There are two Khekarians with Stephen, two cold-blooded killers in his road team exploiting their isolation as they travel across vast tracks of wilderness territory on a world barely colonized.
Murder has happened and it’s not for the first time.
Sturn has no remorse. The woman annoyed him and now she’s gone, brutally butchered out there in the loneliness. No warning. No. time. No escape. Just the big ugly knife and her blood splashing out.
She was one of Stephen’s team members and there is nothing he can do about it.
The Khekarians have had control for a while now. They’ll only leave when they get what they want, which is a handful of exotic alien-natives that will give Sturn bargaining power to return home out of exile. Oh yes, and Aleisha, the new girl, the unfortunate young psychic Sturn thought might be useful.
Stephen will happily sell her if it means getting rid of the Khekarians.