The empire of Sarcona has lasted for thousands of years. Historically, the reign of emperors and empresses has been one of cooperation and benevolence with their surrounding galactic worlds. But more recently, the empire has darkened. A new Campaign of ruthless subjugation was initiated by the recently enthroned Empress Nontass, a young girl susceptible to the influence of malicious advisors. The Campaign brutalizes Sarcona's galactic partners, leaving desolation and traumatized populations, all to the economic enrichment of Sarcona. Enter Lon Tolk, the junior senator from Sarcona's Ketaden province. As a legislator, Lon has studiously supported the Campaign, subscribing to the notion that what is good for Sarcona is good for the empire's neighbors. He is brash, impatient and lavishes in the privileges he enjoys being a senator. His wife, Zeva, an administrator in the Sarconan government, is horrified at the brutality imposed by the Campaign and while she loves her husband, she cannot support this holocaust, lamenting what the empire has lost. Lon and his attaché, Bessel, embark on a diplomatic mission to receive the surrender of another conquered world. Enroute, their transport experiences a malfunction which forces them to land on the world of Cassel, on which the Campaign has only recently departed. As Bessel attempts repairs to their ship, Lon sets out to do some exploring. Over the course of two excursions, he encounters native Casselians - a former soldier who has returned to his decimated farm, and a cafe owner hopefully awaiting the return of her husband. For the first time in his life, Lon comes face-to-face with the effects of the Campaign on native populations, forcing him to reconsider his loyalties. Amid his now existential crisis, Lon embarks for a place of solitude to commune and think through his priorities. He chooses Quoras, an ancient monetary built on a rogue planet. There, he encounters the mysterious Cosma, the abbot of the monastery, who exposes Lon to ancient mysteries about the peoples of Sarcona. Lon also learns of a brewing rebellion against the empress, an effort that needs Lon to succeed. Insurrection. Grand battles between massive space fleets. Populations in disarray. Sarcona appears to be coming apart at the seams. Yet hope remains in Lon, Cosma, and a small coterie of rebels, who envision a better future for their planet and their people.