THE YEAR IS 2336 For twelve years, she was captain of the Federation's flagship. But while her exploits as commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C are legend, little has been revealed about Rachel Garrett, her vessel, or the unusual men and women of her crew. Until now. When the archaeological find of the decade offers possible hints about an earlier Cardassian civilization, it attracts not merely those seeking to quench their thirst for knowledge, but also parties with far less noble interests. Among the latter is the Asfar Qatala, a notorious criminal cartel with a disturbing connection to one of the Enterprise's highest-ranking officers. Now Captain Garrett and her crew are swept into a maelstrom of kidnapping, extortion, and murder -- as well as a desperate, secret struggle between the Qatala and its chief rival, the fledgling Orion Syndicate. And beneath the surface of the frozen world on which the proto-Cardassian discovery was made, another drama is playing out that will force Garrett to make the most difficult decision of her career...amid ruins reputed to link the living with the ancient dead.