Early on the trip to Everette, Switch confronts the crew of the Carnival about the theft of the fruit from the Garden Ship. The carnies are surpised. However it soon becomes clear Mice is the culprit. The carnies can here him arguing with his sister, Kittens on top of the Ferris Wheel. He pushes her rather than share the fruit. She falls off the ride and breaks her arm. Switch recovers the remaining fruit and publicly humiliates Mice. The fruit is locked up under her bed.
In the coming weeks several changes occur on board the ship. The freak show workers begin hanging out in Den for some reason. They refuse to talk about it. Meanwhile Midnight Storm’s fans find themselves without distracting drugs and undergo a detoxification. Midnight helps them as best he can and some claim to kick the habit for good.
On Everette, a burning escape pod crashes into the dense jungle. A small band of natives approaches the crash sight and see Max and Barns pull themselves out of the wreckage. As Barns counts his blessings for surviving, Max takes in the ring of spears surrounding them. Luckily, their leader, Ekaterina Mikhailova Petrova, is not interested in plunder or violence. She is following the vision of her father, Mikhail Pavelovich Pertrov. He tells her that the tribe must find a red ship to take them off world. Katya agrees to help Max make her way to Tradepost.
In the following weeks the two bond and Barns is patched up with a treatment of native mud. Max learns about the planet and its psychic dangers and in turns helps defends the tribe from a Kikamora.
As the Carnival lands at Tradepost, Switch has a chat with Hiccup. The leader of the Carnival is conflicted about the killing of Emma. She describes the events leading up to it, including the role her mother played in it. Hiccup advises Switch to avoid opening her mind to the Maelstrom.
The Carnival lands in the wide grassy field next to the tiny settlement of Tradeport. A small armored compound of gleaming white sits a small distance away. After touching down, Manfred begins to serve breakfast. Midnight stops by and tries to engage the giant man in conversation. Hiccup soon joins them after leaving Switch’s room. Lotsa-Teeth comes by with a message for Manfred, Switch want to see him. Midnight excuses himself and heads into town.
Switch asks Manfred to join her on the trip to deliver Bluejay’s package to King. As they leave the ship, they find a fat man called Ham managing things. They ask him directions, he sends a child named Till to guide them to the compound.
Their path takes them through the market and past a knife and machete shop. Manfred stops to buy a new machete. Max and Katya are there looking at the assembled weaponry. Katya selects a machete and asks the old man running the shop to sharpen it. Manfred makes his purchase and also has it sharpened. The old man says it will be ready in 15 minutes.
While this business is going on Switch and Max chat. Max asks about passage off world but Switch remarks that she looks familiar. Max asks if she has been to Shepherd which Switch admits to. But then a child steals one of Max’s knives. The warrior chases him down, throwing a knife into his leg to stop him. She takes her knives back. The display leave the shop owner unhappy with her so she leaves.
Elsewhere Midnight is advertising for his next concert with Foster and Toa. He finds most of fans drinking at the saloon. The bartender, Crank, is unhappy about the ruckus they are causing. Midnight convinces Crank to not harass them and covers their tab. He also talks to the bartender about what songs to sing and where to play.
Their trip to the market done, Manfred and Switch soon reach the compound. A chain link fence surrounds the structure with a single guard post. A guard leads them to King, an ancient man from the Golden Age. Switch gives him the package and the old man offers her and Manfred some fine whisky. He is friendly and asks if Switch would perform for him. Switch however wants to leave soon and before he verifies that whatever Bluejay gave him will work. She convinces him to give her a receipt for a show.
Katya approaches the Carnival ship. She opens her mind to the psychic maelstrom. Instead of learning about the ship, she sees her brother, Ilya, entering the jungle. As her vision ends, Shaza is standing in front of her. The tall border guard harasses Katya. Things almost come to blows, but another hunter arrives. He brings word that her brother is missing. She leaves ignoring Shaza’s taunts to find her father. Her father tells her the jungle has gotten into Ilya’s mind. She takes a small band of hunters into the wilds to save him.
