Have Spaceship–Will Travel
In the wake of the Modronovich Incident a new era of industry and interstellar exploration has begun. Everyone wants to find 'them' ... the aliens ... even if the cosmic trail is two-hundred and fifty years old, and finding them might be a bad idea.
After the initial whirlwind of movie offers and government interviews, Bea has settled down to the quieter life as Spaulding Recovery Service's simple starship pilot, enjoying her time between the sandy beaches of the Pearls, and long trips into the long dark hauling cargo or tracking down derelict ships for almighty insurance companies. That is until she gets a call from Algernon, the Asimov Institute's synthetic consciousness. It seems the famed Institute has lost a ship, and since everyone else is hunting aliens, Bea's the woman for the job.
It's good money, and her toff boss says do it ... but something's not right. Why does the Institute seem more concerned with a star outside of the Republic's borders than they do about the lost ship and her crew? And why does the staff they send with her act like soldiers out of uniform?