Robert J. Peterson at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego

Robert J. Peterson, author of The Odds, at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego

Mysterious Galaxy | 5943 Balboa Ave #100, San Diego, CA 92111

It’s been centuries since Deadblast deleted most of what we knew. All that’s left are a smattering of subterranean cities run by a ruthless cadre of bookies. We call ‘em the Odds. It’s a rough world. If you’re not freezing your ass off at night, then the sun cooks you during the day. If you’re too slow on the draw, a dreen’ll getcha. What’s a dreen?

You don’t want to know.

Here’s the deal: The man they call the redhead is back in town. He’s returned to the city of Dedrick, deep in debt and deathly ill. Wait, who’s the redhead? Well, lemme tell you—he ain’t too quick on the uptake, but his heart’s big enough to make up for it. Y’see, he’s on the outs from his family, and he’s dead-set on doing right by ‘em before he clocks out. His last hope is to win a deadly battle royale based on the rules of chess. Here's how it works:

Two guys play a game of chess. Every time they capture a piece, two real-life warriors gotta fight to the death. The attacking piece announces their move in advance. The more powerful your piece, the less notice you have to give. The mighty queen, she can strike instantly, with just about any armament imaginable, but a lowly pawn’s got to give 36 hours notice and fight only with melee weapons. The arena is all of Dedrick. Last man standing wins the square.

But what the redhead doesn’t know is someone’s gamed the tournament to pit him against an old friend who’s now a bitter enemy. Now he’s got to make all the right moves to save his family—and beat the Odds.