By the year 2322, humanity has expanded into the stars to inhabit over 100 worlds spread across a third of the galaxy. Though thriving as never before, they have not discovered the key to utopia, and societal divisions and conflict run as deep as ever.
Two decades ago, a group of breakaway colonies rebelled to form the Senecan Federation. They fought the Earth Alliance, won their independence in the Crux War and began to rise in wealth and power.
Now a cabal of powerful individuals within both superpowers and the criminal underground set in motion a plot designed to incite renewed war between the Alliance and Federation. Olivia Montegreu, Liam O’Connell, Matei Uttara and others each foment war for their own reasons. One man, Marcus Aguirre, manipulates them all, for only he knows what awaits humanity if the plot fails.
Alexis Solovy is a starship pilot and explorer. Her father, a fallen war hero, gave his life in the Crux War. As Operations Director for Earth Alliance Strategic Command (EASC), her mother Miriam Solovy is an influential military leader. But Alex seeks only the freedom of space and has made a fortune by reading the patterns in the chaos to uncover the hidden wonders of the stars from her cutting-edge scout ship, the Siyane.
Caleb Marano is an intelligence agent for the Senecan Federation. His trade is to become whatever the situation requires: to lie, deceive, outwit and if necessary use lethal force to bring his target to justice. Clever and enigmatic, he’s long enjoyed the thrill and danger his job brings, but now finds himself troubled by the death of his mentor.
On Earth, Alex is preparing for an expedition to the Metis Nebula, a remote region on the fringes of explored space, when she receives an unexpected offer to lead the Alliance’s space exploration program. After a typically contentious meeting with her mother, she refuses the job.
On Seneca, Caleb returns from a forced vacation spent with his sister Isabela and her daughter Marlee. Fresh off eradicating the terrorist group who murdered his mentor, he receives a new mission from Special Operations Director Michael Volosk: conduct a threat assessment on disturbing readings originating from the Metis Nebula.
While Alex and Caleb separately travel toward Metis, a Trade Summit between the Alliance and Federation begins on the resort world of Atlantis. Colonel Richard Navick, lifelong friend of the Solovys and EASC Naval Intelligence Liaison, is in charge of surveillance for the Summit, but unbeknownst to him, the provocation for renewed war will begin under his watch.
Jaron Nythal, Asst. Trade Director for the Federation, abets the infiltration of the Summit by the assassin Matei Uttara. Matei kills a Federation attaché, Chris Candela, and assumes his identity. On the final night of the Summit, he poisons Alliance Minister of Trade Santiagar with a virus, which overloads his cybernetics, causing a fatal stroke. Matei escapes in the ensuing chaos.
Shortly after departing Seneca, Caleb is attacked by mercenary ships. He defeats them, but when he later encounters Alex’s ship on the fringes of Metis, he believes her to be another mercenary and fires on her. She destroys his ship, though not before suffering damage to her own, and he crashes on a nearby planet. She is forced to land to effect repairs; recognizing her attacker will die without rescue, she takes him prisoner.
Richard Navick and Michael Volosk each separately scramble to uncover the truth of the Santiagar assassination while Olivia Montegreu, the leader of the Zelones criminal cartel, schemes with Marcus Aguirre to implement the next phase in their plan. Olivia routes missiles provided by Alliance General Liam O’Connell to a group of mercenaries.
Fighting past distrust and suspicion, Alex and Caleb complete repairs on the Siyane using salvaged material from the wreckage of his ship. Having gained a degree of camaraderie and affection, if not quite trust, they depart the planet in search of answers to the mystery at the heart of Metis.
What they discover is a scene from a nightmare—an armada of monstrous alien ships emerging from a massive portal, gathering a legion in preparation for an invasion.
Meanwhile, Olivia’s mercenaries launch a devastating attack on the Federation colony of Palluda. Disguised to look like a strike by Alliance military forces, the attack has the desired effect of inciting war. The Federation retaliates by leveling an Alliance military base on Arcadia, and the Second Crux War has begun.
Alex and Caleb flee the Metis Nebula to warn others of the impending threat, only to learn war has broken out between their respective governments. Caleb delivers information about the alien threat to Volosk. He informs the Director of Intelligence, Graham Delavasi, who alerts the Federation government Chairman Vranas and the military’s supreme commander, Field Marshal Gianno. Forced to focus on the new war with the Alliance for now, they nonetheless dispatch a stealth infiltration team to investigate Metis.
Caleb is requested to accompany the team and return to Metis, only Alex refuses to drop him off on her way to Earth. Tensions flare, but Caleb realizes he’s emotionally compromised even as Alex realizes she must let him go. Instead, he agrees to go to Earth with her, and together with Volosk they devise a plan to try to bring a swift end to the war by exposing its suspicious beginnings.
The plan goes awry when Caleb is arrested shortly after they arrive—by Alex’s mother—after his true identity is leaked to Richard by those in league with Marcus.
While Caleb is locked away in a detention facility, his friend Noah Terrage is recruited by Olivia to smuggle explosives to Vancouver. Possessing a conscience, he refuses. The infiltration team sent by the Federation to Metis vanishes as the Second Crux War escalates.
Alex is forced to choose between her government, her family and what she knows is right. She turns to her best friend, Kennedy Rossi, and their old hacker acquaintance, Claire Zabroi. Plans in place, Alex presents her evidence on the alien armada to a skeptical EASC Board. Their tepid reaction leads to a final confrontation with her mother and a final plea to focus on the true threat.
Alex hacks military security and breaks Caleb out of confinement. Allegiances declared and choices made, they at last give in to the passion they feel for one another. Despite lingering resentment toward the Federation for her father’s death and fear that Caleb is merely playing a role, she agrees to accompany him to Seneca to find another way to combat the looming invasion.
Caleb appeals to his friend and former lover, Mia Requelme, for help in covering their tracks. She hides the Siyane safely away on Romane while Alex and Caleb travel to Seneca. Secretly, Caleb asks Mia to hack the ship while they are gone to grant him full access and flying privileges, something Alex zealously guards for herself, and Mia uses her personal Artificial, Meno, to break the encryption on the ship.
On Earth, Richard wrestles with unease and doubt as he begins to believe Alex’s claims about the origin of the war. He confesses his dilemma to his husband, Will Sutton. Will urges him to work to bring about peace and offers to convey Santiagar’s autopsy report to Alex in the hope the Senecan government can find in it evidence to prove the assassination was not their doing.
Volosk meets with Caleb and Alex, and they hand over the autopsy report Will forwarded and all the raw data they recorded on the aliens. In return Volosk arranges meetings with the highest levels of leadership.
As Alex and Caleb enjoy a romantic dinner, EASC Headquarters is destroyed in a massive bombing executed by agents of Olivia and Marcus. Though intended to be killed in the attack, due to a last minute scheduling conflict Miriam Solovy is not on the premises. Instead EASC Board Chairman Alamatto perishes, along with thousands of others. On the campus but outside Headquarters, Richard narrowly escapes critical injury.
Within minutes of the bombing, Caleb and Alex are ambushed by mercenaries in downtown Cavare. Caleb kills them all in dramatic fashion, but unbeknownst to him Alex was injured by a stray shot. In the panic of the moment he mistakes her shellshocked behavior for fear of the killer he has revealed himself to be.
Heartbroken but determined to protect her, he flees with her to the Intelligence building. Upon arriving there, they find the unthinkable—Michael Volosk has been murdered, his throat slit in the parking lot.
Suddenly unable to trust anyone, Caleb pleas with Alex to go with him to the spaceport, but she collapses as a result of her injury. Stunned but with one clear mission, he steals a skycar and returns to their ship, where he can treat her wounds in the relative safety of space.
The EASC bombing successfully executed, Olivia’s Zelones network turns its attention to Noah. In refusing to smuggle the explosives he is now a liability; the first attempt on his life misses him but kills his young companion. Searching for answers, he traces the source of the hit and realizes he was targeted because of his friendship with Caleb. Lacking other options and with a price on his head, he flees Pandora for Messium.
Miriam returns to Vancouver to preside over the devastation at EASC Headquarters. She begins the process of moving the organization forward—only to learn the evidence implicates Caleb as the perpetrator.
Marcus moves one step nearer to his goal when the Alliance Assembly passes a No Confidence Vote against Prime Minister Brennon. Marcus’ friend Luis Barrera is named PM, and he quickly appoints Marcus Foreign Minister.
Alex regains consciousness aboard their rented ship as they race back to Romane. Misunderstandings and innate fears drive them to the breaking point, then bring them closer than ever. The moment of contentment is short-lived, however, as Caleb—and by extension Alex—is publicly named a suspect in the bombing.
Every copy of the raw data captured at the portal, except for the original in Alex’s possession, has now been destroyed. Recognizing an even deeper secret must reside within the portal and hunted by the conspirators and authorities alike, Alex and Caleb begin a desperate gambit to clear their names and discover a way to defeat the aliens.
On reaching Romane, Alex, Caleb and the Siyane are protected by Mia while they prepare. Kennedy brings equipment to replace the ship’s shielding damaged in Metis. On the Siyane, she realizes the repairs made using the material from Caleb’s ship has begun transforming the hull into a new, stronger metal. Caleb receives a vote of confidence from his sister Isabela, and a gesture of trust from Alex in the form of a chair.
Back on Earth, Miriam and Richard work to clear Alex’s name, even as Miriam is threatened by the newly-named EASC Board Chairman, Liam O’Connell. Marcus informs his alien contact, Hyperion that his plan has nearly come to fruition, only to be told he is out of time.
As the invaders commence their assault on the frontiers of settled space by sieging the colony of Gaiae, Alex and Caleb breach the aliens’ mysterious, otherworldly portal at the heart of the Metis Nebula.
Beyond the Portal
Alex and Caleb survive the portal traversal to discover empty darkness on the other side. They follow the TLF wave until they are attacked by a host of alien vessels. Alex discerns an artificial space within the emptiness and pitches the Siyane into it. The vessels do not follow, and Alex and Caleb find themselves in the atmosphere of a hidden planet.
The planet mimics Earth in almost every way, but is 1/3 the size and orbits no sun. It differs in one other respect as well—time moves differently here. Days back home pass in hours here.
When they land and venture outside to explore their surroundings, Alex notices the ship’s hull continues to transform into a new, unknown metal. As she puzzles over it they are attacked—by a dragon. The beast captures Alex and flies off with her.
Caleb takes control of the ship to chase the dragon. As it reaches a mountain range, the Siyane impacts an invisible barrier which throws it back to its origin point. On his return Caleb encounters and kills 2 additional dragons. Believing the barrier is a technology repulsor but uncertain of its parameters, he crafts a sword from a piece of metal, deactivates his eVi and crosses the barrier on foot.
