwardness when a young, na´ve captain tries to make deals for agricultural machines.
* UsedFuture: The ''Glennys Jones'', some of the more backwater planets, but not the whole universe.
* WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture: While some robots seem to exist, most general labor is done by humans. The people of Gretna Station use a [[TheCon scam]] of charging high rates for use of their station's air and docking charges while TheMark is resupplying, then attack them on their way out. The end result is they get back what you bought, your ship gets turned over to SpacePirates and they sell you as [[MadeASlave indentured labor]] on trumped up charges while keeping your money.
* WhamEpisode: Book 5, chapter 12.
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