Jek O’Halley, Ginny Boroxi, JD Cameron, and Ramirez journey outward with a starship full of secrets to the system of Blame, carrying a food shipment. They briefly become entangled in an ongoing conflict between two Alpha Draconis fleet commanders, but manage to escape. They then pick up a doctor, Ivan Tsyganskiy, and make their way to the ill-fated planet of Aztlan.
On Aztlan, Jek O’Halley meets his maker at the end of a railgun. Rising tensions between Ginny Boroxi and Ivan Tsyganskiy causes the former to leave for the good of the ship. They investigate a mysterious luchadore cult, only to find themselves the unwitting stars of Beta-D television. Avagail Goldstein is recruited as an engineer, and Laylee is taken aboard shortly afterward. One pilot is removed from the fabric of the universe and replaced seamlessly by a fugitive.
The new crew, with JD Cameron as captain after Ivan Tsyganskiy failed to take initiative due to lack of interest in command, headed to Lux Eterna to take a government job. On the way there, they find a heavily damaged fighter of unknown origins floating in the void while broadcasting an emergency signal, and pick up a cryogenically frozen man later named Frost.
In Lux, they investigate a cult, lose another pilot, and before they leave recruit the young pilot, biopsion, and Constantine fugitive Katya Volkov, whom Laylee almost immediately takes as a lover. The primary opponents, [[Bonnie and Clyde V2.0]], are killed in an urban skirmish, and the crew throws in the towel on the job, cashing in early and making their way to Gate via a stop at Beta Draconis.
The Journey to Gate
Disturbing secrets about Frost and potentially the fate of the entire Draconis Sector are uncovered on Beta Draconis, but otherwise, the trip goes smoothly. The crew is then contacted by two of the Austerlitz brothers, sons of one of the greatest fleet commanders in known history, who ask them to intercept an Alpha-D commander ship before the Drop-General manages to escape. They are successful. Valuable loot is stripped from the ruined ship. The crew also kills Samisaya, at his request, and make it look like he died from his wounds, in order to undermine the Austerlitz brothers’ growing power and influence.
The crew sells off the Alpha-D loot and make their fortunes, and equip themselves with some of the best weapons and armour out there. They then journey deep into the dangerous space station in order to find the materials to bring Ivan Tsyganskiy’s friend out of a coma. After months of harrowing journey and a deadly battle with a mad psion, they at last come out, and Tsyganskiy learns the terrible truth about what happens after you die. Not letting themselves be burdened by such things, the crew immediately sets out to fill scout requests for undiscovered or uncontacted worlds. They also hire Acronnydia the Red, a mercenary from rimwards of Gate, and Jason Heiderburger, a backup pilot and engineer.
The crew first comes to a forgotten world with a city that died from radiation. The story is told through the voice of the sole survivor, who speaks in the spirits and analogies that are the only things she has ever known. Ivan tells her the truth, and after a crisis of faith of most of the party, they decide to take her aboard as a scout.
The crew lands on the equatorial subtropical island of an ice age world. They expect to find uninhabited lands, but instead encounter a deadly array of engineered fauna escaped from a facility created by Frontier Panstellar, an interplanetary corporation, for genetic experimentation. They currently seek to acquire the genetic data here, and perhaps also confront NAUTILUS, the experiment-gone-awry that caused this disaster. Bluejay, a gen-enged soldier, pursues them in incredible speed and animal cunning. Mother lurks in the shadows.