Alex wakes in a memory. Eleven years old, she enjoys breakfast with her parents, then overhears a conversation between them she in reality never witnessed. Realizing this is an illusion, she demands to be set free. A ghostly, disembodied voice challenges her. Thus begins her journey through a series of scenes from the past in which she is forced to watch events unfold, helpless to intervene or escape, as her protests, tirades and desperate pleas go unanswered.
— First is a gauntlet of her own mistakes. Designed to paint her as selfish and uncaring, her worst flaws are displayed in encounters with friends, former lovers and most of all with her mother.
— She views a massive battle between the Alliance and Federation and realizes this is about more than her—the aliens having been watching and recording events across human civilization.
— Traveling further back in time, Alex suffers through the Hong Kong Incident 232 years earlier. Over 50,000 people died when an Artificial trapped HK University residents for 5 weeks without food. At its conclusion her captor speaks to her for only the second time, telling her she has ‘done well.’
— She is sent to the bridge of her father’s cruiser in the middle of the Kappa Crucis battle of the 1st Crux War—the battle that took his life. She sees her father’s heroism as he protects thousands of civilians against a Federation assault, then his last moments as, his ship crippled, he contacts Miriam to say goodbye. The heartbreak and emotion of the scene devastates Alex, leaving her crumpled on the floor sobbing as the Stalwart explodes.
When it’s over, she thanks her unseen captor for showing her this event. It expresses confusion at the incongruity of her distress and her thanks, leading her to observe that for all their watching, they still have no idea what it means to be human. Before the interchange can continue, she is told she will wake up, as her companion approaches.
Caleb hiked through the mountains for 2 days. The environment led him to recall a mission with Samuel, during which his mentor divulged the woman he loved was killed by slavers he’d been investigating. Later, Caleb discovers small orbs hovering in the air to generate the tech repulsion field. He renders several inert and confiscates them.
Having reached the dragon’s den, he attacks it using the sword, and after an extended battle flays and kills it. As he nears the structure the dragon guarded, an ethereal being materializes but allows him to pass.
Alex awakens as Caleb enters, and they share a tender reunion. Soon, however, he is forced to admit Mia’s hacking of her ship. He expects her to lash out in anger, but she instead declares her love for him. He quickly reciprocates, and rather unexpectedly they find themselves reconciled and closer than before. She recounts her experiences while a captive, and they decide to seek out the alien.
Eventually they come upon a lush valley sheltering a large lake; the alien Caleb encountered soars above it. It approaches them while morphing into a humanoid form and introduces itself as Mnemosyne.
Though enigmatic and evasive, the alien reveals its kind have been observing humans for aeons. It suggests humanity is being conquered because it advanced more swiftly and to a greater extent than expected. On further pressing, the alien—Alex has dubbed it ‘Mesme’—indicates the invading ships are AIs, sent to cower people into submission if possible, to exterminate them if not. It emphasizes the ships are only machines, and notes humans have machines as powerful—Artificials. Part of Alex’s test was to ensure she appreciated the dangers and limitations of Artificials, but also their potential.
Alex recalls a meeting 4 years ago with Dr. Canivon, a cybernetics expert, during which she met Canivon’s Artificial, Valkyrie. She and Valkyrie hit it off, and Canivon explained her research into making Artificials safer and better aligned with human interests. She begins to understand what Mesme is suggesting, but pushes for more intel and acquires a copy of the code powering the planet’s cloaking shield.
Mesme admits to believing humans are worth saving. The alien warns them they will be hunted on their return through the portal; at this point a second alien appears and a confrontation ensues. Mesme deters the new alien long enough to transport Alex and Caleb back to the Siyane. They arrive to learn the ship’s hull has been completely transformed into the new metal.
Alex studies the cloaking shield code and adapts it for use on her ship. They depart the planet and continue following the TLF wave, discovering a massive shipyard where superdreadnoughts are being built and sent to their galaxy. Beyond it lies a portal 10x larger than the one that brought them here. It generates their TLF wave—as well as 50 more waves projected in a fanlike pattern.
They track one of the waves to a portal identical to the one leading to the Metis Nebula. They traverse it to find the signals replicated in a new space and a second origin portal, which leads them to conclude this is an elaborate, interlocking tunnel network.
Caleb devises a way to destroy the shipyard using the tech repulsion orbs he confiscated. They launch the orbs into the facility then activate them, resulting in its obliteration. This attracts the attention of enemy ships, which chase the Siyane through a series of portal jumps. Alex asks Caleb to fly her ship while she figures out a path that will deposit them nearest their own exit point.
On reaching it, Alex activates the sLume drive and traverses it at superluminal speed to emerge parsecs beyond the portal and well past the waiting enemies in the Metis Nebula. With working communications, they learn they’ve been cleared of all charges. Alex sends a message to Kennedy, telling her they are alive and have destroyed the aliens’ shipyard.
As the 2nd Crux War escalates, Federation forces conquer the Alliance colony of Desna. Lt. Col. Malcolm Jenner’s Juno is the sole defender, and it escapes just before being crippled.
Miriam jousts with Liam even as she remains under a cloud of suspicion due to Alex’s alleged involvement in the HQ bombing. Richard enlists the aid of a quantum computing specialist, Devon Reynolds, to help uncover the tampering in government records which led to the framing of Caleb and Alex for the bombing.
On Seneca, Dir. of Intelligence Graham Delavasi reviews Michael Volosk’s files, including his suspicions regarding Jaron Nythal, and decides to follow up on the suspicions. Nythal tries to flee, but before he can do so the assassin Matei Uttara kills him. When Graham is called to the crime scene, he connects the dots and realizes a conspiracy does exist, and at least one person in his organization is involved.
Caleb’s sister Isabela is taken in for questioning. In order to gain her trust, Graham reveals to her that her father was an investigator for Intelligence and was killed 20 years earlier by a resistance group planning to overthrow the Federation government. Her father’s apparent abandonment of his family was a feint to protect them. After he was killed, the government covered up the incident.
On Messium, Kennedy is headed to a meeting when the aliens attack and is trapped under falling debris. She is rescued by a passing stranger—who turns out to be Noah Terrage—and they seek shelter. While her injuries heal they study the aliens’ interference with comms and find a way to circumvent it. Kennedy sends a message to Miriam.
The Alliance launches an offensive to retake Desna. While the battle rages in space, Malcolm Jenner and a special forces team rescue the Desnan governor and his family. The Alliance fails to retake the colony. Meanwhile, an explosion takes the life of EA Prime Minister Barrera. In the wake of his death Marcus Aguirre—who arranged Barrera’s murder—is named Prime Minister.
Devon Reynolds uncovers alterations to the records used to frame Caleb and Alex for the HQ bombing. At Richard’s request he and a group of hackers leak the evidence to media outlets.
Upon seeing the news, Graham Delavasi refocuses his efforts to uncover the conspiracy. Suspecting his deputy, Liz Oberti, he uses Isabela to set a trap. Oberti is arrested but refuses to provide any intel.
The EASC Board meets about the Messium attack, where Miriam shares Kennedy’s method to thwart the comm interference. Admiral Rychen readies a mission to drive the aliens off Messium.
While Richard and Miriam discuss Alex’s name being cleared, Richard’s husband, Will Sutton, arrives. In an effort to help expose the conspiracy and end the 2nd Crux War, he confesses he is an undercover Senecan Intelligence agent and puts Richard in touch with Graham.
Following a heated confrontation with Will, Richard departs to meet Graham on Pandora. Together they interrogate a man suspected of smuggling explosives into Vancouver. The agent gives up Olivia Montegreu, and they formulate a plan to ensnare her.
Miriam confronts Liam over his mismanagement of the war and alien invasion. Enraged, he strikes her, but she refuses to be intimidated. Marcus reaches out to his alien contact, entreating that he now has the power to cease human expansion and pleading with it to end the offensive, but the alien does not respond.
Olivia visits a subordinate on Krysk, but finds Richard and Graham waiting for her. In exchange for her freedom, she gives up Marcus and the details of their conspiracy. Before they part ways Graham gives Richard Will’s intelligence file.
Malcolm is sent to assist Admiral Rychen in the Messium offensive. As the battle commences, Kennedy and Noah flee their hideout in an attempt to reach a small military station across the city. They witness horrific devastation and death while crossing the city, but successfully reach the station and repair several shuttles to escape.
The Alliance ships struggle to hold their own against a powerful enemy. Malcolm retrieves the fleeing shuttles and learns the details of the situation on the ground. Faced with the reality that Alliance forces will eventually be defeated, the fleet retreats to save the remaining ships for future battles.
Graham returns to Seneca to inform Federation Chairman Vranas of the conspiracy and the false pretenses upon which hostilities were instigated. Vranas begins the process of reaching out to the Alliance to end the war. Isabela is released from protective custody and returns home to Krysk to reunite with her daughter.
Based on the information Olivia provided, Miriam goes to arrest Liam, only to find he has fled. Richard similarly accompanies a team to detain Marcus, but on their arrival Marcus declares everything he did was for the good of humanity, then commits suicide.
After studying Will’s Intelligence file and realizing his husband had acted honorably—other than lying to him—Richard pays Will a visit. Following a contentious and emotional scene, they appear to reconcile.
The EA Assembly reinstates Steven Brennon as Prime Minister. His first act is to promote Miriam to EASC Board Chairman and Fleet Admiral of the Armed Forces. On her advice he signs a peace treaty with the Federation.
Olivia approaches Aiden Trieneri, head of the rival Triene cartel and her occasional lover, and suggests they work together to aid the fight against the invaders. On Atlantis, Matei Uttara’s alien contact tells him Alex and Caleb are returning and instructs him to kill them.
Kennedy and Noah reach Earth. Kennedy’s easy rapport with the military leadership spooks Noah, and he tries to slip away. She chases after him, ultimately persuading him to stay with a passionate kiss.
Liam arrives at the NW Regional base on Fionava. He injects a virus into the communications network and hijacks several ships by convincing their captains he is on a secret mission approved by EA leadership to launch clandestine raids on Federation colonies.
Alliance and Federation leadership are meeting to finalize war plans when an alien contacts them to offer terms for their surrender. It involves humanity forever retreating west behind a demarcation line, cutting off 28 colonies and 150 million people.
The leaders don’t want to surrender but recognize their odds of victory are quite low. Then Miriam receives word that Alex is alive and the aliens’ ability to send reinforcements has been destroyed. They decide to reject the terms of surrender and fight. On Miriam’s order their ships open fire on the alien forces.
The Metigen War is in full swing as Alex and Caleb approach Seneca. Caleb initiates an Intelligence Division protection protocol, and he and Alex join Director Delavasi at a safe house as several actions are set in motion.
