The Commonwealth species may officially be at peace, but maintaining it is a struggle, especially with the frog-like Siderans who make a business of piracy and poaching, and a habit of hating Terrans. With alien technology, starships jump vast distances between star systems along safely mapped trajectories that create a webway for galactic commerce. The Terran Exploration Force was created to map new webways for Terran control in the continuing race among Commonwealth members.
TEF Scout Jason Wade goes from depressed that his long-time partner is retiring to being overjoyed at being promoted to Captain. His world starts tumbling, though, when his replacement partner turns out to be not only a woman, both young and attractive, but also the spoiled and lazy daughter of a wealthy family. Escalating tension between the mismatched and frequently quarreling partners is put on hold when their exploration flitter is shot down by Sideran poachers.
Stranded on the jungle planet of Jangala, they must forge a partnership with the natives if they have any hope of finding their scoutship. But their native guide requires that they first mount a dangerous rescue mission up perilous escarpments and down treacherous rivers that also brings Jason to terms with his orphan past.