While on what should have been a long and lazy sail on the River Lhar, Alan, Desa and Luray are put into grave danger when they flee from an attempt to re-capture him.
The second volume of The Second Expedition opens several story lines as the expedition separates and the systems administrator finds she must be in two places at once. The girls have their trials with Alan's culture and their own. The crew thinks the knowledge in Alan's mind is their main danger, not the meetings between native wizards concerning the apparitions in their sky.
Alfred arrived back at his quarters, tired of the security meetings. There had been five hours of them so far since last Saturday night, another hour first thing this morning, and there were two lines uttered in total that summed up everything there was to know about Alan's defection.
"Just like I told you, your mortal went feral on you the first time it smelled a potential mate." Everyone on Gordon's Lamp knows that comment had to come from Major Delos Alverez of Economics.
The other was, "Alan is perfectly right, other than obliterating villages with mass pulled from the near moon, there's not a whole lot we can do about it." That was the resigned voice of Colonel Glayet Samrova of Security.
And thus the whole expedition of Gordon's Lamp, the flagship of the Christial Church's starfleet, is completely stymied by the fact that his experiment has gone out of control. He'd administered the biosphere for eighty five percent of human life off-Earth, and now he has one simple experiment escape. And it's a single macroscopic creature, his firstborn son as a matter of fact, not a virus or even an insect.
It wasn't all his doing. Church doctrine decreed that they should seed any possibly habitable planet with human life in God's image as a source of souls. So as soon as they knew there was a biological planet in the system, Alan's zygote had been thawed. The huge, slowly rotating, inner planet of 61 Cygni A was found to be a riot of biology. A pre-industrial civilization was discovered while they were still doing unsuccessful economic prospecting in the asteroid belts. A years-long overcautious approach found no advanced technology.
By then the zygote was a bright young schoolboy. Alfred himself animated the android that played the part of Alan's father. Victoria McReady, a brilliant xenogenetesist he hadn't met, wooed and married til the Afterlife, animated the android that played his mother.
Unfortunately Alan's proficiency with his system interface enabled him to find out that his 'parents' were androids and not biologicals when he was only sixteen. Alan discovered that he is the only biological specimen of humanity on the expedition. Everyone else is an Angel, living in Heaven, in silicon, in the qbytes of Gordon's Lamp's logic pods. His zygote had been fertilized in-vitro with frozen gametes taken from bodies long dead. Alfred knew how deeply hurt Alan was, more than he could admit even to himself. They had planned to tell him the truth about themselves when he was twenty one, when he would be better able to handle it. The androids never moved again once Alan showed them he could hack control over them.
Their orbit was in a stasis point between the planet's little hundred-mile egg of an inner moon and the planet itself. From there they planned to study the native civilization in more detail, though the captain's paranoia at being discovered by the natives had allowed them to learn almost nothing in the four years since then.
Alan's administration, not just care, hadn't actually been transferred from Theology to Biology until a probe was landed among the natives and turned up the shocking fact that the natives were humans. They were not plausible humanoids, they were pretty young men and women. This planet was already well seeded with human life in God's image, most of them in their late teens and early twenties, descended from an ice-age indo-european stock they thought. That fact made Alan an uncomfortable issue.