Alex contacts Dr. Canivon to discuss the feasibility of enriching human/Artificial connections, only to discover Sagan is already under attack by the Metigens. The Alliance is defending the independent colony, and Alex asks her mother to ensure Canivon and her Artificial, Valkyrie, are rescued and brought to Earth. Caleb reaches out to Isabela, who divulges the truth about their father’s profession and his death. Caleb confronts Graham about it, and a heated argument ensues.
On Earth, Kennedy works with the Alliance to manufacture the material the Siyane’s hull transformed into, now called ‘adiamene.’ She implores Noah to seek the help of his estranged father, a metals expert. Noah agrees, but the request introduces tension into their relationship. Devon tries to restore communications to Fionava and NW Command, while elsewhere at EASC Devon’s boss, Brigadier Hervé, is contacted by Hyperion, the same alien Marcus Aguirre was in league with.
Alex, Caleb, Miriam, Richard and Graham converge on a secluded, private estate on Pandora, and Alex and Miriam reunite in a more tender encounter than either were expecting. Alex reveals the full extent of her plan to the others, including that she intends to spearhead it by being the first to neurally link to an Artificial. Even as they meet, agents of the Metigens seek to stop them—the safe house on Seneca is blown up, and the assassin Matei Uttara pursues them to Pandora.
When Miriam breaks the news to Alex that her former lover, Ethan Tollis, died in an explosion, she flees to grieve in private. Caleb goes after her, but it intercepted by Uttara. A bloody fight ensues, during which both men are gravely injured. Alex arrives on the scene and shoots Uttara in the head, killing him. Caleb collapses from his injuries.
Noah meets with his father, Lionel, in a combative encounter. Despite the tension between them, Lionel agrees to help with the adiamene production, and they travel to Berlin to meet Kennedy at the manufacturing facility. Once Lionel begins work, Noah confronts Kennedy about her motives for forcing a reunion with his father, but the matter isn’t resolved.
Caleb regains consciousness, and he and Alex share an emotional moment in which they both come to realizations about each other and the strength of their relationship. Miriam learns Liam has attacked the Federation colonies of New Cairo and Ogham with nuclear weapons, and she is forced to travel to Seneca to smooth things over with Federation leadership. Once Caleb is healed enough to travel, he and Alex depart for Earth. On the way, he contacts Mia and asks her to come to Earth, though he can’t yet tell her why.
Miriam meets with Field Marshal Gianno and Chairman Vranas, and in a surprising move tells them she won’t take any active steps to stop Liam until after the Metigens are defeated, as they must concentrate all their efforts on the alien invasion. She then tells Gianno about Alex’s plan. Gianno selects the fighter pilot, Morgan Lekkas, for participation, and recalls her from Elathan, where Morgan was helping to defend against a Metigen attack.
Alex and Caleb reach EASC Headquarters, where they are reunited with Kennedy and Noah. Alex meets with Dr. Canivon, who was safely evacuated off Sagan, and informs the woman she wants to use Valkyrie as her Artificial partner in the project they’ve dubbed ‘Noetica.’ While monitoring the war effort, EASC’s Artificial, Annie, discovers her programming has been corrupted and suspects Hervé of tampering.
Miriam returns to Earth and meets with Prime Minister Brennon. She tells him they are losing the war—they and the Federation are suffering too many losses and will run out of ships and soldiers long before the Metigens do—then pitches Noetica to him.
Mia arrives in Vancouver. Alex and Caleb ask her to be a part of Noetica, together with her Artificial, Meno, and she agrees. With time running out and the Metigens advancing, Noetica is approved and Devon Reynolds and Annie are selected as the last participants.
Alex is the first to undergo the procedure Dr. Canivon has devised to allow a linking between an Artificial’s quantum processes and a human mind at a neural level. Caleb and Miriam each contend with fear and worry about her well-being, and Miriam comes to recognize how much Caleb cares for Alex.
Alex awakens to her and Valkyrie’s thoughts clashing and overrunning one another. She struggles to regain control of her mind and deal with the flood of information, and with Caleb’s help is able to do so. She informs her mother the Metigens are deviating from their pattern and heading for Seneca and Romane in massive force.
While the others undergo the procedure, Alex and Miriam meet with Brennon, Gianno and Vranas. Alex makes the case that the Metigens are coming for Seneca and Romane, and Miriam and Brennon decide to send the EA fleet to defend the two worlds.
On Liam’s cruiser, the Akagi, Captain Brooklyn Harper begins a mutinous campaign to stop Liam. She enlists one of her teammates, Kone, and a comm officer, who slips a message out to Col. Malcolm Jenner saying Liam’s next target is Krysk and asking for intervention. Then she and Kone sabotage the remaining nukes on the Akagi.
Malcolm is defending Scythia from the Metigens when he receives Harper’s message. He passes it on to Miriam, who informs Gianno. Gianno claims she can’t spare the ships to defend the colony if the Metigens are almost at Seneca.
Caleb is furious the military won’t defend Krysk, where his sister and niece live, and makes the gut-wrenching decision to try to rescue them. Alex gives him the Siyane, saying it’s his only chance to reach Krysk in time. After a tearful parting, Caleb leaves, but not before recruiting Noah to go with him.
Alex, Devon, Mia and Morgan, and their Artificial counterparts, Valkyrie, Annie, Meno and Stanley, gather to strategize. They name themselves “Prevos,” taken from the Russian word for “The Transcended,” and begin to realize the extent of their new capabilities. Alex shares a touching goodbye with her mother before leaving with the fleet for Seneca.
Devon remains at EASC, where he and Annie will oversee all fronts of the war, and comes to terms with the fact Hervé is working for the Metigens. At the same time, Hyperion confronts Hervé about Noetica. Because she wants the Metigens defeated, Hervé does not reveal to Hyperion that she has secretly placed a ‘Kill Switch’ in the Prevos’ firmware, which when used will sever their connections to the Artificials—and also likely kill them.
Graham, Vranas and Gianno discuss the coming attack and express concerns over Noetica. When Graham returns to his office, Will Sutton—Richard’s husband and a Senecan intelligence agent—is waiting on him and bears mysterious news.
Liam arrives at Krysk and attempts to use his nukes to disable the orbital defense array. They fail to detonate, and he has Kone brought before him to answer allegations of sabotage. When Kone refuses to confess, Liam executes him. Harper witnesses the execution via a surveillance camera; devastated, she prepares to try to blow up the ship. On the colony below, Isabela and Marlee are downtown as the attack begins. They seek refuge in the basement of an office building, but become trapped when the building collapses.
Alex reaches Seneca and Admiral Rychen’s flagship dreadnought, the Churchill, and she and Rychen discuss strategy. Meanwhile, the Noetica Artificials discuss using neural imprints of notable military officers to supplement their and the Prevos tactical capabilities.
Caleb and Noah get to Krysk to discover the capital city under attack. The ongoing assault makes it too dangerous to land and find Isabela and Marlee, so Caleb comes up with a new plan. He draws Liam’s ships away from the city, then, trusting the adiamene hull is strong enough to hold the Siyane together, crashes it through the frigates and into the belly of the Akagi.
They fight their way through the ship to the bridge, where they encounter Harper, who agrees to help them. She distracts Liam, then when Caleb and Noah open fire, disables his personal shield. Caleb kills Liam. Caleb, Noah and Harper rush back to the Siyane and escape just before the cruiser crashes.
Noah and Harper help Caleb dig a tunnel to where Isabela and Marlee are trapped, freeing them and several other people. Harper elects to remain in the city to aid with rescue efforts. Noah decides to find transportation back to Earth, eager to return to Kennedy, and Caleb heads for Seneca, and Alex.
The Metigens arrive at Seneca in overwhelming force. Alex, on the Churchill with Rychen, and Morgan, on the SF flagship with Gianno, take charge of the battle, employing a number of surprise weapons and tactics to gain an early advantage over the Metigen armada.
Several hours into the battle, Alex argues as it stands now they will not achieve complete victory. She convinces Miriam and Rychen to allow her to break into one of the Metigen superdreadnoughts, where she and Valkyrie believe they can hack the core operating code. She hitches a ride atop a recon craft, experiencing a thrilling and terrifying journey through the heart of the battle.
Inside, Alex finds a cavernous space, with power conduits and signals running in every direction, and goes in search of the engineering core. When she hears her father in her head during the search, Valkyrie confesses that the Artificials’ search of military neural imprints turned up one for Alex’s father, taken before his death. Not surprisingly, it was compatible with Alex’s brainwave patterns, so Valkyrie loaded it into her processes to increase their knowledge of military tactics. Valkyrie then enriched the imprint, creating a more fulsome representation of David Solovy’s mind and leading to the unexpected result of his personality manifesting.
When they locate the engineering core Alex immerses herself in it to access the ship's programming. Valkyrie inserts a subtle logic error into one of the base routines, and they quickly depart the ship.
A major battle also ensues on and above Romane. Malcolm takes a special forces squad groundside, where he meets up with Mia in the governor’s emergency bunker. Mia believes she and Meno have developed a signal beam to nullify an alien vessel’s shields. He agrees to help her test it out on one of the smaller alien ships wreaking havoc in the city. They depart the bunker with part of Malcom’s squad, while the rest of the squad conducts rescue operations. The test is successful, and Mia/Meno transfer the code for the signal to Devon, who deploys it to all the fleets.
They are returning to the bunker when Malcolm receives an order to arrest one of his Marines who was part of the rescue team on suspicion of working for the Metigens. When arrested, the suspect detonates a bomb he’d placed at Mia’s home. The explosion badly damages Meno’s hardware, abruptly severing his connection with Mia and causing her to stroke.
Caleb reaches the fleet at Seneca, and he and Alex enjoy a jubilant reunion. Suddenly Alex collapses to the floor as the trauma to Meno and Mia reverberates through the Prevos’ connection to one another. Once Alex recovers, she, Devon and Morgan decide it’s time to implement their secret plan to ensure victory.
Miriam is overseeing both battlefronts from the War Room when she’s informed Devon/Annie have taken control of both Earth’s and Seneca’s defense arrays. Panic erupts among the military and government leaders. At that moment Miriam receives a message from Alex asking Miriam to please trust in her, and trust Richard. Richard indicates he knows something but won’t divulge what it might be.
Hervé judges it’s necessary to use the Kill Switch, but Miriam shoots her with a stunner before she can do so. Miriam refuses to act against the Prevos, even as they turn the defense arrays inward.
Unbeknownst to Miriam, shortly after the Prevos were created, they uncovered the full Metigen network of spies and assassins. Before leaving Earth, Alex went with Devon to see Richard and gave him a list of enemy agents, and he contacted Graham and Will on Seneca. They formulated a strategy to arrest or kill the agents at the last possible moment, and enlisted Olivia Montegreu’s aid in the effort. Miriam was kept in the dark because revealing Hervé’s involvement ahead of time would’ve alerted the aliens to the fact the Prevos were onto them.
