With the ship still recovering from sabotage even as new mechanical problems arise, J.D. Sauvage and the first contact crew prepare to meet the reclusive alien squidmoth. Though civilized worlds have shunned them both, human and alien hope to find friendship in each other. Now, as the first contact team explores the fibrous tunnels of the small planetoid that houses the alien, an awesome secret waits inside. But before J.D. can discover what it is, she and the rest have a terrible decision to make: set course for Earth and return home as heroes - before they're stranded in space; or trust an offer from the bizarre and enigmatic squidmoth - before it dies.