In the year 2788, only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else uses interstellar portals to travel between hundreds of colony worlds, 17-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, abandoned by her parents to be raised a ward of Hospital Earth, she lives a regimented life in one of their impersonal residences.
A planned trilogy of prequel novellas to Janet Edwards' Earth Girl. Earth and Fire is the first, published in 2015, with Earth and Air following in 2018. A third, Earth and Water, is planned, although its release date is uncertain. Following Jarra Reeath in the summer before the events of the main trilogy, these stories show the seeds being sown of the angry young woman who will go on to become the Earth Girl.
- Adventurer Archaeologist:
- Although school History groups only use the Fringe dig sites rather than the much-more-hazardous Main sites, Jarra and her group still see some action. In Earth and Air, Jarra tells Wren about the time she, aged eleven, had to be lowered into an oil tank to save a group member as she was the only one who could fit and they were running out of time.
- Felipe tells the class a thrilling tale of being lowered into a narrow space to use a laser gun to free a trapped colleague. In fact, he did no such thing; he stole a story about Valeshka Orlova, a genuine example of this trope, to make himself look cool.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: After giving up her room so Wren won't be stuck sleeping in the corridor, Jarra asks the teacher, Crozier, what went wrong with the system that's supposed to ensure the youngest members get a room. Somewhat disconcerted, he asks Jarra how she knows there is such a system, as it's supposed to be a secret to avoid causing resentment. She replies that she's been in the club long enough to spot the pattern, but kept quiet because she agrees with the reasons for it. Crozier explains that the system assumes the latest member to pass their Gold Safety Award will be the youngest, which wasn't the case this time.
- Big Damn Heroes: Gradin's job as a pilot includes ariel rescues of people in trouble on dig sites. Valeshka Orlova has rescued many people in her career, and Jarra saved a classmate in danger at the age of eleven. In Earth and Fire, Gradin and Jarra take part in fighting the fire at Athens, and in Earth and Air Gradin risks his life to provide data on the radiation spike.
- Body Horror: Jarra's classmate Desi shows the class her Art project, depicting the horrific effects of radiation used in previous centuries. The images give some people nightmares, and that's before they find themselves in a Contamination Situation.
- Book Ends: Earth and Air begins and ends with Jarra being accosted at the Earth America portal centre by a "baby hunter," a woman searching for the Handicapped child she gave up. Jarra gets rid of her the first time by showing the woman her right forearm, which doesn't have the birthmark the woman is looking for. The second time, she gets rid of her by showing her arm again, and explaining truthfully why she has writing on her arm.
- Contamination Situation: Earth and Air sees the New York dig sites hit by a radiation spike, resulting in everyone there being evacuated and quarantined.
- Continuity Nod:
- In a History class, Jarra sees a simulation of what someone implanted with webbing technology would experience through their mental link to the data net. Scavenger Alliance has a main character implanted with this technology.
- In Earth and Fire, Jarra and Gradin come to the rescue of some of the staff of University Cassandra.
- The events of Earth and Water have been alluded to in "The End, and the New Beginning," a novella in the Earth Prime collection.
- Dare to Be Badass: When Athens is threatened by fire, Gradin asks Jarra what kind of pilot, and person, she wants to be: the kind who'll stand by and let Athens burn, or the kind who'll do something about it. They spend days fighting the fire together.
- Earth That Used to Be Better: after Portal Network tech was discovered most people, yearning for the stars, left Earth to settle the new frontier during the Exodus Century. They left in such a hurry that vital technology was lost because half of Earth's extensive databases and digital libraries were corrupted when someone royally screwed up the global data library back-up after a huge system crash. All the megacities were deserted and are now humongous ruins the handicapped protagonist Jarra digs up artifacts from with her archeology class, hoping to rediscover lost tech. The only ones left on Earth now are mostly the handicapped (people who have an rare deadly allergy to all other planets and thus unable to leave), their families and staff, huddled together in new small settlements. People from Earth are seen as backwater primitives and pejoratively called apes. They don't get to vote in sector parliament elections, but get a lifelong Unconditional Basic Income as a consolation for being stuck on Earth for life.
- Gene Hunting: In Earth and Air, Jarra is accosted twice by a "baby hunter," a woman searching for the Handicapped child she gave up. This is illegal, as the woman gave up all right to initiate contact when she gave up her baby and clearly her daughter hasn't chosen to contact her, but she's apparently badgered enough girls not to recognise Jarra the second time around. Jarra notes sourly that Hospital Earth (staffed by Norms) are unlikely to take a Handicapped person's side against a fellow Norm. Jarra's teacher points out to the woman that her method of hanging around a portal centre and badgering any girl she sees with a passing resemblance to herself is unlikely to work, but the woman is undeterred.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gradin. He's the grumpiest misanthrope in any sector of space and grumbles in every scene he's in. He also agrees to teach Jarra to fly, regularly rescues people in trouble even when he thinks they're idiots, takes part in saving Athens from fire and gets the authorities data on the type of radiation that has spiked in New York, meaning that people can be treated quickly.
- Miles Gloriosus: Felipe tells thrilling stories where he rescues people under dangerous circumstances, but those stories are stolen from other people to make him look cool. In a truly stressful situation, he's a pathetic whiner, freaking people out with his dire theories about what could be wrong. Worse; he steals medicine from a twelve-year-old girl on the assumption that his life is worth more than hers. To be clear, there was plenty for everyone, she was just getting hers earlier.
- Secret Test of Character: Gradin arranges the emergency landing requirement of Jarra's pilot's license by faking a real engine failure when she's flying, and pretending he can't take over again so she has to land the plane. In fact he can take back control and there's no danger, but Jarra doesn't know that, and neither do the authorities on the ground... or Jarra's terrified classmates, for that matter.
- Team Mom: When the Contamination Situation occurs, Jarra is alone in charge of three trainees. After evacuating with them, they find that the rest of the class have been evacuated elsewhere. Jarra therefore remains in charge of the terrified trainees, keeping them safe and calm while terrified herself, and making sure they get their medicine when available.
- As club President, she's also this trope in a more general way to the whole team. She's known to come down hard on bullying, due to her own experiences in her first summer in the club. She's shocked when the teacher tells her how much twelve-year-old Wren idolises her; she initially saw her as a role model, but when a mistake in the room assignments left Wren with no room, Jarra gave up hers, resulting in full-on hero-worship.
- Too Dumb to Live: During the Contamination Situation, Felipe steals Wren's medicine for himself. When confronted by Jarra and Valeshka Orlova, he sneers that they have no legal recourse against him. Valeshka admits this is true, but points out that the evacuation point is full of witnesses, including teachers who still have plenty of contacts in academia, and he will undoubtedly lose his position when University Earth find out what he did; who wants someone like that watching their back? Also, he needs to speak to a doctor, because the dosage for a twelve-year-old girl will undoubtedly be different than for a man in his twenties. He's seen at the end, chasing after a doctor. The doctor is not sympathetic.
- Trapped with the Therapy Session: Valeshka Orlova manufactures a situation like this, arranging to supervise Jarra's flying lessons after Gradin's Secret Test of Character causes havoc. Her real aim is to corner Gradin somewhere he can't run away, so they can discuss their relationship. Specifically, the fact that she'd like to accept his marriage proposal after nearly thirty years and two other husbands.