Separated from her ship, Major Trace Thakur is stranded on the reeh-occupied world of Rando. The native corbi have suffered beneath reeh tyranny for 800 years, and many have given up hope. But Trace needs the data stored in the reeh's genetic technology and command center - the Rando Splicer - if she's to learn how to save humanity from impending disaster, and is planning an assault against overwhelming odds. She'll need help from the UFS Phoenix, though, which is caught in a ritual medieval battle to change the croma leadership that sees her crew embarking on a perilous journey across a warring desert continent. Should they fail, humanity could be just one of many species to die.