Civilian aristocrat Marcus DeVol enters military service on a purchased commission as captain of Chimera - a battered and hybridized old destroyer spacecraft with a bottom-dollar crew. Initially given the relatively safe job of running down pirates and blacklisted vessels for prize money, a change of orders will send Marcus and his crew far from home and into very real danger. Marcus must lead his crew despite his youth, inexperience, and self doubt. Marcus has few illusions about his purchased commission. An academic, he is untested as a leader, and his curious mix of officers and crew regard him with a wary eye. Like Chimera herself, they've been pieced together based more on Marcus' tight budget than their experience and reliability. Many of them are foreigners with pasts who have joined the service for a clean slate. Some are more competent than others; few of them have seen real combat.