The time is opportune for Alex Racine. Omnian efforts and sacrifices culminate in a singular opportunity. With good fortune, Alex will bring together the diverse races the Omnians have encountered. Alex selects the human colonies of New Terra, Haraken, Omnia, and Méridien to solicit their attendance. Unknowingly, he sails toward a deadly encounter.
Talus, the system comprised of Toralians and the Sisterhood, is under siege. Massive battleships, each ferrying an envoy from a federacy race, surround the Talusian home world Toral. Two wedges, each comprised of nine federacy battleships, wait outside the system. The sisters, whom the SADEs created during the fight to defeat Artifice, possess advanced tech.
The descendants of a fourth Earth colony ship, Destiny, successfully establish a foothold in unoccupied space. Naiad, the home world, is a frozen ball, but the colonists persevere and expand through wormholes to remote systems. Navigating the time-space anomalies requires Axis-ships. The expensive vessels are constructed by corporations, and remote worlds are claimed by the companies for their valuable ores and gases.
The Sisterhood’s dangerous militarist sect finds a foothold in a broad swath of space inhabited by the descendants of Earth’s fourth colony ship, Destiny. They’re welcomed by the mining corporations, whose leaders see unbridled opportunity in the sisters’ advanced tech. Five powerful corporations own six mining planets. One company, CenGas, mines Delhart, an ice-covered body, and struggles against the planet’s natural challenges to deliver timely orders to the other companies.
Outpost One: Resistance, the peacekeeping station in alliance space, is mired in political turmoil and dangerous conditions from the Colony, a race of giant devouring insectoids. Commander Jess Cinders and Admiral Lucia Bellardo fight the troubles besieging the outpost from multiple directions. Sand serpents, Usaanans, are suspected of undercutting outpost contracts, necessitating Major Sam Fleetfoot investigate the source of their production.
Sol's warships paid the ultimate price for threatening the Haraken and New Terran worlds. Now, Haraken president Alex Racine and his Méridien partner, Renée de Guirnon, are engaged in a desperate gamble to stop a war between their worlds and United Earth's (UE) massive forces before it starts. What's Alex's grand plan? He hasn't a clue, but his people believe in him and hope he will find a way to protect them.
The surviving Méridiens have returned to Confederation space, aided by their recently discovered cousins, the New Terrans. They expect a celebration after their 71-year absence. Instead, they're shocked to find the silver ships have destroyed half the Confederation. The Méridiens are fleeing in advance of the horde of alien ships. But Alex Racine and his crew didn't come this far to run away from humanity's enemy.
Nine years of tranquility came to an abrupt end when a Méridien starship entered the Hellébore system, sounding a dire warning for Alex Racine, the Haraken president. Unwanted visitors had arrived again. But this time, they're not alien; they're human. Claiming to have followed the course of a colony ship launched a millennium ago when Earth wrestled with resource wars and climate change, the mission commander, Antonio García, requests a meeting with the planet's leaders.
Trouble infiltrated the Harakens' capital city of Espero, in the form of New Terra criminal gangs who grew wealthy and powerful on the moons of Ganymede, hiding behind the cover of an ill-conceived mining charter. The gangs brought stims and addictive hallucinogenic drugs to Espero, distributing them to the young on the planet.
After Sol’s construction of Tridents - Omnian-designed warships - Earthers possess the ability to transit quickly among the stars. The desire to know what happened to Earth’s colony ship, the Honora Belle, sent to the stars a millennium ago is resurrected. An Omnian Trident and the vessel Rêveur accompany three Sol Enclave Tridents in search of the Belle’s colonists. Swiftly, the Omnians and the Earthers become enmeshed in a centuries-old conflict enveloping a vast area of space inhabited by alliance races. The enemy is the Colony: a giant insectoid species.
Artifice, the great enemy, has been defeated. The sister SADEs, Omnian sentient digital entities, are free from their boxes. Most humans are unaware that the sisters have duplicated themselves many more times than suspected. They now constitute a sizable, powerful group, calling themselves the Sisterhood. The elimination of Artifice’s rule should be a time of relief and recovery for Alex Racine’s Omnian fleet and for the Toralians, whose home world was Artifice’s lair. Instead, it’s a chaotic period.
An explorer tug captain, Alex Racine detects a damaged alien craft drifting into the system. Recognizing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make first contact, Alex pulls off a daring maneuver to latch on to the derelict. Alex discovers the ship was attacked by an unknown craft, the first of its kind ever encountered. The mysterious silver ship's attack was both instant and deadly.
The Méridiens are fleeing to their far colonies - and they have reason to run. Over the course of decades, they have lost hundreds of ships, billions of people, and seven Confederation colonies to an alien enemy: an advancing swarm of silver ships transported in the bowels of a gigantic, spherical vessel. Alex Racine, who once enjoyed the solitary life of an explorer-tug captain, is now an admiral and responsible for the lives of a quarter million Librans.
Two crises challenge the Omnians. Alex Racine’s fleet draws a first-contact conflict, which faces the Ollassa, a symbiotic flora race. The Omnian fleet sails from alliance space in an effort to interdict an alien ship that arrives at the Worlds of Lights, the Ollassa system. Soon after arriving, the alien ship deploys machines to scour asteroids for resources in the system’s far belt.
What should have been a routine survey mission became a disaster. To the Harakens' surprise, they discovered, not one but two alien species, which were constantly engaged in conflict. One species, the Dischnya, hid their nests underground, and each nest owed its allegiance to a queen. On the grassy plains, where the Dischnya lived, the resources were scarce, and the warriors competed fiercely.
Alex Racine, who led an elite group of humans and SADEs (self-ware digital entities), left the newly discovered planet of Celus-5 under difficult circumstances. Few of the Harakens with Alex thought there was little he could do to bring peace to the embroiled planet. From their viewpoint, the demands of the Celus-5 Swei Swee, the six-legged aliens of the ocean, and the Dischnya, the warring, doglike, intelligent creatures who inhabited the dry plains, were too convoluted to solve.
Until the Confederation created Allora, it had produced SADEs (self-aware digital entities) for hundreds of years with enormous consistency and harnessed their capabilities to power the society. But this particular young SADE was disturbed by her confinement. Trapped in metal-alloy housing on the bridge of a luxury passenger liner, Allora sought to possess the same freedom enjoyed by humans, who came and went from her starship with abandon.
Pyre is a volatile planet. Its surface belches heat and noxious gases, forcing downsiders to inhabit domes. But Pyre's instability isn't limited to its geology. The colonists, who were marooned in the system hundreds of years ago, have endured a tumultuous history. Exploring Triton, Pyre's third moon, spacers inadvertently activate an alien dome. Nearly a year later, the Belle's bridge crew, who monitors the alien site, is alarmed, when they witness a bright blue light shoot from the dome's platform and merge with the shield.
Dangerous forces are at work across galactic space that the Omnians are attempting to stabilize, but their resources are severely strained. The SADEs, self-aware digital entities, express to Alex Racine and Renée de Guirnon their desire to know the method of their creation. Alex and Renée, the Omnian co-leaders, want to obtain the knowledge for the SADEs, who are humans’ closest allies. Alex, Renée, and Julien, a friend and a SADE, board the giant city-ship, Freedom, which sails for Méridien, the home world of the far-reaching human colonies of the Confederation.
Captain Jessie Cinders faces a hazardous choice. The murderer of the governor's nephew stands before him. But, the frightened teenager, Aurelia Garmenti, doesn't resemble the commandant's description of the vicious, hardened killer his security forces seek.