The voyage of the Space Ship Intrepid is approaching its end. Will the nature of the Anomaly at last reveal itself? This is a question of paramount importance to Vashti and Beatrice, and in which there is no greater stake. For Captain Kerensky, the success of the mission is measured more by the well-being of the Intrepid's crew and passengers. Whereas Paul remains blissfully ignorant and unaware of almost everything around him and expects to play no greater part in the success of the mission than he already has.
There are many obstacles between the Space Ship Intrepid and the resolution of its mission. There are many millions of kilometres to travel; an unknown space fleet waiting to sabotage the Intrepid's progress; and most of all the sheer difficulty of exploring an Unknowable entity. Not only can the Anomaly not be analysed from outside, there is no evidence that even a journey into its interior is likely to be useful or successful in any way at all. But notwithstanding such obstacles, the greatest forces in the Universe are determined to resolve the greatest problem ever known. And perhaps also eliminate the greatest threat to the Universe's survival.