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Kassie Mayhap strives to live her life true to the tenants of Zeb Griffin. While the lethal, lavender and gold skies of Griffin XIII sway beyond her colony's glass dome, Kassie vows to live a life of self-reliance. She will answer to no government, nor will she seek to establish any rule over her neighbors. Kassie will seek no charity, and she will pay no tax. The United Systems has retreated back into the stars with a promise to leave the colonists of Griffin XIII to themselves, delivering a final tool to each patriot of Griffin XIII as a last payment for his or her labor. Though the tool feels so soothing in each hand that grips it, the tool empowers each colonist with the power to both preserve and destroy. No matter that all twelve of the previous colonies of Griffin XIII have perished, Kassie remains faithful that the thirteenth effort of her people will survive in the merciless worlds beyond the supervision of the United Systems.