Following the nuclear attack on the colonist ships in Second Contact, the Race continues to try to find the responsible nation, along with the purpose of the Lewis and Clark, a large space station launched by the United States. At the same time, the range animals brought by the Race colonists begin to spread into the human nations, causing ecological trouble and causing conflicts between them. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union the NKVD under Lavrenti Beria attempts to launch a coup against Vyacheslav Molotov, but is thwarted by Georgi Zhukov. In Nazi Germany, Heinrich Himmler, the Fuhrer, dies and is replaced by Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Kaltenbrunner, angered by the policy of accommodation Himmler carried out towards the Race, including his refusal to invade Race-occupied Poland, causes him to initiate a nuclear war between Germany and the Race.