The war between the Federation and the Unity rages on, and far out beyond the Fringes Fleet's newest ship, the Niagara, has gone missing after her last jump. Admiralty assigns Commander Nathan Imbrahim the task of finding out what happened to her. To Imbrahim it seems a straightforward mission. But the only ship available to take him where he needs to go is the Connie--and there is nothing straightforward about Lhara Jordel, the woman who commands her. Captain Jhordel does as she pleases, as Commander Nathan Imbrahim soon finds out. And what she pleases will take them all into the heart of darkness.