When communication with an isolated Deep Space Observatory is lost, Alex and his synthetic partner, Persephone, are sent to investigate. The Cochrane is a small observatory tucked within a pocket of relative inactivity. A single data analyst runs it on a six-month rotation. Six months in the emptiness of space can feel like an eternity. Depression is a common problem. Suicide and accidental death are not unheard of at stations like Cochrane. Alex and Persephone are sent to learn which of these fates has found Amanda Hayes.