It's love at first sight for Jared Ramirez and Cara Lindstrom, but an enemy from another world is threatening them and everything they care for. Battling this creature will require all of the psychic powers Jared has hidden since childhood, and it will lead him to the mysterious arches on an uninhabited planet, to face the secret behind them. More
It's a fly, only a common housefly, one of those pests who accidentally hitched a ride on one of the innumerable ships from Old Earth to the new colony worlds of the Four Species Alliance.
So how can it scream and curse in the voice of a woman dead for months? And why is it attacking her daughter, and her daughter's would-be lover?
Jared Ramirez Ph.D has come a long way from the place of his birth, a domed colony on a remote mining world, where he and his mother lived in poverty. Now he has a doctorate in cultural linguistics and he is settled on the planet Haivran, the intellectual heart of the Four Species Alliance. He enjoys his work as a teacher and translator of historical documents from Alliance cultures. He has bought a house surrounded by neighbors from all four Alliance species who have become his virtual family. Some of them even share his telepathic gifts, a secret ability he has had from childhood. He has never thought much about it – just a little talent, he thinks – but it's nice to have people with whom he can share it.
Maud, his lover for over a decade, has recently died of heart disease. It was not unexpected; she was older than he was and ill, but he had hoped to have her for many years yet. He buries himself and his grief in a new intellectual challenge, heading a team studying the inscriptions found on a set of mysterious arches on an uninhabited planet at the edge of Alliance territory. Peculiar circumstances accompanied this discovery, halting colonial expansion of the Alliance species until the arches can be better understood.
And then Jared meets Cara Lindstrom, daughter of the late Dr. Margo Lindstrom, the scientist who first discovered the arches he studies. The bond between them is nearly instantaneous, and overwhelming for them both, but Cara has her own problems, an all-too-tangible reminder of her memorably difficult mother. It threatens not only her, but Jared and his friends and his neighborhood and, perhaps, the worlds around them. For the sake of the woman he loves, and the people who have become his family, Jared has to find ways to fight this entity, and other, similar creatures. This battle will call upon powers he does not yet know he possesses, and will lead him to the mysterious arches, to face the secret behind them.