Ginnie Dare is the communications officer for her family's space faring shipping company. They arrive at Eshu for a routine supply drop and discover that the entire settlement's population has vanished. Their search of the site reveals nothing out of place, except the people, but ends in a tense confrontation with the natives. During the conflict, Ginnie discovers an alien artifact that may be the key to diffusing the conflict. Can she decode the artifact before it's taken by the Sector Defense Force? Will it help them to discover the missing colony's fate? Or, will the whole thing spark an interstellar war?