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Synopsis

Days before his college graduation, Scott Madison is considering whether the next step in his life will be grad school in marine biology or a real job. His father, an Army colonel, is pushing a third option: enlisting. An ad on the dorm bulletin baits Scott into accepting a job with Jake Kesten, a Ph.D. in math, who knows martial arts and helps the Government thwart computer hackers, sometimes in search-and-destroy fashion. Two years later, Scott still works for Jake, is enrolled part-time in grad school, and has finally lost his virginity. Working for Jake is not without its occasional hazards, though. While he's recovering from a recent slipup, Arion, with pointed ears and clad in a wizard's robe, shows up at his apartment. Arion wants him for an offworld mission, which Scott is convinced is a dream, especially when Jake doesn't seem at all bothered by it. Nevertheless, he goes along for the ride.Except the ride consists of stepping though a lighthole that Arion gestures into existence inside Scott's living room. And on the other side, he encounters a world out of a fantasy role-playing game, complete with flying horses and crystal dragons. Joining them is a group of individuals, all of whom appear human and who were collected from their various worlds not always in accord with their wishes.Jen-Varth is filled with self doubt and sees the past ten years of his life as wasted. Trax is a cocky young Mage who has the Staff of Chaos, a lesser artifact that he can't control and which is sure to cause trouble. Kedda is the jovial gambler no one can figure out. And there's Enelle, the young woman popped into their midst against her will and who immediately demands to be sent back home.Their mission is to retrieve an alien artifact from a Psi-competent humanoid bent on revenge against Arion and whoever gets in the way. This artifact will magnify his Psi power to planet-destroying proportions.Scott supposedly has the ability to control the artifact, but he's given no guidance on how he's supposed to do it. They have at most ten days to reach their target. Then Scott learns this isn't the first time Jake has encountered Arion.

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