John Grimes is on a hiding to nothing. The ship he is serving on is not a happy one, and Captain Tolliver is singuarly unimpressed with his newly appointed Lieutenant. To make matters worse he finds himself having to babysit a bunch of biologists carrying out observations on a lost colony. With Grimes resentful of his charges, and they resenting his mere presence, things become oppressive and lonely... until he undertakes his own experiment with a group of shaggy, brutish humanoids living on the plant. Although his intentions are good, Grimes is about to make some unintentionally big changes.