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On a planet peacefully and harmoniously populated by both humans and the gorilla-like Pagayans, civil war has broken out, fostered by a third species, the Damargs. None of Earth's ex-colony worlds want to hear about it, much less get involved. But one member of the space-based Trading League, Colleen Yrden, is raising an Interplanetary Brigade to fight on Pelgraff.

Alan McLean left the New Brittain police service under a cloud: he killed a man under questionable circumstances. His need to belong to something, anything, drives him to accept Colleen's offer of employment--to help train the Interplanetary Brigade--despite his natural disgust at the endeavour and his dislike for the Pagayans. It doesn't hurt that she believes in him where all others have turned their backs.

Though he signs on to train men in weapons and tactics only, he finds himself drawn into the conflict and his growing hatred of the brutal Damargs--as well as his unrequited feelings for Colleen--holds him on Pelgraff even as politics makes the prospect of eventual victory increasingly unlikely and his bigotry towards Pagayans makes equally unlikely a relationship with Colleen. Others may leave, but McLean is determined to stay to the end, however it turns out.

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