Humanity has been fighting against the Sheriekas for centuries. The Sheriekas were once human, but they have manipulated their genes until they achieved perfection, or so they think. Now that they are perfect, they have decided to eradicate all other imperfect species. Soldier Jela Granthor's ship was damaged in combat with the Sheriekas and he crash lands on a dead planet. The only thing besides sand is a long line of dead trees. Having nothing, better to do, he follows the line of trees. When he reaches the end of the line there is one stunted tree barely alive. He feels like there is some significance to its survival, so when rescue comes he takes it with him. When he gets back to base, he receives a covert mission. Next we meet Cantra Yos Phelium. She's been on a solo run for months and just wants to relax and eat dinner across from a live person. At the restaurant she asks if another pilot has requested company for dinner. She is paired with Jela, who was waiting to meet a contact. After the meal, they go to a bar of Jela's choice so that he can secretly check Cantra's credentials. Cantra is dancing when a bounty hunter comes and arrests her. Jela helps rescue her, and feeling obligated she gives him a ride off planet. Then she become entangled in his mission.
This report prepared by Michelle