Unfettered is the Artifact Title of a large project by fishsicles, now used as the general term for The Verse he sets most of his work in. This page is mostly used by his current project, Gatekeepers.
The first few chapters focus on the lives of legally blind Knowledge Broker Iris Kempf and her latest client, architecture professor Dr. Leo Alperstein. A friend and student of Alperstein's, Alice Penn, recently vanished along with all traces of her existence, leaving him with a strange letter. Intrigued, Kempf starts the search for any sign of Alice's existence.
Then the starships arrive and Earth is annexed by the Valde-Kevali Technate, a technocratic oligarchy based on the solar station of Testimony. The VKT are generally benevolent, offering the Earthlings the boons of their fabricator technology in exchange for bulk mass. On the downside, every single valuable item on Earth is now worth a little more than its weight in dirt.
Iris's manhunt draws the attention of Stephen Alcedrie, a former aristocrat from the VKT homeworld of Kevas. He proposes an alliance of sorts between Iris and himself: she uses his connections to allow him to establish influence on Earth, while he provides his resources to allow Iris to rise to prominence in the eyes of the new colonial administration. Stephen takes a particular interest in the search for Penn, which brings Iris and company into conflict with agents of the VKT's Sixth Division.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Fabricators require a lot of power, but essentially end economic scarcity.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: Alice Penn.
- Driving Question: "What happened to Alice Penn?"
- Dystopia: Many people see VKT rule as this.
- Dyson Sphere: Testimony-class stations are a variation of the "cloud" version; they are not designed to support life directly, simply as energy sources for the fabricator and residential stations.
- The Ghost: The only other society mentioned outside VKT space is based on the world of Aldeny, and were the ones responsible for the population of Earth being as it is.
- Grey and Grey Morality: The Verse as a whole leans to Grey and Black Morality, though.
- Hour Inside Year Outside: Earth was like this for most of its history due to MTF time dilation.
- Human Aliens: The Kevali and Aldenyss, though at least the former is more a case of Transhuman Aliens.
- Minovsky Physics
- Panspermia: Humanity originated on Aldeny, not Earth. The original reason for Earth's existence was an Aldenyss social experiment. A pity their empire collapsed before it finished, leaving Earth open for their disgruntled former colonies.
- Precursors: The Aldenyss, essentially the original humans; according to the Kevali they are of the Abusive Precursors variety.
- Vichy Earth
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Kevali.