Starship rigging is one of the most demanding of all professions, requiring special aptitudes and a unique emotional nature. Because star riggers navigate not normal-space but the Flux -- a subjective sea underlying Prime Reality ... a real akin to yet distinct from pure fantasy. For even the most nightmarish fantasies are harmless, and even the mildest eddies of the Flux can be deadly...
Gev Carlyle was a star rigger in trouble. Normally, he had no problem constructing the appropriate images in the riggers' net, reaching into them and grabbing literal fingerholds in the currents of the Flux. Right now, however, he was alone on the four-man freighter Sedora -- alone, except for a rather large, surly, catlike alien named Cephean. And since Cephean was, for reasons of his own, unwilling to join forces with the human, it looked like they were both going to spend eternity floating helplessly on the unwieldy, cargo-laden vessel.
It did Carlyle little good to think back to happier times -- his days aboard the Lady Brillig. He loved her riggers, Janofer, Skan and Legroeder, but had never been much good at merging his own Flux imagery with theirs. In the end, reluctantly, Gev had signed on the Sedora as an extra hand, intending to rejoin the Lady crew after gaining sufficient outside experience. His plan had been working out very well, too -- until a freak accident took the lives of his Sedora shipmates.
Stranded on the crippled freighter, Gev's situation had appeared to be all but hopeless; and then he'd come upon a disabled alien ship drifting in the void. He had rescued its pilot -- Cephean, a star rigger in his own right -- and was confident that they'd be able to bring the Sedora safely into port together. Unfortunately, Cephean cared little for togetherness. Although human and nonhuman could communicate telepathically, the oversized tabby seemed incapable of cooperating. When Cephean's carelessness nearly wrecked the freighter, Gev tried to sail her by himself. The effort nearly proved fatal.
Gev was desperate. He had to establish a rapport with his strange companion, yet he was reluctant to try the one method all riggers used to resolve incompatibilities: the dreampool. If he and Cephean entered the water simultaneously, they would share each other's innermost memories, thoughts, visions. But would they emerge as a working unit -- or become lost in the terrors of their mutually alien minds?