When Irina Novak is selected to go on the first ever manned light speed flight, she's ecstatic. She knows it will be hard on her and her wife Anne, especially since while the mission will last six months for Irina up in space, three years will pass for Anne back on Earth. Still, Irina is confident they can make it work. Irina goes into outer space apparently without a hitch. She does her best to cope with the isolation, while Anne finds her wife's separation from her difficult to deal with back on Earth. When 180 days finally pass for her in space, Irina can't wait to go back home and see Anne again. But when she lands, something is wrong...
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Anne appears to have an affair while Irina's in space. It later turns out that she was simply with an alternate universe version of Irina Novak, whose mission failed.
- Alternate Self: Irina comes back to Earth from a successful mission only to find there's another version her, who returned to Earth after her mission failed after a month in space, and later ended up divorcing Anne. Cleaveland refers to the Irina Novak whose mission was successful as Irina, and the one whose failed as Novak. Irina prefers it to being called "the second one".
- Alternate Universe: The best explanation NASA can come up with for the two Irina Novaks is that Irina somehow dipped over to a parallel universe.
- Butch Lesbian: Irina Novak has a butch appearance and likes girls.
- Cloning Blues: Irina and Novak both resent that NASA tried to keep them a secret from each other at first. Irina also resents that she's being treated like a copy of Novak, while Novak has to deal with watching her ex-wife treat Irina as her replacement.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Anne views Irina as this, since the strain of Novak's mission failure lead to their divorce, while when Irina returned she expected their relationship to pick up where they left off.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Averted, there's only travel at light speed exactly.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Anne accepts her wife going on the mission, despite trepidation.
- I Will Wait for You: Anne to Irina.
- Love Transcends Spacetime: Played with. When Irina finishes a successful six month mission and returns to an alternate Earth, she's more than happy to reunite with Anne, and Anne is more than happy to reunite with her. It's Anne and Novak, who are from the same universe and weren't separated for nearly as long, who have the relationship difficulties.
- Obstructive Bureaucracy: NASA refuses to tell Irina and Novak about each other at first, and insists Anne can't either. They also insist on covering it up that there are two Irina Novaks, forcing them to pretend to be the same person, and preventing Irina from publishing a career-making paper about her mission.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Irina and Novak are none to happy to meet each other. Their Cloning Blues don't help their relationship.
- Queer Romance: Deals with the relationship struggles between Anne and Irina Novak. Both versions of her.
- Standard Human Spaceship: Irina Novak's ship looks like this.
- Streaming Stars: The view from Irina's ship while traveling.
- Time Dilation: Irina's mission will last six months for her, three years for Anne. Anne is understandably upset by this.Anne: I'll be older than you when you get back. Gah that's so weeeird...