Twenty years have elapsed since Tibby first arrived in the Federation and rose to fame and fortune as the discoverer of the long-lost solbidyum treasure. Since then he has become the hero of the Federation in their fight against the Brotherhood. In spite of the military’s efforts, not every battle has gone well over the years and the Brotherhood has managed to capture and pillage nearly a third of the Federation worlds.
After the liberation of Alimar-4, one of the worlds previously occupied by the Brotherhood, Tibby pays a visit to the decimated planet with a group of senators for an inspection tour. Tibby’s son and daughter, who are now sixteen years old, ask to accompany him. In spite of his apprehension, he agrees. The visit has a profound life-changing affect on young Reidecor, who is devastated by what he sees.
As Fleet Admiral of the Federation Military Forces, Tibby continues to lead the Federation’s efforts to rid the universe of the evil Brotherhood. Under Tibby’s direction, the Federation forces have had some success destroying Brotherhood bases and supply depots; however, Tibby has yet to discover where they have been building their ships – particularly their most devastating of armaments, the asteroid-ships. There is a chance of overcoming this obstacle when Tibby receives word that an individual on another world has information that may lead him to the location of the Brotherhood headquarters and their maniacal ruler, Ming. Tibby is forced to make a clandestine trip to the home planet of a religious order to talk with the informant. While there, Tibby is confronted with enigmatic prophecies left behind by an artist monk a thousand years earlier. The extraordinary prophecies are depicted in statues and frescoes portraying scenes that revolve around Tibby and his companions.
In a strange turn of events Rear Admiral Regeny suddenly orders Tibby to remain with a small portion of the First Fleet to guard the Capitol, while he leads the majority of the remaining fleet to liberate the planet Glomar Rosa. Tibby is cut off from any communication related to Regeny’s plans and it is clear that Regeny is displeased with him. As Tibby soon learns, Regeny’s operation is weak and ill-conceived. There is a strong probability that the campaign will put the entire fleet and the Federation in great peril – a risk that Regeny seems to be ignoring.
In direct violation of both Rear Admiral Regeny’s orders and the decrees of the Senate, Tibby takes the MAXETTE far outside the Federation territories to a hostile world in an attempt to find Ming and bring an end to his reign by killing him and his High Command and thus end the war.
In the meantime, Tibby has ordered Kerabac to take the NEW ORLEANS to Earth, where Cantolla and a team of biologists begin to reintroduce microbial and other hardier life forms in an effort to slowly restore the planet.
Tibby begins to wonder whether the information he has received about the location of the Brotherhood’s headquarters is valid. As he moves out into space, dangerously far from Federation territory, he fears that Ming may have set a trap. Has he been deceived into traveling far from home, while the enemy attacks the heart of the Federation? Will he be able to accomplish what he sets out to do or will things turn out poorly, leaving him to return home a tarnished military officer – if he returns at all?
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