Tress Lore, daughter of the chief engineer and chief linguist, was born on the Defender. Only nine years old, her life is about to change.
While exploring the space station where their ship is undergoing upgrades, she overhears people saying things that frighten her. Threats against her friends, and even the ship. But when she tells the adults, nobody else has heard what she heard. Tress is confused. What is wrong with everybody?
When she hears Lt. M’kar wishing to play a nasty trick on some people who are giving her trouble, Tress breaks some rules to try to help. When she is caught, the captain and her parents begin to understand what is happening to her. She isn’t hearing people’s voices, but their thoughts.
As she starts training to use her new Talent properly, Tress starts to understand what her parents have been teaching her: Enlo gives gifts for a reason. And the reason for her Talent appearing far too soon may already have arrived.