Makeweight. Something of little independent value thrown in to fill a gap.
That is how most on the Captain's Deck of the Amethyst viewed Fehime Coheno and Albie Cobb, two members of the inferior Operations crew. Despite Fehime's extensive knowledge of intergalactic languages and cultures, and Albie's skill and experience in strategy, the two best friends have been made to sit on the sidelines for much of their time on the ship, watching through outdated screens in a dark room as field teams traveled to foreign planets and interacted with alien species without them.
However, after Control and the field teams ignored the pair's advice one too many times, leading to injured members, the teams find themselves in need of replacements, and Fehime and Albie finally get their wish: a chance to face their fears and prove their worth on the ground.
But the makeweights quickly learn to be careful what they wish for when they wind up the sole Earthlings standing in between two alien species on the verge of war. Out of their depth, with little hope of being rescued, Fehime and Albie find strength in their friendship and in the parts of themselves that everyone else had overlooked, and they can only hope that it will be enough to fill the gap.