Gunsmoke and Star Dust is about the Hands of Minerva– young men and women called to preserve the Republic in a hostile space frontier. They travel from settlement to isolated settlement, carrying encrypted communiques, news, and Law, treating the sick, supporting the weary, and pronouncing judgment upon the wicked.
A town welcomes them with celebration and honor, but what they aim to do is stir up its dirt and lay bare its sins.
The setting is a fantasy inspired by weird west science-fiction, from Westworld to Firefly to Cowboys & Aliens, a bizarro mash-up of 19th century “Western” Americana and Space Opera. Picture a landscape of high mountains, icy rivers and timber lands, falling away into scrub lands, deserts, buttes and swells beneath alien skies of orange and blue. The summers are espied by gibbous moons and nearby planets of various hue and size, the winters long and deadly. Everything is familiar, but everything is slightly not.
Picture the long shadow of man, stretching out across the stars, far beyond its ability to effectively police itself. Planetary settlements are numerous, but distant from one another: small, isolated and struggling to survive. They are vulnerable to attack from without by novel and strange threats, sin and corruption within. Under pressure, disregard for Minerva’s Code becomes convenience, want becomes violence, and resentments old and new become hate. Lawlessness creeps into the Garden.
Picture the Hands of Minerva, holding the frontier together by grit, by gun, and by Faith.