Juliana Rew, author
After years spent testing wormhole space technology for the Masquat Empire, Lucanus returns victorious—but disgruntled by being used as a guinea pig by his royal father Calaneris. Luqas flees with his mother and Dog to seek independence and a new planet, inventing an advanced artificial intelligence to aid in the search. Along the way they befriend alien survivors of a war and bring them along to the newly discovered planet, Fortuna. New settlers arrive, including a young albino woman, An-Bai, with the genetically enhanced ability to exude mind-altering drugs. Exposed as an assassin agent of Calaneris, she swears she has left that work and loves Luqas. When cosmic destruction threatens the galactic region, Luqas travels to the capital planet, where he discovers that his father has destroyed the time-traveling Watchmen civilization and is leading a plot to unravel our universe (The Unwinding). He disavows the empire entirely, leaving his AI in charge of a space station to keep an eye on Calaneris, but the AI suffers a bit flip from a cosmic ray and loses much of its memory, except for an antipathy toward Calaneris. Meanwhile, Virginia Sun-Jones and the remnants of the Watchmen establish a truce between universes that ends the Unwindings. The AI aboard the space station at first threatens to kill the rehabilitated Calaneris, but a trial convinces it that a truce has been achieved. The AI notifies the Watchmen about Calaneris's son Luqas, and the Fortuna colony is invited to join the Watchmen in establishing a new, democratic society. FRIDAY meets TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG - Juliana Rew's new standalone entry in "The Unwinding" science fiction series is both prequel and sequel, introducing Emperor Calaneris's rebellious son Lucanus and his AI sidekick, as they join the Watchmen in the fight between warring universes.