The red giant Saria is dying. Praetar, a sand-blown planet, lies occupied. Its people are buried and beaten, forced to toil for the Melisao Empire that prepares to flee their star. Hyken, a Sentinel pilot in orbit around the planet, is faced with a moral dilemma that forces him to choose between his co-pilot and their mission. Mira, a factory worker on Praetar, struggles to make a better life for her daughters--using what little resources at her command. A slumlord named Bruno makes his own arrangements, gathering what meager power he can in the Empire's scramble to flee. Caught up in the exodus, these people struggle to survive. Are they strangers, or do their decisions affect one-another in unexpected ways?