The Alliance has been fighting a losing battle against the Syndicate Worlds for over a century. Now, Captain John "Black Jack" Geary, who returned to the fleet after a hundred-year suspended animation, must keep the Alliance one step ahead of its merciless foe. After a series of deadly engagements, the Alliance fleet is severely damaged and its arsenal is running low. Forced to halt in the Baldur Star System to raid the Syndic mines for raw materials, Geary is anxious to get moving again. But what should the fleet's next move be? The Syndics are starting to catch on to Geary's tactics, and as the Alliance ships jump from system to system, it's getting harder to keep one step ahead. What's more, Geary has started to piece fragments of intelligence together into a highly disturbing picture: the Syndics have been keeping the existence of another potential player in the war a secret - and this unknown power may have the means to annihilate the human race.