Six weeks ago, Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster were court-martialed for their role in an event Central Gov denies ever happened. Their punishment is to patrol the nearly empty space of the Third Sector. However this mundane mission quickly turns treacherous when the Galileo picks up a distress call: Exeter, a sister ship, is under attack from raiders.
A PSI generation ship – the same one that recently broke off negotiations with Foster – is also in the sector and joins in the desperate battle that leaves ninety-seven of Exeter’s crew dead. An investigation of the disaster points to sabotage, and Exeter is only the beginning. It becomes clear that someone is willing to set off a war and the clues point to the highest echelons of power … and deep into Shaw’s past.
Hostilities between factions are threatening to explode into a shooting war on the moon of Yakutsk, and the two major galactic military powers, Central Corps and PSI, have sent ships to defuse the situation. But when a strange artefact is discovered, events are set in motion that threaten the entire colonized galaxy – including former Central Corps Commander Elena Shaw.
Now an engineer on a commercial shipping vessel, Elena finds herself drawn into the conflict when she picks up the artefact on Yakutsk. Her safety is further compromised by her former ties to Central Corps; Elena can’t separate herself from her past life and her old ship, the CCSS Galileo.
Before Elena can uncover the artefact’s purpose, disaster strikes: all communication with the First Sector – including Earth – is lost. As news of a battle fleet, intent on destruction, rapidly approaching Earth, reaches Elena, there is no way to warn the planet in time.
Armed with crucial intel from a shadowy source and the strange artefact, Elena may be the only one who can stop the fleet and save Earth. But for this mission there will be no second chances – and no return.