The same archeological team who uncovered a secret underground bunker on Dakistee sixteen years earlier, when the planet was still named Mawcett, has discovered a new facility. They struggle for months to open the entrance, but the structure defies all their efforts. Finally admitting defeat, they send a message to Admiral Jenetta Carver, beseeching her to come help once again.
In Region Two, Admiral Jenetta Carver is besieged with mundane work.
Although she would love to drop everything and head for Dakistee, she can't possibly get away. But she also can't ignore the possibilities of what treasures, or dangers, the facility might represent. Fortunately, the battleship Hephaestus is in port, and the ship's third watch commander is available for a special assignment.
Christa is far from thrilled with the prospect of giving up her seat on the bridge, even temporarily, but when an admiral says go, you go. It doesn't matter that the admiral is your sister. Christa expects to make a quick trip, with a speedy return to the Hephaestus, but as with Jenetta, assignments often tend to take unexpected side trips into unique and dangerous situations.