Monte Stewart was an extremely intelligent, somewhat contentious anthropologist with a sense of humor and a nonconformist approach to life. As an expert in his field, he was chosen to approach the first apparently human-like form of life ever to be encountered on another planet. Here was the chance he had been waiting for all his life --- an opportunity to make contact, to investigate, to ascertain the facts about an altogether new man-like species, with the added knowledge that the peace of the worlds depended upon the establishment of friendly relations. But Stewart and his team of experts couldn't get to first base. They tried for weeks --- then vicious unreasoned tragedy struck their camp. What had gone wrong? Who were these 'people'? Why had they attacked the humans? Stewart had failed in his mission; but for his own peace of mind he had to discover the answers, and he had to do it alone.