War rages between the Confederation and the Union. Shattered fleets watch each other warily across a war torn frontier. Both sides are licking their wounds, gathering strength to continue the fight. Captain Tyler Barron and the crew of Dauntless are finally enjoying the rest they've earned while their aging battleship Dauntless gets the repairs and refit it desperately needs. But their respite will be short-lived. In the Badlands, deep in the haunted vastness of pre-Cataclysmic space, a new discovery threatens to upset the balance of power. Orbiting a world in a distant system is an ancient battleship, vastly larger and enormously more advanced than anything possessed by the contending powers...and the Union has already sent forces to seize it. The Confederation has no ships close enough to intervene, to get there before the enemy...none save Dauntless. Barron and his crew must race across the Badlands, find the ancient artifact, and somehow hold it, keep the Union forces from taking it, until reinforcements arrive. They will be outnumbered and outgunned, but there can be no retreat. Not this time. Nothing less than the fate of all human-inhabited space is at stake. If the Confederation is able to rediscover the technology of the ancients, it will be safe for generations to come, its defensive forces untouchable by its enemies. But if the Union gets there first, if it can adapt the incredible power of mankind's lost technology, it will gain the power to enslave all humanity. This fight isn't for territory. It isn't for position or tactical advantage. It is for the future.