The Centauri terrorist was stopped, but not before he caused widespread death and destruction on Earth. This leads to an escalating war between Earth and Centauri, on a much greater scale than took place in Virtues of War. Lieutenant Jack Mallory is on the front lines, leading a flight of Hawks into the battle zone. His mission is to rescue the demoted Sublieutenant Thomas Kane, whose Astral forces are under heavy fire and in danger of being overrun. The Astral Force must establish a bridgehead in Centauri territory, where they will place a jump gate in anticipation of a new invasion. Lieutenant Katja Emmes works behind the scenes, to keep the Centauri from learning of the plan before it can be carried out successfully.