Working off of a piece of intelligence from the alien Hexosehr, the Vorpal Blade is dispatched to investigate rumors of an ancient and powerful civilization that may have been the creators of the “black box” that drives humanity's only space ship. Any remnant technology would be nice but what the Blade finds is much more than they bargained for. Worse, the ship is infested by an alien species of scorpion-like arachnoids that has the potential to wipe out a world. Worst of all, instead of being Astrogator, Captain William Weaver is now the XO and he is not getting along with the new commander. And the new commander does not get along with Weaver, the ship's female savant-linguist or most of the rest of the original crew. And what is that weird noise the ship makes every time it's in hard maneuvers?