Captain John “Black Jack” Geary woke from a century of survival hibernation to take command of the Alliance fleet in the final throes of its long and bitter conflict against the Syndicate Worlds. Now Fleet Admiral Geary's victory has earned him the adoration of the people and enmity of politicians convinced that a living hero can be a very dangerous thing. Geary is charged with command of the newly christened First Fleet. Its first mission: to probe deep into the territory of the mysterious alien race. Geary knows that members of the military high command and the government fear his staging a coup, so he can't help but wonder if the fleet is being deliberately sent to the far side of space on a suicide mission.