Description: Thorlainen finds his mundane and generally pointless life disrupted by an apparent galactic catastrophe and is soon on the run from the totalitarian world of Tellus, the non-affluents, like him, have reluctantly submitted to for too long. His first impression is, he is the sole survivor but surviving brings mortal danger. He meets a young affluent woman, Chitmaa, caring for two intelligent children. Thorlainen is a Non-Commercial-Being but Chitmaa believes they must conjugate traditionally. Thorlainen agrees though he can see he is right out of his depth in this relationship and in his understanding of her motives. Normally a solitary character, Thorlainen's acquaintances snowball as they flee, and gradually he takes the lead, assisted by a paradoxical old man and a military officer, escaping execution. Unlike Thorlainen, the others have friends and relatives, who (if they are still live) are at the deportation area awaiting relocation. Thorlainen helps them, and then reluctantly takes command of a ship full of deportees: his nautical expertise becoming paramount, when it becomes evident their only escape is by sea.