On the gaseous planet Baru, we find the atmosphere-dwelling Baru-un, a race resembling jellyfish, facing the possible end of their world through famine, disease, an onslaught of predators, and from a growing menace that threatens the entire planet - an inescapable vortex of unimaginable proportion. Is Loru, bubble of the tribal pod, Sims, the savior spoken of in the ancient verse, or was he driven mad by the strange inner voices he hears? Into this mix, comes a Terran Space Vehicle, the TSV Jellyfish, which looks enough like a floater that they easily mistake it for one of their gods who's come to help them. But the crew of the Jellyfish has problems, too. Biologist Shamus McCain has been busted in rank and sent on a deep space mission to prevent his causing any more trouble for The Company. Only he and his Flight Stress Relief Partner, the beautiful Lt. Priscilla Barnes know the truth about the conspiracy to silence him. But someone is trying to kill them both, and whoever it is doesn't mind killing the crew in the process!
Against this background, Shamus makes the greatest discovery of human history, the Baru-un are the first sentient beings discovered in over eight hundred years of space flight! Can he help the floaters survive, and can they help him?