The people of Earth were starving. In spite of the wealth of alien knowledge and technology won by the Russian roulette missions of the Gateway prospectors-crewing preprogrammed ships abandoned tens of thousands of years ago by the elusive, starfaring Heechee - there was just no way to feed the exploding population,
Then one doomed Gateway ship sent a last desperate call. The pilot had discovered a huge Heechee spaceship beyond the orbit of Pluto; it was designed to graze the cometary cloud and transform the basic elements into untold quantities of food.
Robin Broadhead, made rich by the Gateway mission that had cost him the woman he loved,k joined in bankrolling the expedition to the Food Factory--a 7 year round-trip with multimillion-dollar bonuses for the family who manned the ship.