Coming of age can be hard for anyone. But for Blackmon Perry Stone it is life threatening. At 15, he barely manages to graduate from the empire's cadet training by a talent for unusual problem solving. He has trouble settling into navy life, but life becomes harder when he uncovers a ring of thieves aboard the huge ship. Life becomes difficult when they killed him. Stone is ejected into hyperspace in an escape pod without hyperspace engines. Fully expecting to die, he reconfigures the sub-light engine to escape the inescapable. To his surprise it works, but only well enough to do little more than crash on an uncharted planet. It will surprise him if he can make the engine work again, but not as much as it will surprise everyone else if he can come back from the dead.