Aboard "Null Boundary," a giant starship thousands of years old, four survivors of an ancient alien war are making a desperate journey: Lot, son of a fiery prophet and carrier of an insidious virus that spreads a cultlike religious mania among those it infects; Urban, Lot's boyhood friend from the city of Silk, and a man in search of challenge and adventure; Clemantine, cast adrift when her world was destroyed, and yearning for revenge; and Nikko, sometimes a living man, but always the ship's disembodied mind.
They are bound for unknown territory. Ahead of them loom vast, lightless clouds of dust and gas where stars are born, and where the alien Chenzeme are believed to live. The Chenzeme are an enigmatic race whose automated warships have ravaged the living worlds of the galaxy's Orion arm for millions of years. But why? "Null Boundary's" crew is driven to find out--though in their quest to discover the source of the Chenzeme, they must also explore the terrible truth of their own past, the meaning of revenge, and the price each one of them is willing to pay for survival.
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Alpha Cygni atrium beneath Boundary's breath caught cell field charismata Chenzeme ship Clemantine Clemantine's close cloud cold core chamber cult virus dark courser defensive Makers Deneb drifted drop dust exotic matter eyes face feel fingers fury gaze gee deck ghost giant star gnomes go-pack gone Hailey Hailey's Hallowed Vasties hand heat Heyertori hull cells image wall island kisheer Kiyo Kiyo's knew light Linda Nagata living looked Lot asked Lot felt Lot's Love and nature membrane memory moved neural never Nightlight Nikko nodded Null Boundary okay past path philosopher cells pulled radio reef ring Ruby sense sensory tears ship's shoulder Sirkit skin suit slow smiled Sol System Sooth spikes star stared submind surface swan bursters talk tendrils thing thought tiny tissue told touched transit bubble turned Urban asked Velt voice waited warships whispered Wil McCarthy zero point zero point field