After 150 years of relative peace throughout the colonized galaxy, the Solar Alliance finds itself a victim of its own success. With no wars to extinguish, Space Marshal Dwain Frottle is forced to defend against a continuous stream of budget cuts and questions of relevancy from the Galactic Senate.
This recent lack of interstellar squabbling has masked a significant uptick in space piracy, causing a string of seemingly isolated raids on small mining sites to go virtually unnoticed – that is, until a routine aid operation led by the Space Navy is ambushed and brutally massacred. Elsewhere, ace Navy Captain Sarina Sanders narrowly escapes a similar fate when her ship is also hit by a surprise guerrilla attack. While the perpetrators' intentions and identity are shrouded in doubt, the superiority of their technology is not, making it alarmingly clear that the Solar Alliance is severely outclassed and outgunned.
General Lucas Huey's Intelligence Service is left grasping for answers, despite some early evidence implicating the Transdyne Corporation, the Solar Alliance's longtime ally and contractor from the private sector. Those threads prove to be dead ends, however, leaving Captain Rubben Stanton with little more than a few speculative theories and his own hunches.
Frottle decides that it's time to go on the offensive, authorizing the formation of a task force under one of his top Navy officers, Rear Admiral Drew Listher. Sanders is quickly recruited to the team, after earning a long overdue promotion, along with Stanton. And in a somewhat surprising move, General Huey gives command of Bhuk Anson's company of Marines to an enigmatic new officer named Roxane Jordan, whose credentials and history remain curiously vague.
But as the attacks continue to mount, so do the failures of the task force to get any closer to their shadowy adversary, who manages to stay one or two steps ahead of them at every turn. Boiling over with frustration, Sanders commits a blunder that results in her loss of command and, shortly after, her resignation from the Solar Alliance altogether. She retreats to the crime-ridden planet of Pav Uergo to contemplate her future, far removed from the institutions that represent everything she's ever held dear.
Meanwhile, Stanton doggedly continues his investigation, beginning to uncover more layers of what's emerging as a deeply rooted conspiracy – and the hints to a possible motive tracing all the way back to the Solar Alliance's very origin.