"Gold will not always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can get you gold." (Niccolò Machiavelli)
Recent Academy graduate Lieutenant Hal Slater is traveling first class to a cushy first assignment when he is suddenly preempted into a new detachment headed for a wild frontier world. Captain John Christian Falkenberg is forming a new unit from conscripts, guard house scrapings, and the remnants of decimated units, and has the authority to scoop up junior officers wherever he can find them. Hal is caught in that scoop. Falkenberg and three companies of CoDominium Line Marines are being sent to a frontier planet that had requested - and needed - a regiment. There will be no more reinforcements, and the whole structure of civilization is threatened.
Even the planetary commandant believes this assignment will be beyond the Marines' capabilities, but the Line Marine tradition does not allow them to give up without trying. Falkenberg does the best he can against a force of bandits, pirates, and desperate refugees, and Hal Slater is thrust into command in his first battle. As the campaign continues, Slater finds personal reasons to become deeply involved in a fight that will test the honor of the CoDominium Marines.
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