Anna nearly dies, along with all her family, at age four from the deadly Cacao virus. But she survives, thanks to a poisonous red-headed krait. The medical community is excited since there is no known cure for the virus, but Anna and her snake, Red, have a symbiotic relationship--containment, not cure. If she is ever separated from Red, she will die.
Anna struggles through foster homes. As her krait becomes known and valuable throughout the three star empires as one of only a handful of such snakes, she fights off attempts to kill her and snatch Red. She even comes to wonder if her brilliance in school and eventually at deciphering code is somehow connected to her constant companion. When the Naval Intelligence Agency, the NIA, recruits her, her adventures grow beyond fending off thieves and killers to tracking down interstellar smugglers as part of an elite team, but the smuggling cartel are quick to fight back. In the midst of space battles and well-placed assassins, Anna is convinced that Red's presence may make the difference in survival or death, not just for her but her entire NIA team.