The next book in the Beyond the Frontier series. Spoilers ahead for earlier.
It opens at Midway, with the Syndic forces hovering and threatening the newly independent system. A subterfuge gets them out so the Alliance fleet can return home. Whereupon they find that something has gone wrong with the hypernet: they can only get to one system, which shrieks of trap.
But since they are at peace with the Syndics now, they will be able to get back to Alliance territory peacefully, even lugging along a captured alien starship, and accompanied by six (very different) alien ships who wish to return to the Alliance. Right?
Tricks and traps lie ahead. Marines coming to seriously respect an engineer. An intelligence officer falling in love with a different engineer. Politics. A request to go to Kansas. Forestalling a mutiny by giving the mutineers orders to do what they would have done if they had mutinied. Spreading rumors. Crossing the line across a heliosphere -- rather like crossing the equator -- after which, you are a Voyager. Battles and discoveries. And the Alliance that sent them off to die finds it rather hard to deal with a legend that stays alive, because it starts to scare them.