Brace visits the Infirmary to tell Gale that Bluejay is on his way. He says that it might take a while, but he is confident that Bluejay will come, if he still survives. Nightingale teeters on the edge of hope and doubt, but gives Brace her thanks.
Vivek and Sun looked at ways to seal off access to the landing gear other than the one where his trap is set. Sun shows him there are discrepancies between the schematic and reality. Holes in walls, mostly sealed vents, and a spot filled with rats. Sun hates rats. There is one other way to the landing gear, a hole in the wall of Cargo Bay 2. They head there.
Ula and Midnight Storm chat about the recent troubles. Ula reminds him he is needed to search for the last stowaway, so he heads down to the engine room. He find Shiv down there manning the station by himself. After a conversation with the surly engineer, he hears a noise. He goes to investigate it, tracking it down a corridor and up into a vent.
Gale and Rum are chatting in Medbay. Gale wants to get to know Rum better, so she opens her brain and sees his years of mistreatment and abuse at the hands of Bob and Bob. She sees that this has led to his compulsive eating. Gale introduces him to the Golden Age game of Tetris that Vivek installed on Sparky. Just then Farley bursts in to get her. He takes her to the bathroom they were holding Donna in. It is streaked with blood and there is a bathtub full of the stuff. Donna is missing. Gale thinks that if Donna isn’t dead she is almost so.
Vivek and Sun get to the cargo bay. They find the hole in a wall behind a crate some 20 year old junk. He tells he to get the cargo loader. While he waits for her to return, Bullet comes by. He is holding an emergency axe and asks him some weird questions. He seems pretty off. After he leaves, Sun brings in the loader and they seal off the hole with a crate of scrap metal.
Then someone hits Vivek in the back of the head. He whirls around to see a stranger, a thin bald headed man in the garb of the Family. Vivek does not abandon Sun, and the two run, quickly losing the stranger.
Farley asks Gale to see whose blood this is and what happened here. She goes to the Medbay to get her equipment. On the way back she sees Tia coming out of the communication room. She’s looking for Morrel who has been gone for a few hours. She tells Tia to go back to her room and returns to look at the blood. Then the lights go out.
Midnight crawls around in the ducts for a while eventually finding himself in a cargo bay. He hears a moan and finds Donna barely alive. Her jaw hangs at an odd angle, one eye is a swollen, purple raisin of flesh, and the only sound she can make is a high, wheezing screech. As he sets his shotgun down to help her, he is clipped by a pipe. He turns around to find the bald headed third stowaway there. He tries to grab the intruder’s pipe, but is hit and knocked down. As the man chocks Midnight, he pulls out his zip gun and fires. The intruder’s brains decorate the wall. Midnight picks up Donna who is barely alive and drags her to the Medbay.
Brace heads down to the engine room and the power goes out just as the elevator doors open. He pushes them open but notices that an emergency axe has been taken. He finds Sun and Vivek just arriving who mention their run in with the intruder and a crazy seeming Bullet. Other than them the engine room is empty. The Theron reactor is over pressurized, killing the main power. Only the red emergency lighting is working. A release valve is whistling. The leakage will kill them in an hour. Worse the controls have been locked. Vivek can manually fix it but he needs another person’s help. Brace leaves Sun and him to it and goes looking for Bullet.
Brace finds a hiding place and calls for Bullet through the psychic maelstrom . He sees Shiv briefly but remains hidden. Then Bullet arrives. Brace fails to get a good hold on him but implants a command to confess to Farley. Bullet ignores the command, exploding a blood vessel in his right eye with the force of will but using the rage and pain to fuel his swing at Brace. After a short scuffle, the axe lodges into a wall, and there is an explosion as a spark form an electrical line mixes with a ruptured gas main. Bullet dies, his upper body ripped apart, and Brace is heavily injured.
Vivek and Sun fix the engine and begin a reboot of the ship’s computer when they hear the explosion. Midnight finds Brace at the same time Vivek does. Midnight and Vivek take Donna to Medbay. They don’t see Sun on the way.
They take Donna to the Medbay but she is very near death. Vivek goes back for Brace. Gale tries to save her, but Donna dies. Gale is pulled back into the maelstrom, this time outside the church whose bell tolls forlornly in the distance. She and Donna stand in the streets of The Ruined City, and Gale watches helplessly as a mass of faceless reavers devour Donna and turn towards her. Gale is shaken and quite cold towards Midnight as she heals him. She stabilizes him and moves towards the elevator to help Brace.
