Captain John Silence commands the new starship Dauntless, the fastest, best-gunned ship in the fleet. His mission: locate and open the Vaults of the Sleepers vicious, unnatural killing machines on the ghost planet Grendel and subjugate the creatures found there. Empress Lionstone XIV desires to transform these monsters into an Imperial weapon. Silence and his company of marines, Wampyrs, and battle espers live to do her bidding, at least until the Vaults are opened. Meanwhile, back in the Empire's more hospitable regions, it appears the ruthless Lionstone is much more aware of Owen Deathstalker's whereabouts than he could possibly imagine.