Hawk joins the crew of the Searcher to find lost colonies from Earth, just as his own people had left Earth centuries ago for a new home elsewhere in space. Dr. Goodfellow directs a group consisting of Buck, Hawk, and Wilma to escort a visiting ambassador to a peace conference. However, the shuttle Buck is piloting crashes with Duvoe aboard, possibly bringing about an interplanetary war if he does not reach the conference in time. Relations between the men are strained because of Duvoe competing with Buck for Wilma's affections, as the ambassador had been romantically involved with her in the past. While Buck tries to keep the group alive and reach the conference on time, the Searcher comes under attack by the ambassador's ship, whose crew wants to know what has happened to their leader.