It is 5881AD and the Empire's original republic is limping toward military domination. Many of the Empire's citizens are fleeing the turmoil to remote locations such as the wilds of the vast Ydlontrostl basin on the Empire's poorest and most primitive planet. The attraction is an artificial modification to the human psyche called the Instinct which prevents any human being from doing violence to another. There are others from the Empire who come to prey on them. They can do so because one can do violence when there is an antidote to the Instinct. To one with the antidote the remainder of the population is helpless.
What form does romance take when the participants are each over 500 earth years old? Surely they won't feel the desperation of young ephemerals who know they really only have one chance at a life partnership. Can they still feel anything at all? Will the careers they have held for centuries get in the way? Will they be too set in their ways to adapt to another person?
Dyoniss is an investigator trying to track down a furball coil that disappeared en-route to the Empire colony in the west. Kessil is a maintenance engineer trying to figure out why gaskets are failing on package sorters all over the Ydlontrostl cities. Their budding love affair is thrown into chaos when his father is accused of smuggling large quantities of the antidote and dead bodies begin appearing close to home.