Immersing himself in military assignments that have made him a first contact liaison with alien worlds, officer William Lennox, a shape-shifter, pursues his obsession for outer-space cultures, and gets more attention from humanity than he desires
On the planet Grotamana, called Medina by humans, Xavier William Lennox met with disaster. Lennox, a travel writer and adventurer, has become fascinated by the secretive golden-skinned natives of Medina, called Fireflies by the Human Republic. But on his first visit he was caught by the Fireflies' high priest while attempting to spy on a sacred ritual in a village forbidden to all foreigners. He was tortured and nearly killed before being left as a warning to other curious Men.Now Lennox is determined to find out what it is that the aliens want so much to hide. He will return to Medina, and this time he will attempt to discover their secrets from inside their culture, instead of outside. Lennox employs the latest medical breakthroughs to alter his body to resemble a Firefly. He immerses himself in the dialect of a city of Medina distant from the sacred village. He studies what is known of the Fireflies' culture and history, though that knowledge is dangerously limited.And then he arranges to be dropped back on Medina, in the wasteland between cities, to make his slow way toward the sacred village. If he survives the journey, he thinks he will have learned enough to safely pass the gates of the temple precincts.