Manfred and Switch take a shortcut through the jungle. Fern-corals grow up the trees while large insects scamper among the branches. The psychic emanations of the wilderness get into their heads. It learns about them and gives them dubious information. Manfred realizes there is a dangerous predator around while Switch is unable to handle the whispers and freaks out. As she runs through the forest, she misses Katya’s hunters. Manfred stops her though and Katya points the way out of the forest.
Max meanwhile is looking for a distraction. She hits the bar but Midnight’s fans bore her. She decides to look at the carnival. The carnies force her to give up her weapons but she hangs onto a small knife. Inside she spots her sister, Hiccup, working at a booth. Her heart in her throat she waits in line until she reaches the front. When Hiccup sees her, she backs off, scared. She and Max talk briefly but clearly the young woman is deeply terrified. Her fellow carnies tell Max to talk to Hiccup later. Max backs off for now. She tries to get information from the freaks but it is clear they don’t trust her.
Switch soon returns to the ship, leaving Manfred to get his machete. The carnival crew tell her about Max. She talks to Hiccup, who tells her that Max was thrown into prison. The leaders of Shepherd, their homes, called her a Reaver. Switch becomes seriously scared. But she decides to set up a meeting with Max. She convinces Hiccup to hide in her closet and stay silent. Switch also makes sure Manfred is present.
At the meeting, Max convinces Switch she means no threat. she also makes it clear she realizes Hiccup is in the closet. Switch arranges for Max to talk to her sister at the Ferris Wheel.
Manfred accompanies Hiccup to the meeting. Watched by the silent giant, Max and Hiccup catch up while avoid much talk of the past. As their conversation peters out, Max and Manfred hear gunshots. They leave to find out the cause.
In the jungle Katya tracks her brother to the coils of a chitinous Sanke. The creature is wound around a branch thirty feet up with her brother wrapped in its coils. While the warriors shoot arrows at it, Katya climbs up to her brother. But it drops him as it dies. She dives and cushions his fall, bruising some ribs. Ilya saved, they return to camp with the sanke’s carcass.
As they roast the sanke, Midnight approaches and tries to talk to them. He is curious about their traditions and music. He samples the Sanke and shares some of his own music. Katya asks about the Carnival and Midnight says he will talk to Switch for them. He invites them to the concert. An old woman gives a bone flute as a present.
As he leaves Midnight runs into Shaza. The border patrolman dislikes the tribe and doesn’t want them in the town. Midnight tries to convince him not to interfere with the concert, but Shaza takes a swing at him. As Midnight subdues him, Shaza reveals he is a Wolf of the Maelstrom. Midnight pins him to ground and threatens to destroy him if he doesn’t leave. Shaza relents but fires shots into the air before vanishing into the jungle.
Midnight defuses tensions with other border guard who come to investigate. Manfred arrives at the same time. Katya offers him Sanke meat, but he declines.
Back at the ship max returns to the carnival. Switch decides to let Max have passage on the ship but only if she gives up her armor. Reluctantly she agrees, revealing his disturbing prosthetic arm.
That night Midnight has his concert and the whole town turns out. Even Katya’s tribe joins in. Switch does a private show at King’s compound. She brings Chic, Belter, Narnia, Night, and Skinsto perform. night and Skins both seem a little off though. King offers Switch more money for a second show but she declines.
Switch returns to the ship. Standing near the entrance, she decides to open her mind to the psychic maelstrom. she calls to her mother for guidance. An insect covered version of her mother point to Katya’s father as person she should seek out. Switch goes to the concert to talk to him and Katya.
Manfred meanwhile wanders around the edge of town. He finds the tracks of a Kikamora and tracks it around town. He hears a noise but realizes it is distraction. The Kikamora is psychically cloaked in front of him. He rushes it and takes a bite on his arm before grappling and killing it. He then drags bull sized carcass to the ship. As numbness spreads over his arm, he hoists it off the ground by a wire and skins it. Switch, Max, and Katya all arrive. Switch asks the tribe to butcher the meat in exchange for passage. She asks Manfred permission and then agrees. Max meanwhile sucks out the poison and binds Manfred’s wounds. She spends the night outside to guard (in her armor) the meat while it smokes.
In the morning, Midnight meets with Katya and Switch and makes sure the tribe gets passage. He then tells Switch he staying on Everette for now. The Carnival blasts off.