A dying world, shattered by a broken machine. A desperate flight, their only hope for refuge. A robotic race, ally and destroyer alike.
The Republic of Exilium has grown in strength and confidence at the far end of the galaxy from the rest of mankind, sending out scout ships to survey the worlds around them as they try to learn more about the mysterious Construction Matrix AIs.
Finding one of the genocidal rogues of that mysterious “race” in the process of destroying an inhabited world, Captain Octavio Catalan takes his ship into a desperate battle. He is victorious — but he is too late. The world of the strange aliens he has encountered is doomed.
The distant Republic can barely help, but the honor of their leaders will not permit them to stand idly by. Ships and crews are set into motion to commence a desperate evacuation of their newfound friends, and debts with the strange Matrices are called in.
One branch of Matrices destroyed the planet. Another may well save it — but the AIs have their own agenda and the price they ask may be beyond the Republic and its new allies …