Some centuries in the future, humanity is locked in an interstellar war with the Dohani, a technologically advanced species of fearsome, reptilian-like appearance. The war has ground to a stalemate that cannot be resolved as long as humans and the Dohani and have no way to communicate.

Lieutenant Dexter Zimski leads a commando squad in a raid on a Dohani base and returns with a bizarre captive, one who looks for all the world like a 16-year old human girl. She is given the name “Jane.” But the question remains: not “Who is she?” but “What is she?” Human? Dohani? Neither? Both?

Jane appears not to use anything resembling a human language, but she begins to communicate through body language and by drawing pictures. Meanwhile, the Dohani are going to extraordinary lengths to rescue her. Jane and Dexter are moved to a world near the center of human space. Humans and the Dohani are now playing for high stakes. Another question becomes urgent: what is at stake?