Dr. Martha Dane is the linguist in an archeological expedition of an ancient Martian city. She is dedicated to the monumental task of understanding the meaning of the wall writings, despite the discouragement of the other team members. With thing solid to refer to, finding a key is paramount to the success of her mission. When the team uncovers an ancient university building, they discover more than just a Martian Rosetta stone. One of Piper's best vellas, this is a great story with a woman as as the main character, and many backstabbing (and a few just plain naive) characters to complicate matters.