When Keelarah, Lead Interrogator in the Neuropsychsubdivision of the Cartheeli Military Caste, first meets the alien, she is prepared to do her duty. He is a trespasser on her planet, has caused the death of someone dear to her, and it is imperative she find out where he’s come from and whether his kind poses a threat to her and her people.
Often ruthless in her techniques, the interrogator uses her telepathic and empathic abilities to assault his mind, to draw out any whisper of information that can give them a better idea of what—who—they are dealing with. But she isn’t prepared for the prisoner to defend himself with comparable talents, to disarm her with equally astute observations.
Chief Surveyor Forrest Brown might not be the best example of humanity, but he doesn’t have to be to show Keelarah what it is to be humane. As they get to know each other, the line between captor and prisoner blur, which begs the question: is having different origins a more important factor, or the ability to find common ground? What if mutual alienation leads to the most profound bond of all.