Over one thousand years have passed since humans breathed terrestrial air. Burned from Earth and the colonies by a ruth enemy, mankind is believed extinct. Yet two pockets of humanity still cling to life. One is a colonist expedition, plodding through space with the thinnest hope of finding a new world to settle. The other is the remnant of a black budget genetic research facility—a Cadre of stoic and fanatical soldiers preying upon the blue-skinned enemy which decimated them. After a bloody introduction, the Cadre and the Colonists discover they are as alien to one another as the hated Blueskins. Only the remarkable insights of the colonist Counselor bridge the cultural rifts, permitting the groups to lay aside their greater shares of fear and suspicion. But true integration proves elusive. Wearied by centuries of travel, the Colonists dream of returning home. The Cadre, its entire history lost to the pragmatism of now, is eager to reclaim its legacy and deliver a shocking blow to the enemy. Therein, the two groups find the commonality to join in common purpose: resettling Earth. First, they must know—are the Blueskins still there? Cadre soldiers Argo, Beckert, and Thompson are rigorously trained and dispatched on a one way reconnaissance mission to Earth. Their standing orders are to discover enemy strength, to determine possibility of assault, and to sow destruction until killed. Their arrival is the beginning of a planetary storm—the falling leaf which seeds the hurricane.