First of a projected series from the authors of a previous collaboration, PartnerShip (a 1992 mass market). Three space miners, Gill, Calum, and Rafik, find a survival pod drifting in space; inside sleeps Acorna, a furry, unicorn-like humanoid infant. Young Acorna, who grows--and learns--swiftly, soon manifests the ability to purify air and water, and heal injuries with her horn. When the miners return to base, though, some scientists try to snatch Acorna for study, so she and the miners retreat hastily into space. Bargaining with Rafik's uncle Hafiz, they arrange to switch their ship's registration and start new careers as space traders. But Hafiz also covets Acorna, so they flee again; one thing leads to another, and eventually they end up on planet Kezdet, the last place they wanted to go. Vengeful Security Guardians hope to nab the miners for previous indiscretions; Hafiz's agents are hot on the trail; and Chinese mystic and enlightened businessman Delszaki Li wants to catch Acorna, since he's convinced that she's the key to overthrowing Kezdet's vicious and thoroughly entrenched system of child slavery. More fantasy than science fiction with a bustling yet flimsy plot, lots of scene-shifting, stereotyped characters, and the McCaffrey hallmark to pull in the crowds.