From inside a giant asteroid, hundreds of light years from Earth, Admiral Jenetta Carver is beginning to look forward to a trip home, and finally receiving command of her own ship. Her five-year tour of duty as the Base Commander of the Stewart SC Base is nearing an end, and the ship carrying her replacement has been underway for more than a year. However, when the GSC destroyer carrying Admiral Vroman is attacked just a few light years from the base, her plans are quickly forgotten. Rescue ships arriving at the site the next day find only corpses aboard the Lisbon, while a severely damaged freighter with a dead Tsgardi crew floats nearby. There's no sign of the admiral, and most of the SC crew is missing. The Milori Military Forces, unsuccessful in their first attempt to defeat the Galactic Alliance and annex its territory, are preparing for a second assault. Emperor Maxxiloth has decided he won't be embarrassed a second time and sends every ship available in his empire as part of the new invasion force.