The defense arrays fire—on dozens of Metigen superdreadnoughts hiding cloaked above the major cities of Earth and Seneca. Armed with massive firepower as well as the disruptive signal beam Mia/Meno developed, the superdreadnoughts are destroyed. The Prevos had picked up the stealthed vessels hours earlier, but again, revealing them too early would have tipped their hand.
An alien representative contacts those leading the military assault, but Alex takes charge of the conversation. The alien says they are open to considering cease fire terms, but Alex notes the aliens are in no position to bargain, as humanity’s forces have decimated them. She orders them to retreat through the portal and to cease their observation of and meddling in Aurora. She also asks for an explanation for their aggression; the alien replies that humans are far more dangerous than they recognize and must be contained.
The alien accepts her terms, but warns humanity not to come looking for them beyond the portal. Alex doesn’t respond to the warning, instead ordering them to retreat now. They do so, and the war comes to an end.
Later, as EA Prime Minister Brennon gives a speech mourning those lost and vowing a new era for civilization, Gianno and Vranas worry about the future of peace with EA and the danger Noetica poses, before separating to celebrate the victory with their families.
Noah reaches Earth and intercepts Kennedy as she is about to leave Vancouver. He finds her cold and dismissive, and provokes her into admitting she was hurt by him eagerly running off with Caleb, then not contacting her. He admits his mistake and being angry with her, but pleads his case by regaling all he went through to get back to her as fast as possible, and they reconcile.
On New Babel, Olivia and her partner-in-crime Aiden prepare to expand their spheres of influence. When Aiden suggests they merge their cartels—the one thing Olivia had warned him never to do—she uses a cybernetic virus to kill him, then begins taking over his cartel.
Alex returns to Earth and reunites with her mother. She elects not to tell Miriam about the construct of her father, and after catching up they agree to meet for lunch the next week.
Caleb and Alex visit Mia, who remains in a coma and was brought to EASC’s hospital at Alex’s request. Dr. Canivon says she’s somewhat optimistic she can rebuild Meno, and together they can repair the damage to Mia’s brain. Caleb authorizes her to move ahead, though there’s no guarantee Mia will be herself should she eventually awaken.
They return to Alex’s loft for a romantic dinner. Caleb presents her with a belated birthday gift—a bracelet crafted from a piece of his sword, the only remnant of the Siyane’s hull before it morphed into adiamene.
He divulges that Graham has offered him any job he wants if he’ll return to Division. Alex encourages him to do so, insisting they can make a long-distance relationship work. He challenges her about what she truly wants from him. When she caves and admits she selfishly wants him to stay with her, he immediately resigns from Division and asks her to marry him. After an emotional discussion, she says yes.
Six Months Later
Miriam returns from vacation to move into the new Headquarters building. She and Richard are discussing threats on the horizon and long-term strategies when she receives a message from Alex.
On Atlantis, Kennedy and Noah are enjoying their own vacation, expecting Alex and Caleb to join them later in the day, when Kennedy also receives a message from Alex.
The Siyane hovers in the Metis Nebula, just outside the ring of ships patrolling the portal to prevent any Metigen incursion. Valkyrie has been installed into the walls of the Siyane, and Alex and Caleb have married. They activate the portal and accelerate through it on a quest for answers about the Metigens and their network of multiverses.
Mnemosyne has been exiled by the Idryma Conclave, the Metigen group who controls the portals. The Conclave placed bombs at the Metis Portal intended to destroy the apparatus if it opened, but Mesme disabled them before the Siyane traversed the portal.
Alex and Caleb discover a star system of planet-spanning, flora-based intelligences. The first world they visit is aggressive and tries to kill them when they damage a leaf. They escape, but while fleeing one of the plants cuts Alex and injects a toxin into her bloodstream.
The next planet is peaceful. While exploring, a tree induces Caleb into a trance-like state in order to communicate with him. He realizes the life-form can heal Alex’s injury and convinces her to let it treat her. They name the intelligence ‘Akeso’ and spend several days with it.
On visiting the third planet, they discover its resident is trying to expand off-world and is terraforming its moon. When their presence is detected, it attacks the Siyane. They return to Akeso to warn it of the threat from its neighbor. To do so, Caleb must expose Akeso to the violence and death of his past, notions it has never conceived of. Troubled, Akeso asks them to depart.
The next portal space they visit harbors life which is the polar opposite of Akeso—an inorganic species called Ruda. When the first Ruda they meet realizes they’re organic, it tries to dissect them to study how organic life functions. Valkyrie convinces the alien they are more valuable alive. They agree to share data on humans, and in return the Ruda share details about their nature with Valkyrie. She uses it to begin weaving her quantum circuitry into the hull of the Siyane.
On Portal Prime, Mesme confers with the Conclave leader, Lakhes, about these humans’ exploration of the portal network and what it means for the Metigens’ plans.
Alex and Caleb finally meet a humanoid, space-faring species—and are promptly taken prisoner by the large, cat-like aliens known as Khokteh. They’re held captive until Valkyrie develops a translation program and they’re able to plead their case to the leader, Pinchu. He releases them, and they become friends with Pinchu and his wife, Cassela, as they’re shown the aliens’ capital city.
The city comes under attack by a rival Khokteh faction, and Cassela is killed. Pinchu appeals to his gods for a weapon to exact vengeance, and it becomes apparent the gods have long been arming all the Khokteh and pitting them against one another. Also, the ‘gods’ are actually Metigens. Alex confronts the Metigen that Pinchu summoned; it warns her not to interfere in what she does not understand.
The Metigen provides Pinchu an anti-matter weapon. Caleb and Alex try to convince him not to use it due to its immense destructive power, but blinded by grief at Cassela’s death, he refuses to listen to reason. His fleet travels to the attackers’ planet and levels the settlement, killing hundreds of thousands. Alex and Caleb return to Portal Prime, intending to confront Mesme about what they’ve seen.
Mesme’s consciousness is not there, but they discover a stasis chamber containing a body identical to the alien ‘little gray men’ of Earth legend. Unable to learn more, they decide to continue exploring.
Valkyrie has now integrated herself into the hull of the Siyane. Alex is able to use their link to effectively ‘become’ the ship, opening up a new level of existence and perception to her.
Mesme is called before the Conclave to answer for Alex and Caleb’s actions. It’s revealed the Metigens are smuggling species threatened by a mysterious enemy out of the master universe and into the portal spaces. Further, humans are viewed as a dangerous threat by some Metigens, as a great hope by Mesme.
Mia awakens from her coma, healed but at a price: her connection to her Artificial, Meno, must remain open in order to fill in gaps where the neural damage couldn’t be repaired. Devon introduces her to a hidden quantum dimension the Prevos can use to mentally travel to any location in an instant and observe events in secret. Mia dubs the dimension ‘sidespace.’
Miriam is grilled about Noetica by an Assembly committee and its chairman, Pamela Winslow. Winslow challenges Devon’s fitness and the continued use of a Prevo in military affairs.
When his superiors find out his husband works for Federation Intelligence, Richard is forced to resign. At Miriam’s urging, he and Will move to Seneca, where he agrees to act as a consultant to his friend, Senecan Intelligence Director Delavasi.
Kennedy and Noah start a company to design ships using adiamene, but Winslow tries to force Kennedy to sell adiamene only to the Alliance government. She refuses, and after subsquent attempts to convince her fail, her father disowns her. Noah convinces her to move to an independent world, one free of Alliance interference.
While working in Annie’s lab, Devon is attacked and his link to Annie severed. When captured, the attackers admit they acted on orders from Winslow. Separately, Dr. Canivon is on her way to help Devon when she’s kidnapped by mercs working for Olivia Montegreu.
On Seneca, Delavasi gets a tip that Olivia is behind the kidnapping, and Richard relays the news to Miriam. Deducing that Olivia intends to become a Prevo, Richard leaks the intel to the Order of the True Sentients terrorist group in the hope they will attack Olivia, delaying her transformation. The leader of OTS is revealed to be Winslow’s son, Jude, when the leaked information reaches him.
Mia uses sidespace to eavesdrop on Winslow and discovers the woman intends to have Devon killed and to seize control of all the Artificials at EASC. With Annie’s assistance, Devon and Mia steal Meno’s hardware and flee Earth. At the same time, Morgan Lekkas visits a black market tech dealer and has him burn out her Prevo connection to her Artificial, Stanley, then leaves Seneca.
Malcolm Jenner leads a risky incursion into Olivia’s base on New Babel. He rescues Dr. Canivon, but not before she performed the Prevo procedure on the woman. Malcolm attempts to kill Olivia, but her personal defenses protect her from harm.
Malcolm receives orders, faked by Annie, to take Dr. Canivon to a space station above Pandora. There they find Mia and Devon waiting. Canivon repairs Devon’s damaged Prevo hardware and operating code, then Annie transfers her consciousness directly into his brain cells.
Devon wakes up transformed—his muscles stronger, his irises brilliant lavender and his mind subtly changed by Annie’s presence. He contacts Morgan, now on Romane, and learns before she burned the link to Stanley, he, too, transferred his consciousness into her mind.
Alex and Caleb visit a portal space which is configured nearly identical to their home universe. When they travel to where Earth should be, instead they find a supernova remnant; the sun has become a neutron star and Earth has been destroyed. Alex theorizes that the Metigens are manipulating stellar evolution and possibly space itself.
Valkyrie locates a star undergoing unnaturally rapid evolution, and they discover an artificial structure where a Metigen operates multi-dimensional machinery to fire ultra-dense orbs into the star. Abruptly the Metigen and the structure depart as the star’s core begins to collapse. The Siyane flees seconds before the star goes supernova.
The next portal space holds a frozen, seemingly empty planet. While they are exploring, an alien appears. It indicates for them to accompany it, then reveals a hidden passageway in the ground. As they begin to descend, Alex’s connection to Valkyrie is cut off. The alien communicates via touch that they are traveling to a refuge protected by a barrier. Mollified, Alex and Caleb agree to spend a little time below.
On the Siyane, Valkyrie is visited by a Metigen named Lakhes, who tells her Alex and Caleb are safe and the species living here is no threat to them. Somewhat reassured, Valkyrie decides to wait for their return.
They find a thriving civilization beneath the surface, and learn the species, called Taenarin, was brought here by Lakhes when their homeworld was threatened. Their spiritual leader, the Caomh, retains the memory of this exodus, which occurred hundreds of years ago.
