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A viscous dynasty of men have increased in cruelty as they claim more and more human colonies scattered throughout the galaxy. The Terran Empire is ruled with a fist of stone and crushes all resistance. But the Orion people are not like others who have resisted; they think years, and sometimes, generations into the future. Several clever sleeper agents have been planted into the Terran military with orders to look for opportunities to dismantle the Empire from within. Traci Ganner is among those agents as she accepts her first command of the light cruiser, Corsair. During a pirate raid, her ship tracks down and destroys a pirate vessel and his consort, but in the process, they lead her to a violent race of beings, the Valdi, that have a superior tactical technology: star fighters. It is this technology that Traci understands will spell doom for the Empire. Traci is ordered to turn over her ship to the Valdi so that they might discover the secret of interstellar travel and launch an attack into the heart of the Terran Empire. It is this very threat that will rebalance the war between Orions and Terrans. But what happened to Traci's crew? It is suspected that she abandoned them to their death which would make her a formidable opponent indeed. And if she did, Scott Pearson will see her brought to swift justice.
Traci Ganner is not one to suffer fools and does not intend to allow Pearson to collect the evidence he needs to destroy her: Traci has the means and the instincts to stay one step ahead of him as the Terran forces strive to regain their control over the galaxy once more.
Scott Pearson is a personable command officer that wants to ensure the Empire's control over the subject worlds so that they can be protected. But as Traci opens his eyes to the desperation of the Orion people, Scott must come to terms with who he is and whether or not he is prepared to assume the role of emperor over a people that might be good or evil.