Noob- weird selection issues- can't select vertices of a mesh in edit mode

Hi all. New to blender and working hard to get up to speed but finding some behaviors of the program unpredictable and getting stuck often. Right now I’m working on a spaceship (yeah real original, right?) and I have several different parts that I’m modelling and sticking together. All of a sudden, when I want to select individual vertices of the main body of the ship, I can select the whole object in object mode, but when I go to edit mode there are no vertices. when I hit “a” for (de)select all, it toggles selecting half of one of the wings (a different object) in yellow, but the body remains selected in orange with no vertices. I’ve been looking around but can’t seem to find anything that can explain what’s going on or why. Please help!

I see no screenshots and no download links to your blend file in your post.

Therefore we’re even more in the dark than you are !

If it’s selected in orange with no vertices when you’re in edit mode, it is a separate object. You’ll have to go to edit mode on that object. You can only be in edit mode on one object at a time.

Thanks for the replies all! I think I’ve since figured out more about the interface. If I run into the same problem again, I will definitely post screenshots and/or my blend session. I think one of my biggest problems is that I only have time to work with blender sporadically, so I make progress in understanding, then forget half of it- hence the lateness of my thanks. Greatly appreciate your helping a lost noob!