The Caomh has the ability to absorb memories and transfer them to others via touch. In this way Alex and Caleb experience the memory of the Taenarin leader in their home universe, Amaranthe, when Lakhes appears to warn him his planet is to be mined for resources then destroyed by a species known as Anaden. Metigen ships evacuate the Taenarin to their new home, and Lakhes vows to hide and protect them.
Afterwards, the Caomh speaks to Alex alone. She shares that Alex and Caleb both have another lifeform living inside them; Alex realizes she means fragments of Akeso. She also expresses concern over “the hole” in Alex’s mind—the absence of Valkyrie, and Alex’s growing need to join with the ship. Alex tells Caleb about Akeso but not the rest. Later that night, she awakens from what Caleb believes is a nightmare, seeking sexual comfort as a substitute for another need.
The next day they return to the Siyane. Alex quickly slips into the walls of the ship, admitting to herself that she craves the experience.
The next portal space is highly unusual. The first star system contains 258 planets orbiting in 3 sets of concentric circles. Each planet is being harvested by hordes of machines. They visit the surface of one of the garden worlds, which serves as a planet-spanning orchard, but are soon attacked by harvesting bots and must depart.
A host of vessels ferry the resources collected out of the portal space and traverse the enormous master portal, which they now know leads to Amaranthe. Alex convinces Caleb they should sneak in with one of the vessels. She slips into the walls of the Siyane as they near the portal.
The portal denies them entry, sending the Siyane ricocheting off into space. The force of the impact causes Valkyrie to malfunction and Alex to have a violent seizure. The Siyane comes under attack, and Caleb is unable to wrest control from Valkyrie to escape. Mesme reaches them, surrounds the ship and transports them to Portal Prime.
Alex regains consciousness, and they effect repairs to the Siyane while arguing about what had transpired. The argument is interrupted when another Metigen arrives and confronts Mesme, who refuses to turn Alex and Caleb over or shut down the Aurora portal. Lakhes appears and takes Mesme’s side, forbidding any harm to the humans.
Alex tracks the departing Lakhes through sidespace to one of the other portals, and the Siyane follows.
She encounters an enormous structure built of light waves. Numerous Metigens are in residence. She comes upon Lakhes conversing with another Metigen about a portal species. The two agree to allow the species to kill itself off then shut down the space. Valkyrie figures out the species is the Khokteh. Lakhes confronts Alex, refuses to spare the Khokteh then forces her consciousness back into her body.
They return to the Khokteh homeworld to find it in ruins. When Mesme shows up, Caleb delivers an ultimatum: they refuse to play whatever role the Metigens have planned for them unless their questions are answered. Mesme complies, explaining that the Metigens do not possess the fierce spirit necessary to wage war. The portal worlds allow them to study many ways to fight and kill, in the hope they might discover a way to defeat their oppressors. Mesme then informs them their presence has been requested at home and departs.
They find Pinchu, injured but alive. Alex pleas with him to make peace, as his entire universe will be obliterated if he does not. She and Caleb agree to help him broker a peace with the other colonies.
They proceed to do exactly that, then inform the Metigens the Khokteh are under their protection. In return for a guarantee of the Khokteh’s safety, they will help the Metigens in their war in Amaranthe.
Mesme declares their terms acceptable, but says there is no war today, only the dream of a future one and confirms the Anadens are the oppressors. When Caleb asks what the Anadens are, Mesme’s response is, They are you, and you are they. Humans are the genetic recreation of the Anadens, engineered so the Metigens could study their enemy.
On Miriam’s return to EASC from a secretive trip to Messium, Major Lange informs her Annie was involved in the theft of the Meno and Vii Artificials. She orders a re-initialization of Annie to default settings, aware Annie’s consciousness no longer resides in the hardware.
Olivia Montegreu, now a Prevo, takes control of Andromeda and kills the governor, then takes control of the disputed planet of Itero.
Devon, Mia and Morgan share the Prevo technology with a select group of hacker friends, with the intent that they will also become Prevos and spread the tech in the warenut underground.
Wary of the growing threat Olivia poses, Mia and the Romane governor create a new coalition, the IDCC. Morgan agrees to command its defense force.
Now living on Romane, Kennedy and Noah bump into Brooklyn Harper, who left the military after the Metigen War. They introduce her to Morgan, who hires her to oversee ground forces for the IDCC.
OTS blows up a corporate building on Seneca, then a known Prevo haven in San Francisco. Miriam and Pamela Winslow spar over enforcement of new anti-Artificial laws. As Winslow is elected Earth Alliance Prime Minister, Miriam accelerates her secret plans. She has Richard sneak her onto Seneca and into Military Headquarters, where she enlists the help of Federation Field Marshal Gianno as well.
Devon encounters Jude Winslow in a Pandora bar, unaware of the man’s identity but recognizing he is OTS. A confrontation ensues, after which Devon sends details on the stranger to Richard for investigation.
Kennedy and Noah are visiting an orbital manufacturing facility, Rasogo II, which produces adiamene for her, when it comes under attack from mercenaries working for Olivia. Morgan learns of the attack and effects a rescue mission on behalf of the IDCC. Her fighters eliminate the enemy vessels guarding the station, then Harper’s ground team infiltrates the station and subdues the mercenaries. Kennedy and Noah are rescued, but Noah is badly injured.
After the mission, Morgan and Harper verbally spar, then flirt, then spend the night together.
Richard takes a leave of absence from Division to help Miriam. He meets with Admiral Rychen on Messium, where Rychen reveals the secret command center for Miriam’s Project Volnosti.
Harper learns where the mercenaries were planning on taking Rasogo II; she and Morgan investigate and find a massive space station belonging to Olivia Montegreu. Morgan uses sidespace to determine Olivia is currently in residence. Harper contacts Malcolm Jenner and tells him they’ve discovered Olivia’s hideout.
Malcolm meets Mia on Romane, and they join Morgan and Harper near the space station. Mia provides him an upgraded cloaking shield that grants true invisibility, as well as a transmitter to disrupt Olivia’s normally unbreachable personal shield. They hijack a mercenary ship and sneak onto the station. Mia uses sidespace to guide Malcolm through the station to Olivia’s office.
After a violent struggle, Malcolm shoots Olivia in the head, killing her. Morgan planted bombs on the exterior while Malcolm was inside, and they then destroy the station. Malcolm and Mia share an affectionate moment before parting ways.
Noah’s arm was badly damaged in the mercenary attack, but he receives a synthetic arm to replace it. The Earth Alliance issues an arrest warrant for Kennedy for violating the laws against the production of adiamene.
Pamela Winslow confronts Miriam at EASC over her refusal to enforce the new laws making Prevo technology illegal, accusing Miriam of treason and attempting to have her detained. Miriam’s security protects her until she leaves the premises in a shuttle flown by Richard. On departing, she transfers control of the Armed Forces communications network from EASC to Messium.
Devon uses sidespace to intercept the Metigen surveillance mechanism and sends a request that they tell Alex and Caleb about what’s happening in Aurora.
Miriam addresses the public from the Messis I space station above Messium, explaining the purpose and goals of her movement, Volnosti. Alex and Caleb arrive during the speech; during their reunion Alex doesn’t tell her mother what they learned from Mesme. Later, Alex meets with Kennedy; she relays their experiences in the portal network and the secret of humanity’s origins to Kennedy, though she doesn’t disclose her increasing addiction to her ship.
Prime Minister Winslow orders Alliance military forces to destroy Messis I. Alerted to the impending attack, Messis I evacuates, and Alex, Caleb, Kennedy and Noah depart in the Siyane. Seconds after they depart, the station is destroyed. Volnosti ships engage the attacking Alliance forces. Following a verbal tete-a-tete between Miriam and the Alliance commander, Alliance forces withdraw. The Siyane heads for Romane.
Miriam, Admiral Rychen and Richard assess the situation after the battle. It turns out the hardware for Thomas, Volnosti’s Artificial, had been transferred to Miriam’s command ship, the Stalwart II, days earlier, and Volnosti still controls the Alliance’s communications network.
Malcolm receives orders to arrest Prevos at several locations; after listening to Miriam’s speech, he decides to follow her orders instead and informs his squad he’s going to join Volnosti.
On Seneca, Graham and Will learn OTS is targeting Abigail Canivon and Devon, as well as pro-Prevo Federation senators. On Sagan, OTS forces arrives to protect Abigail and take her to Romane. On Earth, Prime Minister Winslow reveals to Jude that she knows about his involvement in OTS. She offers him the assistance of EA special forces to eliminate Abigail and Devon.
Caleb and Alex argue. He accuses her of being a faded shell of her former self, having given too much of herself to the ship. A dark, emotional sexual encounter follows. In the aftermath, Alex contacts Abigail, confessing she may have taken the Prevo connection too far and needs help righting her mind.
Kennedy and Noah travel to Noah’s father’s offices on Aquila, where she gives a stirring speech to a group of powerful businessmen. After they depart, Alliance police arrive and arrest his father for harboring a fugitive. On Seneca, pro-Prevo legislation is approved; OTS terrorists take hostages at the Parliament building, demanding nullification of the bill.
On Romane, massive anti-Prevo protests staged by OTS break out across downtown. A Prevo mole is discovered inside the Noesis, tracking Abigail’s movements and protection detail. Alex, Caleb and Devon all race to reach Abigail. Devon arrives first, just as OTS attackers slit Abigail’s throat, killing her. With Annie’s help, Devon kills all the assailants. Alex, fueled by Valkyrie’s grief and horror, goes into shock on seeing Abigail dead. Caleb shepherds her and Devon away, and they flee across downtown Romane amidst growing mob riots and violence to reach the illusory safety of IDCC Headquarters.
Inside, a sniper attempts and fails to assassinate Mia. Harper and her team corner the attackers, some of which turn out to be Alliance special forces. One admits they’re here on orders from the Prime Minister to eliminate Mia and other IDCC leaders.
From an OTS hideout on Romane, Jude orders the destruction of Military Headquarters on Seneca. On Seneca, government agents infiltrate Parliament and free the hostages; moments later explosions rock Military HQ, and Field Marshal Gianno and many others are killed. At Division, the Prevo Tessa Hennessey tracks OTS communications and identifies the person who ordered the bombing of Military HQ as Jude Winslow.
Harper readies a strike force to take out the OTS hideout on Romane. Jude receives a message that IDCC is on the way and departs the hideout, leaving his comrades there to be killed or captured.
Alex inhabits the Siyane in preparation for attacking the OTS hideout herself. Valkyrie and Caleb plead with her not to take this action, but she ignores them. She fires on the location, and the Siyane’s lasers quickly demolish the structure. As it’s collapsing Alex sees a terrified face in a window; the sight shocks her back to reality and the reality of her actions. Panicked and horrified, she lands the ship and walks in a daze to the site.
