Marooned on board an alien-built space station deep inside dangerous "Clan space," all the survivors from the destroyed star cruiser Archangel want is to go home. Or do they? Captain Mitch Dufrain has found love here, 20 years after he lost his first family. Chief Engineer Rilla Lansing has discovered new purpose after fleeing both retirement and her long-dead marriage. Senior Ordinary Aristotle Merchant looks forward to seeing the survivors colonize the planet the station orbits—but First Mate Thalia Eriknova, stranded among unchanged humans, wonders when and if she’ll see her native Themyscira again.
Meanwhile, on Lansing’s home-world at the border of Clan space, a lone survivor from the ship that wrecked the Archangel lives a paroled prisoner of war’s existence and plans for the day when he can return and (if necessary) finish the job as Clan Cranston’s honor requires. When Rilla Lansing’s diplomat ex-husband needs Chandler Cranston’s help, the clansman gets his opportunity at last—and the resulting "rescue mission" sails straight into an ambush as the space station’s mysterious builders return.