The crew of the Starlight, eager to spend some time off ship, disperse into Meganton’s marketplace. Brace and Gale quickly set up a stall, offering medical treatment in exchange for barter supplies. After a short time, the battered, injured crew of a ship called the Nevermore arrives, requesting Gale’s aid. Their captain, the newly promoted Cipher, accounts for the injured crew as having suffered from an “asteroid impact,” although Gale intuits that Cipher is lying. She nevertheless stabilizes one crew member, a woman named Pin, who had severe internal bleeding. Then, after negotiating payment, Gale agrees to visit the Nevermore ship and tend to the others onboard. Brace, observing the exchange, opens his brain to the maelstrom and sees a vision of a carrion bird flying across the cosmos, feasting on dying animals.
Later, Brace, Farley and Ula try to resupply the ship with edible food. Main Stream, another businesswoman, fails to join them in these dealings, disappearing without explanation. Once the food brokering was completed, Brace began a seductive escapade, which turned quite a profit.
On her way to the Nevermore, Gale resupplies her medical stock in the market, but encounters difficulty acquiring narcotics and anesthetics. Somewhat (but not fully) supplied, Gale treks to the Nevermore. At the ship, Gale’s senses that things are slightly off. She is led inside by a man named Cage, who tells her little. Cage brings her to her next patient, and older man named Bug who was paralyzed from a falling brace. Bug is under close watch by a scarred man named Hurt. Gale tells Hurt to get her some water, and with only Cipher present, heals Bug with her mind. As his flesh knits together, Gale receives a sudden vision from Bug’s mind. He was injured leading some sort of attack, shortly before receiving the bulk of a grenade blast. Returning to the present, Gale relays to Cipher that Bug will recover, but will need careful monitoring and care for the next 36 hours.
Amongst market, Midnight Storm witnesses Main Stream being taken away by the White Guard. He approaches the secret panel she was taken through, but is quickly brushed away by a guards standing watch. Not content to let the matter slide, Midnight goes in search of Brace, eventually finding him in the market’s Red Light District. Brace shows little sympathy for Main Stream’s situation, but agrees to help, calling out to Main Stream through the psychic maelstrom. A short while later, Main Stream, disguised as one of the White Guard, comes running through the market with three of the actual guard in close pursuit. Brace turns to Midnight and Main Stream, telling them to run. He then began a hypnotic strip tease that held the guard (and much of the market) stunned. In a nearby tent, Main Stream removes her disguise, and returns with Midnight to the Starlight. Brace, excited by his captivating power, attempts to seduce the three White Guard, offering to take them to a more private location. They agree, and Brace is taken by the guards deeper into Megaton.
Elsewhere, Vivek begins peddling his wares. Upon concluding his business, he notices that he is being watched by someone who runs quickly when spotted. He handedly tracks the figure through the busy market but loses him near Bay 3. Perturbed, he decides to track down his old friend Lunch, a fellow tied up in Vivek’s conflict with Mech and Boss. After a tense reunion, Vivek asks Lunch to return Vivek’s old 9mm, explaining little to his motivation. Lunch agrees to return the gun, in exchange for the fulfillment of a murder contract. Vivek agrees, and is provided with high tech watch, granting him access to the inner sections of Megaton. There is a woman there by the name of Main Stream that the White Guard want killed.
The trail leads to an interrogation room where he finds not Main Stream, but Brace and three of the White Guard. Brace is cuffed to one of the walls of the room, moments from being raped by the guards. One of the guards, a woman, is assumed by Vivek to be his target, and is promptly psychically assaulted by him. Moments later the woman collapses, and Vivek quickly leaves. Brace uses the woman’s sudden death as distraction, and slips free of his bonds. The escape is strained however, and he rips stitches from his fight with Bullet in the process. Unphased, turns on his two assaulters, and shaking with anger, declares that they are both going to die. After a quick and violent battle, Brace is left with one terrified guard who begs Brace to “just go.” Brace, frightened and livid from his violation, captures the man and begins an interrogation.
Upon his return, Vivek is rewarded his old gun, and pulls from it an ancient key. Noticing that he is being watched by Lunch’s men, he packages the key and has it sent to Gale. Later, at a night club, he finds a woman named Dez and decides to spend the night with her.
In the interrogation room, Brace psychically tortures his assailant, trying to learn what is happening within the ranks of the White Guard. He discovers that the entire guard is suffering from maddening psychic dreams, seeming to originate from the White Guard’s leader, White. Upon receiving the information he needs, Brace strangles the man to death, and destroys the surveillance gear capturing the affair. Brace crosses Megaton dressed in White Guard armor, and returns to the Starlight to find mysterious message as well as his violation glove. The note leaves a cryptic message mentioning dreams of madness, and asks him to meet in the early morning at Bay 33, located at the abandoned end of Megaton.
