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.