The Stargazer is sent on a mission to investigate the tales of a pair of visitors proclaiming to be descendants of survivors of the Valiant, presumed lost in an attempt to cross the Galactic Barrier more than three hundred years earlier. On the edge of the galaxy, the Stargazer is ambushed by Nuyyad warships, leaving her second officer, Lieutenant Commander Jean-Luc Picard, with his first command, as his captain and first officer were casualties of the unexpected melee. Now trapped on the wrong side of the Barrier, beyond hope of any help from Starfleet and the commanding officers he once served, Picard finds himself isolated and under siege, the crew’s trust his to win or lose. He is caught between the suspicions of his mysterious charges and his bond with the stunningly beautiful and psychically gifted woman, which could be a bridge between the Federation’s past and his singular future. The fate of his own crew and possibly all of Starfleet weightily seated upon his inexperienced shoulders, Picard wrestles with his dilemma. Can he trust her? Can he trust himself? Within such unforgiving fires, a future commander is forged.