Earth Command defeated the Romulans with the help of other races across the galaxy, and the Neutral Zone was established. Out of that necessary and uneasy collaboration came the United Federation of Planets and its combined forces, Starfleet. But the close quarters of a starship among so many races and personalities is discomforting to all the ranks. Control of what could grow to be the greatest power in the galaxy is at stake and no one is taking it lightly. A powerful new class of starship, the Daedalus, the flagship of the new Federation fleet, is up for grabs among the six new Starfleet captains. Adm. Ed Walker is determined to keep this jewel, and all of Starfleet, under military command and away from the scientists. He chooses Capt. Aaron Stiles as his protégé in the endeavor. Stiles, bent on avenging the death of his brother Jake, faces stiff resistance from Walker's rebellious space jock nephew Dane and scientist Capt. Bryce Shumar. But they face their biggest threat of all in an unknown alien race destroying the bases of the Oreias system. Can brains and brawn combine to win without killing each other in the process?