Bailey Marshall, partnered with Vic Triller, is assigned the mission of discovering the source of a rare mind-expanding drug. He and Vic failed at their previous assignment of delivering India Terrano safely to a CATT laboratory. Marshall is determined not to fail at this one. But he doesn't reckon on China Terrano, India's sister. China kills Triller, frames Marshall for the murder, and leaves him facing a painful death. Only one person can save him: Melalie Noris, a woman who hates him and whom he sent on a mission he did not expect her to survive. Armed only with logic learned from the planet of Thanli's dominant race and with the gift of a small trinde, a tree sacred to that race, handicapped by chala addiction, Melalie is sent to the jungle of Arn, where she finds unexpected peace and happiness among the primitive Arnese. Rescuing Marshall can destroy that peace and bring disharmony and death to her Arnese friends. What she decides will change the course of her life.