Outnumbered by the superior forces and firepower of the Syndicate Worlds, the Alliance fleet continues its dangerous retreat across the enemy star system. Led by the legendary Captain John "Black Jack" Geary, who returned to the fleet after a hundred-year suspended animation, the Alliance is desperately trying to return home with its captured prize: the key to the Syndic hypernet, and the key to victory. Geary is convinced that the Syndics are planning to ambush the fleet and finish it off once and for all. Realizing the fleet's best (and only) chance is to do the unexpected, Geary takes the offensive and orders the fleet to the Sancere system. There, a multitude of possible routes home give the Alliance fleet a better chance of avoiding their pursuers - and an attack on the Sancere shipbuilding facilities could decimate the Syndic war effort. Weary from endless combat, the officers and crew of the Alliance fleet can't see the sense in charging deeper into enemy territory - prompting a mutiny that divides them and leaves Geary with higher odds against him than ever before.