Commander Natalia O’Rourke is proud of her new recon vessel NightHawk and her crew of Commandos, but not enthused about their first assignment: to track down yet another radio signal that could be from an alien race. However, when she reaches the Barnard’s Star System she finds a mining operation under attack from an antique battle cruiser ten times her size and a fully operational space-going factory run by a ditzy artificial intelligence several thousand years old.
And then things start to get complicated. She might end up foster mother to a twelve-year-old super-genius, or the voice of conscience to a being with enough knowledge to help the human race destroy itself. Unless the cruiser blasts the NightHawk into her composite atoms.