When a star thirty-four light years away vanishes, leaving the infrared signature of a Dyson sphere, Supreme Commander Jack Commer readies the untested Typhoon V for Iota Persei, assigning talented Physician/Engineer Laurie Lachrer to the ship and asking a reluctant Will Connors, traumatized by old combat duties, to postpone his retirement for this mission. Draka Sortie, President of the United System Council, is transported to the Typhoon V en route to Iota Persei, where he begins to remember that he's a member of the Wounded, a race that kills suns to create spectacular quasar artworks fifteen billion light years away. A Laurie robot impersonating the real physician/engineer offers to assist. When her lover, an ancient robot, hijacks the older Typhoon III to rescue her, the ship is hurled against the sphere to claim its energy. The Wounded surround Sol with a Dyson sphere, and against her will the human Laurie becomes the Negation Master for Sol.