Pavel Marino commands one of the last remaining squadrons in the final days of an unwinnable interstellar conflict. He must now spirit his government’s leadership across the stars to a forgotten planet whose inhabitants were believed destroyed in an ancient war. There, far from the reaches of a ruthless foe, they can regroup their forces in order to fight again.
But his ships were never designed to travel such a distance. Along the way many difficult decisions are made so that a few can survive. And when they finally reach their anticipated refuge, they discover that the planet is already inhabited by billions of humans with industrial-level technology, driving cars with internal combustion engines, flying airplanes with propellers, and waging a brutal world war.
Desperate, and with nowhere else to go, the weary space-farers make contact with their primitive cousins. They must now make a fateful decision: Should they strive for peaceful coexistence or domination?