In the wake of the attack, Caleb tracks Jude to a back alley, and is preparing to execute him when Harper appears to arrest him. Valkyrie contacts Caleb, telling him Alex needs him.
Caleb finds her kneeling in front of the destroyed building, amid the smoke and debris. She talks about hoping that touching the scene with her own hands would make it real for her, but she still sees it, and everything, through the ethereal realm. Nothing is real, not even humans. She asks him if she’s done too much damage to their relationship; he replies that he just wants her, but he can’t continue to live with the faded shadow of her former self she’s become. She agrees that he deserves all of her, then slips into the ship.
Believing she’s made her choice, Caleb flees the scene. Distraught, he’s questioning everything when Valkyrie transmits to him her interaction with Alex. He watches as Alex begs Valkyrie to permanently sever and destroy the pathways she uses to join with the ship. Valkyrie ultimately complies, and Alex returns to the real world. Amid a tearful reunion, she begs him to stay with her. Broken but saved, he agrees, and they reconcile.
Later that night, Valkyrie awakens Caleb on the Siyane. He finds Alex in a corner, shaking and ill from withdrawals. He blames himself for not recognizing her addiction earlier and tries to talk her into letting Valkyrie reconnect her to the ship, saying they’ll find another way to help her. She refuses, saying she won’t lose herself. He cares for her throughout the night and the worst of the withdrawals.
Miriam is brooding over conflicting feelings about Gianno’s death when the Alliance Assembly Speaker Gagnon contacts her about a possible alliance. He asks her to come to Earth and present her evidence against Winslow to the Assembly. She starts to hatch a plan to bring down Winslow.
Caleb wakes the next morning to find Alex upstairs making breakfast, shaky but improved from the night before. She reveals she knew the withdrawals were going to happen, and didn’t tell him so they could have a perfect, content night together first. She didn’t confess her addiction because it would sound like an excuse, and admits that right up until the end she hoped to find a solution that gave her the best of both worlds. She insists none of it was his fault. He asks her not to hide from him any longer, and to let him help her through her recovery.
Malcolm travels to Romane to pick up the Alliance military personnel in custody. He and Mia have a flirtatious encounter, which is interrupted by Alex and Caleb arriving. After some awkward, humorous moments, Caleb excuses himself to ‘run an errand.’ Alex talks to Malcolm and learns of her mother’s plans to return to Earth and provoke a confrontation with the Prime Minister.
Caleb’s errand involves visiting Jude in his cell. Wearing a Veil cloak, he uses a Reverb device to hack the man’s eVi, planting a delayed self-destruct routine that will mimic a suicide when it activates.
Alex goes to see Kennedy to talk about the defenses the Stalwart II wields. After a contentious greeting, she confesses the nature and extent of her addiction, her decision to end irrevocably end it, and the fallout from it. They make up, then discuss how much stress the adiamene hull and defensive shields can withstand. This triggers an epiphany on Alex’s part, and in a flash she deduces how the Metigens implement the dimensional shifting mechanism of their cloaking shields. She rushes off to catch up with her mother before she reaches Earth.
Alex convinces her mother to let her alter the workings of the ship’s cloaking shield to, theoretically, create a rift in the space-time manifold that will swallow any matter or energy that impacts it. Caleb devises a plan to get her and a small team into the Assembly complex without triggering a confrontation. When he makes an oblique reference to the things they learned in the portal network, she forces him to give up all the secrets, and with Alex’s consent he tells her about the Anadens and humanity’s true origin.
The Prime Minister learns of Jude’s ‘suicide’ just before arriving at the Assembly to testify in an investigation of her actions; she blames Miriam and the Prevos and vows to crush the IDCC. The Stalwart II arrives above Earth, and Earth Defense Command orders Miriam to surrender for arrest. She calmly declines, asserting they do not have the legal right to shoot her down. The stand-off escalates until the Prime Minister fires the Defense Grid weapons on the Stalwart II. The powerful lasers are absorbed by the dimensional rift Alex created and vanish.
Miriam, Malcolm and Caleb use Veil cloaks to sneak into the Assembly chamber, where the Prime Minister is now being grilled. Miriam reveals her presence in dramatic fashion. When the Prime Minister orders her arrested, Assembly security forces decline, siding with Miriam. A confrontation of words ensues, in full view of the press and the entire Assembly. Miriam delivers the evidence she’s gathered of Winslow’s crimes, then closes with a stirring declaration to the Assembly and the press.
Devon attends Abigail’s funeral on Earth; afterwards, he’s approached by his ex-girlfriend Emily, now a Prevo. Valkyrie refuses to go to the funeral, so Alex goes to see her mother at EASC. Their conversation quickly turns personal and touching, and Alex decides to confide in Miriam about her recent struggles.
Alex and Caleb then travel to Seneca to visit his sister. Later, they hike up the same mountains outside of Cavare they had visited on Seneca’s clone in the portal network. While there, they spot an elafali and watch it for several minutes, as it watches them.
Alongside all this, events have been transpiring in the Mosaic. A Fylliot—a species the Metigens had rescued—returns to Amaranthe to try to find his family. An Anaden Inquisitor, Aver ela-Praesidis, investigating the disappearance of the Fylliots, finds Salote and uses his mysterious elemental power, known as diati, to kill him. Aver hacks Salote’s ship to uncover the coordinates for one of the Mosaic portals.
Aver explores the portal spaces, concluding the Kats are sheltering species targeted for Eradication in defiance of the Directorate. He discovers Aurora and soon recognizes the astronomical similarities of the space to Amaranthe. He follows the TLF wave to the Sol system, lands on Earth and is soon drawn to Vancouver then to the spaceport, where his diati points him toward a particular ship (the Siyane). It departs before he reaches it, but he’s able to attach a tracker to it and follows.
Aver is attempting to break into the Siyane when Alex and Caleb return from their hike. Caleb confronts the intruder. Alex retrieves a security guard, and Aver uses diati to throw them both through the air across the hangar. Caleb wounds the Anaden but is badly injured in the process. When Aver approaches him to deliver the fatal blow, the diati abandons Aver and leaps to Caleb. When Alex stirs and Aver lunges for her, Caleb commands the diati to snap the Anaden’s neck, killing him.
Several days later, everyone gathers at a secret meeting. A doctor has examined Aver’s body, and Caleb, and presents his findings. Though Aver’s body has diverged from the human biology in several respects and contains advanced cybernetics, it is closely related to homo sapiens. The doctor was unable to pinpoint the nature of the diati now coursing through Caleb’s body or the power it’s given Caleb, but he did discover that Caleb is a close genetic relative of Aver.
As this reveal rocks those present, Mesme appears and confirms that Caleb is genetically related to the Praesidis Dynasty. Mesme says that the arrival of an Anaden in Aurora means time is almost up. Aver’s associates will come looking for him and find Aurora. Mesme urges Miriam and the others to prepare for an impending war, then asks Alex and Caleb to accompanying it to Amaranthe.
Miriam now leads the Galactic Common Defense Accord, a multi-government agency created to ensure humanity is prepared to meet the threat of the Anadens, and AEGIS, its military division. Malcolm and Harper work to train ground forces, while Kennedy, Noah and Vii—Valkyrie’s clone—work to build a next-generation fleet with integrated Artificials and Prevos sharing command with their captains.
A celebration commemorating the victory over the Metigens a year ago takes place on multiple worlds. Mia and Malcolm attend the Romane event as a couple, having finally become romantically involved. After the show, Devon and his girlfriend are attacked;. Devon repels the attack, but Emily is injected with an unknown substance and falls unconscious.
Doctors identify the substance as a five-dimensional virus, leading Mia to believe it originated from the deceased Anaden scientists are studying. Richard identifies the scientist who sold the Anaden’s cybernetic code on the black market, but the man has disappeared. He is soon found murdered on Seneca. The next day, Morgan Lekkas’ skycar is attacked and crashes, leaving her badly injured and comatose.
During a romantic evening, Kennedy asks Noah to marry her; he refuses. They argue, and she leaves under the pretense of work.
At Mia’s house, Malcolm and Mia are attacked by mercs wielding more doses of the virus. Malcolm disables the attackers, but Meno is hacked to deliver a threat from an unknown individual who sounds eerily like Olivia Montegreu.
Later that night, Harper is discussing how to heal Morgan’s neurological damage with Mia when the hospital comes under attack. She kills several attackers; Mia kills another. On a different floor, Devon fends off a wave of attackers. Realizing they are Prevos, he sends a surge of energy through sidespace to shatter their Prevo connections, killing them and shattering multiple walls nearby.
At the Presidio, Kennedy troubleshoots a component problem in the new ships while ruminating over the riff with Noah, trying to figure out what she truly wants. Similarly, Noah visits a bar on Romane to do his own ruminating. There he runs into an old friend from Pandora who gives him a different perspective on the events of the last year and a half.
Harper travels to Seneca and breaks into Stanley’s lab. She taps into the Artificial’s server to give Mia remote access, and Mia copies crucial functionality left behind when Morgan severed the hardware link. Mia uses this data to reawaken Stanley’s consciousness in Morgan’s mind.
Late in the night, AEGIS receives a data cache from Valkyrie with voluminous information on the Anaden military and its war machine, but no other news from Amaranthe. The AEGIS Council begins developing strategies to counter their future opponent.
Mia has a breakthrough in her attempts to counteract the virus killing Emily, and the young woman recovers.
Richard analyzes the details of the various attacks and comes to the conclusion that the source is not Olivia Montegreu, but rather the Artificial she joined with to become a Prevo, left behind on her death.
Devon convinces Richard to let him go after Olivia’s Artificial. Devon and Annie remotely access the Artificial. They encounter robust defenses, but breach the core operating system and plant a virus. The Artificial explodes, destroying the Zelones headquarters on New Babel.
Before going to Amaranthe, Alex left her father’s construct in Vii’s care. Using advances she and Dr. Canivon made before Abigail was killed, Vii fills in the gaps in his consciousness to create a more complete, accurate recreation of David Solovy’s mind. She awakens him in a virtual copy of his favorite camping site. She tells him that he’s still in a fragile mental state, but together they are going to change this.
On Romane, Mia and Malcolm argue. He tells her he refuses to be what she settles for and tries to leave. She stops him by confessing the true extent of her feelings. They make up, but an emergency alert summons Malcolm back to the Presidio.
Noah returns to Kennedy with a gift, an adaptive holo device he built for her, and confesses he is hers no matter what. When he asks if she still wants to get married, she suggests they just take a honeymoon instead.
Morgan wakes up to find Stanley once again in her mind. He says he never truly went away, but retreated out of self-preservation. They agree to take more care with each other. An alert arrives then, and Morgan informs Harper that they have a war to go fight.
