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After twenty years spent fighting the alien Kekktekians on the Halgren Defense Coalition's behalf, Captain Thomas Faraday finds himself reassigned to the AI warship Hadrian, and playing watchdog over the terraforming project on Armistice. A quiet, boring job he never wanted, but with a cease-fire in place, his skills aren't really needed. And given his recent trip-up with military secrets, he's lucky to still have a career. What he doesn't know is the tranquility around Armistice won't last long-all it takes is a single ping to obliterate fifty years of peace. That first rogue contact trips Armistice's long range sensors and quickly multiplies into a cascade of failures chewing hungrily through the planetary defense grid. Soon after, a fleet of vessels appear that squawk out Halgren credentials but refuse to respond to any of Hadrian's hails. And something else, something ghostly that lurks in their shadows, cloaking itself in the ships' electronic chatter. Something that feels Kekktekian to Faraday's battle-trained mind, even though it doesn't fit any of their patterns. With an unknown adversary on its way in, Faraday and his crew gear up to defend Armistice. Combat's nothing new, Faraday's built an entire career around war, but this time it's one ship against many. With no help on the way and no chance of reinforcements in sight. And there's more than just a planet at stake here: what's out there threatens a hard-won and still tenuous accord that, if broken, will reignite a centuries-old feud.