The Starship Enterprise NX-01 has carried its crew farther into the reaches of space than any human has ever travelled. Commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer, they have charted new stars, explored planets, and made first contact with many alien races.
The Paraagan deep-space colony was just another first contact, unusual only in two aspects: it was a matriarchal society, and the planet's upper atmosphere was filled with a highly volatile gas. But the officers of Enterprise knew how to handle their shuttlepod, and they understood the Paraagan landing protocols. As the shuttlepod descended, they closed the plasma vents, certain that nothing could escape and ignite the gas.
Thirty-six hundred colonists were vaporized in the blast. Every building, every living thing, everything on the surface was destroyed in the fireball. Could the Enterprise crew have caused the destruction?
Recalled, Archer knows that the Vulcan High Command has convinced Starfleet of what they have long insisted. Humans are not ready for deep-space exploration.
But these were not the events as history recorded them. No one died. Enterprise was never recalled. This is the startling information offered by the mysterious Crewman Daniels -- who claims to be from the thirty-first century and a foot soldier in the temporal cold war. Archer sets out to prove Enterprise's innocence. But time is a swiftly moving river in whose deadly rapids Enterprise is caught. Is there really anything they can do?