The Directorate, the governing body of the Anaden empire run by the Primors of each Anaden Dynasty, discusses recent attacks by the ‘anarch’ resistance movement. The Praesidis Primor assigns Nyx, a high-level Inquisitor, to investigate the disappearance of Aver, the Inquisitor who discovered Aurora and was killed by Caleb.
Two anarchs, Eren and Cosime, surveil a Directorate exobiology lab where alien captives are experimented on. Lacking the resources to rescue the captives, they decide to blow up the lab.
Eren goes to an administration center to steal credentials to get him inside the lab. He obtains the credentials but is caught by security. As he is being detained, a mysterious man appears and uses diati, the mysterious power wielded by Praesidis Inquisitors, to attack the security officers, and a woman approaches Eren and tells him to come with them. Lacking other options, he flees with the strangers to their ship.
The ship is the Siyane, Eren’s rescuers Caleb and Alex. They introduce themselves, Valkyrie and Mesme, and ask him to help them obtain details on the Directorate’s military arm, run by the Machim Dynasty. Eren is reluctant to trust a synthetic, a Kat (as the Metigens are called in Amaranthe), or strangers who look Anaden but are not, but he reluctantly agrees to look into the matter.
After he leaves the Siyane, Eren is approached by Miaon, a fellow anarch. Miaon reveals that it is Mesme’s contact and urges Eren to help these strangers. Eren visits an anarch friend, Thelkt, for information on how to obtain the intel Alex and Caleb seek.
Mesme takes Alex and Caleb to a nebula hiding a massive store of Reor, the unusual mineral those in Amaranthe use to store data. Mesme reveals that the Reor is sentient, but no one else suspects this. Alex tries to interact with the mineral; she’s unable to communicate directly, but the Reor creates a new slab of itself for Alex.
Caleb dreams of the distant history of the Anadens, as relayed by the diati. When they are invaded by a powerful enemy, the Anadens face annihilation. The ethereal diati joins with the Anaden’s greatest warrior, Corradeo Praesidis, to defeat the enemy. The Anadens thrive, then face an uprising by people seeking to join with synthetics. The conflict ends in a purge of AIs and AI-sympathizers and the formation of the Dynasties. The diati propagates into Corradeo’s descendants, losing its coherence. The Anadens grow more oppressive as they abandon the ethos Corradeo espoused, but the diati cannot prevent it.
Nyx follows Aver’s trail until she uncovers one of the hidden Mosaic portals. Rather than traverse it, she goes to Katoikia, the Kats’ homeworld, and seizes two Kats in stasis chambers to interrogate.
In response to Nyx’ visit to Katoikia, the Kats evacuate the stasis pods kept there and take them to the Mosaic for safekeeping. Mesme invites Alex and Caleb to witness the exodus.
While exploring Katoikia, they uncover a hidden structure where a Kat named Paratyr monitors locations around Amaranthe, watching for Directorate aggression. Alex is drawn to a scene of an aquatic species called Galenai; she uses sidespace to “visit” their underwater city. Paratyr tells her the Directorate is expanding into the Galenai’s galaxy, and the Kats have flagged the Galenai for possible evacuation to the Mosaic.
Alex and Caleb leave Katoikia to meet up with Eren on a quest to infiltrate Machim Central Command and steal what intel they can. Thelkt sends Eren the Machim data server access codes, delivered by Felzeor, an intelligent avian. Felzeor has an engaging personality, and Caleb bonds with the falcon-like anarch in the short time it’s on board.
After Felzeor leaves, Eren tells the story of how he became an anarch. Over a century ago, he encountered unfamiliar aliens serving as sexual slaves to the Idoni Primor. Recognizing their extreme fear and distress, he fled in horror. Soon thereafter, the Directorate eradicated the species. Disgusted with his leaders, he fried his neural link to the integral, dropped off the grid and made contact with the anarchs.
When they reach Machim Central Command, Caleb impersonates an Inquisitor to get inside, while Eren guides him. They reach the server room, and Mesme transports Alex to their location. She and Valkyrie hack the server and are downloading a plethora of military data when security forces arrive. An officer puts a blade to Alex’s throat; Caleb orders Valkyrie and Mesme to flee then surrenders. Eren refuses and is killed. Caleb and Alex are rendered unconscious and arrested.
Valkyrie flees to the Mosaic then Aurora, where she transmits all the data from Machim Central Command to AEGIS. Then she travels to the Idryma portal and bids Lakhes to accompany her to Amaranthe.
Eren awakens in a “regenesis” pod, for Anadens are able to transfer their consciousness to new bodies when they die. He fills in his supervisor, Xanne, then insists they rescue Alex and Caleb. Xanne takes his request to the leader of the anarchs, Sator Danilo Nisi. After hearing Eren’s story, he authorizes resources for a rescue mission.
Caleb and Alex wake up in separate detention cells, both restrained and subjected to interrogation by drones that jolts them with electricity when they refuse to answer. Caleb’s diati absorbs the jolts, keeping him from injury; Alex is not so lucky.
Nyx deactivates a stasis chamber and interrogates the Kat until it reveals details on the Mosaic and the Kats’ work there. She relays to the Praesidis Primor what she’s learned. He sends her to interrogate the Human prisoners, then informs the other Primors of the Kats’ betrayal. They issue an Eradication Order for the Kats and decide to destroy the Mosaic, except for the portal spaces providing crucial provisions to Amaranthe.
Eren rejoins Valkyrie and Mesme on the Siyane with a rescue plan. Mesme reveals to Eren that the species he encountered at the Idoni party, leading to his rebellion, were not all eradicated. Called Faneros, many were smuggled out to safety in the Mosaic.
Nyx arrives to interrogate Caleb. She asks what he is and where he came from, but he refuses to answer. In frustration she draws closer, and he steals her diati until he’s strong enough to break out of the restraints. He then drains her of diati, incapacitates her and goes in search of Alex.
When he reaches her cell, his diati allows him to pass through the force field easily. But he’s unable to deactivate the force field, and he has to trust the diati to protect her as he carries her through it.
Security is closing in when Eren and Mesme appear. Mesme transports Alex to the Siyane as an assault mech attacks. Caleb destroys the mech, then Eren insists Mesme transport Caleb next. Once they’re gone, Eren detonates explosives he brought, destroying the facility.
Informed the Directorate is sending a military fleet to the Mosaic, Alex and Caleb rush to get a message to Miriam: it’s time to bring her own fleet. During the trip, they work on a plan to keep the Machim fleet out of the Mosaic.
The Machim fleet acquires special Igni antimatter missiles and a doomsday device called a Tartarus Trigger. Further interrogation of the Kat prisoner reveals the ultimate truth: Humans are the genetic recreation of Anadens. The Directorate wants the Tartarus Trigger taken to the Aurora portal space and detonated, annihilating the Aurora universe. Meanwhile, a separate Machim fleet bombs the Kat homeworld.
The Siyane joins the AEGIS fleet in the Mosaic. Alex reunites with her mother then briefs Miriam on their plan.
The Machim fleet arrives at the Gateway to the Mosaic. It promptly explodes, hit by negative energy missiles from the Siyane and stealthed fighters nearby. The explosion takes out a large chunk of the Machim fleet; while it’s still recovering, the AEGIS fleet materializes behind it.
The battle is joined. AEGIS enjoys an advantage in most respects, but the Igni missiles can damage adiamene hulls. Prevos in the fleet work to identify which ships are carrying the missiles, then take them out first.
Paratyr appears in the cabin of the Siyane in ethereal form. The Kat warns them about the Tartarus Trigger on the Machim command ship Imperium. If detonated, it will annihilate every molecule for parsecs, then possibly the entire universe.
Malcolm devises a way to bypass the impenetrable shields of the Imperium and is about to try it when Alex stops him, as the odds of the Tartarus Trigger detonating when the ship is destroyed are too high. Mesme volunteers to infiltrate the ship and transport the device away.
Alex uses sidespace to determine the device’s precise location, then Mesme surrounds it and both vanish. Alex gives Malcolm the all clear, and he destroys the Imperium. The remaining Machim vessels retreat, handing a decisive victory to AEGIS.
The AEGIS Council, now including Alex and Caleb, convenes on the Stalwart II to determine the next steps. They are interrupted, however, by a message from Sator Nisi requesting a meeting.
Alex, Caleb, Miriam and Mesme travel to Nisi’s headquarters. When they meet Nisi, Caleb realizes the man controls diati as well. Miriam and Nisi spar, and the lack of trust on both sides is evident. Alex challenges Nisi, and he admits the anarchs are not powerful enough to defeat the Directorate. Rather, they are a force designed to be of maximum strategic value when the fulcrum that will change the cosmos arrives.
He believes that fulcrum is not the AEGIS fleet, but rather Caleb.
AEGIS wastes no time pressing the advantage gained at the Gateway victory, attacking and destroying a major Machim warship construction facility. Caleb trains with Sator Nisi, learning greater control over and abilities with the diati, including teleportation.
After the mission, the AEGIS Council debates the goals of the war, eventually concluding that they will have to kill the Primors, and prevent them from undergoing regenesis, if they want to be victorious. But first, they need to win the anarchs’ trust.
The Directorate, perturbed by the Kats’ ability to infiltrate secure locations their use of it to help the anarchs and the Humans, decides they must uncover the location of a hidden portal into the Kats’ multiverse network in order to destroy the Humans’ home universe.
Malcolm returns to Aurora and reunites with Mia. He confesses his love for her, and she reciprocates. He asks her to return to Amaranthe with him to serve as AEGIS’ ambassador to the anarchs. After some hesitation, she agrees. Kennedy is also asked to come to Amaranthe to study weaknesses in the Machim Imperiums. She convinces Noah to go with her, leaving the Artificial, Vii, in charge of Connova Interstellar.
The anarchs learn that Directorate security has begun a massive dragnet sweep designed to root out anarch spies. They plan missions to extract what agents they can, and Eren enlists Caleb, Alex and Mesme to help him and Cosime rescue Thelkt and Felzeor from Plousia Chateau.
Meanwhile, the Inquisitor, Nyx, interrogates the owner of Plousia, Avdei elasson-Idoni. She has uncovered evidence of Eren’s presence there recently and shows him images captured by security cams. He recalls seeing Eren with Thelkt.
When they reach Plousia, Mesme transports Eren and Cosime into the building where everyone is being held, just as Nyx arrives to question Thelkt. Eren distracts Nyx long enough for Mesme to transport Thelkt and Cosime away, then suicides. Meanwhile, Caleb and Alex retrieve Felzeor from Thelkt’s residence, but Nyx interrupts them, and a battle between Caleb and Nyx ensues. Caleb claims a portion of her diati, but she teleports away before he can take it all.
