Two hundred years ago, Colonel Nicholas Walker and his crew set out aboard their ship, the Einstein, on the first ever interstellar journey. They were never heard from again. Now, a relic from the past, the Einstein's black box, has found its way back to Earth. The logs of Colonel Walker tell the harrowing tale of the Einstein's one landing place. Besieged by an advanced race of aliens, the crew of the Einstein was massacred. With so much information at hand, the Admiralty is yet left with more questions than ever before.
Captain Ted Beckett is the black sheep of the United Earth Space Force. Tarnished by events early in his career, he has been consigned to command a crew of rookies and wash outs aboard his ship, the U.E.S. Valor. His missions, like his crew, are dirty and difficult. When he is assigned to investigate the fate of the Einstein, he knows right away that it's a bad fit. He doesn't trust his superiors and they don't trust him. This mission suits him and his crew about as much as he suits the type of space force the Admiralty is trying to build. But key members of his crew have suddenly been replaced, and even the ones he's known for years seem like strangers.
Still, orders are orders, and even Beckett must follow them. Surrounded by conspiracy and doubt, he must navigate his way through a mission where the dangers come not from without, but from within.