Time: A future where ships can fold space and much of humanity has abandoned its depleted world. Two forces-- Government and Corporation-- vie for control of what's left of the Earth, of known space, and of the universe beyond. Hyperbreed tm: Gene-spliced human-animal hybrid assets with no legal status, living, breathing slaves created and programmed to do their Corporate masters bidding. Government, in trying to limit Corporate power, has recently insisted "splices" be paid wages and has begun to debate a bill that would allow the Hyperbreed assets to buy their freedom. Corporate will do anything to stop it. Maks: A race of alien robot pirates that exists on the edge of explored space--terrifying monsters who wear the body parts of vanquished flesh-and-blood enemies as trophies. An attack on Earth is next on their agenda. Caught in the middle: Byrr, Fext and Cammo, three Hyperbreed assets who've run afoul of their Corporate masters. Thrown together on an ancient freighter, their mission is to transport valuable Explosive Ore to a distant mining colony. But their mission is far from what it seems and the battle for their futures and the future of Known Space is about to begin. In the vastness of space, small betrayals can have major consequences, playing the odds can change the course of history, and Luck isn't always what it seems.