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Dropping out of sub-space into the wrong galactic sector, Sethran Kada wakes up with a headache and an extraordinary alien aboard his ship. She implores him to help stop the abductions of her people, a newly evolved species emerging from sub-space. Their dangerous potential has caught the attention of rebel factions as well as the ruling Commonwealth. When contact with her kind turns pilots into casualties, the Governors fear an imminent invasion engineered by their rebel enemies.
Pursued by Air Command, Seth heads deep into rebel-controlled territory to recover the stolen entities and keep this deadly weapon from falling into the wrong hands. Things get personal when his alien visitor begins to transform his mind and his life, turning the rescue mission into a fight for survival for all.
Air Command pilot Nova Whiteside is assigned to a remote outpost to guard the construction of a tethered orbiter, Skyranch Twelve, against rebel sabotage. The difference between the well-ordered Union air fields and this dusty garrison is made painfully clear when she runs afoul a brutal commander of ground troops.
When she is trapped behind enemy lines in a bloody uprising she meets Djari, a civilian whose trust in the governing Union is shattered by what he has witnessed.
Indeed, not all runs according to protocol aboard the new station and she soon suspects that more than farming is being done up there. When she uncovers the treacherous and illicit schemes taking place, it seems that local riots are the least of their troubles.
It's no easy tour of duty for Lt. Nova Whiteside when her interstellar transport is taken by pirates and she is then tagged for termination. Could it have something to do with the mysterious alien they were transporting? Having gone from merely MIA to technically AWOL, any chance of escape leaves her no choice but to rely on Sethran Kada, a former lover, for help.
Unfortunately, she realizes that they are now on opposite sides of an escalating war between the Commonwealth Union of Planets and an increasingly dangerous rebel organization.
In trying to find who is threatening her life, they discover a plot to destroy a distant planet - a world inhabited by creatures that are the key to Nova's survival - and a conspiracy that threatens the stability of the Union Commonwealth.