Fourteen months ago, the Igador System's council government finally achieved peace with its personal brand of space pirate: the Sinosian Raiders. Coexistence was short-lived, and now Igador is devastated as the raiders use fourteen months' worth of peace tax collections to launch a full scale invasion.
Driven from her home planet by the catastrophic raid, seventeen-year-old Tayel flees to a council refugee camp. No one is permitted to leave, no one shares progress on the invasion, and worst of all, refugee shuttles stop flying in, preventing the chance of reuniting with anyone from home.
So when a battle-hardened woman shunned by the camp for her Sinosian attire warns Tayel of the council's corruption, Tayel seriously considers the woman's offer of help to escape. The terms seem fair enough: help steal a ship drive from the secured government docks to power up an escape vessel, and get a free ticket out of a camp-turned-processing-line for something darker than Tayel can imagine.