It is the secondstage of human colon-ization–the first age, humanity’s initial attempt to peoplethe stars, ended in disaster when it was discovered that Earth’s originalsuperluminal drive did permanent genetic damage to all who used it–mutatingEarth’s far-flung colonists in mind and body. Now, one of Earth’s first colonieshas given humanity back the stars, but at a high price–a monopoly over all humancommerce. And when a satellite in earth’s outer orbit is viciously attacked bycorporate raiders, an unusual young woman flees to a ship bound for theUp-and-Out. But her narrow escape does not mean safety. For speeding across thegalaxy pursued by ruthless, but unknown adversaries, this young woman willdiscover a secret which is buried deep inside her psyche–a revelation theuniverse may not be ready to face….