In the year 2205 C.E., the outer reaches of space are no place to daydream. The Octoplex were beaten off thirty years ago but every human feels the slime of their amorphous appendages on the backs of their necks when the lights go out, sees shadows of slurping, wriggling Octoplex armadas in distant gas clouds. But William Pocatello has a more immediate problem: he's been called before the merciless Frip Inquisition, and awaits a public humiliation worse than death. Now, as he pilots his crew far from the safety of the core worlds, his thoughts are far from the perils of the wild, wet unknown.
Carmen is caught between two worlds. She was born and bred on Earth to a human father but her mother is the ambassador of the Xenopuss--a secretive warrior society almost as shrouded in mystery as the Octoplex. They offer few explanations and receive no visitors to their homeworld--not even Carmen. Even as the top killer in the ranks of the elite mech marines, there is no indication she will ever be welcomed by the Xenopuss council. And yet she is not at home in a human society either, the only half-alien hybrid out of billions. Without any war, a means to prove her worth, all she can do is distract herself in other fleshy pursuits.