It's a tough universe out there. A hard‑hitting collection of the best fiction of Michael Z. Williamson, creator of the popular Freehold military SF saga, along with a helping of truth‑telling nonfiction by a guy who has been there and done that, both at home and abroad. Duty in the face of danger on a planetary scale. Pride and competence in the face of idiotic clients who hate that that they need your services, and an enemy who wants to make your bad day even worse. These are stories of the warriors and civilians who get things done in extreme situations, whether it's rescue from a ship broken in space and leaking air and radiation, hard choices by a brigade of mercenary swords in a world of blood and magic, or scramble and response by troops in the Sandbox doing what it takes to make it through another scorching, rocket‑filled day.