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Dhartt Modi was born into a family of overachieving technical wizards. His father is a chief of starship design for the Discovery Corps. His mother is a director of O'Neal cylinder construction. His older brother Dakshi was the youngest person to ever graduate from the Discovery Corps Academy's engineering school.

So Dhartt's destiny was already written, in more ways than one. He was cloned from his older brother with the expectation that he would follow in his footsteps and become an exceptional engineer. But Dhartt took a very different path. He was drawn to the fast and sometimes dangerous sport of hoverball. This was a passtime his parents indulged as long as he kept up his studies, but that tolerance ended when Dhartt was drafted into a professional hoverball league. His parents forbade it.

Instead, they forced him into the Academy's engineering school. He hated it, and with his hoverball dreams lying in tatters he could hardly focus. His grades slipped, and he nearly failed out multiple times. At last he graduated barely passing his final exams. With such poor scores, no ship would have him until the Rustican was pulled out of retirement. Now, as he plies the void with a crew of misfits and outcasts, he knows he's farther from his hoverball dreams than ever.