Gisel Matah is the youngest person aboard the Iskander, slipped in as personal trainer through the influence of her father, the director of their development department. This sixteen-year old gymnast is bold and strong-willed and usually at odds with everyone. Her future seems to be blighted until their first mission reveals she has knowledge that is going to be vital for their future. One of her duties as personal trainer is to teach foils and epeé, and it turns out that a gentleman on this world has to wear a rapier, and know how to use it. Her fluency with Greek, a language she learned as a child when she lived with her Greek grandparents, is the Lingua Franca on this world, called Gaia by the inhabitants. It turns out that the Carthaginians won the Punic Wars and there never was a Roman Empire. Gisel becomes both interpreter and language teacher for everyone.They approach the local inhabitants of their first ground mission to barter some modern products, and find the people are very suspicious of them. They warn them that the Trigon Empire, under the Emperor Zarl, does not allow innovation and will destroy anything they try to build. Despite this setback they look to establish themselves with powerful noblemen who might already be an enemy of the Empire and be bold enough to accept Iskander help against the Trigons. Such nobles are not easy to find.Gisel takes part in most of these activities, gradually finding some acceptance...even with Colonel MTov, who becomes the Iskanders security chief. They find their first promising ally in the Earl of Waldern and start the relationship well when they rescue him and his crew of the Delphin from shipwreck. It seems that the Earl was among the adventurers who had sailed to one of the Empires colonies called Kalamina in the New World to steal treasure that is otherwise denied them. Another ship in the flotilla was secretly owned by the King. The ship and its crew were captured by an Empire warship and the Iskanders put forward a plan to rescue the ship and crew before their identities should be revealed.The Iskanders use their space-plane to attack the fortress that guards the harbour of Kalamina, and Gisel has the task of leading the assault parachutists she has trained through her gymnastic experience. The action, using much of the Iskanders modern equipment, takes the defenders by surprise, but not without some bloody action that gives Gisel a foretaste of battle that cements her in the dazzling security career that will fill her future life.