Shiv is finally found unconscious. When he comes to he claims he was hit in back of head and knocked off of a platform. He states flatly that he has no clue who cold-cocked him.
Gale meets Brace and Vivek at the lift. He firmly asks for his violation glove back as he watches Vivek pass it to Gale, but she is distressed by the severity of his injuries. She demands to know what happened and is shocked by Bullet’s perfidy as Vivek hashes things out. Brace moves past them and begins stripping in the medbay. As Gale attempts to knit his flesh together, the two share a visions of betrayal: Sun hitting Shiv from behind, Ula poisoning the crew’s food, Shiv talking with Bigs about getting the Spooks, and Farley loading his gun. Brace and Gale come back to themselves, disturbed. Brace asks for his glove, and Gale distractedly pulls it out and asks about it. Brace asks if she would like to use it, and she pauses but ultimately declines.
Farley calls a meeting to demands an explanation for the deaths and sabotage on board. He assigns crew to do a final sweep of the decks and names Ula the new cook in Bullet’s place. She is extremely unhappy about this. Farley calls on Main Stream to earn her keep but is rebuffed calmly but firmly by the paying passenger merchant.
Tally invites Midnight to an intimate dinner in her quarters as a gift for his music (and to escape Ula’s truly awful food). Midnight is too injured to seduce the young mother.
Gale awakes a few mornings later to discover the last stock from her med kit is gone. It was apparently stolen from the locked medbay from her suit as she slept. Angry and disturbed, she seeks out Brace, only to interrupt him fucking Sun in the drive chamber. She stammers an apology and closes the door. She asks for Sun’s help when the tech leaves, to check her door. Sun seems rather obsessed on the concept of property theft. Gale is able to determine that only Vivek, Bigs, and Shiv would have been able to bypass the door from the remaining crew, and Sparky’s hazy passive camera makes the two large men unlikely.
However, Gale is unable to find Vivek in person or on the comms. Brace hears the comm chatter and offers to call Vivek. Vivek drags himself to the drive chamber in great pain, suffering full withdrawal. The two spooks begin a battle of wills that confuses Farley when he hears the commotion, though he orders them to stand down. Gale arrives and quickly diagnoses the issue. She gets back the stock from Vivek and convinces him to let her treat him as he rides out the detox. Brace decides to submit himself to full treatment as well, to more quickly heal.
Midnight talks to Tia and Morrel, who show him a strange device in their spartan cabin. It is picking up a tapping signal, perhaps from the Golden Age! They want to stay aboard the Starlight to find the signal’s source. Midnight agrees to help and tries to convince Captain Farley by being cook, but his dinner is terrible. Instead, he pays for their passage with his own store of wealth.
After two weeks, Starlight arrives in Megaton’s system. The first ping and posting of declared tradables goes as expected, but then they are ordered to stand ready to be boarded. A small craft approaches and three of the White Guard emerge. The ship is quickly searched and assessed by the silent guard while Commander Kriss answers few of the crew’s questions. They share a tense dinner, but even Brace’s lighthearted attempt at seduction of a female guard is met with silence and a swift fork to the thigh as he persists. Curious, he opens his mind to the situation of the White Guard and is shocked to feel connection but see… nothing. Brace and Vivek indirectly reveal themselves to be spooks, while Midnight Storm blithely mentions the recent Krypton Oxide poisoning.
On docking, the crew passes quickly through the weapon’s detection system (all save Vivek who is sent back about seven times until all of his knifes are left), only to be shuttled into a decontamination shower and one of Megaton’s visitor’s quarters. After his shower, Brace discovers his glove has been taken, but it is not to be returned. Midnight Storm activates a communication terminal to learn that the crew will be held for a full day until they are cleared for biological. At least the food is better.
During the night, Brace’s dreams are torn by fierce nightmares, vague but charged with need to eat, rip, consume and taking the form of reavers. He wakes, clawing the air to find Vivek staring at him. Neither of them sleep the rest of the night.
The crew is grumpy and frustrated as they emerge into the Megaton marketplace.