A computer program has chosen eight young people to replace the original Mars Colonists. The new colonists must get along and all agree to go, or the mission is off, but Pierre Borel and N!ai !Kung (aka Click) hate each other. Other colonists are going for all the wrong reasons. Aua Angakkuq is trying to put as much distance as he can between himself and his father. Rouchen Chan is looking for love but finds it in the one man she cannot have and remain objective as their flight surgeon. Juju Dingo is looking for a new home after her parents sell their CooberPedy dugout to retire. Nikolai Makarov is trying to beat the system as if it was a game and Alexander Eastman just likes the challenge of fixing equipment. The only remotely qualified person is Marci Cribbs, who grew up living in a simulated Mars colony on Earth, but her father, the Director of Safety for the program, does not want her or any of the colonists to go because they have no training. The only person that might be able to keep the colonists together is their leader, the Flamen Martialis, but who is this person?