When the U.S. government tried to claim the research ship Starfarer for the military, the crew risked all to hijack her. They did manage to
escape... with a nuclear missile embedded in the hull. Yet, they kept to
their original mission of searching out alien civilizations in deep
space. Now they have received a strange transmission near the planet
Tau Ceti III.
Meanwhile, the damage done by the missile seems minor compared to the trouble with Arachne – the bioelectronic entity that controls all of Starfarer's computer and communication functions – still recovering from sabotage. As the alien contact team struggles to decipher the first verifiable extraterrestrial message, the transmissions cut off abruptly. Worse, the hyperstrings the ship uses for interstellar travel are suddenly unraveling and moving away at unprecedented speeds.
The crew must choose: Declare the mission a failure and return to Earth, or follow the aliens into unknown territory with the saboteur still hidden aboard – and risk being stranded forever.