The shuttle Liam and Zo'or are in crashes over wilderness, but survive in safety bubbles. The people they meet live off the earth and know nothing of the Taelons. However, Zo'or is injured and missing a Synod meeting on the mother ship.
Sandoval has a mole attempting to gain information about Liam - particularly concerning his commitment to the Taelons. When a Taelon and protector are killed in a portal that malfunctions, Liam is suspicious that it was intentional.
Bombings begin at embassies and Liam believes they may reignite the SI (Sino-Indian) War, which ended with an armistice several years before. An old intelligence agency friend of Renee's has interesting holographic technology.
Zo'or kidnaps a comatose policeman in order to use the man's body as a 'vessel' in a consciousness transfer experiment that will allow him to 'test' the human survival instinct and cause havoc on Earth.
While examining Ma'el's ship, Liam and Renee find a chamber and in it are some life pods and the persons are all dead except for one. He awakes and reveals himself to be from Ancient Rome and he was chosen by Ma'el to deal with the Taelons if they chose not heed Ma'el's telling them not to come to Earth. At the same Tathan decides to challenge Zo'or for the right to lead the Synod and Zo'or decides to get an advantage by using Sandoval.
Liam investigates a mission run by the Church of the Companions when a friend of his disappears. Sandoval and the Taelons are concerned about "the fields" where something vital to the Taelons' survival is harvested.
Joshua Doors is running his own technology development company and Renee goes undercover to find out what is going on. An artificial intelligence program of the Taelons that controls human minds seems to be acting on its own.
Lili, Vorjak, and the baby flee to find a shuttle to escape Earth. Liam and Sandoval are both tracking them - for different reasons. Augur is on the run from volunteers, but sends a friend (Juliet) to help Liam while he's gone.
A Senator's daughter is found to have kryss in her system. Liam and Renee suspect the Taelons lied about synthesizing it and there is a new location for production. They believe Federov is involved. Da'an is addicted to kryss.
The Taelons give their reserve core energy to Joshua Doors for a project. But when he uses it, something happens and it disappears. The Taelons want it back and will tear the Earth apart to get it back. Liam and Renee try to find it too. It turns out that Joshua'a father, Jonathan made a program that contains all of his thoughts, and he is the one leading Joshua.
Augur is caught and placed in a special prison where he is placed in a sensory deprivation chamber. An am moralist gets him out and wants Augur to help him steal the gold Zo'or has on the mothership. When Liam learns of what happened he tries to find Augur.
The ANA negotiate amnesty for all resistance members, Liam tries to convince resistance member Halley Simmons to take the offer. Sandoval uses parasites to make volunteers do suicide missions against the resistance.
The Taelons decide to leave Earth when it appears that the Jiridians are invading. Meanwhile, a group of Resistance prisoners saved from the mother ship include several disguised Jiridians who are causing trouble for Liam and Renee.
Renee's brother has PTSD. In a desperate effort to help him, she agrees to let him undergo special treatment. The treatment removes his emotion. The project is overseen by Sandoval and the emotion they take is given to Da'an.
While on board the mothership, Renee sustains an injury and while being treated, she gets pulled into the walls and disappears. Liam searches for her. While Zo'or believes that Renee's accident was not an accident and that someone on board is deliberately causing problems. Sandoval tries to find out who could be doing it. Both Liam and Sandoval discover that another protector who was believed dead is the one they're looking for.
Street asks Liam to help a friend who's arrested for the murder of a man he hated. Liam talks to him and he claims that he dreamed of killing him. Liam checks out the evidence and discovers that it's overwhelming. Liam discovers a device, which is of Taelon origin that can allow someone to get into a person dreams. Later Da'an is attacked and evidence implicates Sandoval. Liam offers to help him. He asks Sandoval where one can get the device and meets the seller, who remains anonymous. But they learn that the technology used is made by a woman Renee knows. But when ...