Burkhayden is a subject colony, leased by the Bench to a Dolgorukij familial corporation for economic exploitation. When a Nurail woman from the service house is brutally raped and beaten, Andrej Koscuisko –- Ship’s Inquisitor on board the Jurisdiction Fleet Ship Ragnarok –- is called upon to render services under contract. One of Koscuisko’s bond-involuntary Security slaves recognizes the tortured woman. And murder is done in port Burkhayden. The only way Andrej can protect a man he loves is to condemn a guiltless man to atrocious torment. Will he commit the ultimate crime? Before one fateful night is out Andrej Koscuisko will put himself under sentence of death by doing what he realizes at last he should have done from the beginning. And Port Burkhayden will burn.