Meanwhile, Midnight Storm readies himself for his first concert since his arrival. Earlier, Midnight arranges a gig that night with a club owner named Snail. He also ran into a fan named Snaz who helped him spread the word for the concert, as well as a White Guard named Wrench who offered to provide security. At the show, Snaz brings his girlfriend Molly who falls in love with Storm’s music. Midnight notices however that Snaz is being rough with the girl, and spends some time after the concert convincing him to lay off.
On the Nevermore, Gale asks for an assistant and is offered the aid of the ship’s nurse, Rat. Rat is apparently a new recruit to the Nevermore, and Gale is able to learn the crew’s secrets from him. She discovers that her employers are in fact pirates, and well armed ones at that. She convinces Rat to watch her while she sleeps and to wake her if Cipher returns. While washing up, Gael notes some shell casings on the bathroom floor. Opening her mind, she reads from the psychic impressions an execution of survivors of a ship boarded by the Nevermore.
That morning, Brace makes his way to the unused section of Megaton, and eventually to bay 33. There, in a dark room, he is met by a White Guard named Landers. Landers asks for Brace’s help in fixing the maddening dreams plaguing the White Guard. As she explains the problem, Vivek emerges from the shadows. He suggests the use of deep ear plugs, a strange brainer device, to stop the dreams from progressing. Before anything is decided a noise is heard down the hall. Landers immediately flees. Brace is not far behind her, but first calls to her through the maelstrom, requesting her return. Vivek decides to investigate the noise, which he quickly finds has come bay 32. Someone in the bay is searching through old crates. Curious, Vivek opens his mind to their contents, and is met with the image of dormant robot brains. He attempts to get closer to the person in the room, but accidentally crashes into someone, whom he quickly recognizes as Mech. Vivek immediately flees, but is not (to his knowledge) pursued.
Upon his return, Brace finds Landers at the Starlight. She explains she can’t be seen talking to him now, but promises to come by later that night in her street attire.
As she sleeps, Gale dreams of a swarm of reavers closing in on her within a ruined city, and quickly flees to a nearby chapel. Within, she observes several dark figures, milling about the chapel, muttering to themselves of their fear and unjust punishment. Among the figures, she finds Tatters, quivering on a nearby pew. After some consoling, Gale convinces Tatters to come with her, and she tries to play the pipe organ located in the end of the room. A shadowy figure interrupts her, pushing past her and grabbing hold of Tatters’s face. In an instant, Gale wakes, to be met by Rat offering her some runny eggs.
A few hours later Gale finishers her work. She accepts her payment from Cipher but not before opening her brain to the woman. Gale sees blood caking along the woman’s arms and speckling her face, and tells the pirate that she know what she is. Cipher makes a vague threat, and the two staring each other down before Cipher looks away. Gale turns and leaves.
The next morning, Vivek lies awake in Dez’s apartment when a sudden disturbance is heard by the door. Moments later it is smashed in and Mech and his men lob a grenade inside. The force kills Dez instantly, hurtling her body through a window. Vivek, reeling from the blast, attempts to escape by scaling the wall blown open by the blast, but is killed as Mech and his men open fire on him.
On the Starlight, Gale returns to her Infirmary to find Brace waiting for her. The two talk for some time. Gale is quick to notice that Brace is upset, and Brace forgoes his usual effort of making himself difficult to read. She asks him what has happened, and he explains the attempted rape. When asked if he is alright, Brace confesses that no, he is not alright, and that he has never come so close to such a violation before.
That night, Midnight has his second performance. Between sets however he finds a fan of his, Toa, in a fight with the gig’s security – the White Guard. Midnight realizes that he has to do something and stops the man, lest the situation escalate to further violence. With a calm tone and a preternatural aura, he calms both sides of the dispute and convinces them to watch an encore performance. During his final song, he glances out the window to see a strange man standing in the street. The man stands awkwardly, and opens his mouth to reveal a mass of howling beetles seething within. As quickly as he had come, the man was then gone, and Midnight turned back to the show. Watching the crowd, he notices that, while Snaz is present, Molly is not.
Back on the Starlight, Brace tells Gale that her skills are needed to help find the cure to the White Guard’s madness. She complains, stating that she only wanted to go out and drink. Brace reveals a bottle of liquor and offers that the two of them share it, but Gale refuses, oblivious to his overture of affection. Shortly thereafter, Landers arrives. After a preliminary diagnostic, Gale realizes that she will need not only brain monitoring equipment, but also access to the dream’s original vector, White of the White Guard.