Life is hard on the planet Cirrus in the 23d century, but a food-deficit Earth desperately needs the wheat that Cirrus supplies. Earlier, in the mid-22d century, nearly a hundred years after a nuclear and biological holocaust, a world empire was established. A few decades later, intragalactic hyperjump travel was discovered, making the colonization of new worlds possible. But the galactic empire has been continually afflicted with civil wars, domestic unrest, and political conspiracies. Enter Timothy Brogan. In the closing years of the 23d century he leaves his native planet of Cirrus to seek adventure as an officer in the Imperial Fusiliers. Little does he know, however, that he will be thrust into the decades-old power struggle between two political factions—one working for the greater good of humanity and the other obsessed with evil and selfish ends.