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Supreme Commander Jack Commer and his wife Amav journey to a backward agricultural world for a painful reunion with their son Jonathan James, survivor of a childhood abduction by Alpha Centaurian security forces. Choosing to remain secluded in the shattered Centaurian empire in the aftermath of its lost war with Sol, Jonathan James has authored a bestselling novel about the collapse of Alpha Centaurian culture. Jack and Amav are furious that their arrogant son refuses to attend his own literary award celebration party, or to even see his parents. Instead he sends his pet robot to summarize the novel, which is devoted to ridiculing a dimwitted caricature of his father. But the robot, modeled after Jack's dead brother John, gloats that the book is actually malware designed to resurrect the fascist Grid of the ancient Alpha Centaurian Empire.