June 1, 2288 - Europe's first starship, the EASS Galileo, launches on its maiden voyage to investigate an unidentified object, code-named Spindrift, which is traveling outside our solar system. An object that may be alien in origin. The Galileo disappears soon after...February 1, 2344 - The Galileo's shuttle returns to Earth carrying three surviving expedition members, who still appear to be the same age they were when they departed. They report that they have, indeed, made contact with an extraterrestrial race.
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Expelled from the Union Astronautica space fleet and facing charges of grand theft, Jules Truffant agrees to sign up as shuttle pilot aboard the freighter Pride of Cucamonga in exchange for amnesty. After botching Pride's mission to RhoCorenae and upsetting an alien culture in the process, Jules must take part in a voyage across the galaxy to place a probe squarely in the path of a black hole as it plows through an inhabited star system.
The two-time Hugo Award-winner expands the universe of his Coyote saga. The danui, a reclusive arachnid species considered the galaxy's finest engineers, have avoided contact with the Coyote Federation. Until, that is, the danui initiate trade negotiations, offering only information: the coordinates for an unoccupied world suitable for human life - a massive sphere, composed of billions of hexagons.