Dr Mackenzie Connor is back at Norcoast Salmon Research Facility after last years adventures minus an arm. She got a shiny new one instead of the one her metamorphosed Dhryn friend ate. The Dhryn has disappeared from Haven and their other colonies. Emely and the Ro are still gone. Oversight is having trouble with the secrets he isn’t allowed to see, he appear at Base one day and revoke their charter. Mac realises she has to let him se for himself. When they get near where the Ro landed last year Mac recive a message on her imp from Emely. But she can’t read it.
Spread between the chapters in the book are Encounters describing how the Dhryn attack other worlds.
Back at Base she gives the message over to the now resident Minisery Agent, as contact with the Ro is a priority. The Ro might be the only ones that can help them with the Dhryn. The base is shaken by an earthquake that forces them to relocate.
Mac gets three weeks of unwanted vacation. Her co workers conspire to force her to take a real vacation this time against her will. After an offer from her father to go to their family cabin she dumps her agent entourage and goes there.
Then and again she talks to Em, not knowing if she is around wanting her to be back. She cleans up the cabin. One old friend to the family arrive with two aliens asking if they can stay there per the usual arrangement. Mac reluctantly agree .
The aliens are there for a raft trip. The constant bickering Kay and 14 is quite entertaining. Kay is a Trislian and 14 real name is Arslithissiangee yip the 14 and he is a Myg. Julie is quite talented in creating alien species. They reveal that the rafting trip was a pretence to meet with her and convince her to come to the Gathering the UI has organised to handle the Dhryn threat. 14 is great with numbers and codes so Mac gives him the message from Emely.
Soon after Nik arrives, the love interest of this story and also an agent of the Ministry. He was supposed to stop her on orders from his superiors from going but was “delayed”. They have some frustrating days, being interrupted all the time until he has to leave.
When Kay and Mac hike alone he goes back to the cabin alone faking being angry with her. When she comes there she discover 14 in the fridge unconsious. Kay has hit him over the head and taken the decrypted message with him. Mac and 14 are stalked by the male Trislian Kay left behind but they are saved in the last minute by Oversight. The cavalry arrive and Mac passes out.
Only to wake up at the Gathering. More planets have been attacked. She is assigned to head the Origin team, finding out how a race like the Dhryn could come to be. She is confronted by the archeologists that lost one of their own to Bhrymn the Dhryn she brought to their camp when he metamorphosedint the eater form. She handles it and propose what they see is the Dhryn migrating like the salmon. The more they learn about the Dhryn the more it becomes clear, at least to Mac that it there is something more behind it, she becomes more and more convinced someone have weaponized the Dhryn.
14 survived the attack and it is an instruction on how to contact the Ro. They have just begun sending the signal when the Dhryn arrive in the Sol system and start heading for earth. It is a showdown with the Dhryn, the Ro and Emily. Much will be revealed.
I officially upgrade this to one of my favorite series. Now I am frustrated the third book isn’t here yet.