Set in the near future: a large, sprawling, sluggish alien-contact saga. During an experiment with tachyon (faster-than-light) particles and matter transmission, lowechelon participant Mozy Moi falls in love with her Moon-based partner, David Kadin. But Mozy can't get to the Moon--so a helpful colleague scans her brain and transmits the contents to the computer banks of Father Sky (Kadin's destination), a ship heading out of the solar system to investigate a tachyon message. What Mozy doesn't realize is that ""David Kadin"" is nothing more than an intelligent computer program designed for alien-contact duties. Still, the two are soon blissfully united in Father Sky's computer. . . until their combined presence starts a breakdown in the ship's control systems. By this time, they're near the alien object--a hollowed, inhabited asteroid approaching Earth for benevolent purposes. Meanwhile, back on Earth: the military, increasingly fretful, launches another interceptor ship equipped with nuclear missiles; and a plucky journalist struggles to uncover the story. True, the alien Talenki turn out to be a charming and suitably enigmatic bunch. But such rare, rewarding sequences here are drowned out by noisily distracting subplots, by the huge faceless cast, and by the general lack of suspense. In sum: one or two good ideas, floundering amid excess verbiage and workaday details.