Raphael is a child of the Mars colony, the main outpost for humanity since Earth is no longer habitable. He is also a powerful empath, so while he loves his extended family, he sometimes needs time alone to keep their thoughts from overwhelming him. That's easily accomplished by taking his small scout ship Agatha out to look for minerals in the asteroid belt. It's on one of these trips that he encounters a Chi'NoSa ship that accidentally damages Agatha. Lord Commander Teo of the ship orders Agatha and Raphael to be brought aboard. Teo has never met a human, is fascinated by Raphael and wants to keep him around.
The writing of “Raphael’s Rescue” is particularly unusual. The dialogue is especially formal. Part of that is the nature of the relationship between Raphael and his captors, but the formality continues even when it seems unnecessary. The unnatural language is the only thing that detracts from an otherwise very believable story. Fortunately, the language isn't overly florid, so while it is a little distracting to read, it's not enough to make me want to stop.
At its core, I would describe this story as a classic clash of cultures, something that science fiction is especially suited to. The humanist matriarchy that Raphael grew up in puts him at odds with the highly hierarchal Chi'NoSa, who severely punish the slightest infraction of their strict protocols.
Raphael is quite an intriguing young man, and it feels like we get to know him well through the story, which is told mostly from his point of view. He seems like a very nice young man, if a bit too eager to please everyone. However, Raphael has a backbone that could cut diamonds. His convictions about what is right and wrong far outweigh his desire to get along. In some ways, it's Raphael's strength of character that causes most of his problems in this story.
We get to know Teo, and all about the Chi'NoSa, through Raphael and a few passages from Teo's point of view. The lord is not used to anyone questioning him and reacts violently to the human Raphael's resistance. Not only do the Chi'NoSa never question their lords, but they also believe theirs is the master race. The two males coming to terms with each other provides most of the story's drama. It appears likely that appreciating the value of other views and other cultures will be a theme of this series.
“Raphael’s Rescue” is available from Amazon.