After the loss of Tamora, the last three Crimson Star pirates are even more desperate to find their hijacked starship and escape the Heracles System. The newly arrived Inquisition is mercilessly crushing crime at every level, and the pirates can feel the icy grip of the law tightening around their necks. Tybalt’s degenerative condition has accelerated in the absence of Tamora’s treatments. With his health deteriorating rapidly, he is desperate to escape the system and find a treatment. Staff, still hoping to reconstitute the old pirate fleet, enters into a pact with the Borjigins that will change the way the pirates do business. Nicodemus, frustrated that his undercover assignment was bungled by the Inquisition, sets a plan in motion to end the pirates permanently. Tamora finds her captors, the Inquisitors, are more interested in recruiting her than imprisoning her. And they seem to be the powerful and capable instructors that she has been seeking for years. Tesso, having utterly failed to save his home system from the iron heel of the Inquisition, finds himself at an inauspicious end to his career. And it’s a failure that he won’t be able to forget.