Flash Forward: The YMD Morningstar is under assault by Clan Dagon. Tarken leads a charge that makes Flik a hero and Wojtek an apparent martyr while Dr. Madison and Calchas discover the Betelgeuse compass is glowing.
In the present, Tarken is released from mental rehabilitation and informed that he will lead Calchas, Dr. Madison, and a crew of 1400 on the YMD Morningstar, a new Yara-Mal ship specially designed to leverage the capabilities of Calchas and Protagoras. The mission: hold back the new Lixus threat long enough for Vera and Governor Armstrong to reunite the Commonwealth. Tarken, now known as Commander Lightbringer, receives a lixus ""asset"" and a handful of specialists to aid in what is an apparent suicide mission. Their first task is to save Suffragan Wes Obron, Tarken’s old mentor, and his followers from a Clan Sekhmet siege on the moon Matgaz VII.