Life has not been easy for Lieutenant Jander Mortas since making it to the Glory Main headquarters—with a telepathic alien entity in tow. After turning down his powerful father's offer of a desk job as an ambassador, Jander is heading back to the war zone. After joining an emergency reaction force of combat veterans known as the Orphans, Jander must work hard to get his platoon in shape for the next deployment—while learning the ropes himself. Because disaster soon strikes, and the Orphan Brigade is shipped out to Fractus, a harsh planet invaded by the enemy—the Sims.
Meanwhile, Jander's sister, Ayliss, is on a mission of her own: to uncover a scandal that would bring an end to her father's dubious reign as Chairman of the Emergency Senate. But Olech Mortas is hiding even more than his children could ever know …
For decades, mankind has been locked in a war with an alien enemy that resembles the human race so closely they are known as the Sims. Both sides battle for control of habitable planets across the galaxies—often at any cost.
Lieutenant Jander Mortas is fresh out of officer training and new to the war zone but eager to prove himself. There's just one problem: disaster strikes while he's traveling to his first assignment. He wakes to find himself marooned on a planet that appears deserted, with the only other survivors: a psychoanalyst, a conscientious objector, and a bitter veteran of a brutal slave-scout detachment. As the group struggles to reach safety on a nearby base, Glory Main, they discover a Sim colony—which could mean their salvation, or their demise.
Thrown together, they must fight the harsh elements, an ever-present enemy, and possibly each other.