The Ninth Fleet returns to Mars after barely surviving its last brush with the Va’alen; their enemy now stranded in the Centauri system after a daring mission far behind enemy lines to destroy their gateway device.
Re-armed, re-fitted and hopeful that they pack enough punch to take on the superior foe, the human fleet heads back to pit their new ships against the Va’alen swarm. But when they get there, they find the whole sector of space empty. As they begin building a space station as a foothold in the region, their recon ship, the Ichi, is sent ahead to explore, only for a worrying discovery to leave Brandt and her team stranded and cut off on the surface of a strange and hostile moon.
Fighting against the clock, facing a danger the fleet might not survive, further discoveries and treachery threaten everything.