The year is 2326. Ten planets in Six Systems of the galaxy have been colonized, and are run jointly by a loose Federation of the two superpowers, the Northers and the Southers.
When a massive, heavily-loaded freighter is seized by space pirates, delicate trade negotiations between the superpowers break down and the Federation teeters on the brink of war.
Carla Scott, a gifted android engineer, is working on a project to improve military androids by giving them pain sensors. The trouble is android responses to pain range from apprehension through terror and even extreme rage.
While Carla races to complete her project and stop a galactic war, the pirates strike again.