Ryley Ancum is a teenage bass vye player who plays in a dusk band and is studying at a prestigous school. He was abandoned by his parents and also is an aspirant Rebel spy who has encoded intelligence information in the musical notes he's written, a trick he learned from his teacher in both espionage and music. He and his fellow band members Hannis and Erik audition in front of Keth Beamis, a talent scout and also a Rebel spy. However, Beamis and Ry are arrested on espionage charges after the audition. Ry is vouched for by the governor and released, but Beamis kills himself under interrogation.
The governor then uses Ry and his band as a trap for other Rebel spies on Beltrix III, sending an intelligence agent, Onjo Fegel, to escort them. En route, Erik distracts Onjo while Hannis and Ry use a rigged comlink and his bass vye to send a coded message to the Rebel warning them of incoming Imperials. The message is successfully sent and the Rebels on Beltrix disguise their activities, evading Imperial capture. The group auditions in front of a talent scout while on Beltrix, and while they don't get the gig, Ry recognizes his mother and old teacher, who are both Rebels, but cannot risk revealing himself. Via coded messages, Ry is sent back to his school to continue work for the Alliance there.
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