It is the twenty fourth century and mankind has finally achieved the dream and travelled to the stars. Unfortunately when he got there, it was to find that the stars were already filled with advanced alien races, and that humans would have to earn their place in the Interstellar Community through a probationary period. But worse was to follow, as that normal probation of fifty standard years, became over a hundred in mankind's case, for no known reason, and with no end in sight.
In this dark time for mankind, Dr. Daryl Chalmers, a xeno-archaeologist working alone on a dead alien world, is co-opted by a scientific expedition sponsored by the Interstellar Community to take part in one of the greatest xeno-archaelogical quests ever attempted. They intend to back track the exodus of the Calderonians from the local sector of the galaxy, ten thousand years earlier. This in the hope that their journey will in turn will lead them to the almost mythical race known only as the ancients.
This will be the expedition of a lifetime, but trapped for at least a year on a military ship, surrounded by aliens that detest him, given the task of breaking into ancient cities filled with deadly defences, and likely unable to return home, Daryl knew it would not be easy. And that was before they threw him in the brig, before the attempts on his life, and before he discovered a race of human beings living in the Community.
It was also before he triggered an interstellar war.