Earth has now been a member of the galactic Alliance for twenty years. It has its own Shadow Warrior organization, a part of the Alliance military that protects members from military threats in the galaxy. Since the Great Galactic War, which ended when the Caretakers, who had been attacking the Alliance, became allies, two decades of galactic peace and prosperity have ensued. Because it is new to the Alliance, Earth still operates its Shadow Warriors under the umbrella of Molethan, the largest and most influential member of the Alliance
Chris, Jason, Kali (a Molethian), Terry, and Zeke all enlist in Shadow Warriors. They all bring their problems or "baggage" into the Shadow Warrior Academy. Chris enlisted despite his father's insistence that he complete high school. Jason, a transgender who wants nothing more than to be a girl, was a target of hatred and abuse and became a large, body-building troublemaker. Kali, a rare aggressive Molethian, enlisted to remove the embarrassment of her parents after she had a fistfight-horrors -with a fellow student. Terry is extremely timid, often hesitant to make a decision. Zeke's family didn't have the funds for college, so he enlisted to build up a nest egg for education. They are formed into an team, destined to become a Shadow Warrior crew-if they can manage to graduate from Academy.
They have immediate problems. Jason and Chris can't stand each other, arguing and refusing to cooperate from the first, and the rest take sides. The constant conflict imperils their future, bringing the team close to expulsion from the program-and another problem looms even before their graduation. The Xzorn, an extremely aggressive species whose whole existence is based on expansion of their empire, attacks the Alliance with enormous forces. Suddenly the Alliance faces the first real threat in decades.
Can this new Shadow Warriors team, who can't even get along among themselves, overcome their differences, graduate, and then survive immediate battles with this new, dangerous enemy?