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The last memory Anissa Alto has is watching the destruction of the research ship Spindle by a rival scientist and being unable to do anything about it. The next thing she knows, she's waking up in an unfamiliar sickbay one hundred years later, surrounded by a crew of xeno-archaeologists led by Dr. Benedict Sawyer.
Sawyer's plan was simple: dig up the artifact resting in the bottom of a pit on an uninhabited planet, become an academic superstar, and never teach undergraduates again. The artifact turning out to be a woman from a neighboring star system put into stasis throws his dreams of student-free research off-kilter, as does Anissa herself.
Anissa knows who destroyed the Spindle and why, and that the perpetrator is still out there a century later. But as she and Sawyer investigate, it becomes clear that the reason for the ship's destruction is more than a case of scientific rivalry taken to the extreme and something far more sinister.