Blurb: Star Dancer, a freshly refitted deep space exploration vessel, was on a shake-down cruise before its next major assignment. The ship was diverted to study a recently formed black hole and became stuck in a fluctuation. Attempting to save the ship deposited it in uncharted territory a six-month voyage from home – plus or minus time-distortion effects.
The crew dropped quickly into standard exploration routines and the two mathematicians aboard began to study data from the black hole encounter, which stimulated leaps forward in the technology of vital systems, including detectors, deflectors and disruptors.
Separate lines of work by the two ‘Mathies', Lieutenants. Draxt and Merrith, produced conflict on Vrhad, a space colony which was taking advantage of found technology which no one understood. Draxt and Lt. Sampar, a pilot, found themselves in direct conflict with Captain Fregath when they concluded that the colony was heading for catastrophe and she felt obliged to follow non-interference protocols.
The two officers ended up field-testing Draxt's new deflectors against Merrith's more powerful disruptors. They proved their point but they had to face the consequences of their actions. They became appreciated again when Star Dancer found itself in a conflict zone. The ship had to fight for survival against very fast and highly aggressive opponents, and the crew had to learn how to cope with taking casualties.
For Captain Fregath and her crew, every step of the way home was packed with discoveries, dangers, and new challenges as they struggled to survive a rather longer voyage of discovery than anyone had expected.