The year is 2186. Humanity has established colonies on the moon, Mars, and several of the larger asteroids. Earth's sky is dotted with space habitats, and the spaceways are always busy. As usual, there is the urgent need for energy to power this advanced civilization; one of the primary sources of that energy is quantum black holes.
In Starcross, you are a miner of black holes, scouring the asteroid belt in your one-man survey ship. Finding and harnessing a single black hole can make a person's fortune. It's a lonely business, fraught with the known and unknown hazards of space. You've equipped your ship, the M.C.S. STARCROSS, with the best gear you could afford. You've put everything into this venture, and though you've tried before, you somehow sense that this time will be different.
The ship's computer handles the functions of navigation and routine maintenance. You watch the sophisticated mass detector as it unceasingly scans the vicinity for uncharted masses. To assuage the tedium of your long trip, you browse through the compact tape library, a compendium of human knowledge and culture. But the drone of the ship gradually lulls you into a deep sleep.
As you sleep, you dream of the riches which would be yours if your search for a quantum black hole is successful. Little do you suspect that the alarm on your mass detector is about to jolt you out of your dream - but not to grapple with the long-sought black hole. Your quest has taken an unexpected turn, for you are destined to rendezvous with a gargantuan alien spaceship from the outer fringes of the galaxy.