Ensign Paul Sinclair is fresh out of the Naval Academy and assigned to the USS Michaelson as the ship's lone legal officer. The warship's mission is to patrol a very large volume of space, enforcing the U.S. claim on valuable transit routes and mineral rich asteroids. When a South Asian Alliance ship trespasses into U.S. territory and runs from the Michaelson when approached, Captain Pete Wakeman decides to try and catch the intruding vessel before it leaves U.S. space. Wakeman's attempts at communication with the mysterious ship go unanswered, and when he fires a warning shot across the ship's bow, the ship changes its course and begins heading right for the Michaelson. Although the Alliance ship has no visible weapons, Wakeman takes no chances and fires on the ship, destroying it and everyone aboard.