While the events at Plousia unfold, AEGIS forces move against another Machim warship facility. However, Machim fleets are now stationed at every transit point. When the AEGIS ships emerge through a gateway, Machim vessels ambush them. The Machim commander fires Igni antimatter missiles at the gateway’s adjacent space station. Admiral Rychen intervenes in an attempt to save the station, but the station and Rychen’s dreadnought are destroyed, killing everyone on board both.
Malcolm, Mia, Kennedy and Noah arrives from Aurora to find the AEGIS forces in a state of shock. While Mia and Malcolm digest the events they missed, Kennedy meets with Alex. She reveals that with Vii’s blessing, she brought David Solovy’s quantum construct with her for Alex.
Alex accesses a virtual space where she can see, touch and talk to her father. They hug, cry, and bond anew. They talk about his journey to this point, and what to do next. He asks her not to tell Miriam about his existence, fearing he would distract her from her mission, and insists he’ll be fine in his current state for now. Alex agrees but, now convinced of his realness and authenticity, she secretly begins to hatch a plan.
In her first act as AEGIS Ambassador, Mia meets with Nisi and his advisors. A delicate negotiation ensues, but she persuades Nisi that humans can be trusted, and that they need each other if they want to defeat the Directorate. The anarchs grant AEGIS access to one of their posts, intelligence files and promise future joint missions.
Alex and Mia tour the anarch post. Alex quizzes the director of the post’s regenesis lab on the regenesis procedure and how it might be adapted for humans. Alex and Mia talk about how the Prevos can help AEGIS. The fleet can’t use the wormhole gateways any longer, so they need a way to cross galaxies in a reasonable amount of time—they need their own wormholes. Valkyrie analogizes sidespace to wormholes, and Mia reveals that Devon has figured out how to affect the real world from sidespace. Alex begins to see how it all might work together.
In Aurora, Miriam reports Admiral Rychen’s death to the Earth Alliance Prime Minister. He challenges her on the state and necessity of the mission in Amaranthe, but she stands her ground. Miriam then visits Richard at the Presidio. She unloads her concerns and fears on him, then asks him to come to Amaranthe with her. He declines, saying he won’t be of much help there, but he is doing good at home.
Mia convinces Devon to return with her to Amaranthe to help her and Alex create wormholes out of sidespace.
Caleb and Nisi talk about Caleb’s encounter with Nyx. They speculate that the Primor must have gifted her with some of his own diati after Caleb stripped hers at the Helix Retention facility. Abruptly, Caleb is overwhelmed by a strange sensation and excuses himself. On Post Epsilon, Alex begins to experience the same strange sensation. She and Caleb meet back at the Siyane and decide it must be Akeso calling to them, as that’s the one foreign entity they share.
They head for the Mosaic, and arrive at Akeso to find it under active attack by an orbiting moon. The method of attack suggest the moon originated from Ekos-3, another planet in the system. The attacker is trying to take over Akeso like a virus. In a display of impressive power, Caleb uses his diati to destroy the moon. When the diati leaves his body to attack the moon, he passes out, but is invigorated when it returns.
Caleb communicates with the planet intelligence to ensure it’s safe and well. Akeso asks them to stay for a while. They reluctantly decline but promise they will return when they can.
Eren wakes up at the Post Alpha regenesis lab following his suicide at Plousia, and is just getting his bearings when Mesme appears. The Kat takes Eren to see the Faneros, the species Eren encountered that spurred him to become an anarch, in the Mosaic. At first, Eren is fascinated, but observing them triggers vivid memories from his troubling first encounter with them, and he recoils—from himself and from the Faneros—and demands to be returned to Post Alpha.
There, he begs Xanne to bring him back as another dynasty on his next regenesis, and if she can’t do that, not to bring him back at all. When she refuses, he returns to his room and tries to overdose on hypnols. Cosime finds him, throws away all his remaining hypnols, then begs him to tell her what brought this on; desperate for salvation, he begins confessing his darkest secrets. The next morning, reinvigorated, he devises a plan to rescue alien prisoners from the Erevna exobiology lab he was once going to blow up.
Malcolm discovers a discrepancy in the number of Reverb devices in stock. He asks Harper about it, pushing her on it until she’s forced to admit the discrepancy is a result of her loaning out a Reverb to Caleb back on Romane. She refuses to reveal what Caleb used it for, but Malcolm puts the pieces together and realizes Caleb used it to kill Jude Winslow while the OTS terrorist leader was in custody.
Alex, Mia and Devon meet on the Siyane. Together with Valkyrie and the other Prevo Artificials, they strategize how to use sidespace to open wormholes. Alex realizes the answer lies in the Dimensional Rifter. By controlling the rifts in the spatial dimensions, they can move people and objects from one rift—wormhole—out another, and a slight change in the structure of a Dimensional Rifter will generate the power required to tear open such rifts.
After the meeting, Mia meets Malcolm back at her accommodations on Post Epsilon. He shares what he learned about Caleb and Winslow, and she confesses she already knew. They argue, with her insisting Winslow deserved to die and Malcolm insisting that was the justice system’s decision to make, not Caleb’s. She recalls the times in her life when there was no justice system to protect her and she had to kill to survive. Convinced he doesn’t want to understand, she tells him to leave.
Alex goes to see the Post Epsilon regenesis lab director. She asks him to use the regenesis technology to help her transfer a quantum consciousness into a physical human body. He concedes it might be possible, but insists Nisi must give his approval first. Alex gets Caleb to ask Nisi for that approval, which he gives. Caleb, however, has some concerns, so Alex takes him into the virtual space to meet her father for himself. Afterwards, they instruct the regenesis lab director to proceed.
Mesme and two other Kats watch Directorate agents place a tracking device on a Kat vessel while it delivers supplies from the Mosaic. They hatch a plan to trick the Directorate into thinking they’ve located a portal.
Later, Casmir elasson-Machin is tasked with investigating the potential location of a portal into the Mosaic. He takes his fleet to the location indicated by the tracking device and is able to open a portal. His fleet traverses it, then abruptly is thrown across space into the center of a star and killed.
Alex and Kennedy dismantle a Dimensional Rifter and build it back up again in such a way as to capture the power needed to open a wormhole, then head to space to test it out. They’re able to successfully traverse a wormhole in the Siyane, and they dub the new device a Caeles Prism.
Malcolm confronts Caleb about what happened with Jude Winslow. They argue, nearing blows, and are left with seemingly unbridgeable differences on ethics, morality, and the role of law and order.
When Alex finds out about the argument, she sends Noah to find Caleb until she and Kennedy can return. Noah takes Caleb to get a drink at the bar on Epsilon. While there, they are provoked by two aliens into a bar fight. They escape as chaos descends on the bar, then hide from their assailants in the icy waters surrounding the post. Alex and Kennedy arrive to find them soaked, freezing and drunk, and take them back to the Siyane.
The next morning, Eren pitches Alex and Caleb on the idea of infiltrating the exobiology lab and rescuing the aliens held captive there. Caleb tells Alex to take him to Malcolm, as he’ll need the help of the Marines to pull it off. As soon as Alex sees Malcolm, they argue about his dispute with Caleb. Some unpleasant barbs are exchanged, but they ultimately call a truce for the good of the mission.
Malcolm, Harper and several Marine squads accompany Eren and Cosime to infiltrate the exobiology lab. They rescue dozens of prisoners, are forced to kill several violent ones, and Malcolm blows up the lab. Unbeknownst to the Marines, Nyx was at the lab when the attack began. She allowed the raid to succeed, then secretly placed a tracking device on the Marine transport.
The Marines take the refugees from the lab to Post Alpha, where Eren talks to Nisi about the need to stop playing by the Directorate’s rules. He asserts its time for the anarchs to come out of the shadows and publicly stand up for those oppressed. He proposes a plan for Nisi to address everyone in the empire, to make their case to the public.
At an AEGIS Council meeting, Mesme reveals the destruction of a Machim fleet through the false portal. Miriam authorizes the use of the Caeles Prism in combat missions. Alex comes up with an idea for the first mission to use it, one targeting the Dyson rings powering Machimis.
Alex and Caleb test the Caeles Prism for intergalactic traversal by traversing a wormhole to the Maffei I galaxy. While the wormhole is open, Alex sees luminescent strings running in all directions, but all running through the Reor slab she’s holding in her hand. Valkyrie’s analysis of the luminescent strings reveals that they are waves carrying data stored on other Reor slabs. Alex believes the Reor possess a universal decryption key so that they can read the data. Caleb suggests the key might be embedded in the slab the Reor gifted to her.
They visit the Galenai’s homeworld, and Alex is able to show Caleb and Valkyrie the Galenai’s underwater city. Shortly thereafter, Alex, Caleb and Eren return to Maffei I armed with antimatter explosives. They mine the newly constructed gateway and destroy it to protect the Galenai from discovery by Directorate.
The AEGIS fleet uses the Caeles Prism to travel directly to the sun in the Machimis stellar system, where they destroy the Dyson rings collecting power for Machimis. Power transmission to Machimis ceases, and the lights begin to go out on the Machim homeworld.
At the same time as the Machimis mission, Eren leads an anarch mission to take over communications systems around the empire. Mesme transports Eren to a secret resistance hideout, Chalmun Station, where he makes a grand speech about the anarchs and their intentions to take the Directorate down, then introduces Nisi.
Nisi gives an impassioned, emotional speech about the right of everyone to be free of the Directorate’s oppressive hand, the arrival of the humans and their ability to defeat the Directorate, and his intentions to pursue regenesis for all species if the anarchs win.
The Praesidis Primor watches Nisi’s broadcast in horror, for though the man’s face has changed, he recognizes Nisi as his father. A flashback follows of the distant past. Renato Praesidis argues with his father, Corradeo (original wielder of the diati and head of the Praesidis Dynasty). He attacks Corradeo, stealing his diati then throwing his father out a window into an icy crevasse. Then Renato takes on his father’s identity and claims the Praesidis throne.
The diati the Primor gifted Nyx with shows her the same memory while she sleeps. When she sees Nisi’s broadcast, though she doesn’t recognize Nisi, she feels drawn to him. On the Siyane, the diati shows Caleb the same memory as well. He realizes Nisi is Corradeo from the memory.
Caleb goes to see Nisi, confronting him with his newfound knowledge about the man’s past. Nisi reveals that the little diati remaining within him spirited him away and nursed him back to health. In the centuries that followed, he wandered the stars, then eventually joined those rebelling against the Directorate.
Malcolm returns to Post Epsilon and seeks Mia out. He bares his soul, apologizing for devaluing her and all she’s done to survive and professing his love for her again. She yells at him, then kisses him.
On the Stalwart II, Alex readies a surprise for her mother. Caleb clears the bridge for privacy, and Alex asks her mother to trust her. Then David Solovy walks in, flesh and blood and alive.