Artifice, humankinds’ great enemy, is defeated. The sister SADEs are free from their boxes. They must choose where they wish to live and in what form. Most humans are unaware that the sisters have duplicated themselves many more times than suspected. They now constitute a sizable and powerful group.
Visitors appear, sailing the distinct, black-hulled Toralian battleships. Five governors from Toralian colonies wish to witness the recovery of the ancient home world. Sargut welcomes them, but Alex suspects the governors’ motives.
In a face-to-face meeting it becomes clear that the governors have ulterior motives. Word reaches the Omnians that, with the release from Artifice’s reign, the federacy’s races are embracing their new found freedom. Some enjoy peace; some yearn for revenge; and some desire expansion.
The races’ latter choices mean danger for the Toralians and Alex’s fleet. Powerful battleship fleets are either sailing for the Toralian home world to exact reprisals, or they’re seeking new territory.
Three fleets have crossed the federacy’s boundary and are headed toward the humans’ worlds. Now Alex and the Omnians face a difficult choice. They must choose whether to defend the Toralian home world or chase the fleets that are headed toward their worlds.