Chen Michaels took his wife and two young sons on the maiden voyage of his prototype time-traveling starship. The family immediately became lost, and wound up sailing the timestream across numerous galaxies, from one madcap adventure to the next, always with an eye toward their proper time and place. For a while, these adventures gave the family a sense of purpose. Chen actually posited the theory that they were meant to be lost, so that they might help as many people as they could, and learn as much as they can about the universe before finding their way home.
During their early adventures, there is an overwhelming sense of optimism among them, as they are flush with their faith in themselves and an unwavering devotion to their noble destiny. They are a family on a grand adventure, and they enjoy every second of it. They dine with interstellar royalty, study the early evolution of their own species and help bring peace to a galaxy ravaged by civil war. The two boys, Cru and Ski, grow from children to young men in this time, falling in love with alien princesses, forming bonds of friendship that reach across the ages and studying with the finest minds of every era.
30 subjective years pass within the paradox buffers of the timeship. In that time, the adventures of the intrepid family become increasingly grim. Where once they had encountered mad scientists with delusions of world domination or planets run by sentient computers, they find themselves more often at odds with psychopaths and monsters. An encounter with a race of warrior-telepaths leaves Chen’s son Cru completely mad, drooling and straitjacketed in a padded brig cell of the massive timeship. He stays that way for 5 years, until a friendly race of telepaths can be found to restore his mind. He never truly recovers, and will never be the man he once was. It begins to seem as though time and space are at odds with them, as they never again visit the worlds and eras of high adventure. Instead, the timeship seems drawn to those times and places where misery and despair have overwhelmed all else, and hope is nearly lost forever.
The journey of the Michaels family reaches its nadir with the tragic death of Chen’s wife to a space-borne plague. Following that horrible day, the family becomes a gang of pirates, striking out at each new era they come to and taking what they need until a time they can finally navigate their temporal starship. Chen no longer believes in their grand destiny of heroism and exploration. He refuses to believe they were meant to suffer as they have, and begins to blame himself for all their tragedies. He no longer even cares about getting home. He is focused, with brutal precision, on using the timeship to save his wife.
At last, Chen’s younger son Ski learns to plot a course through the timestream. They can go to any time they wish, at any place. After years of failure and missed opportunity, Chen can finally go back. He'd stolen a cure for the plague and would bring it back to her through time, forever negating this wretched destiny. For the first time in years, Chen Michaels has reason to smile.
Unfortunately, Ski has also made a rather shocking discovery. The increasing horror of their surroundings may be their own doing, as their travels have been disrupting the flow of history and evolution since they began. Now that they can navigate the ship, and travel directly to a specific point in time and space, it is possible they might unravel the fabric of the universe itself.
Chen must decide how much that matters to him, or if even one more moment with his beloved wife is worth the end of all Creation.