|Author||S. M. Stirling
|Series||The Flight Engineer|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Rising|
|Followed by||The Independent Command|
Fresh from the events of The Rising Commander Peter Raeder is called to a board of inquiry for certain questionable actions during the first missions of the Invincible. When the board seems to be about to send Raeder to a desk job on Earth, a special ops Marine group catches Raeder's interest. In exchange for running a high-risk high-reward undercover assignment, the Marine General will make sure that Raeder regains his position on the Invincible. With little other choice if he wishes to remain in space service, Raeder agrees.
Going undercover with other Commonwealth military personnel as a pirate group, Raeder's assignment is to uncover an antihydrogen smuggling ring and gather vital intelligence on the Mollies and their Fibian allies.
After successfully completing the assignment, Raeder is re-assigned to the Invincible, though he will have to wait with the rest of the crew as during his assignment the fast carrier was heavily damaged and will require extensive repairs.