Commander Apollo, having successfully beaten the Cylons in a deadly space battle, leads the Galactica and the fleet into unexplored territory in search of the Thirteenth Tribe. Guided by the holomap discovered on an abandoned Cylon outpost, they set course for a mysterious world that may or may not be the legendary planet Earth.
But they are not alone in this sector of space. The Cylons continue to expand outward in the same direction. And this area of the galaxy is not uninhabited. Both the Cylons and the Galacticans are confronted by the Chitain, a completely alien race more warlike and fearsome than anything previously encountered: they make the Cylons seem almost civilized. And their mission is to become the only sentient lifeforms in their sector by eliminating everyone else.
It is into Chitain space that Apollo must lead the fleet in search of the planet on the holo-map. Once there, Apollo makes the discovery of a lifetime: The planet is not Earth, but it was once the home of an ancient colony started by the Thirteenth Tribe. And it is now the home of Commander Cain --- Sheba's father, the late Adama's comrade-in-arms, and the leader of another group of exiles that left Caprica eighteen years earlier, just after the Cylons mounted their sneak attack on the Colonies... and just before Adama led the Colonial survivors out of harm's way.
Considered dead, Commander Cain has not only survived in this far-flung corner of the galaxy, he has thrived and established a military base and warcraft manufactory. In addition to the Battlestar Pegasus, in which Cain fled those many years ago, his group is in the process of building two new battlestars and countless new Viper attack craft. Cain is preparing for the ultimate battle with the Cylons.
But the Chitain must be taken into account. Apollo wants to pursue peace with the hostile aliens. Cain, and many others, loudly oppose this move. Apollo, following his instincts, goes with Starbuck to speak with the Chitain under a flag of truce. On the Chitain homeworld, they are greeted as visiting royalty --- an unexpected surprise, and certainly too good to be true.
Apollo and Starbuck must discover the secrets of the Chitain's warrior society. They must uncover the true nature of the strange creatures held as slaves by the Chitain, and how the approaching Cylons figure into the mix. And finally, Apollo must decide if Cain's plan for an all-out attack against both forces is best for the safety of the fleet and, if so, how he can limit the death and destruction that will surely follow.