The victory parades are over and half the fleet is back in mothballs. The Navies better start getting them back in Commission! Rita Longknife, commander of the heavy cruiser Exeter, has proof. Proof that there is something else out there. Proof we are not alone in the galaxy. Aboard her ship is evidence that we have blown up an alien ship, and they have blown up one of ours. So far, contact with the aliens is being made by pirates, the worst scum humanity has. How do the right people take over making contact? Is there already too much bad blood between us? Have we already bungled first contact?